Anxiety attacks are slightly different from panic attacks. Panic attacks often occur out of the blue. You aren’t sure what has caused them, and they’re often more severe. Anxiety attacks generally intensify over a period of time and is linked to the anxiety you’ve been feeling. The symptoms can also last days, rather than the initial panicking. Because the symptoms of anxiety attacks can sometimes last for days, it makes them very debilitating.
I’ve been dealing with anxiety attacks alongside panic attacks since I was 13 and often felt at my wit’s end. But through going to therapy, I’ve learned how to keep the symptoms under control.
The main thing to keep in mind with anxiety attacks is they are linked to what is going on in your life. For example, I went through a phase where I felt immense anxiety going to school. It got to the point where I’d start putting my uniform on and feel a wave of anxiety course through me. I’d feel sick, start shaking, and get hot flashes or chills.
Before I visited a location where I’d previously felt anxiety, I would consciously think of happy things that had happened there. For example, I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I’ve ever had in my Product Design classroom. And the very next day, it was all I could think about. However, when I implemented this technique, I would remind myself of all the pranks the class played on the teacher. Or when my best friend and I got locked in the store cupboard, and all the inside jokes we had.
Doing this re-associated the location with good memories, and helped me put the thought of any recent anxiety attacks out of my mind. This doesn’t always work, sometimes my mind is hell bent on panicking and feeling anxious. But on the times that I do manage to succeed, it really helps make me feel more positive. It also meant that going forward wouldn’t be as hard. All I have to do is remember the positive memories I attach to a specific location.
This was probably the most effective technique I used when learning to control my anxiety attacks. It enabled me to feel more comfortable in my day to day life without the constant reminder of my previous anxiety attacks. I even gained the confidence to go out more because I knew I had the power to adapt my thinking to avoid having an anxiety attack.
Like I said, this doesn’t always work for me. The first few times I tried it, I wasn’t successful. The reason for this is that I put too much pressure on myself. I wanted to be perfect first time. And because I was so stressed about getting it right, I wasn’t paying attention to my thought process. As a result, I got myself into a tizz and it resulted in an anxiety attack. But the more I practiced, the more my mind calmed down and I was able to visit a number of places with little incident.
The important thing to remember when trying to stop anxiety attacks or trying to stop feeling anxious is patience. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes things do get worse before they start to get better. As long as you persevere, there’s nothing that can stop you from overcoming anything.
How do you handle your anxiety attacks? Leave a comment below!
Edited by Viveca Shearin