Do you – or anyone you know – suffer from panic attacks or anxiety?
Perhaps you worry about going out in public – just in case you have another incident?
Panic Attacks can appear from nowhere – and for those that live under this threat, it can really disrupt our everyday lives. For those of you who know what I am talking about – you will understand that this can be very debilitating.
I was prompted to chat about this topic today – when someone shared on my Facebook wall that Julia Roberts, the A-List Celebrity actress announced on her page that – for the past 2 years, she has been battling with depression. She wrestles with the fear that she is not good enough and perhaps too old ( I am presuming she is referring to her career ).
I am a Childline volunteer* and this week I was chatting to a young person, who not only deals with depression, but also suffers from regular bouts of anxiety and panic attacks.
Both these examples go to show that Depression and Anxiety do not discriminate … Rich or poor / young or old / male or female … it’s irrelevant. These issues can hit any one of us at any time.
The Science Bit : What is a Panic Attack ?
Our bodies are designed to protect us. A panic attack is the brain’s way of preparing our body for an emergency so that ( should the need arise ) we are able to escape the situation. Somehow, however, the wires have become crossed and there is actually – no emergency.
This message from the brain triggers the adrenal gland, which in turn starts pumping the body with adrenalin, in preparation for fight or flight. Some of the recognisable signs are increased heart rate, laboured breathing, nausea and confusion. All of which are pretty unpleasant.
This whole process takes about 3 minutes from the initial trigger to the body being flooded with adrenalin.
So, the good news is that by following this simple 4 step process you might be able to limit your panic attacks from a prolonged outburst to something a lot shorter and more controlled … and it only takes a matter of minutes.
4 Step process :
STEP 1 : Relax : Concentrate on your breathing. Slow and deliberate breaths – to help regulate the heart beat and to calm the body down.
STEP 2 : Interrupt the mind chatter : Mentally shout STOP! This interrupts the panic. By stopping the thought process in its tracks we give the brain something else to think about.
STEP 3 : Positive Phrases: Those negative thoughts charging through our mind need to be changed into something more positive. Reframe the negativity.
From “HELP! Get me out of here! I’m going to be sick!” into something much more productive and calming.
For example : “This has happened before – I’m going to be OK – this is going to pass shortly.”
Choose something that works best for you.
STEP 4 : Acknowledge your emotions : By trying to ignore and trivialise what we are feeling, we can sometimes exacerbate the problem.
For some reason our brain has alerted us to an ‘emergency’. If we are lucky enough to be able to identify the trigger we have something to work with.
If however, we are not sure what the trigger is – just acknowledge that you have these feelings and are now wanting to try and take control, using these steps.
Please remember that a lot of us have these feelings – and not enough of us talk about them. My Childline experience has taught me – that just by reaching out – it can make a world of difference.
So if you are feeling in need of assistance. If you feel that learning some of these techniques can improve life – give me a call – I can help.
* ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people.
Much Love 💕