This might sound like a trivial and quite lame advice or you might think, well, that is much easier said that done. And you are right! It is bloody hard to let go but it was one of the most important steps that I had to take in order to get better.
I will give you a specific example so this does not sound so vague.
I was sat at a restaurant. Food already ordered. It was a busy place, quite loud. Then the starters came in and I started to feel this well-known, uncomfortable feeling of anxiety that would overwhelm me, unable me to think about anything else and create a knot in my stomach that would make me feel physically sick.
Usually, the automatic response to that would be embarrassment, worsened mood or walking off to the toilet trying to calm down, which usually never works.
On many occasions before, I would suffer through it and often end up not eating anything. However, that time, we decided to leave everything behind and just walk off.
It was a horrible moment, because I was feeling ashamed for leaving, bad for the waiters, I did not want the food to be wasted, bla bla. But I also realised one essential thing: I cannot allow the situation or environment to affect me. I am the sole master of how I feel and if I don’t feel right I should just let go.
This can be applied to situations when you are in public. For instance, loud restaurant, busy shopping centre. If the place gives you anxiety and you feel like it is making it worse, then leave.
Or if you are inside, for example, go outside. Get some fresh air.
If environment is not the main inhibitor, then try to look at your situation from a distance. This is quite difficult and requires practice but if you manage to do that it is a liberating experience.
So for example, you are at home and you can feel the panic attack coming. Try to create a distance between yourself and your anxiety. Think about the many times you had it before and how it always went away. Try to minimise the feeling and visualise the attack as something insignificant that does not affect you and will disappear without leaving any mental scars.
At this point, it is important to say that ‘letting go’ is not really a panic attack management as much as it is a state of mind. It is a continuous practice of positive thinking and ability to let go and don’t take things or yourself too seriously. But when you master it, then you will truly be the master of yourself.
BUT, important to say, this would usually not work on its own. At least not for me.
Hence … next I will talk about Meditation.
For the time being, BREATHE&SMILE.