After Emily very kindly contacted me to write an article for Teenagers with Experience, I instantly thought what a great way for me to express to people they are not alone in their sufferings. My name is Abi, and I'm 17. I've been suffering from anxiety for almost four years. I have created a video on my YouTube channel (AbiSays) called Helping You | Anxiety Advice, so please feel free to visit that video. I hope it helps!
It’s safe to say my anxiety has taken me through patches I never thought I’d experience. I began experiencing panic attacks when I was 14 with times where I was convinced I was going to end up in hospital. If you've never experienced panic attacks before they truly are terrifying and something completely out of the norm.
I had been taking part in my very first drama show with my school, and there was one afternoon in rehearsal before the first show that I found myself breathing faster than normal, I was sweating and my heart was racing. My drama teacher helped me calm down and told me it was a panic attack. I had never been so confused in my life as to why I was having one. Overall, it was a terrifying moment.
Many people aren't sure how to deal with anxiety and panic attacks, so I wanted to write in this article how you could take steps to calm down. The most common instruction will be to 'just take deep breaths' and whilst this may work for some people, for others it makes them worse.
I have found the easiest thing to do when in a panic attack is to use a technique called grounding. Whilst looking at your surroundings, do the following;
- Find five things you can see
- Four things you can touch
- Three things you can hear
- Two things you can smell
- And one thing you can taste
Despite thinking this technique initially ridiculous, I screenshotted it and found myself in an attack one day. Much to my surprise, it worked! It was definitely a new way for me to calm down and distract myself. If you have struggled to find something that works for you, save this and give it a go!
After an attack, you’ll probably find yourself feeling a little flustered and disorientated. Thankfully I also have found a great way to pamper yourself to really ensure you are as calm as you can be. Stereotypical I know, but I have found that getting yourself a lovely warm drink really calms you down. Maybe its a cup of tea or a hot chocolate and, of course, a couple of digestives. Whatever you like best, treat yourself with sweet treats and drinks afterwards. Be careful though as for some people the sugar fuels the adrenaline left in your body from the attack.
Another thing I think works a treat is reading a book, turning off your bedroom light and just putting a dim lamp light on. If you don't like reading books, try reading a blog post or something along those lines. YouTube videos also work a treat, especially routine videos. I find they're so relaxing to watch.
And finally, of course, the best thing I can recommend you do after a panic attack is to just turn off all the lights, and snuggle under your duvet and sleep. Hopefully, the morning after you'll wake up with a fresh mind and ready to start your day and forget that horrid panic attack the day before.
I really hope my little tips and tricks have helped you, and thank you so much for visiting Teenagers with Experience.