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How To Stop Panic Attacks

Your heart is beating faster than normal. Your hands are trembling. Your breathing rate is getting out of control. What do you do? Panic even more.

We all do it, its human instinct to panic. But we all are aware it will only worsen the situation. So what’s the right way?

Well, everyone is different, just as everyone panics over different things, everyone has different coping mechanisms. But if you’re fairly new to experience this level of anxiety, it can be an even more daunting and confusing place to be in.

I have a few coping mechanisms I turn to that have been recommended by my therapist. As they have helped my friends who also suffer from anxiety, they could work for you too.

1. Phone A Friend

It might sound like ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’ but it does work if you have people to turn to. This is another reason as to why it helps if you open up about your struggle with anxiety to people you trust, they can be there for you at times like this. Whether they come over to comfort you or just tell you to ‘breathe’, most of the time their words don’t matter. Their comforting voice that your mind associates with love, happiness and safety will calm you out of that panic mode you’ve tricked yourself into.

2. Leave The Situation

Whether you’re feeling anxious in a crowd or in your bedroom: leave. If you’re with someone, they will understand if you walk away from them and go to the nearest shop to calm down and if they don’t, they’re not the right people to be around. If you’re sat on your bed that is filled with unfinished work (which is where the majority of my panic attacks occur) then walk out, go have a snack or have a chat with your parents about light-hearted topics, and then when you’re no longer feeling overwhelmed, return. On that note, having a bed full of work can definitely be a trigger. So try having only one paper that you are currently working on and the rest tucked away where you can’t see them.

3. Let It All Out

What do you enjoy doing? Whether it’s singing, drawing or something else, you can definitely incorporate it into your coping mechanisms. If your breathing rate increases, maybe start singing your favourite song. It might sound a little odd, but it will distract you, bring back fond memories and slow down your breathing. If you feel like destroying something but that option isn’t there, get some paper and scribble like mad to release that frustration safely. If your body starts to tremble, dancing can be a way to express your emotions and gain control of your physical body again. One of the main symptoms of a panic attack is a racing mind full of questions and overwhelming worries, if you write them all down you can look at them one at a time and realise the answers aren’t as horrible as you believed. You can even read a book, this will distract you from your problems and take you into someone else’s, which can help you realise your problems aren’t as bad as how you reacted to them.

4. Will It Matter In 6 Months?

You might be panicking over a worry you’ve encountered. Maybe you’ve realised you won’t finish that paper in time for the deadline. Maybe your classmates are overwhelming you with their sniggers and sly comments. Maybe you found out some devastating news. But whatever it is, before you let yourself panic, answer this question. Will it matter in 6 months? The answer is most likely going to be no. You can always talk to your teacher and come to an arrangement, you probably won’t remember or care about what your classmates said and neither will they (especially as you don’t have to see them forever), and the devastating news might be resolved in a few months and it’ll be like nothing happened. There’s no point of driving yourself to panic if in a few months it won’t matter, as you’ll remember this moment regretfully, and wonder why you got so stressed.

5. You Will Survive

If all else fails, and you have to suffer a panic attack, just remember it happens all around the globe. You aren’t alone and even though it can affect you, you can’t die from it. It’s human nature to care and to get anxious, so having panic attacks may require help but it doesn’t make you weaker or more fearful than anyone else.

It just makes you human.

 

 

 

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Why I Am A Feminist

Whenever I am asked why I am a feminist, a certain moment that lit the fire inside me always springs to mind.

As women we all have a point in our lives where the role of sexism is brought to our attention, a point where we finally uncover the patriarchates views that have dominated our existence from the second we are born: the looming faces of our parents thinking ‘it’s just a girl’ to the second we die: funeral attendees silently whispering ‘it’s just a girl’.

My moment was when I was 15, for years I had been haunted by the idea of sexism in everyday society and had vowed to one day fight for others, but I hadn’t realised I had to fight for myself too until then. I hadn’t realised the suffocating volume of expectations in my own culture, in my own family. Until then.

It was around 10:00pm and I had crept downstairs only to find my mother sat staring into the distance on the verge of tears. I asked her about it and she simply said she went to my great – grandma’s house. Instantly I knew this woman had insulted her as she was the type to constantly put others down. Especially women.

I asked her what she had said and she was first reluctant to tell me, she never told me and I thought maybe it was because she was embarrassed, little did I know it was because she was protecting me from being hurt.

My mum had gotten up to go and while she hugged and kissed her grandma goodbye, she whispered in her ear ‘I’ll pray for you to have a son’.

Three things instantly boiled my blood: she knew my mother didn’t wish to have any more children, she knew it had been 16 years since she had me and so she had settled into only having the one child, and finally she knew my mother had failed in having more children (not just sons) but prevented by 3 miscarriages and 1 stillborn.

I knew why she had said it instantly because it had been said to millions of women, but I still asked why because I wanted the raw truth of this world to come out of the person’s mouth who gave me access to this demanding world.

‘Because she doesn’t value daughters as much as sons’.

For the first minute after that striking sentence I was grieving for the piece of my mum’s heart that had been punched before I realised… so had mine.

This wasn’t a family member I looked up to in any means, but every time I would visit her she would seem very nice and friendly and invested in my life. So discovering that I wasn’t enough and I wasn’t wanted to a person that had held me in the hospital on the night of my arrival and had watched me grow into the fine woman who I am: it stung me, it stung me deeply. And the wound hasn’t healed since.

I realised that every hour I had spent by her side, all she was wishing in her twisted mind, was that I was a strong independent king instead of a strong independent queen.

There was anger, but not because of what she said, but because of who said it.

A woman.

A woman who only said it because it was probably said to her so many times that it was engraved in her puppet – stringed mind, and came out naturally to the next generation of women thrown into this vicious circle.

I think the most eye-opening part of this moment was the fact that I was sort of glad, she wasn’t being the stereotypical woman keeping her mouth shut and avoiding anything that could be considered offensive. I just wish she could have screamed it at the men with blocked ears, instead of whispering it at the women with sensitive ones, women who she shouldn’t be shooting, but holding hands with.

Maybe if she was ever taught to do that instead, she could have passed that onto her daughters and her daughters’ daughter’s and finally to me.

Maybe if she had told my mother how proud she was of me and how I had grown into a strong independent queen, she could maybe have created three generations of women proud to be women instead of making them forever feel a sense of shame for not being born male.

Actually scrap maybe.

She most definitely would have.

And so that’s why I’m a feminist.

Because despite human history being filled with prejudices, it’s never too late to change.

Hopefully, I will be a great – grandma one day, and I will make sure I say to my great – grandkids (whatever gender they may be) what I wished mine had said to me because this generation isn’t for punching little girls hearts, knocking down self – worth and building inferior expectations then leaving them apologising for feeling that way.

And so together we can make sure no generation ever will be again.

Because every single girl deserves a sigh of relief that she was born safely, not a sigh of disappointment that she wasn’t born something else.