Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sure Fire Way Of Stopping Panic Attacks DEAD!

Okay, I'm going to come clean here. No, I have no felonies nor am I addicted to chocolate. I suffer from panic attacks.

The reason I am writing this is because last night, someone on the etsy forum posted a thread about panic attacks. This morning, I posted a thread on how to stop them dead in their tracks.

So I thought I would blog about how to stop a panic attack instantly, and also a bit about assertiveness VS. agression

Stopping Panic attacks dead in their tracks:

1. As soon as you feel panicky, hold your breath. It is impossible to feel panic when holding your breath.

The physiological reason for this is as soon as adrenaline starts coursing through your body, your breathing changes. It might be so slight that you don't even realize it. You will start to consume too much oxygen (hyperventilation), which will add even more adrenaline, because your body is fooled into thinking it needs to escape an animal that is chasing you. More oxygen, more adrenaline, so you can get away.

You can also breathe into your hands or a paper bag, breathing in co2 which will then regulate your breathing to normal.

2. Repeat.

3. Relax your entire body. Just sag. You cannot feel panic if your body is completely limp. It's physiologically impossible.

4. Invite the panic to come and get you. Say aloud "Panic, come and get me."

Don't worry, it won't slam you. Inviting it instead of fighting it takes all the power out of it.

5. Repeat. "Panic, come and get me."

Afterward, you will feel jelly legs, effects from the adrenaline coursing through your body, but will feel no fear or other symptoms.

* The worst thing you can do when you feel panicky, is to try to take your mind off of it, or stop it in any way. It will just prolong and increase the adrenaline in your body. It will just last and last. That's why it's so IMPORTANT to do the steps imediately after you feel a hint of panic.

* Panic attacks are often hereditary, such as in my case.

Having them does not make you strange or a weak person. There are thousands of people who suffer from them.

* triggers of panic attacks are often angry or hurt feelings which are left unspoken and stuffed down. So anger and telling someone how you feel about a situation, is your friend.

That's where "assertiveness" comes in. Many people can't say "no" or are intimidated easily by others. Or they become super aggressive, which is self defeating.

There is a wonderful and funny book which teaches you techniques on how to be assertive (and not aggressive or passive-aggressive) called "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" but Dr. Manuel Smith.


When dealing with someone who always finds fault with you, you can use two techniques:

Repeating everything this person says will eventually get him/ her to stop.


"Your dress is ugly"

(you) "my dress is ugly?"

"It makes you look fat."


"It makes me look fat?"

"I wouldn't put a cow in that dress."

(you) "You wouldn't put a cow in this dress?"

Another technique is to agree with that person:

"You're a selfish bitch."

(you) "You're right. I can be a selfish bitch."

"You're stupid."

(you) "You're right. I may be stupid."

medications can also be very helpful. Klonopin has saved me many times!

Good luck!


Kiz@Kizington said...

Very interesting approach.

glentwistle said...

Runs in my family to! Sending this to my sister.

amy said...

I sometimes wonder if it's something us "creative types" are prone to.
I am an insomniac/night owl and have gotten a lot of work done at night instead of laying there in bed, waiting for sleep. That laying there and waiting is almost an invitation for a panic attack in my world.

Stress, too. My empathy is with you, fellow anxietress.

Baroness Bijoutery said...

Been there and have done that...I started having panic attacks in 1990, it was so bad I couldn't leave my home for almost a year. Yes medication helped..xanax is a wonderful little pill. After trying some of the things you talked about I managed to go from 3 pills a day to splitting one pill a day. I'm glad you posted this...panic attacks are nothing to be ashamed of and there is still life out there once you can get a handle on it....Thank you for sharing

Beth said...

Great article. I don't suffer from them so I can't add anything useful.

I do want to say that you mentioning that panic attacks do not make you strange or wrong is such a good point! Some that I know do feel that way and they should absolutely not.

lunaticg said...

Will try them next time I have a panic attack.
Thank you and see you around my friend.

elsiee said...

I love your post - I'm a therapist and work with people who have panic attacks - I'm going to have them visit this post because I couldn't say it any better than you do here!

Ashley said...

Awesome post. I suffer from panic attacks (not so much as I used to b/c I'm on meds now) and what you write really makes sense. thanks!

Cattrix said...

Thank you! I had heard of some of those ideas but not tried any. Hyperventilation is a big problem for me... I will try and remember to hold my breath the next time.

Vicky Bell said...

Wow, I have a few tricks of my own- hard won I tell you- but some of these are really good. Found your blog through an etsy thread, in etc., thanks for posting. (freshurbanvintage)

trudy.hylant said...

OOOOh excellent advice...I just feel for all of us that have been plagued by the "Dreaded Panic Attacks." Just horrible ..Thank your rti..xoxoxo