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How I cope with panic attacks

  • 3 min read
  • 16 December 2019

Author: Kaitlyn, 15

Topics mentioned: panic attacks, self-care

About: Panic attacks affect lots of people, but they can still be really scary and hard to deal with. Kaitlyn shares what helps her when she has a panic attack.

I struggle with panic attacks. Before they begin, I usually feel like there are too many voices and they’re all trying to talk at once and it gets messy. Sometimes I don’t need overlapping voices to panic - really big crowds make me panicky too. When I’m having a panic attack, I cry and I become really quiet.

I struggle with talking about my feelings. Usually, I just write them down and hide away. That’s what I do at school. Whenever I feel panicky, I leave my group of friends and go to this small corner that’s tucked away out of sight from anyone and, once I’m there, I can cry, I can read, I can write, I can have peace.

Just remember that if you're struggling with anxiety or panic attacks, you're not alone.

Tips for coping with panic attacks

Over the years, I have been given pieces of advice that have helped me to cope with my panic attacks.

  • Try calming exercises

    One of the main ones I use is a way of focusing your mind and calming down; what you do is name five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. I repeat this over and over again until I have calmed down.

    Usually after doing this five senses exercises, I work on my breathing - I focus on breathing in slowly, then breathing out slowly.

  • Listen to music

    Another thing that helps me with my panic attacks is music. When I have an attack, I just stick my headphones in, close my eyes and blast my music.

    I know people say that I will damage my ears if I have my music up too loud, so I’m careful, but there’s something about drowning the world out and concentrating on the beat of the music that calms me down.

  • Take some alone time

    I also find it really helpful to have some time alone. That’s why it helps to know that I always have my little corner at school, and my bedroom at home.

  • Speak to someone you trust

    It can be hard to manage my mental health at school, because sometimes I feel as though my teachers and friends don’t understand. But there are some people who I know will understand and that I trust enough to talk to.

    One of them is my English teacher; she seems to understand me and I trust her, which is very rare as I find it difficult to trust people.

I hope some of these methods help you as well. Just remember that if you’re struggling with anxiety or panic attacks, you’re not alone and there are people who will understand and help you.

More information and advice

We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.

Where to get help

However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.

  • No Panic

    Supports people struggling with panic attacks, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and other anxiety-related issues - and provides support and information for their carers.

    Call 01952 680835 for a recorded breathing exercise to help you through a panic attack (available 24/7).

    Read information about call costs.

    Opening times:
    10am - 10pm, 365 days a year
  • Childline

    If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

    Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.

    Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.

    Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.

    Opening times:

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