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How I cope with panic attacks

Panic attacks affect lots of people, but they can still be really scary and hard to deal with. Kaitlyn, 15, shares what helps her when she has a panic attack.

I struggle with panic attacks. Before they begin, I usually feel like there are too many voices and they’re all trying to talk at once and it gets messy. Sometimes I don’t need overlapping voices to panic - really big crowds make me panicky too. When I’m having a panic attack, I cry and I become really quiet.

I struggle with talking about my feelings. Usually, I just write them down and hide away. That’s what I do at school. Whenever I feel panicky, I leave my group of friends and go to this small corner that’s tucked away out of sight from anyone and, once I’m there, I can cry, I can read, I can write, I can have peace.

Over the years, I have been given pieces of advice that have helped me to cope with my panic attacks. One of the main ones I use is a way of focusing your mind and calming down; what you do is name five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. I repeat this over and over again until I have calmed down.

Usually after doing this five senses exercises, I work on my breathing - I focus on breathing in slowly, then breathing out slowly.

Just remember that if you're struggling with anxiety or panic attacks, you're not alone.

Another thing that helps me with my panic attacks is music. When I have an attack, I just stick my headphones in, close my eyes and blast my music. I know people say that I will damage my ears if I have my music up too loud, so I’m careful, but there’s something about drowning the world out and concentrating on the beat of the music that calms me down.

I also find it really helpful to have some time alone. That’s why it helps to know that I always have my little corner at school, and my bedroom at home.

It can be hard to manage my mental health at school, because sometimes I feel as though my teachers and friends don’t understand. But there are some people who I know will understand and that I trust enough to talk to. One of them is my English teacher; she seems to understand me and I trust her, which is very rare as I find it difficult to trust people.

I hope some of these methods help you as well. Just remember that if you’re struggling with anxiety or panic attacks, you’re not alone and there are people who will understand and help you.

Author: Kaitlyn, 15

Find help

If you are struggling with anxiety or panic attacks, you can find information on ways to get help on our anxiety page.

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