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Wednesday 30 November 2011

How To Survive a Panic Attack..

Bit of a different post today. I've been wanting to do something like this for ages but never got round to it..and i also find the subject extremely hard to talk about. I briefly mentioned in a recent post that i suffer from panic attacks. If you suffer with them too then you may find this post of interest (if not, then im ever so sorry :) but i have muchos more beauty/fashion/more chirpier things to write about later this week)..

"One of the most frightening things you may find yourself experiencing is a panic attack and it is very difficult to fully explain how it feels unless you have experienced one."
I don't remember ever not having panic attacks, and i've found them quite difficult to live with (nerve-racking things such as exams were made 10x worse for me, even things such as bus journeys and sitting in assembly halls can turn into my worst nightmare within seconds). The reason i find it even more difficult is because people just don't understand them, and i think more really does need to be done to raise awareness of this problem, because it's actually more common than people think (nobody would know that i have them unless i told them). I know when i was at school i suffered in silence, never told anyone and in turn that made the issue SO much worse. So, if you are one of those people, have a little read of this post. I've tried everything and anything to try and get rid of them, and i've picked up all sorts of 'survival' tips and tricks..

Learn what your 'triggers' are
After living with panic attacks for my whole life, i've pretty much worked out by now what sets them off and what makes them worse. I tend to find i get quite panicky if im in crowded, silent places - such as assembly halls, overcrowded classrooms (yes, school was a nightmare) and even cinemas (although i do still go, generally once i get into the film im alright). I don't like it when i can't get out of a place quickly. For example if im on the bus in the mornings and people are crammed in like sardines and standing in the aisles - oh goodness - i just want to get off. 
I also hate being locked in places and not being able to get out at all (flying..i dread it for weeks before i go on holiday and don't relax until i'm sitting on a beach somewhere with the sand between my toes, miles away from a flipping airport! arggh!)

Bach Rescue Remedy
 Ahhh what a life saver this little bottle of miracle-ness is.  I always have one of these in my bag if im travelling or if i just have a stressful day ahead. You just pop a few drops of the solution on your tongue (it tastes like alcohol - its luuurvley) or mix a bit in with your bottle of water and sip through the day. I'm not sure if it really works or not, but either way it makes me feel better knowing that it's there so surely thats a good thing.

Dont avoid things to get out of having a panic attack
Truth is, if you're going to have one, you're going to have one. I've learnt by now that i'm probably going to have to live with them, so avoiding things isn't really an option. The more you avoid things, the worse they will get, and the harder you will find it in future to go back into that situation. You have to literally force yourself to do certain things. If you find you get panicky in certain situations, the more you put yourself in those situations, the easier they will get (even though its easier said than done).

Yes. I love mints anyway (i nibble them constantly), but they also serve a purpose for when i feel a little panic coming on. Mints are proven to help with nausea, so that horrible 'sicky' feeling i get when i have one seems to go away slightly if i crunch on a mint for a while. 

Consider seeing your doctor.
There may come a point, where you feel like you spend your whole life having one giant panic attack, which is where it becomes a problem. If you get to the stage where you just can't cope with them, or you're in need of advice or reassurance, then go and see your doctor. I went through a stage where i basically couldn't go anywhere, i was waking up in the night with them too, and it was just becoming near-on impossible to do anything. It takes time to get yourself back on track, but im so glad that i went to see somebody in the end; my doctor pointed me in the direction of somebody who deals especially with people suffering from panic attacks, and it helped a great deal seeing somebody who actually understood fully what i was going through.

Tell your friends.
They might not understand, but most of my friends now know what to do if they're with me and i go into my 'panic mode'. Personally, unless i say otherwise, i like to be left alone for a little bit, and i like to sit outside whilst the effects wear off. If you tell people how to help you, you will feel reassured knowing that they know what to do in the event that you may have one around them. Generally, telling people if you're worried definitely makes things a little bit easier, after all "a problem shared is a problem halved".

Think of nice things :)
Again, easier said than done, but if i can feel one coming on then i try and think of something that made me smile recently or a place where i feel relaxed, and it makes me feel a bit better.


If there's a stressful period of your life coming up, for example exam time or any other situations where you may find your panic attacks get worse, then i sometimes take a couple of these over the course of the week or so. If you're struggling to sleep, they also do a night version to help you sleep a bit more soundly.

Remember that nothing is going to happen to you.
As much as feels like the worst thing in the world, just try to remember that nothing bad is going to happen and that it will end, (the average length of a panic attack is 10 minutes) There is no case ever found of somebody being harmed by a panic attack.

And if this didn't help whatsoever, here is a useful link:
Don't know what a panic attack is and want to know?
Click here :)

There are many more little helpful hints i could tell you but i shan't go on any more due to the fact this blog post is becoming a bit longer than i anticipated... i could write a book about this subject...

Hope you're all having lovely weeks :) I have a couple of reviews and beauty-related posts coming up soon but i thought id finally get this post done and dusted :) I will probably doing a little 'follow up' post on this subject too..just because i feel i have so much to say about it :)

If you do have any questions, please feel free to send me a little email or drop me a comment.


  1. Ohh Beth this sounds awful and so difficult to live with! I totally agree with you about raising awareness!
    I don't suffer with panic attacks, but I do get very nervous so easily as I'm am very shy etc, So I carry rescue remedy around with me too! I find it really settles me down, I used it all through my my last year of A-levels for exams and presentations etc and it worked wonders!
    I understand this must have quite a difficult post to write, but it's great for other people out there like you to read it coming from someone who's going through it too! Well done Beth, it's a really great post! x

  2. Aww thanks kath :) that means a lot :) that rescue remedy is my little life saver and I used to carry it around with me during exams and stuff too! Anytime I feel a bit nervous it makes things much easier ...
    Been wanting to do a post about it for ages but it's hard to know what to put without rambling on and on ...!! So I'm happy that you liked it :)
    Hope you have a fabulouso week :) xx

  3. Hi Beth, I don't have a blog but being a fellow cosmetic junkie I follow lots such as your lovely one :)

    The reason I am posting this is because this post of yours really couldn't have come at a better time really! - I had my second panic attack the day of this post actually! -Wednesday 30th at work, coincidence? :) I logged on to blogger today at home and being a follower of your blog, see this post. Can't tell you how much relief came over me to be able to read some insight into someone else that suffers from them.

    I dont know if I will continue to suffer from them? but i've have had issues with anxiety the last 2 months :( and after my first panic attack ended up in A&E. The two I've had don't seem to have a particular trigger, like a crowd or anything, unfortunatley there doesn't seem to one or I haven't discovered it yet? I did read on the web that it can be a biological thing and in certain individuals there is no known reasons for them.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say thank you for raising awareness of them. I have a doctors appointment soon and am looking forward to understanding mine better and how to deal with them.

    All the best,


  4. Hi Laura :)

    Aww yay glad to know you like my blog :) Makes my day :)

    Yess i've heard some people just get them out of nowhere.. it's not necerssarily a bad thing because you're not building yourself up to having one but i can imagine that must be a little bit frustrating. The first time i had a really bad one i also ended up in A&E .. its so worrying. Have you been through a bit of stress recently? Because i find if i've gone through a bit of a rubbish time then i get more of them...

    Such a good idea to go see your doctor.. it's better to get it sorted before it gets worse :) I ended up going to sessions to help with my breathing and stuff and it really helped me to understand them better :)

    If you need to know anything dont hesitate to ask me - i honestly could write a book about them by now! I will most probably do a few posts about them in the future too as it is a subject that i really do think needs to be talked about more :) Good luck with your doctors appointment :)

    Love beth xx

  5. A really great post. I identify with a lot of things that you mention and I find homeopathic tablets, bach's remedies (which I mix myself) and listening to a meditation cd work for me. x

  6. Thankyou so so so much for this post! I have really bad anxiety and panic attacks but in the same situations as you said! Classrooms/assembly halls/lectures/waiting in a doctors surgery. Anywhere quiet where I feel self-concious I have such bad panic attacks to the point where I can black out. If you ever want to talk about them please e-mail me! :) X

  7. this post is amazing miss :) ( I know I am so behind in finding it) I used to have the rescue remedy sweeties too, I don't know if they actually worked or they worked because I wanted them too but who cares!

    I used to get all panicky living in London kinda post traumatic stress, I had such a bad panic attack on the tube one morning I passed out walking up the stairs to get out, luckily thats the only time its ever happened - but I can totally empathise with you from that!

    People don't realise how horrible things like anxiety can be xxx


I always read all of my lovely comments. Make sure you check back as i often reply but if you do have a specific question and want a quicker response then please do email me over at or tweet me (@Beth_BirdsWords). Thank you for all your support! x