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Mental health

How to deal with panic attacks

how to deal with panic attacks - Affirmations for anxiety. Anxiety disorders are hard to cope with but you can learn how to manage it. I give you all the tips you need to start learning how to deal with anxiety and panic attacks and focus on getting your mental health back. #mentalillness #anxiety #affirmations #positivity #panic

how to deal with panic attacks - Affirmations for anxiety. Anxiety disorders are hard to cope with but you can learn how to manage it. I give you all the tips you need to start learning how to deal with anxiety and panic attacks and focus on getting your mental health back. #mentalillness #anxiety #affirmations #positivity #panic

If you ever had a panic attack, you know what a scary and horrible experience it is. If you don’t, well, think back to the worse news you have ever gotten; the warm rush that goes through your body, your breathing becomes uncontrollable, and the hundreds of thoughts that go through your mind, and you wonder; ‘How am I going to survive?’ That’s what a panic attack feels like, but worse. You are desperately trying to grasp why you are feeling this way, but you fail to find a reason, and suddenly it hits you ‘I’m going to die.’

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My first panic attack experience

I was 13 years old, It was Queensday in the Netherlands, and we were celebrating in Amsterdam. If you never visited Amsterdam during Queensday (now Kingsday), imagine a city full of half-drunk people, music everywhere, and you have to push your way through to get anywhere. Suddenly I felt faint, and I told my dad I wanted to go home, but he said I should man up and keep going. My fingers became numb, my breathing became uneven, and I felt my heart racing out of my chest. I started to cry and begged my dad to go home, but before I could convince him, I fell to the ground cause my legs would no longer carry me. My entire body was tingling, my vision blurred, and I knew I would die, or so I thought.

It took my dad and bystanders an hour to calm me down and convince me I had a panic attack; before that day, I never heard the word panic or anxiety attack before.  After this experience, my body was drained of energy for days, and unfortunately, it was the start of a panic disorder.

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Panic disorder

Panic attacks are different for everyone, but we all have one thing in common. Once you experienced a panic attack, you never want to experience one again, and this is where the problems began. After my first anxiety experience, I became so scared of a new attack that I started to avoid situations with many people. I stopped going to parties, and later I even avoided school.

I was later diagnosed with a panic disorder, an anxiety disorder characterized by reoccurring panic attacks. These attacks often happen in similar situations but can later expand to a wide variety of situations. Symptoms include, but are not limited to;

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling of fainting
  • Numbness
  • The feeling that something horrible is going to happen
  • Chest pain
  • Dry throat and/or problems swallowing.
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Not being able to move or not being able to sit calmly.

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How to deal with panic attacks

The more you try to control a panic attack, the worse it gets. If you tell yourself, ‘Don’t get a panic attack,’ You can be sure that you will get one. So what else can you do?

First, you need to know that a panic attack won’t kill you; I know it sure as hell does feel like you will die, but you won’t. I had at least 2000 panic attacks in my life (I swear, not exaggerated), but I’m still alive. I will share some tips that I use for dealing with panic attacks and anxiety in general.

  • Instead of focusing on NOT getting an attack, focus on how you will deal with it. As I mentioned before, Focusing on not getting an attack will only make things worse. Tell yourself that anxiety is a feeling, and feelings won’t last forever. Think about the good feelings and how you like them to stay, but you can’t, cause even good feelings will disappear.
  • Learn to distract yourself. Ok, so you are experiencing a panic attack, now what? You are not going to die, so do something that calms you down. Panic attacks feel like they come out of nowhere, but they don’t. Keep a journal and try to figure out the symptoms before a panic attack. Next time you feel those symptoms, start distracting yourself. I learned that doing something active works better than doing something passive. I like to sit on the couch and watch tv, but it’s not enough to distract me. Coloring, writing, or doing a Sudoku works better for me, but you have to figure out what works for you.
  • Figure out what emotions hide behind the anxiety. This is something you have to practice; it requires a certain honesty towards yourself. Ask yourself: Am I sad about something? Is there something bothering me? Bottling up feelings can make you feel very anxious, resulting in a panic attack; if you realize that another emotion is hidden behind the anxiety, you have to do something with that emotion. Have a good cry, write something about it, or have an open talk with a friend.
  • Use a mantra. Tell yourself something comforting – ‘This will pass,’ ‘I’m strong enough to handle this’ or as I do: I sing ‘Let it go‘ either in my head or out loud.
  • Make a mental health crisis list. Having a plan can help you feel safer. Make a list of everything you can do when you experience a panic attack or symptoms of anxiety. For example – ‘When I start feeling anxious, I will color something’ or ‘When I have a panic attack, I will call a friend.’ You can also include what you want to happen when things become out of your control if you need to be admitted to a hospital or a psych ward. Download your own crisis list.
  • Use mindfulness to get out of your head. Panic attacks are often caused by excessive worrying. It can help to get out of your head, back into your body by using mindfulness techniques. If you feel this is too hard try starting with mindful walking; while walking focus on how your feet touch the floor. If you can’t move, try to feel your fingers one by one by focussing on your hands and fingers.
  • Run the adrenaline out of your body. By moving, you can help speed up the process of getting the excessive adrenaline out of your body. I mostly do some yoga poses, or I keep pacing. You can also go for a run or do squats.
  • Sensory play can help you feel more connected with your body and it helps you focus on one thing rather than on all the outside stimulus. Playing with sand, clay, beads are forms of sensory play.

There is a lot you can do to deal with panic attacks, but in the end, it all comes down to one thing; Acceptance. If you can accept that you feel anxious sometimes and result in a panic attack, it will no longer control you.

Mental health crisis plan panic attack | Panic attacks, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, how to deal with panic attacks by miss mental

Learning acceptance

Acceptance is hard. You don’t want to deal with panic attacks, but you are given no choice. You can, however, choose to accept it.

  • Anxiety is a part of you, but it does not define you. You are not weak for experiencing anxiety and/or panic attacks.
  • It’s a life experience. Not one you want, but hey! Not your choice. Experiencing anxiety has made me empathize with others more, it has taught me how to support and comfort others, and it has made me grateful for all days without anxiety.
  • Life is what you get and what you decide to make of it. It’s ok to feel sorry for yourself. Life is unfair, but at one point, you have to decide that it is what it is; You have panic attacks, but you survive every time. Decide that you want to cope with your anxiety. Tell yourself that it’s ok to experience anxiety, and it doesn’t have to go away. Let the anxiety be there but don’t let it control you.

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Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t accept it right away. It took me many years to fully accept my panic attacks, and sometimes I’m still feeling sorry for myself and cursing at the world for everything that happened. Accepting my panic attacks has taught me that I can just let them be there; I know they will go away again, so instead of fighting, I accept that it’s there and can’t hurt me. My panic attacks aren’t as bad anymore, and if I have one, I acknowledge it and go on with my day.

You are stronger than your anxiety | overcome panic attacks and start taking your life back | Improve your mental health and wellness with simple steps and learn what anxiety really is and how you can face it in your daily life #positivity #anxiety #mentalhealth #quote

Why do I get panic attacks?

There are plenty of reasons why you get panic attacks;

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Trauma
  • physical illness
  • Stress
  • Not enough sleep
  • Drugs and alcohol use
  • Caffeine use and unhealthy eating
  • bottling up emotions

If you are familiar with panic attacks, you should be careful with alcohol, drugs, and caffeine. They can make anxiety worse and even cause a panic attack.

You have to find out what triggers your panic attacks and anxiety. For me, it’s mostly stress, bottling up emotions, unhealthy foods, mental and physical illness. I found out that I have a severe fructose intolerance that worsens my mental health. I had heart palpitations, extreme stomach problems, low blood sugar, and depression and anxiety caused by eating fructose for many years. Since I’m on a diet, I feel so much better, and if I experience anxiety now, I know where it’s coming from.

Looking for help

If you experience anxiety and/or panic attacks, it’s wise to see your general practitioner. He can decide if you need a medical checkup or help you find a therapist. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak; it makes you brave and strong that you can admit that you can’t do it alone. The sooner you get help, the better. It often gets worse with anxiety. If you let it be, you will start to avoid more and more, and before you know it, your world is so small, and it becomes harder to heal.

There are plenty of great therapies for anxiety; like CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy) and exposure therapy. If you are someone who has tried therapies for anxiety and still experience anxiety you might benefit from a more holistic approach like haptotherapy, acupuncture, or search for a good holistic practitioner that can help you balance your hormones and look for food sensitivities.

What is your experience with anxiety? Tell me in the comments!

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How to deal with anxiety and panic attacks | Anxiety disorders are very common in all age groups, children, teenagers and adults. If you want to learn how to get rid of anxiety you need to learn acceptance and teach your brain what's dangerous and what's not. The best anxiety tips | Panic attack tips | Self-help #anxiety




  • Nicole

    This helped me so much. Ill keep visiting this page when I need it. Bless you.

    P.s – your website is absolutely beautiful. It’s calming in itslef. 🙂

    • Dimph

      Thank you so much for your kind message x

  • Ally

    Thank you so much for sharing this article Kim. A lot of great advice and the worksheet you have developed is very simple and clear.

    I suffer from bipolar, anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks. Any additional ideas or resources are welcomed! ?

    Thanks once again!

    • Kim

      Hey Ally,

      Thank you for your comment. I hope this article and resources can be of help to you

      Best of luck x

  • Rebecca

    Hey Girl,

    My absolute favorite part is when you mentioned using Sudoku as a calming method because that is my go to. it’s so distracting and helpful. I will legit get caught up in numerous games for an hour and before I know it I don’t even remember what I was anxious about.
    This article has tons of great tips! thank you for sharing it!! 🙂

  • Natasha

    Thank you for this. I came across your post randomly (when I saw it in your sidebar while looking at a different post.) I had a panic attack toady for the first time. I was so afraid and I ended up going to the hospital. I thought something was seriously wrong with me. I’ve had insomnia and anxiety for years, but I’d never experienced anything like this panic attack before. My heart rate was twice normal, I felt dizzy and tingly, and I was terrified. Thank you for your suggestions.

    • Kim

      I’m sorry you had to experience this today! All I can advise is that you keep living your life as normal as possible so the fear doesn’t win. I know it’s scary after such an attack, but if you keep telling your brain you’re okay and you will accept the emotions, but also live your life you have the best chance at living your life with anxiety and not despite it. Hope this helps x

  • Lydia

    Thank you for sharing! I have dealt with panic attacks since I was a teen (now 32) and they are no joke! I have found exercise and mindfulness to be really helpful.

  • Frances Ann Ehrhardt

    This was INCREDIBLY helpful. I have to say I feel so much better knowing that I’m not alone. Anxiety and Panic is real and very scary and can stop people from living. I can’t be a victim! Thank you for helping us souls on our journey!

  • Danielle

    This article was so helpful to me. At times I have nocturnal panic attacks and they can leave me feeling scared and disoriented. This read serves as a reminder that no matter how scary the feeling is…it’s just that a feeling and it will go away. It always does. Would be interested in reading more of your work. Thank you!

    • Kim

      Glad this article was helpful for you, thank you for reading!

  • Janette

    I found your affirmations for anxiety on pinterest which lead me to this article. Thank you for writing it. I had my first panick attack 10ish years ago and sought help and figured out my triggers all of it and other than low anxiety at times I had been good. I got sick two weeks ago (covid) and that tail spun me. I needed your article to remind me of all those things. I feel like I am starting over with identifying my triggers and resetting what I need to do when I feel on come on.

    I am saving this to reread over the next few days.

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