My mom sat nearby as the hygienist reclined the child-sized dental chair. I was whining and whimpering. Most of my friends were just starting to lose their baby teeth — surely I’d be next, right? Why did the dentist need to fix a cavity in a tooth that was going to fall out anyway?
Let’s face it: in the throes of panic, it’s not always comfortable to mindfully meditate on the present moment. Focusing on your pounding heart or on your irregular breathing patterns can fan the the panic attack flames. So, here are a few ways to distract yourself out of a panic attack.
On a day when you’re feeling calm, vacuuming the floor might be a pleasure. But on a day when you’re feeling too anxious, vacuuming the floor might feel like an insurmountable task. Take that previous paragraph, remove the “vacuuming” part, and insert virtually any activity: going to work. Driving to the grocery store. Playing with your kids. Taking a jog. Taking a class. Taking a shower. It’s almost like Mad Libs.
What happens when you become anxious about the fact that you have panic attacks? What happens when you begin to panic about the fact that you’re anxious? Put simply, you end up stuck in a loop that’s rather difficult to dismantle. (It’s so meta.)
Lots of people experience panic attacks. For some people, it can get so bad that they also get agoraphobia — the fear of leaving one’s house. So I’m happy to introduce Panic About Anxiety with Summer Beretsky, a blog that will explore panic, agoraphobia and even topics about general anxiety in upcoming entries.
If you’re not familiar with Summer, you can check out her archives at the World of Psychology blog. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware, where she received her Master of Arts degree in Communication. She enjoys writing about her experiences with anxiety, panic, and Paxil. She contributes to the World of Psychology blog here on PsychCentral has written for the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her on Twitter @summerberetsky. You can read more about her here.
We’re happy to have Summer join the Psych Central Blog Network. Please give her a warm welcome!