Self Help for Panic Attacks

self help for panic attacksThe panic attack sufferer often feels very much alone and bewildered. Unless or until they learn they are not alone, they try very hard to hide their nervousness and make everything appear OK to the outside world. After all, panic attacks feel horrifying and bizarre and that pretty much covers the thoughts that go along with it.

So it really is not surprising that sufferers look to various methods of self help for panic attacks. They may try to explain their feelings to a doctor, but most general practitioners are not familiar with anxiety disorders. The ones that are may prescribe anti-anxiety drugs or recommend seeing a therapist or psychiatrist. Having worked in hospitals as a nurse, I have seen first hand and can attest that emergency room doctors and staff are often impatient with anxiety sufferers.

After seeing a doctor, you still have to live with your anxiety. So what can you do for self help?

Advocate for Yourself

A lot actually. The first thing I learned myself and now tell others is that you must be your own advocate. With panic attacks, you will know more about your symptoms than any professional, and you must be honest, open and willing to discuss your feelings with your doctor.

If you don’t think your doctor listens well or understands you, get another doctor. This is especially important if you are on prescription medication or need medication occasionally. It is crucial if you are reducing or withdrawing from anti-anxiety drugs, like I am presently. (Never make med adjustments without the supervision of a licensed physician.)

When it Comes to Panic Attacks, Knowledge is Power

Educate yourself about panic attacks and anxiety disorders. Anxiety is a beast and it is helpful to know, among other things, that you will never die or go crazy from a panic attack and that the symptoms of panic, while very disturbing, are not harming you in any way.

I highly recommend 2 books, which are both in my personal library and pretty much cover everything you need to know about anxiety disorders and panic attacks. They are:  Hope and Help for your Nerves by Dr.Claire Weekes and The Anxiety Disease by David Sheehan, MD.  These are 2 phenomenal resource books, and both can be picked up used on Amazon for less than $5. These are both widely popular ‘older books’ and may very likely be in your local public library, so don’t forget to check there too. Read my reviews for Hope and Help for Your Nerves here and the Anxiety Disease here.

Connect with Others, Don’t Isolate

Reach out to other suffers or to safe people in your life. Safe people are friends or loved ones who are willing to listen to you without judgment. A safe person can also be a therapist or clergy person. The advent of the internet has been a real blessing for panic attack suffers, myself included. Discussion forums are excellent ways to connect with others who share your feelings, if not your exact situation.

Here are 9 popular anxiety forums.

Be sure to use a nickname so that you can remain anonymous and feel safe on the forums, especially if you have social anxiety. When participating on any forum, follow the rules of etiquette, and do stay away from negative members or those who are not interested in recovery. It’s easy enough to get fed up with dealing with anxiety on your own, so do not commiserate with others in negativity. Instead, ask others what worked for them, and share what worked for you.

The point is to reach out with your pain and not to isolate. The nature of panic attacks makes us want to hide our true feelings from the world, often because we are ashamed of them. Prolonged isolation can lead to agoraphobia, where it is difficult or to leave the comforts of home without severe anxiety.

The wonderful thing about connecting with others is that you learn you are really just having a human experience, albeit an extreme one. Nothing is as bad as we make it in our minds, and this is especially true of panic attacks.  Think about it. Anxiety is felt by all human beings, and it is nothing to be ashamed of 😉

I’m here to tell you that once I reached out to others, and came clean about my panic attacks, I felt a great deal of relief. My friends and family continue to love and support me and at the end of the day, isn’t that what really counts?

Next we will look at more self help for panic attacks.

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

photo source: Iain Farrell

Ready to take action with an effective anxiety elimination program? I recommend and use the Anxiety Self Help Road Map. Please get started today and reclaim your life from fear.

Simple Anxiety Self Help Road Map

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This entry was posted in Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Self Help for Panic Attacks

  1. Derek says:

    “This is How I stopped My panic attacks”

    This has helped me tremendously and I hope it helps you readers
    as well.

    Hi, my name is Derek J. Soto, you can google me if you want to

    find out more about me. I suffered with Anxiety and OCD for

    many years. Over these years I have learned a few things that have

    helped me stop these things in my life. I remember when I would go

    to public places and I would see all these people moving around, I

    would hear all the sounds and this combined with my fear of what

    might happen to me because my heart was racing and I was feeling

    light headed. I literally thought that there was something wrong with

    me physically and I felt that I would pass out every time I went

    anywhere public. I found out that my fear was actually causing

    these symptoms. I found out that there was no way that I could

    stop my anxiety and OCD until I actually got rid of this fear. I was

    told that without fear, excessive unhealthy anxiety cannot exist.

    I then found out that my OCD was caused by anxiety, so I knew

    I had to get rid of the anxiety and the OCD would go away. Here

    are some of the things that I did:

    1.) I realized that I had to accept whatever it is that I’m afraid of.

    I was afraid that i was going to pass out when I was in public, so

    what I would do is go in public and when I felt like I was going to

    pass out, I said to myself, “I don’t care if I pass out because they’ll

    just call an ambulance and I’ll be taken care of.” For some reason

    I never passed out and by repeating this, my brain stopped

    believing that I would pass out when I was out in public and so I

    no longer feared that this would happen.

    2.) I had to learn that anxiety is good and it is there to protect us,

    so when I started to feel anxiety come on, I told myself, “This is a

    good thing, because I know that my protection mechanism that

    keeps me safe is working.” I knew then that i didn’t have to be

    afraid of it anymore.

    3.) I then started to introduce new thoughts into my mind when

    I was having an anxiety attack. So if I was sitting there thinking

    about passing out, once I realized that I was focusing on that,

    I said, “Stop!” and I asked myself, “What would I rather think

    about?” Then I would think about things that made me happy,

    which was much more fun for me!

    I know these are very simple tactics, but try them, try introducing

    new thoughts because you cannot control what thoughts pop

    into your head. See how your emotional state will change once

    you start thinking about the beach, or your spouse and the good

    times you’ve had, etc.

    This has done wonders for me and I hope it helps you too!

    Yours for mental freedom,

    Derek J. Soto

  2. Pingback: Self Help for Panic Attacks | How to Stop Panic Attacks and Live a … :Panic Attack Help

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