Experiencing a panic attack is not simply about experiencing a moment of severe fright or nerves. They run much deeper than that.
Contrary to popular belief, experiencing a panic attack is not simply about experiencing a moment of severe fright or nerves when you are about to make that speech in front of five hundred people or the morning of that important meeting or exam you have been preparing for. Panic attacks run much deeper than that.
Some symptoms of panic attacks include:
- Out of body feeling
- Chest pains
- Palpitations and racing heart
- Feeling of impending doom or death
- Dizziness and nausea
- Chills or hot flashes
- Shaking and shivering
- Tingling or numb feelings in the hands
- Losing bowel control
People suffering from panic attacks may experience just a couple of these symptoms or more, there is no limit to what an individual feels.
How often have you heard the following comments made by people trying to help another who is experiencing anxiety?
Don’t be silly.
It’s nothing to worry about.
You are over-reacting.
Think positive and you will be okay.
That’s life, you have to deal with it.
Well intentioned advice, however the last thing you need to hear when personally dealing with anxiety or depression, is unhelpful comments like the ones above. Being in a cycle of anxiety, any sort of suggestion tends to increase the feeling of dread.
What can you do to help? Stand back and allow the person having an attack, some room.
How then would you help a friend or family member if they show signs of anxiety? How do you get them or both of you from A to B?
Just being there is a good start.
Saying that you are here now and will not leave them, plus offer unconditional support to help deal with the situation faced.
Let them know that you are there for them and that they are not alone.
Talk quietly and slowly, and if you can, encourage some gentle breathing exercises together.
The aim here is to reassure the person so that they know there is closeness and support. It is a very unpleasant experience to witness, when someone has a panic attack, therefore a calm head about you is very important.