How do you "stay in the moment" when having a severe panic attack?

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Date Joined Oct 2005
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   Posted 2/15/2009 4:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Good morning, everyone!  I was wondering how you "stay in the moment" when having a bad panic attack. rolleyes   What are your best tips/techniques that you use when your panic attack is real bad?  I try to do certain things, but when the panic is to the point where I feel like I can't breathe or I feel like I am going to pass out, I have a hard time getting things under control.  When I am having mild anxiety, it is easier to "stay in the moment."  When I am panicing, it is hard to even think straight!  What do you do to pull it together, lol! I hope this all makes sense.  Thank you!  Blessings, Julie
Diagnosed with Crohn's March 2006, Fibromyalgia November 2008
Asacol 3 times a day, Remicade 10mg/kg every 4 weeks, Prednisone 10 mg, Miralax,  Prevacid 30mg, Vit B12, Vitamin D, Slow-FE (Iron), Hydrocortisone enemas
Imuran stopped 9/8/08 (possible Pancreatitis)
Paxil 40mg daily (for Panic disorder)
Xanax .5mg as needed (for anxiety attacks)

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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1683
   Posted 2/15/2009 4:47 AM (GMT -6)   

i pray. i breathe. i pay attention to the details of my surroundings in order to distract myself. i talk myself down. i remind myself that its happened before, and i survived it.

Maz XX

            'He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.' (Psalm 147:3)                  
Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, CFS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Sinusitis, TMJ disorder, Endometriosis, PCOS, Chronic E.N.T and Upper respiratory tract infections, Reactive Arthritis, GERD,  IBS, Glandular fever, Migraines, Anemia, Chemical/Noise/Light sensitivity, Trichotilomania, PTSD, Seasonal Mood  Disorder, OCD, Benign Vertigo,  Impaired immune system. Tachycardia, tinnitus, low clotting factor= bruising. Tendonitis, Bursitis.
Meds: Zoloft 150mg. Xanax 4mg. Celebrex. Mobic. Panadeine Forte. Digesic. Nexium. Phenergan.
Multiple surgeries- I bear the scars of my poor physical health.
Age:28. AP first DX @ 10. Fibro etc DX @14. Proud Aussie.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 800
   Posted 2/15/2009 8:12 AM (GMT -6)   

When I am hyperventilating, I use a paper bag and breathe in and out to balance my oxygen and carbon dioxide levels (but be careful if you do this too long it can increase your carbon dioxide and cause problems.

I slap or pinch myself. (distraction).

I touch my surroundings (wall, table, chair etc) and remind myself I am ok and not fainting.



Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/15/2009 8:37 AM (GMT -6)   

Good Morning Julie,

During a panic attack, the symptoms are sudden and extremely intense. These symptoms usually occur “out of the blue,” peak within 10 minutes and then subside. However, some attacks may last longer or may occur in succession, making it difficult to determine when one attack ends and another begins.

What to do if your having a panic attack?

Sit down somewhere comfortable, away from too many other people if possible

Stop, take a break and try to think about what it is that's making you panic

Think positive thoughts. Tell yourself that you're not going to die, that the attack is harmless and will soon pass.

Keep reminding yourself that you'll be fine.

If you're hyperventilating practise your breathing techniques. If you haven't learnt any yet, breath very slowly and steadily by counting along with each of the breaths. Try to hold each breath for three counts.

The old paper bag trick might be useful. Take a paper bag and hold it over your nose and mouth tightly with cupped hands. This helps you to inhale your own carbon dioxide and slows your breathing.

Instead of trying to run away from the scene, tell yourself that you'll stay for one or two minutes. When that time's up try to promise to stay for another couple of minutes. If it proves to be too much, don't be afraid to leave the area.

Here are some ways to help yourself reduce anxiety:

Relaxation techniques make it more difficult to panic, because tension is part of an attack.

Control your diet. Alcohol and too much coffee may make you more prone to anxiety.

Learn to breathe properly. Breathing techniques can help to prevent hyperventilation.

Regular exercise reduces anxiety and helps to rid the body of the stress hormone adrenaline.

Distraction techniques can take your mind off the panic and any symptoms during an attack.

Here is a great resource for you if you do not have it already:

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition

Pass Through Panic: Freeing Yourself from Anxiety and Fear
by: Claire Weekes

Take care

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
&  Moderator GERD  Forums

*~* *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 1245
   Posted 2/15/2009 9:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Wow, thank you for taking the time to post these wonderful responses. I am always amazed at the wonderful, caring family we have here! It makes me feel that I am never alone..... Blessings, Julie
Diagnosed with Crohn's March 2006, Fibromyalgia November 2008
Asacol 3 times a day, Remicade 10mg/kg every 4 weeks, Prednisone 10 mg, Miralax,  Prevacid 30mg, Vit B12, Vitamin D, Slow-FE (Iron), Hydrocortisone enemas
Imuran stopped 9/8/08 (possible Pancreatitis)
Paxil 40mg daily (for Panic disorder)
Xanax .5mg as needed (for anxiety attacks)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 2/15/2009 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
cry  oh man , hate to be a downer here , but there is no way i can talk myself out of a panic attack , no way . Because i know where the come from , i worry 24 /7 over my kids . well i only have one son , but two grandkids . i just leave them in Gods hand , because i have no control over any of it . But i get that stinking thinking , i cant stop myself . I have enough meds stored up i could just sleep my life away ... but i have to be here for my hubby and son , and most of all my babies . Am so thankful for everyone here , but i will never do too my son what his dad did , may he rest in peace *** hole that he was .....hugs Megie
     You can only change what you can control , you can't change what you can't control .

Green Grove
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2424
   Posted 2/16/2009 11:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Great info everyone! I use many of these techniques and I personally just keep myself busy working to take my mind off of things. When I feel anxious, I start to clean or exercise everytime. . . Got to get my daily dose of endorphins :)
Much Love, Hugs, Peace & Comfort . . . Your Bro . . . Sam :)
 ~Co-Moderator Anxiety & Panic Forum~
"Although the world is full of suffering. . . it is also full of the overcoming of it."
~Helen Keller~
Not a professional.  Seek your physician's advice before making changes to your meds or lifestyle.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 2/16/2009 2:03 PM (GMT -6)   
I use different techniques/things. I don't have a routine. Sometimes I busy myself doing dishes. Sometimes I go in the backyard and walk around. Or, I'll lay down and do my relaxation technique. Lastly, I'll write in my journal and describe how I'm feeling.

If you keep a journal, you can go back and read that you've felt the same things before and everything turned out well. Also, you may want to find out why you're having the attacks. Something is going on in your life right now that causes them.

Megie, you don't need to talk yourself down from a panic attack. All you need to do is relax with it and keep from adding the second fear. Stop worrying about things that are out of your control. You are keeping yourself from having a fulfilling life. Stay in the moment, distract your mind.

Anxiety Disorder/Mitral Valve Prolapse
Prozac and Carvedilol

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