Things Not to Say to Someone With Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a sudden, overwhelming surge of anxiety and fear. During a panic attack, your heart may pound, you may hyperventilate, you may get dizzy, and many other symptoms. It’s a truly terrifying experience that many people suffer from.

So in the third post of my “Things Not to Say” series I’m going to be dealing what not to say to people with panic attacks. Here goes:

  • “Calm down”: If I could, I would. But I really can’t. Once I’m at the point where I’m hyperventilating and feeling dizzy, the only thing I can do is wait it out long enough to maybe be able to control my breathing. Telling me to calm down is only going to make me feel guilty and more panicky.
  • “You’re overreacting”: It may seem that way to you, but these feelings just suddenly came. Sure, sometimes there’s a reason I’m feeling like this, but other times it’s because I got this sudden rush of anxiety that completely overwhelmed me. And when it concerns the actual symptoms, I’m not actually overreacting. I’m in actual, physical pain.
  • “You’re being immature”: I’m sure it might seem that way to you, but remember that these are feelings of overwhelming anxiety. My panic attack shouldn’t be the way you measure my maturity.
  • “Aren’t you a bit old to be having a temper tantrum?”: This was actually something someone told me, and it was ridiculously hurtful. The thing is, I’m not having a temper tantrum; that’s not what a panic attack is. And saying that is going to make me feel terrible and damage my self-esteem more than it already has.

If there’s anything I’ve missed, feel free to comment!

-cmblanc

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