When you have panic attacks, like I do, it’s important to recognize what triggers them. I’m sure you’ve seen the different blog posts on the Internet that read “trigger warning.” What that means is that the content that you will read may trigger you. So that’s why it’s important to know what your triggers are. With panic disorder, I have specific triggers that affect me and one of them is hypochondria. If somebody talks about having a disease I get nervous and that anxiety could transform into a panic attack. I am working on that issue and exposure therapy. But in the meantime, I am aware that I may get panic attacks due to being afraid I am dying of a random disease.
I get panic attacks when I feel like I am out of control in the situation. But knowing about these triggers is important because of there something I can do about them.
People who have recovered from emotionally abusive relationships often get panic attacks when they are triggered by something that reminds them of the abuse and the same goes for physical and sexual abuse survivors. However, when you’re working on your triggers in therapy you can be more aware of what they are and learn when they come up so you know what you can do to help yourself. The first step to getting well from panic is to know what’s causing it. You may be managing anxiety throughout the course of your life, however, if you know what causes that anxiety you’ll be better off. You’ll be able to figure out how to respond when the triggers come up so that they don’t control you. I have found that awareness is so crucial for my anxiety management plan.
Sometimes it’s a matter of just riding it out. Panic is like a rollercoaster that you didn’t stand in line for. It’s there, it’s annoying and you’ve got to roll with it. You don’t know what to do necessarily but you do know that the panic attack will not last forever. Doing mindful breathing, meditating, and focusing on where you are, and your surroundings will help you to stay grounded during a panic attack.
Also remember that people who have not experienced panic attacks personally may not always understand what you’re going through. So try not to take it personally. I used to get very upset when other people did not get what I was feeling when I was panicking.
Now I understand that panic disorder is difficult to explain to others if they have never experienced it and it’s OK if I feel alone. As long as I am able to manage the panic attacks that’s what counts. If I find that the anxiety is unmanageable that’s when I need to shift and change something. If you’re experiencing panic attacks during this time in your life, I feel for you because I’ve been there. But remember that panic does not last forever. Working on your triggers will help you to understand where your anxiety comes from.