While it might be an obvious thing to say, having a panic attack is terrifying. They can pop up out of nowhere, and make you feel like this are crumbling around you. If you experience this, know first of all that you are not alone. And one thing to do as a helpful way of coping is to have a toolbox of things to do during a panic attack as it arises.
As Carrie Krawiec, LMFT at Birmingham Maple Clinic tells Bustle, panic attacks can be triggered by a combination of things like stress, physiological symptoms, or a traumatic experience that caused our body to trip its natural flight or fight response. Certain medical conditions and or medications can also trigger panic.
"Panic attacks can be intense fear mixed with increased heart rate, lightheadedness, and shallow breathing," Krawiec says. "In some cases the presence of one of these symptoms can cause a person to fear passing out or heart attack which can actually cause a panic attack [to increase]."
She says that she tells her clients that a panic attack is when the body and mind misreads it’s natural fire alarm system and treats a drill or false alarm like it’s the real thing. But once we recognize what is going on, we can start to shift that response.
Below, take some pro tips on what you can do the moment the panic arises to help you cope with the intensity. Help is out there, my friends.