Monday, 13 October 2014

Panic Attacks

Hello everyone,

I mentioned in a blog post that I was going to tell you some 'news' today. You can guess from the title what this could kind of be about. But this is very personal for me, and I hope you understand. 
I also don't mean this to be a sob story because it's far from it, but I hope this could also help some of you.

I want to start off with the 'diagnoses', well a week ago today I had a appointment with my GP. My mum and I booked the appointment because I was really struggling to breathe, as in I had to take a lot of deep breaths. We didn't think any more of it then being breathing problems, that a few hours before I was doing some researching on what it could be, and Panic Attacks came up. Going a few hours earlier that day I was sitting in maths and I felt a wash of panic come over me, I was sweating, shaking and it was horrible. This is when I came home and researched these things. A few hours later we mentioned to the doctor that we think it's Panic Attacks and that I had which I think was one in maths that day, he said it's a big possibility bearing in mind my age and what I am going through. He started asking me lots of questions to do with school as in do I like it, do I get stressed out etc, and the answer was yes to nearly every question. We ended up finding it was stress related panic attacks, I don't have really severe ones I am on the mild side of them. After he was talking to me for a while, he suggested some relaxation techniques.

What is a Panic Attack exactly?

A panic attack is a rush of intense but overwhelming sense of panic or fear. Panic attacks usually last for 5 and 20 minutes. During a panic attack Adrenaline is released this is causing your heart to beat faster and your muscles to tense. You end up breathing in more oxygen, making your throat and mouth very dry; kind of like hyperventilating but not a serious. When Adrenaline is released in your body you can feel a bunch of different emotions or feelings these include:

- Rapid breathing or being able to not breath
- Rapid heart beat
- Pains in your chest
- Feeling faint or dizzy
- Sweating/Shivering
- Ringing in your ears
- Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
- Hot or cold flushes
- Feeling nauseous
- Needing the toilet
- Feeling smothered
- Feeling claustrophobic
- Extremely emotional or uncontrollable crying

My panic attacks last for about 10 minutes maximum so far, all though their have been some reports that panic attacks have lasted for several hours, this is where they have panic attack after panic attack. 

For me a panic attacks feels as if I am running a miles, while being out of breathe, but I am feel very shaky, my hands are sweating. I also zone out most of the time, where I can't control my feelings I feel as if I am really really nervous, not being able to concentrate. I also have very rapid breathing periods or times when I can't breathe at all. 

Although my panic attacks are mainly brought on by stress, even thinking about school in general as in exams, revision etc, this can start me off. Especially if I over think something a lot I will start to worry and panic. So far this has only happened in lessons more than anything, if I am in a stressful situation or atmosphere it will set triggers and slowly I will feel more in a panic type situation. 

Trying to control panic attacks during school is what I find very hard. Because I am in my last year (year 11) I am studying for my GCSE's and I need to be in lessons as much as I can. When I am having some I need to be out of the situation (standing outside the class room) or being alone helps. I find it very hard aswell because something that helps me calm down the most is doing my own thing and blocking out my surroundings, but sometimes talking to someone different can help a lot. When I had one during science last week (Thursday) it kind of ruined my whole day, I started off in a bad mood as soon as I left the house and that triggered the bad lessons and soon to result to a panic attacks. When I was in Science I had to sit outside for the lesson because going back in made me feel really anxious and scared, I sat outside talking to a friend this made me really calm because it was on a one to one basis. I have only had these for a week now but I seem to know so far what triggers them:

- Doing something I don't understand, stressing out about not knowing it.
- Being in a loud environment.
- Being on my own with no where to 'escape'
- Thinking about a stressful situation, for example my exams.
- Being somewhere where it's generally loud and quite stuffy.

Handling panic attacks during school is the worst I think because people don't know whats happening. But when I am having one I got to the nearest person who I can trust and explain to them how you are feeling. I try and stand outside for at least 5 minutes with that person to try and calm down, having someone with me they help me calm down and they re assure you everything is ok.

Avoiding panic

For me avoiding panic is trying not to stress out, if I know I am going to stress out at some point I try to remain calm but at the same time I try and take everything at my own pace. I would definitely reccomend knowing what brings on your panic attacks because if you know what brings them own you can attempt to stay away from that happening again. I also try and give my self some 'breathing' time t calm down, focus on my breathing and to make sure I don't get too worked up panic wise. Staying organised and tidy helps a lot if I am in a cluttered space it makes me more anxious and worried. But the best thing ever is to try and take it easy, if you don't feel like standing outside in a lesson just tell your teacher how you feel, and they won't mind you taking it easy.

Helping someone 

I know for my friends they have no idea how to handle me when I have panic attacks, I don't think they know what to say or do. But above all they don't understand because it's a heard thing to 'imagine' going through. If your in the same situation and your friends/family/parents etc, don't understand pass this on to them and they may have a better understanding for next time. 

1. Remain calm, if your stressing about what to do your going to make that person more anxious and worried. They will never be calm if your also not remaining calm.
2. Be patient, I know I never know what I am doing, and I am spaced out for most of the time. They might just want to be alone so also be understanding.
3. Take things with a pinch of salt, a old saying but a true one! They don't mean anything if they are saying someone 'rude' they aren't in the right frame of mind to think.
4. Ask them what they need, don't assume they are fine just nicely ask them if they want some water etc.
5. Think before you speak, put your self in their shoes and don't say anything too stupid. 

Things your shouldn't say - Calm down, what's wrong, the guessing game (Is it me, Is it someone else and going through everyone), are you ok? What do you want me to do? Just relax and stay calm.

Things you should say - I am proud of you, it's ok I am here for you, give support with breathing, You can do this stay positive. This is a much nicer approach aswell without annoying the person even more.

What you can do!

This is something very hard to come to terms with, I find it difficult now. But please talk to someone especially if your still at school let a teacher know, someone who you trust a lot, they will understand they are their for you. But speaking to someone can help a lot, I also go a time out card, this means during a lesson I can have a break for five minutes or so outside to calm down. But remember your not on your own, they are very common in a lot of people, and a lot of people are willing to help you no matter what, their is always someone to talk to. Weather it's me, a parent, friend, teacher anyone!

I hope this helped at least one person! Stay positive and remember your not alone! Comment below if you found this useful. I can do more Panic Attack post if you would like me to.

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