Your heart pounds, and your hands shake. Your body organs rebel against you. Something inside you keeps on growing and is about to explode in your chest. It comes and takes out your strength, and you can have no escape. It eats you up, leaving behind a collapsed and exhausted poor self. Every second of this endless pain is termed as a panic attack.
Panic attacks are unexpected, strong surges of fear, panic and anxiety. They are very overpowering and have both physical and emotional symptoms. You don’t have to be in an intense situation to have a panic attack. You could be on a walk, at a cafe, or asleep in bed.
It suddenly comes without any warning, at any time, and with no apparent trigger. Intense anxiety and discomfort peak up in seconds, causing disruptive symptoms.
Every person may experience this once in their life, but it is better to consult your GP or a healthcare expert at Click Pharmacy if these attacks happen more often. A person experiencing a panic attack is depersonalised and disoriented, detached from himself and the surroundings.
He might feel like losing control, going crazy, having a heart attack or a fear of dying. The symptoms of a panic attack are usually psychosomatic; occur without any underlying medical condition.
A panic attack in public is far scarier than one at home. It can occur at unexpected places like airplanes, markets, malls, and crowded gatherings. It tends to be highly distressing because of feelings of shame and humiliation in front of other people. Embarrassment and fear of creating a scene intensify the actual symptoms, which include:
- Racing heart/Irregular heartbeats
- Hot flashes/Chills
- Excessive sweating
- Chest pain
- Tingling or numbness in hands
- Intense terror and fear of death
- Nausea and dry mouth
Tips for managing a panic attack in public
A panic attack in public imposes unique challenges and is more difficult to overcome. Try and learn techniques to overcome and soothe yourself. Smile, breathe and go slow while ensuring yourself that this will be over soon. Here are a few tips for managing a panic attack in public:
Practice Breathing Techniques
If you are in public and about to face a panic attack, start your coping mechanisms. It is vital to learn and practice breathing techniques. People in a panic attack either suffer from hyperventilating or shortness of breath.
Deep breathing exercises help to slow down your increased heartbeat. It also relaxes your tense muscles and calms your body. Try to focus on your breathing instead of getting fixated on your symptoms of panic.
Close your eyes and let things flow as they are, don’t try to control things. Try to breathe in and out, slowly and gently.
The 3 part breathing exercise will be most effective. Inhale and exhale deep breaths and allow your breath to move in and out of your stomach, lungs, and throat.
A panic attack, even when it is over, drains you out. It may leave you with physical distress, a back or neck strain.
Deep breathing helps you fight your rapid heart rate and chest pain. Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that soothes you out from both the physical strain and mental stress.
Try To Be At Safe Place
A panic attack numbs and stiffs your body as if you are paralysed. Though it is challenging to move your body, try and get out of the crowd and move to a safe and quiet place. Look for a place free of noise and plenty of fresh air.
Ensure yourself you can handle it. Try to be at ease by talking to yourself, ensuring that you are not afraid. If you are in a busy office setup, try and move to an empty room to overcome your symptoms.
In an airplane, if you sense of getting a panic attack, move towards the empty seats or where there are fewer people around you. You can also use noise-cancelling headphones if it is not possible to find a secure and quiet place.
Stay Where You Are
There is an opposite approach that states to stay where you are if you encounter a panic attack in public.
Don’t rush towards your home; instead, remain where you are and engage yourself in thoughts like, it shall pass soon, I can handle it, I will not die from it. Let it happen and go through your panic attack, trying to ease and comfort yourself.
One by one, test all your coping mechanisms but always start from deep breathing. You must understand and believe that a panic attack is a temporary phase that goes off after some time. This realisation will encourage and help you cope with your symptoms bravely.
Ask For Help
In case your panic attack is quite intense and severe that you are unable to handle it alone, ask the people around to help you. You can also call your friend or someone from home to reach out to you.
If it is inevitable to seek help from strangers, try to explain your situation. It is possible people helping you might not know what a panic attack is. Ask them to bring you some water, arrange a taxi for you, or take you to the nearest hospital.
If you frequently experience panic attacks in public, writing down how people around can help will manage your panic attack. Always keep that written suggestion or tips in your pocket wherever you go.
Carrying a Kit Is Must
The main thing to learn is how to engage your mind on some other things rather than on your symptoms.
Find out which things are more helpful in distracting your attention and comforting your tense muscles, and disturbing thoughts.
Make a kit consisting of these helpful things and always carry it with you. Your kit might include:
- Essential oils
- Soothing stones
- Coping statements written on small cards
Nothing is more distressing or worse than a panic attack in public. Accept your problem and cognitively restructure your mind.
Don’t fight against the situation and let it happen. Regulate your breathing to ease the discomfort.
Remind yourself nothing is wrong with you, you’ll be fine again, this will end soon. Just affirm yourself every beginning has an end. This episode of panic will end too.