Panic attacks after a death in your life?

| 29/09/2015

panicattackWhen someone we love dies we grieve and grief is made up of many negative reactions and emotions. Panic attacks can be one of those reactions which are perhaps not so common, but I know that some people experience them because I was one of those people.

When I was in deep grief I suddenly developed strange and worrying symptoms which included shortness of breath and shaking uncontrollably. These episodes can also include feeling confused or disorientated, rapid heartbeats, dry mouth, sweating, dizziness and chest pain. The symptoms of a panic attack normally peak within 10 minutes. Most episodes (attacks) will last for between five minutes and half an hour.

I found myself unable to function during these episodes and would end up in a heap on the floor choking, sobbing violently and feeling confused as to what was happening.

If you are experiencing symptoms that sound like you could be having panic attacks I am in complete sympathy and empathy with you so I have gathered the following information to help you:

Professor Paul Salkovskis, a psychologist at King’s College London, says it’s important not to let your fear of panic attacks control you: “Panic attacks always pass and the symptoms are not a sign of anything harmful happening,” he says: “It’s important not to restrict your movements and daily activities.”
He goes on to say: “During an attack you experience a whole range of frightening symptoms, and worrying thoughts may go through your mind. Many people have a sense of impending disaster, and think they’re going to faint, lose control or even die,” says Salkovskis. “You need to tell yourself that this is not going to happen and the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety.” He says don’t look for distractions: “Ride out the attack. Try to keep doing things. If possible, don’t leave the situation until the anxiety has subsided. Confront your fear. If you don’t run away from it, you’re giving yourself a chance to discover that nothing’s going to happen. As the anxiety begins to pass, start to focus on your surroundings and continue to do what you were doing before. If you’re having a short, sudden panic attack it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about,” says Salkovskis. “There’s no quick fix, but if your attacks are happening time after time, seek medical help.”

Personally I didn’t feel the need to seek medical help as these episodes didn’t continue for very long and literally just stopped one day. The reason was probably because I decided to get proactive and discovered a way to completely recover from my grief.

Remember panic attacks aren’t  permanent. They pass, and are not a symptom of any underlying serious condition.

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Category: death, grief, healing

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