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Tips For Taking The Fear Out Of Panic Attacks

The Hero
panic attacks
Image by Miss Emily Jane
Panic attacks are a bitch. No question about it.

Panic attacks brought on within the walls of the Imperial Theatre are the saddest of them all.

Back in 2004, after being dumped by my now ex-boyfriend, depression was too much to ignore and there had to be something more to what was going on. I developed the worst of my panic attacks (most of which caused me to pass out) and the overall depression at one point led me to believe the only way out would be the unthinkable.

Although he ultimately has nothing to do with my actual depression – it wasn’t the first time I’d felt that down and out, just the most severe – and I don’t blame him for anything, my ex did become the catalyst for the final breakdown. Just a case of him being in the wrong place at wrong time. In the first year or so of my treatment, running into him in public was the number one cause of panic, and it eventually got to the point where I had to give up several of my own personal activities so I could focus on getting my life back in order.

The number one thing that needed to go as part of my self imposed rehab: my association with the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia. I had no choice. I loved that place with all my heart, but I did the stupid thing of falling for the only guy who was only there because he was getting paid. Thank God I was only a volunteer, or I would have been quitting what sometimes amounted to a full time job.

For years, I was scared of that building. Sometimes I couldn’t even look at the building the memories and wounds were so fresh. I ended up leading a life in a total blackout, devoid of everything I loved.

And then, Matthew Good came back.

Matt’s history with my hometown is rocky at best. I’m not sure what might have occured prior to 2003, but I was at his last Bayfest show. I do remember that it started rather late, but I didn’t mind. I was happy just to be hanging out with friends on a lovely summer afternoon. It wasn’t for a few days I learned of what went on backstage. Apparently someone got the scheduling wrong and Matt finally arrived in the park about a half hour before he was scheduled to play – and instead of perhaps explaining the mix up in a way that was fair to everyone, rumours had started to spread and the majority of the park (and the local newspaper) thought Matt was at fault because he was on the bus with his hookers – when he had shown up in a car with his then wife. Needless to say, Matt was not impressed, and after reading through everything he’d written about the event, I assumed he was just never coming back.

Fast forward to 2007, and the release of his Hospital Music album. Being bipolar myself, I was absolutely floored at the concept that someone of my generation was actually taking initiative to speak up about his battle with the illness and I was in love with the overall personal nature of the album. That alone solidified his place in my books as one of my favourite artists of all time – but then he announced an acoustic tour for the album, which all of a sudden included a Sarnia stop.

Only this stop wouldn’t be at any of the local clubs. Nope, he’d booked himself into the Imperial Theatre.

When the day came to see Matt’s show, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d stepped foot on the block in front of the buidling, let alone stepped foot through the doors. And as to be expected, the moment I stepped through the door, my ex was there to confiscate cameras. I handed over the device without a word, ran up to the balcony and cried for 20 minutes. The panic attack almost caused me to pass out at least once during the show.

But, despite it all, there was light at the end of my dark day. After all that time, I still brought myself to go back to the theatre, and it would only be a mater of time before I took the initiative to start volunteering with a couple of productions. By the time Matt came back for a full band performance the following June, the panic, although not completely gone, had subdued to the point I could actually enjoy myself at the concert.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: thank you for everything, Matt. 🙂

It is crucial that you know what is causing your panic attacks. When you are able to figure out what causes you to have a panic attack, you can avoid that source accordingly. This article contains useful information on panic attacks and common causes. You don’t have to put up with a panic attack ever again.

Finding a great therapist is a wonderful way to deal with panic attacks. Spend some time looking at reviews online to find a practitioner that is close to you.

During a panic attack, practice concentrated breathing techniques to calm yourself down. This type of deep, measured breathing is important because it forces you to focus your attention on something other than the anxiety itself. It also affects your body by decreasing your heart rate, lowering blood pressure and easing physical tension throughout your whole body.

Talking to a counselor or therapist is a very good way to work through anxiety and panic attacks. These are highly trained professionals who know how to help. Simply having someone in your corner and there for you will reduce your level of anxiety and panic.

A little human contact can be your first line of defense against stress. Having a friend or loved one tell you something comforting makes it easier to calm down. You would be amazed at how much a simple hug can do. Physical contact can be very soothing and calming in times of stress.

Let them come over so that you can speak in person. This can aid you in feeling better before you know it.

When panic attacks begin to interfere with your everyday life, it is time to seek professional help in treating them. Some people deal with panic using nothing more than willpower and special breathing, but your ideal solution might include medication or therapy. Consult with your physician to come up with a treatment plan that works for you.

Do not allow the fear of panic attacks to increase your feelings of anxiety. It can help you calm down to realize that even though panic attacks are scary, they can’t really hurt you. During calm, relaxed periods, it is useful to continue to remind yourself of this fact. You can train your mind to ignore these feelings of fear, and focus on your real feelings.

If you are plagued by panic attacks and the agony they cause, try looking into an anxiety disorders association for assistance. This organization is non-profit and works on the prevention, treatment and ultimately curing anxiety and panic disorders. They have been able to help thousands of people, perhaps they can help you as well.

Learning to breathe evenly is one of the keys to calming a panic attack. When concentrating on breathing, focus on breathing out more than breathing in. Inhaling sharply and quickly is alright; in fact, those rapid inhalations common during an attack. Make sure you hold your breath before exhaling as slowly as you can.

Commit yourself to learning basic relaxation techniques that can be used when you feel the onset of an attack. Yoga, meditation or breathing exercises are all great ways to practice these relaxation concepts so you can do it easier when you are in the midst of an attack.

Splashing water on your face can be beneficial when you are having a panic attack. The jolt immediately instructs your brain to relax, regulate and recover. Simply lean over the sink and splash your face with cool water. Blot your face lightly with a dry towel or cloth when you are finished.

Understanding what causes panic attacks is the first step to preventing them. This article provides you with the information you need to understand the triggers involved in a panic attack. Hopefully, you can now avoid what triggers your attacks and have a more enjoyable life.

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