In my previous post, I mentioned sending a message to different mental health college societies in Ireland. As of now, two have gotten back to me – Please Talk UCD and Please Talk AIT.
Emmet from Please Talk AIT said he would love to help and gave me his email to ask him a few questions and he will try to answer them as best as he can. Here are the questions I asked:
- What methods do you find most effective when trying to stop/deal with a panic attack?
- Are there any signs that you experience which tell you that a panic attack is about to happen?
- Is there anything that triggers panic attacks for you?
- What symptoms do you experience (both physical and mental) when you have a panic attack?
I asked him if he anything he felt would be a good addition to the app to let me know, and I also told him of the idea of a panic attack diary as well as rating your panic attack and getting steps related to the rating you chose.
I only sent the email this morning so I haven’t gotten a reply yet.
I spoke to Please Talk UCD as well.
Beatrice has been dealing with panic attacks for a few years and this is the information she gave me:
Generally, when you’re experiencing full blown panic attacks (and these symptoms vary hugely depending on the person) it consists of muscle tremors such as hands shaking, a strong feeling of nausea, heart palpitations and shortness of breath / difficultly breathing for essentially, no obvious reason. I have experienced severe stomach cramps when having a really hardcore panic. Those would be the physical symptoms, while mental is obviously harder to pin down. Disorientation and racing thoughts, followed by confusion or thinking that you are experiencing death is pretty common I think!!
Dealing with panic attacks is really subjective – this app is a really good idea for helping people who suffer from them! I, personally, try do breathing exercises when I recognise I’m panicking (breathe in for a count of three, hold for three, release for three) and if I can I sit down and call a friend to just come sit with me. If I can’t do that then I clench and un-clench my muscles really slowly working upwards from my toes – this just brings me back into my body. A lot of dealing with a panic attack is to recognise that that is what’s happening and then to wait for it to pass. Panic attacks are basically a huge surge of adrenaline in your system and this goes away after some time. Afterwards I try to get some water or hot tea into me and something sweet to calm me down if I’m not feeling too sick.
She mentioned that the information she gave above was focusing on severe panic attacks, and with smaller anxiety attacks, there would be different coping mechanisms. She said she will run it by the committee to see if they can post the project on their Please Talk UCD page to see if any members can contribute.
The information that Beatrice gave me was very valuable, her coping mechanisms are good and I also learned some new information.. I never thought of having a drink of tea to help calm you down! This whole process is very insightful and I’m learning a lot. Hopefully more societies get back to me so I can get some different perspectives and info.