No Panic has been on the radio this week with the actress Samia Longchambon, who plays Maria in Coronation Street. She was telling her story about suffering from such bad panic attacks she feels she would die. As I listened I thought how brave the three people were who joined her on the radio to discuss their anxiety.
It is good that there is more and more awareness of mental health issues nowadays. Only by talking and learning how to deal with panic attacks can the boundaries around anxiety be addressed. Panic attacks are not a mental illness but are a product of an overload of anxiety and adrenalin. They are an awful experience to go through at any age but they will not harm you. Nothing worse will happen to you, we won’t die or faint or anything else we might fear. It is like a false alarm going off. The feelings we experience are normal for the heightened state the body is in when stressed.
Two of the main fears we may feel is not being safe and in control. When the body is tense it is giving the message that something is wrong. This gives a signal to the fight and flight response and the release of adrenalin in the body The body is doing what it naturally would do if we were in danger. But we are not in danger and the feelings will pass like it has in the past.
When we are anxious the breathing changes, which contributes to the feelings. When we add on frightening thoughts it becomes a struggle within ourselves. I thought I would write about what to do when we have a panic attack as it really helped me and many others.
When we are frightened the body wants to run and get away from the anxious situation. It makes sense to do this but unfortunately the body isn’t learning how to deal with panic attacks. Try and drop the shoulders and let go of as much tension as you can. Learn to do the diaphragm breathing, tell yourself you are safe and let the feelings pass. There is a free recording of the breathing technique on the web site’s home page. Practice this regularly so you can do it anywhere and if you apply it early enough it will prevent panic attacks.
Use the Progressive Relaxation CD where you tense each muscle group in turn and it teaches the body the difference between being tense and relaxed. These two things are giving you control over the anxiety and are the start of getting better and feeling safe.
When we experience panic attacks try not to think you won’t ever get over them. Like me and many others you can overcome anxiety and panic attacks.
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Picture courtesy of ITV