What to do (and not do) when I have a panic attack

When I have a panic attack, it's not logical, so I know it's hard to know how to react. So here are some tips:

1. Don't keep asking me what's wrong?
I know I'm crying and shaking uncontrollably. So, I know, the automatic response, when you ask me "What's wrong" and I say "Nothing" or "I don't know" is that I'm lying. So you keep asking, "Yes, there is something wrong! Tell me!" But this only makes it worse because, when I'm having a panic attack, most of the time, truly nothing is wrong. Nothing caused it. It just happened. 

2. Hug me tight. I mean, really tight.
You've probably heard that weighted blankets are supposed to help anxiety because the pressure of the weight helps provide a sense of security. A tight hug does the same thing. 

3. Compliment me.
I'm not one to ask for compliments. But, when I'm having a panic attack, my anxiety is telling me horrible things about myself. "You're worthless. Nobody loves you. You don't deserve to live." So, just reminding me that you care and that you're there for me, it makes a world of a difference. 

4. Don't judge me or take anything personally when I'm having a panic attack.
When I'm having a panic attack, I lose myself. So if I'm needy or if I snap at you for something small, please don't judge me or take offense. I'm not in my right mind. 

5. Don't tell me to "Relax" or "Calm Down."
This one should be obvious. But it's still something many people can't seem to understand.

6. Do remind me to breathe, though.
Not in a, "Just breathe" kind of way, but instruct me to breathe in and breathe out and breathe in and breathe out. When I'm having a panic attack, I'm either hyperventilating or forgetting to breathe. So it helps when you remind me how. 

7. Sometimes I just need to be distracted.
Tell me a funny story. Or just something good. Something that has nothing to do with my panic attack. Many times, this will help kick me back to reality or forget about my panic attack.

Comment below with your own tips of how people should react to your mental illness.

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  1. I also struggle with anxiety and panick attacks. Though I've learned techniques to help minimize them, when I'm having one it helps to be reminded that everything will be ok. Don't try and solve whatever it is I'm panicking about because most of the time it's nothing. Just remind me that I'll make it through!


    1. Yes! Someone saying, "I'll be okay" does wonders! I didn't know you struggled with this too, Amanda. Thank you for sharing with me! #AnxietyTwins

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