I know what a panic attack feels, it’s literally the end of everything we know. My heart starts beating rapidly, I start shaking uncontrollably, there’s an intense amount of uneasiness gliding in waves in my body and I become limp, it also becomes really hard to breathe and focus-and that’s when I know I am having a full blown panic attack. Ironically, I have had so many panic attacks in the past 5 years that I almost know when one is about to pay me a visit! Humph!
At some point in our lives, we all will experience a panic attack in our lives disrupting our day-to-day lives, BUT there is also a thing called night-time panic/anxiety attack. Panic attacks are always frightening, especially at the best of times when they occur unexpectedly in the middle of the night while you are trying to sleep. It’s funny how “night” is associated with a time that is supposed to relax you from a hard days work, but that’s exactly when your symptoms flare up and worsen.
MY SYMPTOMS OF NIGHT-TIME PANIC ATTACKS
The symptoms often appear when you’re overwhelmed. It could be personal or professional, constant worrying about something that’s bothering you or is unresolved, either way, their effects are drastic during the night. So, when I am or about to have a panic attack:
- I feel a sense of impending doom
- I toss and turn with an uneasy feeling in my chest
- I suffer from nausea and a constricted throat
- I worry and start having flashbacks of everything that is going wrong in my life
- I start having spasms and cramps with a dull ache in my body
- I cannot breathe and my heart starts racing like this is the end
- I almost feel like I’m having a nervous break-down
- I tear up and want to scream
TIPS ON HOW I ENDURE NIGHT-TIME PANIC ATTACKS
All too common for you too right, the symptoms? And it feels like there’s no tomorrow, and nobody can help you either because those 15 minutes of your life feel like forever, BUT they can be controlled, if not stopped. God knows I’ve been trying to lessen the recurrence of these attacks with some of these techniques, and to be honest, they have helped and made the experience slightly bearable. So, this is what I do? (and even though you may have heard and read of these tips before, BUT trust me, once you do, you realize how effective they are)
- RELAX. Irritating, but it’s comforting. I try to calm down my aching muscles and think of something happy and light, that makes me feel better. I usually think of my mother, or recite verses from the Holy Quran (works for me) that put me to ease.
- BREATHE slowly but deeply because breathing supplies oxygen to your brain and stimulates your nervous system which signals your brain to remain calm. Simple science!
- I start distracting myself with doing something, so either I get up and turn on tv, or I turn to my phone (even though it is recommended that you limit the usage of electronic devices) but I’d suggest that do something that makes you comfortable. Listening to music also helps people but I haven’t tried it yet so I cannot guarantee its effectiveness. However I have Yotube(d) calming music and it does bring your pacing and raging hormones to a low beat.
- I google ideas on how you can improve mental health by reading about other peoples experiences, and have used a couple of mental health apps. Although they are truly helpful, but I would not recommend one because you are able to judge what suits you best, however what I can assure is that some of these apps have miraculous results that change how you perceive panic attacks and anxiety, and help you in dealing with them as well.
- Drink a lot of water, you will end up going to the bathroom a zillion times, but it will help you flush out the toxins in your body and give you the much need calm that you crave before going back to sleep.
We all know what causes these panic attacks, from your relationships, to your genetics, professional woes and medical history are some of the causes, so what we need to do is focus on countering these night time panic attacks. Your brain is like a switch that is never off even while you’re asleep so anything that’s been keeping you groggy will manifest itself like a demon of the night and trigger your worries.
Even though these steps can help, it’s important that you seek professional support if your panic attacks are becoming more frequent. There are alternate ways to deal with panic attacks through clinical help (if you are unable to help yourself), never feel ashamed to ask for help, it’ll change you!