WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
- Stay with us and keep calm.
The last thing we need when we’re panicking, is to have someone else panicking with us.
- Offer medicine if we usually take it during an attack.
You might have to ask whether or not we take medicine- heck, some might not; but please, ask. It really helps.
- Move us to a quiet place.
We need time to think, to breathe. Being surrounded by people isn’t going to help.
- Don’t make assumptions about what we need. Ask.
We’ll tell you what we need. Sometimes; you may have to ask- but never assume.
- Speak to us in short, simple sentences.
- Be predictable. Avoid surprises.
- Help slow our breathing by breathing us or by counting slowly to 10.
As odd as it sounds, it works.WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T DO:
1. Say, “You have nothing to be panicked about.”
We know. We know. We know. And because we know we have nothing to be panicked about, we panic even more. When I realize that my anxiety is unfounded, I panic even more because then I feel like I’m not in touch with reality. It’s unsettling. Scary.
Most of the time, a panic attack is irrational. Sometimes they stem from circumstances — a certain couch triggers a bad memory or being on an airplane makes you claustrophobic or a break up causes you to flip your lid — but mostly, the reasons I’m panicking are complex, hard to articulate or simply, unknown. I could tell myself all day that I have no reason to be having a panic attack and I would still be panicking. Sometimes, because I’m a perfectionist, I become even more overwhelmed when I think my behaviour is “unacceptable” (as I often believe it is when I’m panicking). I know it’s all in my mind, but my mind can be a pretty dark and scary place when it gets going.
Alternate suggestion: Say, “I understand you’re upset. It is okay. You have a right to be upset and I am here to help.”
2. Say, “Calm down.”
This reminds me of a MadTV sketch where Bob Newhart plays a therapist who tells his patients to simply “Stop it!” whenever they express anxiety or fear. As a sketch, it’s funny. In real life, it’s one of the worst things you can do to someone having a panic attack. When someone tells me to “stop panicking” or to “calm down,” I just think, “Oh, okay. I haven’t tried that one. Hold on, let me get out a pen and paper and jot that down, you jerk.”
Instead of taking action so that they do relax, simply telling a panicking person to “calm down” or “stop it” does nothing. No-thing.
Alternate suggestion: The best thing to do is to listen and support. In order to calm them down without the generalities, counting helps.
3. Say, “I’m just going to leave you alone for a minute.”
Being left alone while panicking makes my heart race even harder. The last thing I want is to be left by myself with my troubled brain. Many of my panic attacks spark from over-thinking and it’s helpful to have another person with me, not only for medical reasons (in case I pass out or need water) but also it’s helpful to have another person around to force me to think about something other than the noise in my head.
Alternate suggestion: It sometimes helps me if the person I’m with distracts me by telling me a story or sings to me. I need to get out of my own head and think about something other than my own panic.
4. Say, “You’re overreacting.”
Here’s the thing: I’m not. Panic attacks might be in my head, but I’m in actual physical pain. If you’d cut open your leg, no one would be telling you you’re overreacting. It’s a common trope in mental health to diminish the feelings or experience of someone suffering from anxiety or panic because there’s no visible physical ailment and because there’s no discernible reason for the person to be having such a strong fear reaction.
The worst thing you can tell someone who is panicking is that they are overreacting.
Alternate suggestion: Treat a panic attack like any other medical emergency. Listen to what the person is telling you. Get them water if they need it. It helps me if someone rubs my back a little. If you’re in over your head, don’t hesitate to call 911 (or whatever the emergency services number is where you are). But please, take the person seriously. Mental health deserves the same respect as physical health.
Mandy Hale (via onlinecounsellingcollege)
|—||Buddha (via anxietysurvivor)|
|—||Lea Seydoux talking about American films (via l-eer)|
All the motivation I need, tbh.
Whenever I feel frustrated, bored and just all around moody, journaling is my go-to hobby. Who doesn’t love writing about themselves? I’ve had many life epiphanies (the quarter-life crisis is real) and self discoveries through journaling. Writing in a journal really does help! This post is a bunch of random questions I’ve accumulated over a few months that I’ve saved on Evernote and I crossed them off as I go.
Don’t know how to “journal?” Start off by making a list! Simple as that
- Manifesto List: What are some words and phrases to live by that are part of your life’s manifesto? Make a list of sayings to live by.
- Worry List: Experts say you should plan your time to worry so you don’t stay up all night worrying. Makes sense to me! Make a list of the things you worry about – and save yourself from worrying about it later.
- Dreams List: What are some of the dreams you have and hope for yourself or your kids/friends/relatives?
- Favorite Songs: I love music, so making lists of songs is pretty simple for me! You could make a list of songs that make you happy, songs that make you sad, songs that remind you of a person in your life, songs that help you fall asleep. What’s on your playlist? Use that as inspiration!
- List of Places: You could make a list of your favorite places to go, places you’ve traveled to, or places you would like to travel to, or places you have lived.
- Favorite Movies: What movies do you love? Create a page inspired by your favorite movies.
- Things to Try List: What are some things you would like to try? Maybe you’ve got a zillion things on Pinterest awaiting you, or maybe there’s something new you’re interested in learning and doing.
- Dream Home List: What would you like your dream home to be like?
- Makes Me Happy List: What Makes you Happy? Make a list of things in your life that bring you joy.
- Makes me Sad List: Knowing the things that make you sad can help you understand yourself better as well as can make for some interesting art.
- Goals List: What are your goals for this week? The next month? The next year? The next five years?
- Talents/Strengths List: Make a list of things you are very talented at or some of your strengths.
- Quotes List: What are some of your favorite quotes? If you have many, many favorite quotes, consider breaking them up into different categories, ie: favorite love quotes, favorite sad quotes, favorite inspirational quotes.
- List of Things to Remember: What are things you should remember? Whether they’re life lessons or simple tips, make a list of the things you know you don’t want to forget.
Get to know yourself!
- What are five ways to win your heart?
- What are some weird things that you love?
- Think about the childhood toys you played with; did they influence you to be the person you are today?
- Describe your sense of style. If you had an unlimited budget, what would your wardrobe look like?
- What’s one of your favorite memory? Write about it and be as detailed as possible
- What’s something you feel passionate about? Can you make a career out of this?
- What is your favorite subject in school?
- What’s the one hobby you’ve always wanted to try? Why?
- What’s your zodiac sign? Do you feel like you fit the personality?
- What’s your Meyer’s Brigg Personality Type? What have you learned about yourself from taking this quiz?
- How have you grown in the past year? How about the past 3 years?
- What are your pet peeves? Why do you have them?
- What’s one failure you had, but you learned from?
- What are your favorite foods? Any special memories with them?
- Write about a good deed you completed for somebody. How did it make you feel?
- What are some unexpected things that happened in your life? How have they changed you?
Thought provoking questions and prompts
- What’s the one thing you want to change about the world?
- If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
- What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
- Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
- Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
- Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
- Start with “What’s on my mind right now?” Write, without taking your pen from the page, until you’ve purged your thoughts.
- Give your inner critic a personable figure, write a conversation telling it off! You can do this!
- What does your PERFECT day look like? What can you do everyday to mirror it as close as possible?
- What are some new ways you can forgive yourself? What haven’t you forgiven yourself for in the past, and why? How can you renew your forgiveness for something that was difficult to forgive? Write about the kindest possible things you can do for yourself in ways you never have before. ~Lauren Piko
- Picture yourself in 1 year, 5 years, and even 10 years. What does your life look like? Be as DETAILED as possible. Where are you living? Where do you work? What city are you in? Are you still in school? What are your hobbies? What do your mornings and evenings look like?
- In the next 10 minutes, write as many questions as you can think of from the top of your head (ex: Why is the sky blue?, Why do I hate my coworkers? Why is my computer so slow? Why is people watching so much fun?). Look at your questions, is there a pattern? Can you try to answer these questions?
- Tired? Frustrated? What’s the deal? Well, start Journaling with “Today, I don’t feel like writing because…”
Happy journaling and enjoy!