When I get exceptionally anxious or when I am panicking, I feel as though my entire head is submerged in some sort of heavy fog and the only clarity amidst the fog are my, oftentimes negative, thoughts. My anxiety tends to manifest itself in the form of repetitive thoughts, a constant recurring and replaying of a conversation or a situation . I. Can. Not. Stop. Thinking. About. It.
I can't think about anything else except the conversation or situation that made me anxious in the first place and then thinking about it makes me feel more anxious. I feel sort of trapped- like I cannot get out of my own head even though I want to.
But over the last couple of years and with some help from my siblings, I have found a few things that help me when I feel like I'm losing control of my thoughts and my fear and my emotions are overwhelming me.
1. Taking a Break
Is the anxiety escapable right now? Can you do something to distract yourself from the anxiety/panic attack? I oftentimes find that it doesn't take a lot to distract me from a panic attack
Ideas: Take a hot bath, Take a long shower, make a snack, watch an episode of Friends
2. Thinking About It
What exactly is giving you anxiety? A person? A conversation? An event? And why is it it making you feel anxious/panicky? Usually it can be traced to a few different words or phrases like, "parents," or "money," or "I don't feel like people like me." Sometimes once you know what makes causes your anxiety, it's not as easy to be overpowered by the anxiety.
3. What is Making It Worse?
If you have general anxiety, sometimes your lifestyle can influence/determine the magnitude of your panic attack. For me, sometimes loneliness can spur on a panic attack. Or the later it is in the evening, the more likely I am to panic because of how tired I am.
Sometimes digging deep into your thoughts behind your anxiety doesn't help during an actual panic attack, but it can help prevent/alleviate future ones.
Tips: Make sure you're hydrated, getting enough sleep and eating enough high-quality food.
4. Remembering Your Support Systems
The biggest mistake I make when I am panicking is that I forget that I have support systems. Whether it's this website, a friend, a family member, a partner or social media, try and remember that there are people and platforms who can help get you through this!
Some Resources: Teen Talk Hotline (website), Talk Life (app), Huddle (app)