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Panicked

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0 Leave a Comment Feb 11, 2016
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My eyes opened a bit earlier than normal as I was already anticipating my weekly 10am check in call with the “Damsel team.” I was staying at the Montage Deer Valley in the coziest of beds, called down for eggs, toast and coffee and snuggled up with my laptop. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, and life was quite great in fact, except for a familiar rising lump in my throat. The call went great and I bounced up to get ready for the day. Moments later, after trying to put make-up on and pull together an outfit, I found myself on the closet floor, the bathroom floor, any floor trying to focus on taking deep breaths. 1…1…2…2…I breathed in and out carefully counting to 10.

If I’m being completely honest, I used to think that people who had “Panic Attacks” were full of crap. I stupidly made the judgement that people who could not handle the stress of day to day life would blame their weakness on excusing their behavior for a “panic attack.” Boy was I completely wrong {and did I mention stupid?}. My first few panic attacks happened while I was driving. I would have a complete, hysterical meltdown on the phone with my husband over what we were having for dinner and before I knew it I had to pull the car over because I felt like I was going to faint. The more and more this seemed to happen I began to take note of “triggers,” and still blamed my episodes on lack of sleep, food or PMS.

For me, panic attacks go something like this: Shortness of breath sets in along with millions of uncontrollable thoughts racing through my mind like a hurricane. The thoughts are very inconsistent, very sporadic and there are so many that I cannot hold on to one thought for longer than a millisecond. Anxiety starts to set in as I take a few deep breaths and try to get myself ready. I look at myself in the mirror, struggling to put on concealer, and that is when the voices start. “You are hideous. You are fat. You will amount to nothing. Who do you think you are? Look at that crooked nose and that weird eye. Your forehead is huge. Your chin is too pointy. You suck.” I pull myself away from the mirror and sit on the closet floor looking up at what to wear in effort to quiet the voices. “You are materialistic. Your style sucks. You are ugly. Anything you put on isn’t going to fix or hide your pathetic sadness that you are feeling.” And so forth and so on. The voices follow me to wherever I am going and it isn’t until I break down into a full set of tears that I am finally able to quiet my mind. I simply cannot get a handle on anything. The long list of errands and to do’s in my mind is so unbelievably vast that I feel like I am losing control on reality. I feel dumb, I feel dizzy, I feel out of control and as though I am literally losing my mind. The tipping point usually happens over something quite silly. At the Montage Deer Valley, the tipping point was when the waiter brought my eggs with no toast {I had ordered toast} and I lost it. After about 30 minutes of crying, calling my life line and talking myself of the ledge, it’s business as usual. Luckily, my panic attacks now only last an hour or two whereas they used to last an entire day. This is why I am writing this post. Not only is it vital for a person having a panic attack to know how to coach themselves through it, but if they have someone on the outside to help … it is extremely helpful!

10 Ways to Help Someone in a Panic Attack

1. Stay with that person and keep calm.

2. Don’t make assumptions about what the person needs. Ask them.

3. Speak in short, simple sentences.

4. Be reassuring by saying things like “You aren’t crazy. This will pass.”

5. Try to help avoid stressful environments and keep the person in a calm place.

6. Take their feelings seriously. Do not dismiss what they are going through.

7. Ask them what you can do when they aren’t having an episode.

8. Do not tell them to “calm down.”

9. Request to put on soothing music that may uplift their spirit.

10. Give a hug.

0 Leave a Comment Feb 11, 2016
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  • Kari Wetzel

    Thank you for this! People associate panic attacks for faking, or like you said- a weakness. But how far from the truth that really is. I started having panic attacks when I was 19 in college. I rarely have them now, a few years later, but when I do get worked up and fear a full blown panic attack, I can control them a lot better (mine also lasted an entire day and now I can control them).

  • These are great tips to pass along to others who may go into shock as to how to help someone having an attack! Mine happen in the middle of the night where I spring up in bed unable to catch my breath, heart and mind both racing. I run into the bathroom and find the coldest spot on the floor to sit and breathe. I have mine mostly under control, writing a list of everything on my mind before going to bed so I can “purge” it all out before hitting the pillow. If I can see it visually, it never seems to be as scary as the list appears to be when running through my head.

  • Rach

    These are great tips! I used to think people who say they have panic attacks exaggerate and just can’t handle it. But when I started getting them, I totally understand why and it is not an exaggeration. I try to take deep breathes and tell myself everything is okay. Sometimes creating a list makes it a lot easier. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  • Great tips<3

    Shall We Sasa

  • This is so good to read. As a new business owner, I’ve recently gone through this ands it helps to be with someone kind and supportive <3

    http://www.chevronsandeclairs.com/blog

  • Leesa

    Really great post! I also used to have panic attacks. Nowadays I know how to handle them and I am able to react immediately when I feel one coming. But that required a lot of time and patience. For me it’s always important to tell myself that nothing is gonna happen to me, that it is only in my mind. That really helps me. Hope it will get better for you too!
    xx
    http://www.thefashionplaybook.de

  • lovely!
    killthemwithchic.com

  • Excellent tips!

  • thank you for sharing your story with us
    xx
    http://www.thedemeler.com

  • An extremely helpful and life saving tips. True beauty truly exist from within and not just about fashions on the pages! Merci for this post! 🙂

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

  • Thank you SO much for sharing. Wow. What a relatable post. Panic attacks are so, so scary, but there’s something about knowing you aren’t alone that really helps. I really appreciate that!

    Annie Reeves

  • This is an amazing post and I am so glad you shared it. I think panic attacks and anxiety in general doesn’t get talked about enough!

    http://lifeplusbe.com/

  • This is very insightful. I have a hard time understanding things like this. I have people in my life who identify or have been diagnosed with depression. Anxiety attacks is another one I don’t think I understand but I think I would understand more than depression. I’ve been kind of stressed out lately.

    Thanks for the post, Jacey, and all the best girl!

    http://www.dressupchowdown.com

  • Dana

    thank you so much for sharing something like this. I feel like bloggers rarely ever share the struggles in life, and from the outside, their lives look so incredible and perfect. I’ve definitely had an issue with anxiety throughout my life, so I get where you’re coming from. It’s so hard to deal with, but it’s becoming so common! You’ve probably tried this, but meditation has been helping me. There are a few great apps you can download and listen to when you travel, wake up in the morning, drive, etc etc. Thanks again for keeping your blog so honest and beautiful!

    http://www.thecasualclassic.com

  • EMEL

    Thanks for sharing Jacey! I suffer from severe panic and anxiety attacks. I’m a married mom of one and I work full time in a very stressful creative industry. My panic attacks normally happen in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon lasting for a few hours. I’m glad that you realized that panic attacks are serious. This could lead into severe depression and suicidal thoughts. I’ve been to a therapist for years and have now worked on a few excercises to control my episodes. They have worked! I refuse to go on medication… just my personal preference. Luckily I’ve learned to control it. Have fun at NYFW! I remember the days when I used to go with my girlfriends to shows.. Love your work! Keep it up!

  • These are great tips to share! I can completely relate, I’ve always been an anxious person and I started getting panic attacks in college. They really are physical as much as mental. It’s nice to read posts and the comments on it to realize I’m not the only one 🙂

    Jamie
    http://www.treatsandtrendsblog.com/

  • ok seriously this is my favorite post you’ve ever written because this is real life! I used to wake up in the middle of the night with an uncontrollable fear of being sick…panic attack. uncontrollable, caling my friends or mom in the middle of the night to talk me off the ledge. This shit happens. and it’s real life. For me, my panic attacks have gotten much less frequent and haven’t happened for a few years. but let me tell you what. when they happen they’re not nice and it really wears you out. glad i’m not alone!!! you will be ok, is what i always tell myself. you are ok, you are ok…so glad you shared this. love your tips..i have faith that your attacks will be less frequent now that you understand whats happenign and how tog et out of them. xo

    @stylemelauren:disqus
    http://www.stylemelauren.com

  • Catherine Lajoie

    brave post. Thank you for sharing. Ever since becoming a mom, anxiety and panic attacks have become part of my life. Thank you for normalizing it.

  • Loverofprettythings

    Such kindness and honesty to share this when you could easily withhold it. I appreciate this so much. Thank you

  • I think it’s so amazing that you shared this because I know there will be people who relate and you shared such amazing pointers. Besides being a blogger, I work as a psychotherapist so I know how real and terrifying it is and I think it’s incredible that you were able to share your experience and tips with your readers. I think it’s important to share that even someone who “seems to have it all” can struggle like this.

    http://asequinloveaffair.com

  • myblissisthisway

    Thank you for posting this, learned a lot from this entry and it’s nice to know you’re not perfect either!

    myblissisthisway.blogspot.com

  • You’re awesome for posting this. I am a sufferer too! My son was 6 months old when I admitted myself to the ER (him in the car seat with me!) because I thought I was having a stroke! It was so awful the admittance staff also thought I was. Not until after a MRI and hours of observation did we come to the conclusion that it was my first major panic attack. Looking back on life, I can recall a handful of episodes that occurred (mostly in college sitting in my car in the Centennial parking garage) but I had no idea how to place the expletive. Thanks again for posting; I think talking about it and acknowledging we don’t suffer alone is so helpful. Love to you!

  • Thank you for sharing such personal story with us and the tips!

    xx Cindy
    http://www.whenindoubtblog.com

  • I think that more people than we all realize suffer from panic attacks at one time in their life (hand raised here). I find that crying helps me too and physically escaping from wherever I am. I hate when people say to “relax”- as you said it just isn’t as simple as that. It is learning to quiet the brain and often I am the only person who can really make myself calm down. Thank you for sharing Jacey- I think in a world of social media and manufactured perfection via those channels, it can seem like it isn’t happening. This story helped me to relate to you and I love that. It’s what blogging is about! 🙂
    http://www.thatgirlmags.com

  • Scary! You must get help to figure out what your triggers are. You are unbelievably cool and to think that you have self-esteem issues is sad. So whatever is triggering those thoughts needs to be removed from your life asap!

    http://www.imeldawithani.com

  • I’ve suffered from panic attacks since I was in my early 20’s (now in my late thirties) and I just want to thank you for your contribution to this conversation. It’s important for it to be talked about mostly because you’ll find it more helpful, but also because for all of those who also live with them it always helps to know there are others who understand.

  • Really great advice. Take their feelings seriously – this is so important. And please dont tell them to calm down or relax – nothing agitates people more! Lovely, honest writing.

    http://www.fashionandfrappes.com

  • Rachel

    This is such an honest post. Anxiety and panic attacks seem to be topics most people don’t want to touch because I think so many people associate anxiety with shame or weakness. It’s so comforting to know that other people struggle with it too and that it’s more common than people realize. Anxiety is something I’ve struggled with for as long as I can remember. And when I’m having an excessively anxious day, it seems so overwhelming, like I won’t ever be able to get out from under it. In the moment, it’s impossible to realize that it’s only temporary. Are there any strategies you’ve come up with that help you switch focus during an anxiety/panic attack?

  • Thank you for sharing. I lost my father a couple months ago and my anxiety/attacks have been something I can never explain to people. It helps not feeling like I’m the only one. I hope you know you’re not alone. Also love your tips on how to help someone going through it. Thanks again for this!

    xo, Cam
    http://www.camillaandme.com

  • Juliet Russell

    Thank you for sharing such personal story. I’m new to your blog and appreciate the real talk. It’s a huge help for people to know that behind your perfectly together exterior you occasionally struggle with some things too. Blessings to you.

  • Jackie W

    From someone who has always lived with panic attacks and never wants to take any meds. Watch a comedy show, just one, and don’t fast forward through the commercials. (Big Bang Theory is my go to)

  • Tia Getzlaf

    I love your diary posts Jacey. So honest, vulnerable and relatable. I have anxiety too – you are most definitely not alone!

  • Katie Borzych

    I have struggled with panic attacks for years; thank you for sharing…can be such a lonely feeling….

  • Kenzie Gallagher

    I love this post. Coming from someone who has suffered from anxiety over the past 2 years, I appreciate this so much. I admire you!

  • I’m sorry to hear you went through this – I found this post from your Best of 2016 post and had to say I was dealing with the voices in my head earlier this year and as cliche as it sounds I’ve found gratitude is the way forward. Rather than making a list of 5 things to be grateful for (which sounds stressful in itself) I write the answers to 3 questions in the morning:

    What am I grateful for today?

    What am I excited about today?

    What am I committed to making happen?

    This has helped with nagging annoying voices and the to do list because focusing on 1 thing to get done is a lot more easy to digest than 27 things to do.
    Happy 2017! Can’t wait for more posts, beauty and Snapchats!