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  1. #1

    When someone you know has a panic attack

    What not to say when someone panics
    by Eric Wilinski
    August 22, 2012

    1. Just calm down.
    "When someone says this, it almost feels like they're telling me what to do. And if I'm already at the point where I can't control my body, it's a request that's impossible to comply with."

    2. Why can't you just relax?
    "It'd be like relaxing while being chased by a wild animal or running out of a burning building."

    3. There's nothing wrong with you.
    "My body is shaking. I can't feel my feet. Of course there's something wrong with me. I'm having a panic attack, and I feel miserable."

    4. Sit down.
    "Let the panicker decide what feels most comfortable for him or her."

    5. You're overreacting.
    "We already know that."

    I could pick nits and say #1 and #2 are essentially the same thing, but this is really good.


  2. #2

    Re: When someone you know has a panic attack

    Five More Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

    If you’ve never had a panic attack before, you can only imagine what it feels like.

    Of course, you’ve probably experienced the individual components of panic in isolation – you’ve most certainly felt your heart beat rapidly while exercising, right? And maybe you’ve dealt with vertigo before after a few drinks, or shortness of breath during spring allergy season.

    But when severe anxiety starts piling each of these symptoms in a giant heap on your chest, coupled with frightening thoughts, an uncomfortable synergy is born: the whole of the panic is more than the sum of its parts.

    And I should certainly know. After all, I’ve had panic disorder for about ten years now. I can’t even count how many bona fide panic attacks I’ve had in my life.

    Some were tolerable; some were crippling. All of them were frightening.

    So, what should you do if someone you know has a panic attack in front of you? How should you react? What should you say?

    As well-intentioned as you may be, comments like “just calm down” and “you’re overreacting” don’t usually help. (If you want to know why, check out my )

    In today’s follow-up to my original video, I present you with five more things that you should avoid saying to someone who is having a panic attack.

    Many of these statements seem intuitive and helpful on the surface, but they might cause the panicker further anxiety during a time when his or her body and mind feels unbearably delicate.


  3. #3

    Re: When someone you know has a panic attack

    I've had 3 severe panic attacks in my lifetime and a couple less severe - where I could still function, but I was impaired. They lasted anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and had a beginning, a middle and an end. For me, it is more or less like a bell curve where they start at a low level, increase in intensity and then subside.

    My daughter had one at my house a couple of weeks ago and I knew enough not to say the things listed above. She became agitated and then began to cry. Finally, she just crumpled into my arms and I held her and let her cry, fuss, complain ... just let her feel for almost an hour. When it was over she was exhausted and slept the rest of the afternoon.

    I don't have any experience with hallucinations or mania, but panic attacks are about the worst thing I can think of to deal with, and it was heartbreaking to see my daughter suffering this way.

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