- For the past three years I have dealt with various mental health issues. One of the most significant is crippling anxiety attacks. They last anywhere from 15/20min at their shortest to about an hour and a half I think was my longest. Basically I hyperventilate, my muscles tense up exhaustting me, and I don't get enouygh oxygeen thus going into a borderline uuncontious state (eyes roll into head, cant respond, eyelids shut etc). It sounds dramatic and looks like it, but I've had enough that although they aren't great, they just kind of are. Not all are like mine, and mine aren't exactly random. Main triggers are large crowded spaces and loud and/or sudden noises (ie fireworks etc). With medication and thearapyy (+time) it is mostly under control, but once every few months (up from 3-5x a week at my worst)I have a big one. Smaller minor ones happen that last only a few secconds/minutes that I can controll much easier (Like if someone slams a door unexpectedly etc). Stress and Unexpected Sounds Combined usually leads to the big ones, seperate those wo things and I get a smaller one, have neither and I am fine.
So how to help?
FROM MY EXPERIENCE ONLY
If you see someone having a Panic Attack/Anxiety Attack,
- Call for help + Look for medical ID / On person note (I keep a note with instructions like this in my wallet in case I have a breakdown in public)
- Get them to a comfortable + slight bit more private area (Evereone watching makes + a big scene makes the anxiety way worse) (Also if it is dark, light it up as the paranoia can make you thin you are seeing people outside windows watching at night etc)
- Low Key prevent any self harm (Unintentional or Otherwise) Rubbing/Hitting/Scratching of self can occur so prevent this, but don't heavily restrain as this may be interpreted as agression in the heightened awareness (Fight/Fligt/Freeze) State
- Wait it out (Tell them they are okay and it will eventually end, don't be super pushy as noise sensitivity is definetly a thing)
- Get them a drink for dehydration, and possibly a blanket for post attack coldness (detensing muscles + sweat evaporating (especially if in an air conditioined room) can be quite cold!), and help with any cuts etc
- Get them to where they need to be next (Medical Staff, Their Home, Their Car, A Cab, etc), they are probably a sweaty tired mess so not exactly in ship shape
- Panic Yourself
- Do the whole "Paper Bag Thing™" This basically felt like them attacking me and they heavily restrained me which felt like an attack making things way scarier and worse
So thats my bit, hope it helps, and don't feel awkward about asking any questions!