I ask this question not only for the benefit of my readers…but for the benefit of myself.

How do you cope with the sting of having a panic attack after a long period of panic-free living?

I’m not really talking about short-term coping mechanisms here. I’m not talking about breathing exercises or anything like that. Instead, I’m talking about the big stuff — how do you deal with feeling let down? How do you deal with suddenly feeling so out of control after a long period of feeling relatively in control? How do you go back to believing that you’ve only hit a small bump in the road and not a gigantic pothole?

What goes up must come down, they say, and in the back of my mind I’ve always known that I’d have another “big one” eventually. I’d been doing so well — grocery shopping, leaving my apartment for hours at a time, and pushing the boundaries of my “safe radius,” as I like to call it. Fellow agoraphobes, you know what I mean.

But yesterday was different.

This panic attack was rare — because it occurred in the “comfort” (see those quotes?) of my own home.

I’ll spare you any triggering details for now…in part for your sake, and in part for mine. (Many of us know how easy it is to re-panic after our body is physiologically primed from a recent attack.)

But know this: I ended up in a cold sweaty heap on my bathroom floor, clutching a bottle of Xanax and an ice pack, fearing for my life. I became so hot that I knew I was going to pass out. Enter the ice pack. Within seconds, I became so cold that I knew I was going to pass out. Enter a makeshift blanket — a bath towel that was within reach.

And, again, within seconds, I became so hot that I knew I was going to pass out.

Rinse and repeat.

I had all the usual symptoms: a light head. Dizziness. Rapid heart beat. I should have been able to safely proclaim that this is panic, I know this feeling, and in a few minutes, everything would be okay.

But I couldn’t. I didn’t.

And now, one day later, the dust has settled — but it’s coating my eyes and obscuring my view of the big picture once again.

How do you cope with the sting of having a panic attack after a long period of panic-free living?

Sometimes the advice and the encouragement of a fellow panic sufferer can hit home harder than that from a book, therapist, or non-panicking friend. So, let’s help one another out below in the comments: how do you cope in the long term?



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    Last reviewed: 6 Apr 2012

APA Reference
Beretsky, S. (2012). Shared Wisdom: How Do You Cope With Panic?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/panic/2012/04/shared-wisdom-how-do-you-cope-with-panic/


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