real girls FART_panic attacks

From the Community: If You Suffer from Panic Attacks, What’s Your Go-To Coping Method for Calming Yourself Down?

It was 2016. I woke up one morning and felt strange. I could feel my legs and arms shaking. I brushed it aside. But as the week went on, it didn’t stop. I was scared but convinced myself it was just my imagination. And then it got worse. 

One morning, around three o’clock, my eyes popped wide open and I felt complete fear as I hyperventilated and my body twitched. I thought I was dying. I quickly got out of bed, panting, pacing and trying not to wake my husband.

When the panic subsided a few hours later, I gathered myself and woke my kids up. I tried to follow our normal routine, but I couldn’t get it together. I was crying and shaking and nervous. I was so sick from all of the adrenaline I could barely walk, but miraculously I arrived at the doctor’s office safely.

After listening to me describe my symptoms, my doctor diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. 

That was it — the moment my reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Trauma from my past and present, combined with the pressures of my life as an NBA wife, were like gasoline, and all it took was a spark to set my life ablaze.

(Excerpt from The Huffington Post)

Let’s Talk Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a feeling of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions for no apparent reason (think: sweating, rapid heart rate, shaking, nausea). Many people who aren’t aware they’re having a panic attack often feel as though they’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

In other words, panic attacks are beyond frightening.

For some, panic attacks are a rare occasion—maybe happening only once or twice in their lifetime. But for many, frequent panic attacks are quite common. And while they’re not life-threatening in nature, these worrisome episodes can severely impact a person’s quality of life.

Luckily, you can get ahead of your panic attacks before they completely take over your life. A few weeks ago, I asked our Facebook and Instagram community to give their best advice on dealing with panic attacks. Here’s what they said…

Breathing and crying—it’s ok to give into the tears. Music (look for something pleasant). For me, it’s always nature, a tree, plant even a fountain. Touching water grounds me. Walking barefoot grounds me. Breathing is necessary. Self-talk. And if I’m home, a weighted blanket or heavy comforter (I wrap myself up really tight and just breathe). – Sunshyne

Music therapy is an incredible healer. Try some calming songs that you enjoy and that make you feel better, or some loud music that can drown out your thoughts for a few moments. It depends on your preferences, however, it’s an amazing form of calming therapy and it helps your brain to redirect focus onto something that can promote creativity and healing. – Amanda

I have found that going to a private place and letting it out and ranting about what’s making me feel like this helps me a lot. It gives me a relief because I’m not holding it in or stopping it. I’m talking to myself about what brought me to this panic attack. And trying to keep a calm and steady speech helps me control my breathing. – Elma

I keep flashcards (like the kind from grade school) in my nightstand: simple math problems, alphabet letters (I’ll say three words that pop into my head beginning with that letter). Distraction and focusing on something else seems to help me! Also, deep breathing. Hope this helps somebody else suffering. – Ann

My psychiatrist told me about temperature grounding. Get an ice cube and try to keep it between your wrists. It gives you something to focus on and also cools you down since there’s an artery there. – Sarah

I focus on five things I can see, what I can hear, trying to feel more than one texture between my fingers, anything that can tie me back to what is in the present moment. Then I focus on the space in between my inhale and exhale. I’ll then pick a body part of my own and examine how it feels, like concentrating on how the weight of my hand on my thigh feels if I’m sitting down. – Lucy

A huge thank you to everyone who contributed their techniques, thoughts and stories. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a panic attack, seek medical help ASAP. While quite uncommon, these symptoms can also resemble symptoms of other serious health problems, so it’s important to see your doctor if you aren’t sure.

Disclaimer: The contents of the Real Girls F.A.R.T. website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the RGF website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Real Girls F.A.R.T. website!

Achea Redd

Achea Redd

about the author

Achea Redd is a mental health advocate, author of “Be Free Be You” and founder of Real Girls F.A.R.T. — a space to empower and equip women with the necessary tools to use their voices and become their best, most authentic selves.

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