Hello, and thank you for asking this very important question! Panic attacks can be very scary and overwhelming, and you deserve to have some relief. They may occur when a person is experiencing a lot of stress. The stress may build up until it is so overwhelming that our bodies and minds feel out of control. These symptoms may occur in certain situations that cause intense fear or worry, such as giving a presentation in class. Panic attacks can cause tightness in our chest making us feel like we cannot breathe. It’s our body and brain’s way of trying to protect us, and alert us to the need to take care of ourselves. Experiencing a panic attack is traumatic and scary in itself and can cause more worry. Panic attacks can also be less obvious, causing vague symptoms such as nausea and/or dizziness. They can be very hard to treat on our own, and they can be difficult to explain to others. However, it is actually very common for people to experience anxiety and panic.
If you are not ready to tell your family or friends about your panic attacks, it may help to reach out to your health care provider, who can help support you with this. A teacher or guidance counselor at school may also be able to help until you are ready to tell a parent or friend. They can help you find a trusted person to talk to so you can learn techniques on how to manage them. Until you are able to get support, some simple tips that may help manage panic are:
- Find a quiet room or space to take a break from the situation you are in
- Try to quiet your mind by doing some deep breathing exercises—you will want to breathe in through your mouth until your belly fills like a big balloon, and slowly breathe out through your nose until all the air is gone. Repeat this and count your breaths until you feel a greater sense of calm.
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