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.
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."
* 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.
Repeating everything this person says will eventually get him/ her to stop.
(you) "my dress is ugly?"
"It makes you 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) "You're right. I may be stupid."
medications can also be very helpful. Klonopin has saved me many times!