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Panic Attacks What They Are and What to Do
Posted 17 December 2003 - 07:37 PM
The MOST helpful thing I have found is yoga. I began a practice about 3 years ago and noticed changes almost immediately. During the "relaxation phase" at the end of each session, I would often feel like crying. As time went on, I noticed - hey! haven't had a panic attack in a while! I have been virtually symptom-free for those 3 years now, and even when I begin to feel edgy and wound up, it never develops into the type of experience I used to have. I would highly recommend this to anybody having panic attacks. An experienced teacher can even give you specific poses or series of poses to help this particular problem.
If you do check into yoga:
1) Try to get a teacher w/many years of experience, not an aerobics instructor who took a weekend class on teaching yoga. You will get much more help w/the spiritual aspects, not just the physical positions.
2) Look towards the more relaxing types of yoga--hatha yoga or kripalu yoga, rather than ashtanga or Iyengar. The more active types may work well for some people, but for me, they just increase the judgemental type of thinking that (in my case) helps bring on panic attacks.
3) Yoga does not have to be a religious experience--it can involve Hindu or Buddhist beliefs if you want it to, otherwise it's just a great system for relaxing your body/mind/spirit and feeling peace.
Hope this is of some help.
Posted 15 January 2004 - 10:10 PM
Posted 16 January 2004 - 05:24 AM
Posted 28 January 2004 - 09:36 PM
I have a new topic to suggest .... How to learn to trust again! I've been alone for 16 years and I have been going through my first relationship since then and I am botching it big time. I don't know how to trust anymore.
Have any of you had success in that area? I would welcome any candid, brutal advice that only you are qualified to give me?
Posted 20 July 2004 - 09:26 PM
Posted 29 April 2005 - 02:51 PM
Other things I have found helpful:
* I do a breathing exercise. I inhale and imagine my body being suffused with a beautiful soft pink sparkly light (because pink is my favourite colour!), and when I breathe out I imagine I am exhaling the terrible anxiety fumes out of my body. Doing this a few times really helps.
* I yell at the anxiety. (In my head or on paper - but sometimes, if I'm alone, out loud.) I find it helps to think of the anxiety as an intruder, as some kind of external force or voice that is messing with me, and I have the power to tell it to go away and leave me alone. I say things like, "You're lying to me. Right now, I am perfectly fine and nothing bad is happening. I don't believe you. You can't make me feel bad. Leave me alone." (I used to give *myself* a talking-to, saying things like, "You're fine, relax, nothing's wrong, you need to chill out" etc. - but I actually found that talking to myself that way was locating the anxiety as *me*, as part of me, as an illness - and that didn't make me feel better. So instead I started thinking of the anxiety as separate from me, as something that visits me from the outside, and that *I* am actually fundamentally OK, was much more effective. That could just be a personal thing though. Hey, whatever works...use it!)
Posted 14 July 2008 - 02:49 PM
Posted 27 August 2008 - 07:56 AM
Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:13 PM
My therapist taught me another really great technique. She told me to get in touch with my senses. Think of five things I can see, five things I can hear, five things I can feel, five things I can smell, if not five than just however many are present. It helped a lot, just like the breathing exercise you're talking about. Hope this trick can help some others out there. Panic attacks are awful, and I'm so grateful I was able to find ways to shorten them.
A panic or anxiety attack is a radical and quick acting physiological reaction the human body can have when we feel fear. As people who have know true and profound fear we survivors are more prone to them than most. If you have them, you are not alone. Most survivors have had them.
# Signs of A Panic Attack Your heart may be beating quickly or seem to be skipping beats.
# You may have difficulty breathing or catching your breath.
# Constant shaking and/or twitching
# You may feel like you can't think straight, like you can't make decisions or have too many thoughts bouncing around in your head.
# Your mouth may become dry and you may find it hard to swallow.
# You may feel ingling in the hands, feet or other parts of the body (I get it in my back)
# Tense muscles, clenched jaws.
There are many more, but these are some of the major ones. Keep in mind, you don't need to have all of these to be having a panic attack. A friend of mine only has difficulty breathing but she was diagnosed as having panic attacks. If you have some of these symptoms I hope you'll talk to a counselor about them.
Thoughts on Confronting Panic Attacks
* It's OK to be having them. It doesn't make you wierd or abnormal. You'd be surprised at how many people have them. In fact, I had dinner with three other girlfriends and told them about my panic attacks, and they all told me that they also have panic attacks. We decided that only boring people don't have them.
* Many of us fear having one in public, at work or school etc. First of all, even though you feel like you are going nuts, there are few outward symptoms. If you are scared of having one in public give yourself permission to go to the bathroom and spend some time by yourself.
* A lot of people are terrified of having them. Look at it as practice, to gain control of them and learn techniques to deal with them, what works, what doesn't. Fearing them gives the panic reaction more power over you than it deserves.
* Putting pressure on yourself to deal with them RIGHT now is not a great idea. It makes them worse. Try and give yourself permission to have them wherever you are. Find a quiet place, go to the bathroom, go outside. Do whatever makes you comfortable.
* If you are going to be in a stressful situation and fear panicking, it may help to visualize yourself going through the experience calmly before it actually occurs.
If You are Panicking
* Take deep breaths from the stomach, not the lungs. Lie down and watch your tummy move up and down to practice these deep breaths. Someone gave the tip of lying down with a book on your stomach and watching the book. I don't remember who, but I can't take credit for this brilliant idea.
* I try to stay focused on my breathing, by counting the breaths or just thinking.
* I might inhale and thing "Focused" Exhale and think "Centered"
* Sometimes I inhale and think "It's going to be..." Exhale..."Okay"
* Simple repetitive tasks can help. At work, I used to make flashcards for my students, which is dull but focusing. One good idea might be to organize all of the change in your pockets. Put the pennies in year order, then the nickels, then the dimes, then the quarters. Just a stupid non-thinking but focusing task. Count how many people are wearing red and how many are wearing blue and compare the numbers.
* Herbal remedies have helped me. Lavendar essential oil is a very calming scent. I used to wear it constantly. In addition, I like Rescue Remedy, which is a natural solution for stressful moments. However, my doctor did prescribe medication for me and I carried it around with me for months, just in case I had an attack.
While you try these it's important to think positively. Thinking "Why isn't this working? It has to start working!" doesn't help and makes the situation worse. It may take a few minutes, it may take more. That doesn't mean that you are doing anything wrong. It just means that it's taking time.