It always starts really innocuously. One inhalation in millions feels slightly rushed and you think, I know that feeling. That’s fear. I’m about to have a panic attack.
And you know from experience that panic attacks are scary in and of themselves so you get worried that you’re having an attack. You try to press it down – you’re on your own right now, there’s no one here to help you – but, obviously, that doesn’t help.
And as you start to feel sick and look for something steady and safe, somewhere in the back of your mind comes this little voice that says, you’re doing this on purpose. You’re doing this for attention. You just want to be special.
Pay no attention to the voice. Plug in your headphones with whatever music makes you feel calm, feel powerful, feel happy. Breathe deeply. Chew gum. Phone your best friend – whatever works. Nobody would do this to themselves on purpose. Which means you don’t want to panic.
Which is the first step to beating the attacks.