Panic Attacks

By Sherry Russell. Some tips on how to help yourself if you are experiencing a panic attack.

Panic attacks can be scary and unpredictable. Understand that panic attacks are not a personal weakness and they are treatable as is depression. Panic attacks affect you socially, physically and spiritually so getting help is key to living a less fearful life and moving forward past this pain. Panic attacks make us our own victims. The heart palpitations, shortness of breath, hyperventilating, dizziness, hot flashes, nausea, chest pain, tightness in the throat and a feeling of doom can invade every area of our day and night. They can begin abruptly and last anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour.

  • When you feel a panic attack coming on:


  • If there are people around you try to talk with them to steady yourself


  • Take a giant yawn and try to keep breathing


  • Keep telling yourself you know this will pass and you will be alright


  • Focus on something or someone that gives you pleasure


  • Count backwards from fifty and breathe


  • Breathe into a bag


  • Steady your eyes on a concrete object


  • Visualize a waterfall or a place in nature that makes you feel free and comfortable


  • Try to tighten the muscles in one area of your body and hold for the count of twenty and then move on to the next area


  • Finally, know the attack will end.

Panic attacks can be frustrating to talk about and difficult to understand. They are not your fault. It has become part of you grief like depression or anger. The pain of letting go of your father is so intense it is causing you great pain. Do not be intimidated by your emotions. Trust that when you feel you need to reach out for help  you do.

submitted by: Sandy Lipkus M.S.W., B.Ed

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