*trigger warning: anxiety, anxiety attacks, mental health, attack descriptions*
Your thoughts are racing. Worries build and questions overwhelm, until you feel yourself falling deeper into a pit of painfully uncertain terror. You’re having an anxiety attack. It’s terrifying and uncomfortable. But it’s not hopeless. Today, join us in the Rain to debunk anxiety attack assumptions and learn how to address and alleviate your attacks firsthand.
Anxiety vs. Panic Attack
So what’s an anxiety attack anyway? Is it the same as a panic attack? What if I’m not diagnosed?
Many define anxiety attacks as occurring after a perceived stressful or threatening situation. Panic attacks, on the other hand, are largely defined has occurring abruptly, without a triggering situation. Panic attacks are often followed by anticipatory anxiety, in which an individual begins to avoid locations of previous attacks.
While you do have to see a medical professional to be officially diagnosed with disorder, it’s perfectly okay to label or name your attacks (or not) on your own. Doing so can help you find resources (like this one!) or even lessen the stigma you feel concerning your attacks. Do what you need to, okay? 🙂
Addressing Your Anxiety Attack
Remember that while these approaches to relieving a panic attack may work for some, they may not work for you. Be open to trying new techniques and finding something that works for you.
Medical Disclaimer: This information does not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek advice from a qualified health provider concerning your medical condition and needs.
1. Designate a Safe Space
Especially for those who suffer from social anxiety, it’s important to designate a safe space in which to ride out an anxiety attack. Your dorm or bedroom could be an ideal place for this. Try plugging in to relaxing, instrumental music using earbuds or headphones to minimize outside noises that may be detrimental.
Hannah Henrikson wrote a piece on The Mighty on how a roommate or suitemate can better aid or understand you during an anxiety attack. I know-it might not be a conversation you really want to bring up. But doing so can both of you more comfortable and equipped! So give it a shot.
2. Create an Easily Accessible Emergency Contact List
Sometimes, after a stressful situation or thought triggers an anxiety attack, you just need someone to talk to. Whether you’re addressing the situation or having an unrelated conversation to relieve tension, humans crave and need social connections. Create an emergency contact list of those you trust and make this list easily accessible in your safe space of choice.
If possible, tell these contacts that you’d like to include them on your emergency list and your preferred method of reaching out to them. Whether it’s by phone, email, text or in-person contact, choose a method that you’d be more likely to use during an attack.
3. Try Moving During Your Anxiety Attack
It can be very tempting to roll into a ball and wait for your anxiety attack to pass. Be aware of your breathing and physical wellness if this is your plan. If your breathing becomes too shallow or your vision fuzzy, you may be incidentally augmenting your pain.
If you can, try stretching your limbs, breathing deeply, and possibly walking around your room. Walking outdoors can do wonders for a change of pace and scenery, but may not be the best option depending on how public your neighborhood is.
Are your attacks frequent, or impending your daily quality of life? Consult a medical professional and check out our post on mental health resolutions for how to start your improvement journey.
This Too Shall Pass
While this saying stems from a passage in the Bible, you don’t have to be religious to believe it. Incorporate this thought into your methods for getting through an anxiety attack-write it down, say it out loud, or even keep it on a cleverly-placed Post-It note. Hang in there-you’ve got this. 🙂
Having a bad day? Here’s how to turn it around and protect against a rising anxiety attack.
Don’t forget to consider seeking out a medical professional, especially if your anxiety or panic attacks are affecting your quality of life.
Join us in the Rain
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