Just trying to get the message out there, I hope this helps someone
NOTE TO FRIENDS
I had panic attack 8th-11th grade. Not fun. It was so scary. Signal boost.
Rule 1 of first aid for helping those suffering a panic attack: Keep your fucking self calm. Don’t flail around and scream for help. YOU need to take charge. YOU need to be there for the person suffering the attack.
Some helpful hints:
- Hold their arm/hand. Squeeze gently when you breathe in. Encourage them to breathe with you if they can.
- Stay calm.
- Ask them to count to one as they breathe in and out. Then count to two. Then three.
- Stay with them. Tell them you are staying with them.
- Get rid of crowds. No really.
- Remind them it will not last longer than twenty minutes. Reassure them you have been timing it and it’s nearly over.
- Stay calm. (Did I mention this…)
- When they have settled, give them a small drink and maybe something small to eat - lollipops or candy sweets are good.
- Don’t instantly want answers about the attack or trigger. Talk about something, literally ANYTHING ELSE.
- Stay calm.
[This comes from being a certified first aider at work, having a panic and anxiety disorder myself and having a student with severe attacks - I’ve dealt with four this week alone.]
This is incredibly good advice.
I have severe PANIC ATTACKS and everyone always freaks out and starts screaming and half the time it only made me worse, so this is real important. Please read. They are not having a seizure, they are panicking.
Please understand that sometimes people can have both anxiety and panic attacks. They aren’t being over dramatic. Sometimes the anxiety attacks last a long time and are so stressful that it can leave you prone to something more intense like a panic attack.
This this this this this, all of this! And sorry, i had a bit to add, but i’m wordy so it got long ><;
Staying calm is the best thing ever you can do for them. Stay calm, and be gentle.
-It’s okay to be afraid or frustrated if you don’t understand, but do everything in your power not to show it (especially frustration/anger!) because anxiety/panic will latch onto that and feed off of it. bad times for everyone involved.
-if you yourself cannot handle the situation, that is okay too! We know it’s scary and confusing. How to deal with that will depend on the person, however. Personally, I’d prefer if someone told me they didn’t know what to do instead of them flailing around and saying or doing things that make it worse. If you really can’t handle it and know itd be better if someone else did, pleasepleaseplease be sure to ask if that’s okay first. Don’t just call someone else to come help or take over without permission!
-also, be very observant of how they react to things, both during and after! If you try touching them, (arm, hand, maybe rubbing their back) do so gently and pay attention to their reactions. If they recoil, don’t push it. If they seem to relax a little or lean into it, keep it up. Also keep in mind their usual reaction to being touched and if they’re normally okay with you touching them. And obviously, ask if it’s okay.
(*note to my friends: for me, it depends on the person and the situation, but usually it’s helpful as long as i’m normally okay with physical contact with you. if i’ve hit one of my lovely almost unresponsive states, please do try touching me. yes, do it. i know that’s weird coming from me, but it helps so much. ….but of course, if i react badly (shying away from your touch, curling up more, telling you to stop) then stop)
-Talk to them. I feel like this is really important. Just sitting there waiting for the attack to pass (unless they’ve expressed that this is good for them) probably isn’t too helpful. Don’t expect a response, and don’t you dare insist on a response, but talking helps. As mentioned above, don’t ask what triggered it (and if you have any idea what did, don’t push deeper into that topic). talk about other things. tell calm, silly, funny, unrelated stories, maybe talk about something you know the person is interested in and enjoys. Asking questions might be okay, but go for very short answers, and don’t get frustrated if they don’t respond. Depending on their level of responsiveness, it might even be best to keep it to yes/no questions until the attack subsides a bit.
-Do not ask if they are okay more than once or twice!