If you know anything about me, you know I’m a nervous wreck. Oh, random pain in my head? Fuck, must be a blood clot. My finger feels weird? Clearly stroking. At any moment of the day, I can go from my usual happy, shit-eating grin plastered on my face to 1000% sure that I’m dying.
When I get nervous, I immediately retreat into my own brain and become very quiet. It sounds fine, peaceful even, but it’s actually the complete opposite. Nothing is worse than internal suffering, seemingly all by yourself, with nobody knowing why it looks like you just saw a ghost.
Over the years, I’ve learned several tips and tricks to calm my nerves and get through panic attacks like the bad bitch I am (I like to pretend I’m tough but I am the biggest baby on the planet). Read on for some tried and true ways to stop the suffering.
1. Get up and go. Remove yourself from the situation. You know as well as I do that if you just sit there, your stupid little brain is just going to go off the deep end and you’ll end up in the god damn ER. Take a moment to walk around, go outside, jam out to some upbeat music (dubstep is actually amazing to calm me during a panic attack). Distract yourself 100% so that you don’t allow your brain to swallow itself into a self destructive shit storm.
2. If you can’t leave (at work, in a car, etc), simply close your eyes and lean back in your chair. Put one hand on your chest, the other on your belly. Don’t allow the hand on your chest to move; make sure you’re breathing deeply through your diaphragm/belly. It allows for deeper breaths and will keep you from hyperventilating.
3. Pet an animal. A fucking fuzzy blanket for all I care. Anything that will allow you to keep your hands busy will do. Think about the blanket. Where has it been? Where was it made? What does it’s freaking future hold?! Who cares how silly this sounds — creating a back story to any object will allow your brain to flip through its kinder chapters and take your mind off of whatever is freaking you out.
4. Ask for help. Don’t feel like a scared little bitch when your brain starts going haywire. You are NOT weak. In fact, your brain is literally so deviously strong that you can turn an ant hill into a mountain. Boss ass brain. Poor ass soul. Reach out to a friend or family member; let them know what’s going on, or don’t; simply ask them to tell you a story or ask how their day went. Really dwell on the details they tell you. Keep the conversation going until you feel at ease. And, of course, thank them for putting up with your crazy ass.
5. This one may be a bit weird, but it makes all the difference when I’m panicking: chew on ice or get to a cold place pronto. I get really clammy and start to sweat as soon as I feel any bit of nerves. Any kind of cold sensation helps immediately with my breathing and feeling overall physically better.
Hopefully one of these will help you get through any kind of panic episode and ease your mind. I think just knowing you aren’t alone in this and you certainly aren’t crazy is a relief in itself.
If you have any tips that weren’t mentioned, feel free to leave a comment!