First off, a bit of background for those of you who don't know what anxiety/panic attacks are:
According to Google, a panic attack, also called an anxiety attack, is a brief episode of intense anxiety that causes the physical sensations of fear. These can include a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling and muscle tension. Spontaneous panic attacks occur unexpectedly and are not related to any external threat.
I think that pretty much sums up it up (as far as I know), but if you want more info or think you might be suffering from this but you're not sure, Google it or talk to someone about it.
Ok, now on to why I need your help:
I might not get panic attacks, but I have a very close friend who does and I seem to be the only one who notices or knows what is happening. This worries me because I have no idea what to do. It's not like I can say that I know how she feels, because I don't! What should I do?
Let me set the scene for you here:
We play in the same band at school, but this situation can cause problems for her, because it gets quite noisy with 30 something kids playing in one room at once (she starts to panic when it's too loud). We have a break half way through and if I notice that she's feeling anxious I try to find somewhere quiet for us to sit. But this is where my problems begin. Does she want to be alone? Should I sit with her? Does it make her more anxious when band starts again and I stay with her instead of going back to the group? Should I tell her to stay put for as long as she needs to and not to rush herself because no one will mind?
Do you kind of see what I mean? I am completely clueless.
Guys, I need your help! I worry that I make the situation worse when I stay with her, or maybe I don't. I know that it's different for everyone and that something that calms one person down might not do the same for someone else, but I asked the Internet for ways to calm yourself or someone else down:
- Spray pure lavender oil mixed with water on a handkerchief. (Keep on hand In your pocket) The oils in the lavender help soothe and calm during an anxiety attack.
- Have a friend distract you from your panic and analyse your fear so that you can overcome your feelings of stress.
- Do something. Sitting and ruminating over your anxiety will worsen your state and make it harder to overcome your panic. Distract your mind and body by doing something that you enjoy.
- Write it down. This will help you to focus your thoughts, and reading over your entry or looking back can help you to better handle your anxiety.
- Use cognitive diversions. For example, count backwards from 100 by 3’s, list the presidents in order, or recite the lyrics to your favourite song or poem.
- Practice deep breathing. If you’re having a panic attack, chances are you’re beginning to hyperventilate, so try to take a maximum of 8 breaths per minute. Take 4 seconds to inhale, hold the breath for 2-3 seconds, and then take another 4 seconds to exhale.
- Create a playlist of songs that you listen to to help you relax or that make you feel happy. Then, when you have a panic attack you can listen to the music to help calm you.
- If you have severe anxiety attacks over an extended period of time, visit a psychologist for therapy and advice. This is something my friend struggled with. She's quite shy, and not the sort of person to talk to a stranger about her problems. It was such an issue that she tried to hide her panic attacks from her mum, for fear that she would be sent to a therapist. My advise to you is, don't try to hide or fight it, it only makes it worse!
There is also a YouTuber who I watch called Zoella (Zoe Sugg). I mentioned her in 'My Top 3 Favourite Blogs' post and she also gets panic attacks. She has done a few videos on this which you can watch if you click on these links:
Lots of love, Little Robin