Psychology & A Little More
Live-tweeting a panic attack.
This is a piece by Summer Beretsky on PsychCentral, documenting a panic attack, as it happens, at a pharmacy.
My experience is that any kind of interaction with others can help you get through a panic attack. With someone behind the counter in a store, for example, or with a friend on the phone. It takes you outside yourself, keeps you occupied with something other what’s going on inside. So it makes sense that tweeting can help, too:
Something about texting or tweeting when I panic makes me feel safer. I suppose my logic is this: if I truly find myself in a worst-case scenario situation, like passed out in an aisle at Target, at least someone will have received a text or tweet from me announcing my less-than-well feeling. Prior to hitting the floor, that is. And someone who loves me or cares about me will have a lead when I don’t come home at 8 pm as promised.
Call it a safety behavior. Because it is.
But for now, it helps me to stay in the store. It helps me to stay in the midst of what I erroneously perceive as a dangerous situation. It helps me to not run away from my fears.
And, it helps me to track my cognitions. A big part of panic and agoraphobia, of course, is driven by our thoughts. And tracking those thoughts mid-panic elucidates my underlying fears. It captures fear from the moment of panic itself and not what I later perceive the fear to be.
A nice look inside panic and how it can be managed.
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