Not many people understand what an anxiety attack looks or feels like. As a person who’s lived with an anxiety disorder for several years, Mahinn Ali Khan, known better on Twitter as @mentalexotica, knows how panic attacks can wreak havoc in a person’s brain, and how difficult it can be to manage one. Here are some pointers that she tweeted for people who experience anxiety attacks:
- Try and keep busy: occupy yourself with errands, a list of tasks to complete.
- Get outside. Go for a walk or a run. Exercise. It limits the extent of the attack if not prevent it altogether.
- If you can bear the idea of company, meet friends. But please make sure you inform them of your current state of being.
- Avoid alcohol and other intoxicants. They will only delay the anxiety at best. But it will return and it will be worse.
- Be good to yourself. Be kind. Be gentle. Treat yourself as you would a small injured animal: with tenderness and patience.
- Keep your SOS medication handy. Don't delay taking it, thinking you don't need it.
- Spend some time in nature. It really is the most effective anti-anxiety medication available.
- Learn to identify your triggers and avoid people, places, and situations that are potentially disruptive to your wellbeing.
- Do not ignore your anxiety. It will not let you, anyway.
- Anxiety disorders can make you go a little over-the-top but you’re not a real danger to anyone. The person you’ll hurt most is yourself.
Mahinn also talks about the social challenges of suffering from anxiety – people not understanding what anxiety is, not having someone who can comfort you when you’re experiencing an attack, or even insensitive people who could trigger one. “I realize also that writing this has pushed me in the forefront of an issue that is often poorly represented as a weakness or mental failing,” she tweets, and then expands that thought. “It is a weakness. But it does not make you weak. I know, for instance, I possess greater empathy than some who profess undying compassion,” she says. You can view Mahinn's full Twitter thread here.