They say the exact causes of panic attacks are unknown. That they can occur for no apparent reason. Truthfully, I’ve noticed this myself. 9 times out of 10, the cause of my own panic attacks are completely unknown to me. That’s why, as well as being scary and pretty humiliating, they can be really frustrating. When there isn’t usually a direct cause, panic attacks can happen at the worst possible times. And that’s what, I think, makes them even harder to deal with.
One thing that helps me deal with my own mental health issues is being open about my experiences. I suppose it’s a way for me to vent and get it out of my system. Some of my own panic attacks have happened at the absolute worst times. (But when is a “good” time to have a panic attack, right?)
One example is when I had one on my first day of placement at a TV Newsroom. It may seem clear why it happened, but I was familiar with where I was having been on work experience there 14 months ago. But anyway, I was sitting at my desk practicing my editing and I was totally fine. Within literally seconds, I was tearful and my breathing had sped up. I was having a panic attack. All I was thinking about was how badly I must have come across. I didn’t want to give the impression that I wasn’t “up for the job” or emotionally stable enough to succeed in journalism. After all, I wanted to make myself seem as capable as I possibly could.
But everyone was so understanding. When I explained that it was a panic attack, they were all so lovely about it. Honestly, it made me feel less humiliated about the whole situation.
But that’s all you really have to do – just tell whoever’s around you what’s happening and, chances are, they’ll do what they can to help. In my experience, trying to stop a panic attack from happening because of the situation you’re in, or for any reason for that matter, never helps. Just let it happen – people will understand and bottling it up never helps. I suppose my big take away from my experiences is to just accept that panic attacks just happen and to not let them get in the way of what you’re doing.