“Relax, stop panicking”. If you’ve ever had a panic attack you’ll realize just how useless those words can be.
Have you ever had a panic attack before? You’ll feel like you’re dying. Your heart starts beating faster, you’re sweating, you’re shaking, you feel nauseous, you feel like your world is about to end or you’re about to faint. Some of the symptoms are similar to a heart attack, that’s why some people race to the emergency room when they are having a panic attack. Some people have milder symptoms, some people’s own are a little more serious.
To be honest, this country makes me panic. Your bank balance may make you panic. Crying babies may make you panic. Panic attacks can also be caused by certain medical conditions such as: cardiac problems, hyperthyroidism, medication withdrawal, low blood sugar, use of stimulants such as caffeine. But for some people, they cannot even explain the reason for their panic attack.
If you’re having a panic I want you to know that you’re not alone, it’s perfectly normal. Your focus should be on getting through that episode. And training yourself, so that if it does happen again, the episodes will be shorter. Here’s what you need to do
- Acknowledge what’s happening to you. Acknowledge that you are panicking, but may not be in any danger.
- Relax and just allow your mind to stop wandering. Observe how your body is going through the episode without judging yourself or feeling the need to respond or intervene in any way.
- Bring yourself to the present moment. Observe your surroundings, try to bring your focus to the things around you. What is the colour of the wall? How does your clothes feel against your skin? How is your breathing? Just observe and keep breathing.
- Remember that this panic attack episode will pass. You just have to remain calm and centred during it.
- If you feel another wave of panic afterwards, just repeat the steps.
I don’t believe in Nigeria we talk about or even recognise a lot of the emotional and mental instability a lot of people go through. This is why I won’t stop talking about emotional and mental health. If you feel like your emotions get away from you sometimes, you’re fine and you should be supported even as you gain better control.
Live healthy. Live happy.