The Rural Mindset Podcast™ Episode 17 - Panic Attacks
On this episode of The Rural Mindset Podcast™ you will learn about the physical symptoms, what to do, how to support others, and self-care after panic attacks.
Many more people experience anxiety and panic attacks than we think and talk about, and they can make you feel like you are dying.
Symptoms of panic attacks include:
- Racing heart
- Difficulty breathing
- Tingly or numb hands and/or lips
- Chest pain
These symptoms often present similar to a heart attack, so if you are experiencing a panic attack for the first time, you can and SHOULD call 9-1-1 (or the emergency services in your area) for proper diagnosis!
If you have a history of panic attacks some things that you can try are:
- Focusing on your breath
- Pet your animals
- Pay attention to your 5 senses (5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste)
- Pop some kind of sour candy in your mouth to draw in your taste sense and "shock" your body
- Cold water (currently being studied for more information), but stimulates the survival reflex the "dive reflex" so that your body goes into fight or flight, not panic mode. To read more on the research click here
- With the help of a counsellor or mental health professional, you can create a script to remind yourself that you are safe. Some scripts look like "I am safe, I am okay, I am loved."
- Call emergency services or go to the hospital. Panic attacks and mental health emergencies are health emergencies!
Panic attacks can be exhausting, because your body uses a lot of energy. Self-care after a panic attack is very important to help your body recover. Here are some ways you can practice self-care after a panic attack:
- Change your surroundings
- Move your body and move your emotional energy into physical energy
- Eat a nutritious meal or snack
- Rest somewhere you feel safe
- Call a loved one
- Once you are rested, reflection can be powerful to help you discover what triggered the panic attack, what helped you, and what did not help you.
Sometimes we might be the person who is around when someone else is experiencing a panic attack. With rates of anxiety and depression climbing, it is important to know how to support someone who is experiencing a panic attack. here are some ideas on how to support someone:
- Know the signs and symptoms of a panic attack
- Regulate your breathing as you are helping others
- Validate their feelings using phrases such as "this must be very scary for you right now"
- Remind them that they are safe
- Physical touch to help them feel grounded. It is important to ask them if this is okay in the moment.
- Walk them through the 5 senses exercise (5 things they can see, 4 things they can hear, 3 things they can touch, 2 things they can smell, 1 thing they can taste)
- Call 9-1-1 or the emergency services in your area
It is important for you to remember your self-care after supporting others, because being a caregiver can be draining and panic attacks can pass on intense emotional energy to the individuals supporting.
Please remember to call emergency services, I cannot stress this enough, because mental health emergencies are absolutely emergencies.
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