This is actually quite personal topic to talk on here but I didn't realize that it is actually panic attacks which attacking me for around 5 years, but not the sudden-tension-problem. Most of the people out there don't realize that they are actually dealing with panic attacks and they are either overcome it by 'challenging' it (which is good) or too scare of the panic attacks will happen anytime soon and lock themselves home. I am the second one, I mean I do try to get rid of it, I've tried going out, but then consequence is I will keep running to toilet and I have nothing to pee, I just want to sit in the quite toilet and chill.
I am writing this because I want to share to people that panic attacks are not something would haunt you forever and it couldn't kill you. It is a signal from your brain and body to protect you because they sense danger. It could happen in some specific situations or places, it depends on personal. If you are reading this and you know who is suffering from panic attack, hope this help you to understand more and give a better support when your friend is suffering from panic attack.
Anxiety is a feeling that make you feel instantly insecure, worry, nervous or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It could happen anytime and it is lying in all of us in different level all the time. It could triggered by simple things like waiting your boyfie to fetch you out for a date to something a lot more nerve wrecking one like going to meet your principal (or so..). It happens most of the time when you're stressed, the anxiety levels will automatically go higher and for those who are more sensitive might happen to get panic attack. For those who are always calm, fearless and steady, I am jealous of you because you will be less likely to get anxiety nor panic attack.
Actually not much person would believe it when the panic attack is happening on me, I couldn't help how to explain this whole thing out but I will try my best to explain my own situation for you guys to understand and show help for those who are suffering panic attack. It is really hard for those who never had panic attack or anxiety before to understand, unless you went through it.
Panic attack is like experiencing a heart attack but in a way of you just want have an urge to leave the place or situation as soon as possible. You might feel like everyone in the place is staring at you, smothering you. At that moment, the adrenaline in your body is released. The adrenaline (is actually epinephrine) will cause you to provoke a strong urge to escape or flee the place where cause your attack began, which is what we called as 'FIGHT or FLIGHT response'. This 'adrenaline' release all the time, just without your noticing but for those who are suffering for panic attack have a 'sensor' for it.
For those who might wonder, the adrenaline released when you trip and almost fall, being extremely excited, the kind of 'heart beat skips a beat' feeling.
I wasn't sure when was my first panic attack because it happened so frequently and I thought (and everyone tell me so) those were only I am too tension. The last time I remember it happened when my boyfie asked me for breakfast the next day, and I have a group meeting for assignment at the afternoon too. I wasn't have any good sleep since few days before because of the tense from assignments and that night it was really torturing. My heartbeats were really fast that made me feeling suffocating, and I can't help but feeling insecure and feel like the surrounding noise is 10x louder than it normally was. My palms and feet starting to sweat and I was shivering, because the sweat is cold and the weather was cold that time. I tried my best to not think about it and finally I felt asleep after two to three hours of struggling. I woke before the alarms rang (i put ten alarms to wake myself up if there is anything to do in early morning), and I wasn't awake like normally but I got shocked and awake. I thought I was fine after that and then I went to do my normal routine (shower brushing teeth prepare to go out) then went out for breakfast with my boyfriend. While my boyfie was preparing, I cant help but there's an urge for me to go toilet every minute, or every 5 seconds. The moment after I've came out from the toilet then I would want to go inside again. Jen told me that this is because I drank not enough water, I tried her way by drinking a lots of water, it worked, maybe it distracted me from being nervous. During our breakfast date, I tried to hold the urge to toilet until I finish eating my meal. When I went to the toilet, I know there is NOTHING, literally nothing but I just feel like "It is coming out omg so wanted to pee!". When I was in the toilet, the anxiety went down straightaway. The adrenaline released by my body cold down a little.
When panic attack happens, your heartbeat will beat faster (like a lot faster..) and you will start to feel numbs in several part on your body because the muscles start to tense. Then, you will breathe a lot more faster, like you are suffocating, then you will be pale and light headed (because you breath so fast that the blood is diverted to the muscles and your brain receives lesser oxygen), some people would starts to sweat cold and shiver. Some even might experience 'tunnel vision' which makes you feel like the room is shrinking. Your digestive system will shut down, and make you feel so sick. Your senses will be more sensitive that you will become more aware of sounds, smells and anything around you. I happened to hear some very high pitch noises in my ear before when my panic attack happened, it is like 'ngiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinggggg'..... And you will be extremely emotional, wanting to go toilet, everything so terror, insecure, and JUST WANT TO ESCAPE.
It comes very quickly, those symptoms usually peaking within 10 mins. Most of the panic attacks last for like 5 to 20 mins, but there are people who last for up to an hour or so. Those people are likely to be experiencing one attack then the other one comes in when he just got calm down, or a high level of anxiety after the initial attack (this mostly happen when the sufferer couldn't feel comfortable or haven't escape from the place yet).
How I ease it when panic attack happens on me?
I found that my panic attack goes down when I am distracted, this work the best for me and I always try to overcome it. For example like when I am waiting for my boyfie to pick me up (some people would understand why this would trigger the anxiety), I would done everything I wanted to half an hour or way earlier before he reaches, I need him to set a time for me, so I could avoid the panic attack. If he doesn't set a time, then I will tell keep myself in the fully prepared situation so there is nothing sudden need me to solve.
When I am out and I happen to sense that my adrenaline is released, I would take out my phone and start a random conversation with my friend, just texting them and make myself into it and sort of like 'escape' from the situation. And also listening to music, those music without fast beats and soft rhythm helps! I even tried to hold myself for not going toilet, and let the urge gone (because it is really nothing to pee anymore). If you worry that there are drips of urine or so, try to pee, if no, wear back your pants and stand in the toilet, let the tap running for a while, relax yourself. I found the sound of water running under the tap make the urge of pee even worst but then it sorta like make me to 'come back' in the situation. If I able to hold it then means I am fine already. But it would attack me after a while if it has high level of anxiety during the first attack. Remember, you are the only one who understand the whole thing, because it is really hard to explain to people how it feels like.
Who likes to being helpless and I don't think you will feel great standing beside someone who needs help..
When it happens,
1. DO NOT attempt to ask them to relax. It is not only not helping but creating more tension to the sufferer. Don't say things like "Come, let's try going out. Don't be coward, stop being silly! What's wrong with you?"
2. Be patient, don't force them to do things in the way you want.
3. Be accepting! They need things to done in their own pace.
4. Don't act smart, don't make assumptions about what the panicker needs, ASK THEM.
5. Don't show disappointment or annoyance or discouragement to them! They don't choose to be this way, they also want to be normal too.
6. Say things like "I am proud of you :) Tell me, what do you need now? Breath slower.. It is nothing can defeat you! You are awesome one! It is only last a while, no worries! It is the thought that bother you, you aren't in danger now! Look :)"
7. Don't attempt to distract them like asking them to talk about their favorite movie etc LOL it doesn't help, and don't ever say "don't think that anymore" because it doesn't help.. seriously.
8. Be supportive! And reassuring!
After panic attack, the person will feeling down, emotional, depressed, insecure, and with extremely low self-esteem. Just make them feel better and let them you are here to support them.
In my case, I have low self-esteem and lack of self confidence most of the time. So when my panic attack happens, my self-esteem is even lower.. To be honest, I never want to tell anyone about this problem because no one would believe nor understand. Yes, I know I look like I am happy most of the time, and somehow making people feel that I am annoying. I am sorry but I couldn't help that I am dealing with this and I am trying really hard to overcome this.
DO NOT ever neglect the people who you found smiling always, maybe she has some scars she doesn't want to show (yea i am talking about myself). I have tried to express these but it failed and gain hatred from people. So it is really hard for me to confess that I've such problem. But remember, if you are reading this and you are panic attack sufferer, YOU ARE NOT ALONE :) It is really common! It wont kill you, don't let it defeat you! Don't force yourself to be in the situation you don't feel comfortable (but i did this a lot, cuz i think i could cope it and overcome the fear..don't learn!). Health is far more important than going out to somewhere else you feel uncomfortable with friends to keep them happy.
Everyone has their different way to recover from the anxiety, it is vary from people to people but I hope I would help anyone!
I found that among all the ways I've said above, nothing works the best as escaping do, I need breaks from time to time. Thanks so much to my parents allowing my princessy temper and always travelling here and there (without informing in advanced). I found that travelling helps so much to ease the anxiety. It freed my tensions and eased everything! World just got better when I am travelling.
I understand that when your closest one don't understand how this bothering you and cause you with extremely insecure and feeling lonely. It's OKAY, You are AMAZING! :) You can definitely walk out from the 'secure taker' (how i called the panic attack before I knew the real term 'panic attack) heeee~
It is really long post, but stay healthy! I hope this help someone who suffering from panic attack or anxiety.
Although my panic attack goes worst this year, but I am really working hard on it.