Dealing with stress and panic attacks
How can I deal with stress and panic attacks it feels like I’m dying
You’re very welcome to Ask Alex today. Thank you for getting in touch with us. It sounds like you’re going through a lot right now, and you’re really brave to reach out to us today.
It seems like you are dealing with a lot of stress at the moment. Panic attacks can be a really intense and overwhelming experience, and people of all ages can go through them. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re having a heart attack or dying, as you mentioned. Despite their frightening nature, it’s important to remember that they can’t physically hurt you (although we know it’s much easier said than done to remember this when you’re having an attack).
Panic attacks can happen for a variety of reasons, and sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly why. There could be specific triggers such as being in a large crowd, exam and school stress, phobias, or worries. What do you think could be some of the triggers for you? It could be useful for you to think about what might be causing them, and if you have an idea of what that is, it could be a good first step toward helping you manage them.
It can be hard to know what to do when panic attacks occur, but there are ways to cope with them and feel better. Here are a couple of our suggestions:
Stay in the moment – 5 senses exercise
This exercise can help ground you in the present moment and reduce stress by redirecting your attention away from anxious thoughts and toward your sensory experiences. You can also use this mindfulness tool whenever you need to calm your body and mind.
Focus on what’s around you:
– 5 things you can see
– 4 things you can feel or touch
– 3 things you can hear
– 2 things you can smell
– 1 thing you can taste
Focus on your breathing:
Pay attention to your breath. Take a deep inhale through your nose and count to 5, then breathe out slowly through your mouth, counting to 5. Becoming conscious of your breath and practicing relaxation techniques can help lower stress levels and keep you grounded in the present.
Give yourself time:
Experiencing a panic attack can be really draining. Take some time to rest and recover afterward, and do something nice for yourself. Listen to your body.
Talking about how you’re feeling can be really helpful to get things off your mind. If you’re dealing with all of this on your own, that is a lot. Is there anyone in your life you’re comfortable talking to or have talked to in the past? Your doctor could also be a good person to visit; they may be able to point you in the direction of help and supports available in your area.
Here is an article here, written from the point of view of someone who has experienced panic attacks, and their suggestions on what could help: spunout.ie/voices/experiences/top-tips-dealing-panic-attacks.
Here at ISPCC, we have a program called Space From Anxiety, designed for 14–18-year-olds experiencing anxiety. It teaches you different tools and skills to help manage and overcome your anxiety. You can make a self-referral with the consent of your parent/carer, school, or GP. There is more information here if you would like to take a look: www.ispcc.ie/guided-digital-programmes/.
We’re also here for you 24/7 if you would like to have a chat; we would love to hear from you. You can contact us by phone at 1800 66 66 66 or through Live Chat on our website childline.ie
We’re really glad you got in touch with us, and we hope you find some of what we have said useful. Remember you are not alone in any of this.
Take care of yourself,
Ask me a question
You can ask me about anything you want, there’s nothing too big or small.