By Deshnee Naidoo:
Do you feel like your chest is tightening and your throat is closing up? Are you convinced that you are about to breathe your last breath? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from anxiety and panic disorder and are sure that today may be the day that they really do stop breathing. However, they won’t and you won’t either and nor will I.
A panic disorder is characterised by the unexpected and repeated episodes of an intense fear which is accompanied by various physical symptoms which may include chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal aches.
These symptoms can often imitate a heart attack or other serious medical conditions thereby causing further alarm.
Also as a result of these scares, the panic disorder may not be diagnosed until after numerous other procedures have taken place.
Many people with panic disorder may develop intense anxiety between episodes. It is not uncommon to find a person with panic disorder developing phobias about places or situations which may aggravate the disorder and where attacks have occurred before, for example, in supermarkets, elevators or large groups of people. As the frequency of the attacks increases, the person may begin avoiding altogether the places where these attacks have taken place. This can eventually lead to what is called ‘agoraphobia’, a fear of unknown things or the inability to venture out of their comfort zones and into unfamiliar places or situations.
Fortunately, there is hope for all panic disorder sufferers, myself included.
The following are fourteen ‘on-the-spot’ tips for getting through your panic attack. I’ve used them on countless occasions and I may have cried my way through some of them but they worked every time.
10. Remind yourself that attacks always end. ALWAYS. They never last for more than ten minutes.
11. Remind yourself that panic is not dangerous. You are not going to die.
12. Take a giant yawn and stretch your body, from head to toe.
13. Get mad. Promise yourself that you will not let panic win. You deserve better, you will get well. You are not a slave to the panic but above it.
14. If all else fails, take as deep a breath as you can and hold it for as long as you can. Use any of the other strategies to occupy your mind. Your physical symptoms will ease and you will feel calmer and in control.