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“Just Calm Down” And Other Non-Helpful Advice For Panickers

"Just Calm Down" And Other Non-Helpful Advice For PanickersWell, it’s been one of those banner weeks: I’ve had a panic attack just about every single day for the past seven days.

Thank you, thank you. I know.

Allow me to thank my triggers, without which none of this would be possible: bridges, low blood sugar, being more than ten minutes from home, and driving at night. You’ve all been instrumental in my lack of success this week.

If only snark and sarcasm could ward off anxiety, right?

That’d be perfect (for me, at least), but it can’t.

And you know what else isn’t all that great at warding off anxiety?

Well-intentioned sentiments like “just calm down” and “there’s nothing wrong with you” from well-meaning friends and family members. Their intentions are noble, obviously — but, as a panicker, you know exactly why those phrases aren’t helpful. Right?

Perhaps you’ve seen these videos before. I originally recorded them for the World of Psychology blog, but I would be remiss to exclude them from Panic About Anxiety (where they fit like a glove).


And of course, I recorded a follow-up video — inspired almost entirely by the comments section in the first video. So many of you had amazing contributions to the “what NOT to say” list:

What else would you add to the list of what NOT to say to someone who is having a panic attack?

Let me know in the comments here on this blog post or on YouTube itself.

“Just Calm Down” And Other Non-Helpful Advice For Panickers

Summer Beretsky

Summer Beretsky enjoys writing about her experiences with anxiety, panic, and Paxil. She had her first panic attack as an undergrad at Lycoming College and plenty more while she worked toward her M.A. in Communication from the University of Delaware. She contributes to the World of Psychology blog here on PsychCentral and has written for the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her on Twitter @summerberetsky.

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APA Reference
Beretsky, S. (2013). “Just Calm Down” And Other Non-Helpful Advice For Panickers. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Nov 2013
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