Panic attacks are frightening and can be debilitating; it can feel like you are dying or about to die, or it can feel like you are losing your mind or going crazy. One of the best things to try and remember with regards to panic, in general, is that you are most likely not about to die and you are most likely not going crazy… YIKES! Why did I say most likely? Well, nothing is for certain, and it’s the OCD in me to combat uncertainty by not assigning blanket reassurances nor to declare any absolutes… seriously though, nothing is a guarantee, but I’d put my money on “most likely” every time! Basically, know that if you suffer from panic attacks, or if you know someone who suffers from panic attacks, then it is simply okay to have them… just kindly allow yourself to panic. Accepting that you are having a panic attack is a great first step in emboldening your self awareness, and it can start the diffusion process that will help separate you from your panic which will help you to naturally deescalate.
Awareness is a remarkable tool to continue to sharpen and utilize when combating anxiety and panic. Now, what do I mean by awareness? Imagine you have just taken an excessively hot shower, and the mirror is completely fogged up… UGH. So you are now standing in front of the mirror waiting to see your face… at first, you can’t really see anything, but that doesn’t mean your face isn’t there nor does it mean that the mirror is functioning improperly; instead, the mirror is simply obstructed and is yet to function properly. In time, however, the clouded mirror will clear up, and if you stand there long enough and wait, you will watch the reflection of your face materialize and become clearer and clearer and clearer until the mirror is back to its relatively normal state. Furthermore, if you try to combat the obstruction by wiping it away you will then fool yourself into false clarity… with regards to the mirror, you may see more of yourself, but you will still have streaks, and your mirror will get dirtier and dirtier and dirtier the more you do this… but if you allow the steam to vanish naturally, then the image will come into focus and you won’t have to work so hard to clean the mirror later. Essentially, I am suggesting to agree with the panic, notice the panic, and allow it to come down naturally instead of attempting to fight it! Is it difficult? YES, but it gets easier, and their are tools to help you strengthen your awareness!
Improve your awareness by developing a grounding technique! Grounding is a powerful technique to help you get back to the present moment and accept that which is happening to you as is. There are many ways to ground yourself, and perhaps you will come up with your own, but allow me to give you a place to start. By using your five senses, notice what’s around you and vocalize that which you perceive (you can vocalize in your mind if you’d prefer)…
 What are five things you can see in the space around you? Describe them vividly.
 What are four things you can touch in the space around you? Describe them vividly.
 What are three things you can hear in the space around you? Describe them vividly.
 What are two things you can smell in the space around you? Uh oh, this could get comical, but that’s good, so describe them vividly.
 Lastly, what is one thing that you can taste in the space around you? Nothing? What does your office desk taste like? No, you don’t have to actually taste it, but imagine licking it and then try not to laugh…
BOOM! You are now defused!
Okay, silliness aside, this is a great technique to practice when you’re in the throws of panic. Finding a way to get yourself to humor is glorious and exceptionally powerful; that being said, it doesn’t mean to simply tell yourself or your loved one to laugh… No, no, no, you have to work at it and arrive to the comical absurdity naturally. Also, I encourage you to research other grounding techniques and to try to come up with your own grounding techniques; you can utilize all of your senses, or just a few of your senses, or simply one of your senses. In conclusion, please be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself if you fall into a pit of panic, because it’s okay, just panic.
“Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.”
– Christian Nestell Bovee