How to Deal with Anxiety Attacks When You’re Alone

By: Mariam Abdelrazek

Nowadays, anxiety attacks have become as common as ‘common colds’ if not even more. The reasons people get them are countless. The simplest, stupidest thing can give you an anxiety attack. Like right now, I’m watching ‘The Fault in our Stars’ and I’m sweating just because Hazel-Grace is struggling with going up the stairs. I’m not saying I’m having an anxiety attack because of a movie, what I’m saying is our brain is stimulated or triggered by small things that have deep meanings. These small things, they should not be taken lightly.

Before we go into dealing with anxiety attacks, I would like to clarify what they actually are. As they say, you have to know the enemy before fighting it, so, let’s get to know our enemy; anxiety attacks usually come because of stress build up. Anxiety attacks feel so threatening but actually, they’re not. As Hazel-Grace is saying right now on the screen in front of me, when her doctor used to ask her to identify her pain from 1-10, she used to say it was a nine even though the pain was unbearable, because she was saving her 10 for later. The nine is the anxiety attack, the inability to deal with the attack is the ten. The inability to deal with anxiety attacks is worse than the attack itself. Back to what anxiety is, anxiety is not an emotion, it’s a condition of an emotion. It’s what happens when the body doesn’t function as it needs to. When your emotions are all over the place due to fear, stress, a big event coming up. Just basically, your mind trying to be prepared for something yet failing miserably.

1.Recognise that you’re having an anxiety attack

To treat something, you have to be aware of its presence, that’s why I’m going to list a few symptoms of anxiety attacks below. When it comes to anxiety attacks specifically, it’s a bit easier because once you understand what anxiety attacks are, you have the ability to stop them anytime you want. For anxiety attacks, the phrase knowledge is powerful is more applicable than anywhere else.

  • Chest pain 
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth 
  • Muscle pain
  • Heartbeat racing 
  • Short breaths 
  • Fatigue 
  • Being easily startled 
  • Fear 
  • Loss of concentration 
  • Feeling of choking and tightening of throat 
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Weak in the knees 
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Burning skin

These symptoms might last for days, weeks, or months…unlike those of a panic attack that last for a shorter while.

2. Distract yourself

 As I stated above, anxiety attacks can come to an end if you want them too. Therefore, you have to make your body as stress-free as possible to decrease anxiety. Focus on anything else other than your mind to decrease the intensity of the symptoms and to prevent getting caught up in your own mind. 

3.Take a little walk 

I know walking might be the last thing you want to do, but in this case it is essential to walk in order to increase the blood flow in your body and minimize hyperventilating as much. It also serves as a means of distraction that helps you not to focus on other painful symptoms.

4.Don’t be tense

In other words, relax in order to make your body an environment that doesn’t welcome anxiety. Again, I repeat that anxiety basically comes when you’re stressed, overthinking and your mind is working at the speed of 160 miles per hour. Try to relax a little bit by taking a hot bath or treating yourself and anxiety will be the last thing that comes to you.

5.Calm yourself down

Don’t imagine worst-case scenarios, this will only activate what are known as ‘stress responses’. Instead, imagine a peaceful environment to shut off the mechanisms that cause this type of responses and it’s just a  matter of time before the body reclaims its normal posture and you’ll feel fine again. The more you calm yourself, the faster an anxiety attack will end and the better you’ll feel. If you regularly experience anxiety attacks, I suggest you practise calming yourself and self-control and this will definitely help you control, prevent and end your anxiety attacks.

6. Control your breathing

Practice breathing techniques. Honestly, they help with everything not only anxiety attacks. Take a huge breath in through your nose then hold it for a couple of seconds then slowly release it from your mouth. This helps slow down the rapid, short breaths you take during an anxiety attack and it’s also very important to calm down your body and gives you a chance to organize your thoughts.

So now I reached the part in the movie where it says, ‘if you want a rainbow you have to deal with the rain’ and I thought…that’s not so different than anxiety attacks. We want to have perfect lives, good grades and all that and this causes an incredible amount of stress which in most cases leads to anxiety attacks (the rain). However, in the end, we get the lives we want(the rainbow), the perfect ones – well, almost perfect. We get the rainbow…and it doesn’t matter how many times it rains before the rainbow appears, what’s important is, if we believe that the rainbow will appear, if we have faith, it will appear…brighter than anything else.

Now let me shed some tears for Ansel Elgort.

Kisses,

Mariam.

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