I want to preface this by stating that all cases of anxiety are different and that I can only speak to my experiences. That being said, I’m going to walk you through what it is like to have a panic attack.
You are at a football game when a group of guys start yelling at the players from the stands. You try to block it out, but they keep doing it and it becomes impossible to ignore. You try to tell yourself, “There's nothing to worry about, they're not going to hurt anyone.” But by this time, your sympathetic nervous system has decided otherwise. It begins releasing adrenaline, which causes your heart to race and your hands to sweat.
Sometimes you can talk yourself out of it at this point. You might take a walk or put in earbuds and blast music. However, if that doesn't work, you go into a deeper mode of panic which may last anywhere from twenty minutes to a couple of hours. If this happens, your body will begin to shut down. You will have trouble getting enough oxygen when you breathe. The safest thing to do is walk away to a secluded location. For me, I go to my bedroom.
Your thoughts will be racing. Your mind will focus on one of the following two things: either the fact that your body isn't working like it should and you need to escape or every anxiety inducing thing that has occurred lately. Either way, your stomach will become upset. Your hands will shake. In fact, your insides will feel like they're shaking as well. You may start crying and be unable to stop. Some people will feel exactly like they're dying. By this point, the only thing to do is focus on feeling like yourself again. Here are a few things to try in order to get yourself grounded again.
1. Breathe. It may seem simple, but focusing on just your breathing can calm you immensely.
Try breathing with this gif.
2. Color a picture. Here is a link to a page of free printable coloring pages.
3. Listen to and follow a meditation video. Here is one of my favorites.
4. List all of the good things you can think of. Feel free to enlist a friend or two if you get
5. Reach out to someone for comfort. I have a couple of really good friends who will help talk me through my panic attacks.
6. Go for a run or do other physical activities that take energy and focus.
7. Listen to your favorite music loud enough that you can only focus on it. *note: do not listen so loudly that you damage your hearing*
8. Take a shower. Pay attention to the way the water feels on your skin and in your hair. Listen to the water hit the shower floor. Take as long as you need.
In the end, you are going to make it through the panic attack. I promise.
If you haven't already, contact a counselor to get help specifically catered to your needs.