panic attack tips?

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by spikekat, Sep 11, 2020.

  1. spikekat

    spikekat mothman wannabe

    so, ive been getting intense heart palpitations+ panic (mostly abt the heart palpitations but also just in general i suppose. brain be like YOURE NOT GETTING ENOUGH AIR )
    have seen 2 doctors, both telling me its stress
    even tho i dont... feel stressed? but oh boy do i have an anxiety disorder (ive been calling this anxiety 3)
    so theyre panic attacks without any triggers;
    has anyone dealt with this before, and how did you end up managing it? ive been thinking about taking long walks during the day to try to work off some of the panic chemicals? its been two weeks and im tired :[
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  2. Lazarae

    Lazarae The tide pod of art

    Ok so first, remember that it's chemical fuckery. I've made a lot of panic attacks worse because I got upset I was having one for no reason and got into a loop of freaking out because I was freaking out, which is supremely unhelpful.

    I don't have a lot of advice for making them not happen, but I've got some for riding them out/making them suck a bit less.

    I'm a very sensory person, so I've got a favorite perfume on a beanie baby I keep in my bag so I can focus on the soft and the smell and less on my brain screaming.
    At home I have my cat, who doesn't smell as nice but puts up with being hugged and purrs and generally makes me feel alright.
    I like to sit, when I'm having one, because they're really kind of exhausting and I don't have to worry about falling over or bumping into shit.

    The most important bit of advice is breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. I use box breathing: inhale for a count of four, hold for four, exhale for four, hold for four, and then repeat.
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  3. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    Ah, I've had some similar adventures, though usually without heart palpitations. And it has been worse lately, and horribly frequent, though I'm not sure how much of that is down to just me, and how much of it is The World Is On Fire stress piling on top of my garbage brain.

    I try to exercise a lot, because I can feel things get worse during highly sedentary periods. I don't have any specific triggers that set me off, it tends to be mental paths of thinking about innocuous thing X, which then means Y, and oh good we're stuck in a panic spiral, that's awesome. So most of my damage control is about having reliable ways to distract myself.

    Sometimes I have good luck with finding a book or fic to read, because a good written story takes up too much brain space for me to keep thinking about the Bad Things. Or I'll do something like put on a podcast and pick up a craft project, so I can load up on external inputs and things to focus on. Music helps me too, especially if I pick something upbeat I can sing along to. It doesn't always work, but gives me a emotional reset button most of the time (I like Irish traditional music a lot. even the sad Irish songs help me redirect my sadness away from me)

    (I'm not a terribly sensory person when it comes to this stuff, even if I go bury my face in a nice soothing texture or something, my brain immediately pivots to 'awww, how pathetic, look at you trying to self-soothe, you waste of space', which is SUPER helpful and consistently makes the panic worse, so it's something I personally avoid. But I know it works for a lot of other folks! I just personally do better with external distractions to derail myself)

    Edit: and +1 on the breathing control. Even if i can't distract myself, keeping a lock on breathing slowly helps a Lot
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  4. rorleuaisen

    rorleuaisen Frozen Dreamer

    Mine get triggered by sensory overload. I mostly manage mine with exercise(30min cardio twice a week) and that keeps them at bay. And during one I a) breathe(it takes like 5-10min of breathing to be effective so be patient) and b) decrease sensory(cool dark no noises).
    I came a across a specific breathing technic called alternating nostril breathing which makes me chill as fuck, but I haven’t had a panic attack since I learned of it, so no personal experience of it’s effectiveness.

    In general, if you don’t know your triggers, it’s possible that you are not consciously aware of environmental triggers. Environmental triggers which can lead to anxiety/panic attacks for me: overheating, dehydration, not eaten recently, eaten bad food, too much stimuli

    Good luck. And if you have anxiety meds like ativan for an as needed basis, those are also very helpful. If you explain the frequency/severity of panic attacks to psych type they will possibly prescribe you some(it is the kind of drug that they don’t want to prescribe you so it depends on the doctor and history and such). Anxiety sucks.
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