Whether you have had PTSD for a long time, or you have been recently diagnosed, it is likely that you have experienced panic attacks.
Something happens to trigger you, and all of a sudden, you feel your heart start to beat faster. Your breathing feels shallow. Your mind starts to race, and your thoughts feel out of control. You might feel like you are going to pass out. You start looking for the door...
Does that sound familiar? That is how I feel when I start to have a panic attack triggered by my PTSD.
According to The Mayo Clinic,
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you're losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.
When I tried to find help for my panic attacks, most sources said to just wait until they were over, and that panic attacks only last 3-5 minutes.
However, that wasn't my experience.
Sometimes, it would take days for me to feel completely better.
So, I had to develop ways on my own to cope with the panic and get feeling better. I developed a panic attack script that I use every time I have a panic attack, so that I can calm down more quickly.
Now, instead of feeling upset for days, I can calm down in about an hour and get back to my day.
I have also reduced the frequency of my panic attacks from several times a week, to once a month or less.
Since I had to develop coping mechanisms through trial and error, with the help of my therapist, I wanted to share the coping mechanisms that I have learned with others who are in the same situation.
That is how the "Trauma Survivor's Guide to Coping With Panic Attacks" was born. I wrote the book that I wish I would have had to guide me through my own panic attacks.
It is a short guide that is intended to help you prepare for what you will do when you have a panic attack.
It will walk you through:
Symptoms of PTSD and cPTSD, for if you have not been formally diagnosed
Tips to advocate for your own mental health
Overview of panic attack symptoms
Coping with panic attacks
Panic Attack Script
Tips for reducing the frequency of panic attacks
A resource list for additional help
Panic Attack Card
The book is only 64 pages long, which includes interactive workbook pages. So, you will be able to get through it quickly, and be able to start using these coping strategies right away!
Since I have put this book out, I have gotten positive feedback from other PTSD sufferers. One reader has told me that she read the book four times!
ꜱᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ꜰɪʀꜱᴛ ᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ ᴍʏ ᴀᴛᴛᴇɴᴛɪᴏɴ ᴡᴀꜱ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴇᴀᴜᴛɪꜰᴜʟ ᴄᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ ꜰᴇᴇʟ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴏᴋ. ᴍᴏᴠɪɴɢ ᴏɴ ɪ ɪɴɪᴛɪᴀʟʟʏ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ɪᴛ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅɴ’ᴛ ᴛᴀᴋᴇ ʟᴏɴɢ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴀꜱ ɪᴛ ᴏɴʟʏ ʜᴀꜱ 47 ᴘᴀɢᴇꜱ. ʜᴏᴡᴇᴠᴇʀ ɪ ᴡᴀꜱ ᴡʀᴏɴɢ ᴀꜱ ɪᴛ ᴘʟᴇᴀꜱᴀɴᴛʟʏ ᴄᴏᴍᴍᴀɴᴅᴇᴅ ᴍʏ ᴀᴛᴛᴇɴᴛɪᴏɴ. ᴛʜᴇ ᴀᴜᴛʜᴏʀ ʜᴀꜱ ꜱᴇᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴏɴᴇ ᴇxᴀᴄᴛʟʏ ʀɪɢʜᴛ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴇᴅᴜᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ ɢᴜɪᴅᴇ ɴᴏᴛ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ᴛᴏᴏ ɪɴᴛᴇʟʟᴇᴄᴛᴜᴀʟ/ᴏᴠᴇʀᴡʜᴇʟᴍɪɴɢ ʙᴜᴛ ᴀʟꜱᴏ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛᴏᴏ ꜱɪᴍᴘʟɪꜱᴛɪᴄ. ɪᴛ ᴅᴏᴇꜱɴ’ᴛ ᴄᴏᴍᴇ ᴀᴄʀᴏꜱꜱ ᴀꜱ ᴘʀᴇᴛᴇɴᴛɪᴏᴜꜱ, ɪɴꜱᴛᴇᴀᴅ ɪᴛ ɪꜱ ᴀɴ ʜᴏɴᴇꜱᴛ, ɢᴇɴᴜɪɴᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀᴜᴛʜᴇɴᴛɪᴄ ᴀᴄᴄᴏᴜɴᴛ ᴏꜰ ʜᴇʀ ᴏᴡɴ ᴇxᴘᴇʀɪᴇɴᴄᴇꜱ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴍᴇɴᴛᴇᴅ ʙʏ ꜰᴀᴄᴛᴜᴀʟ ɪɴꜰᴏʀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴ. ᴄᴘᴛꜱᴅ, ᴘᴛꜱᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴀɴɪᴄ ᴀꜱꜱᴏᴄɪᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʙᴏᴛʜ ᴀʀᴇ ᴅɪꜱᴄᴜꜱꜱᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴅɪꜰꜰᴇʀᴇɴᴛ ᴘᴇʀꜱᴘᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇꜱ ɢɪᴠᴇɴ ᴀꜱ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴀᴜᴛʜᴏʀ ꜱᴀʏꜱ ɴᴏᴛ ᴀʟʟ ᴘᴀɴɪᴄ ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋꜱ ᴀʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ꜱᴀᴍᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀʏꜱ ᴛᴏ ʜᴇʟᴘ ʏᴏᴜʀꜱᴇʟꜰ. ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ᴅᴏᴇꜱɴ’ᴛ ᴅɪᴄᴛᴀᴛᴇ ᴛᴏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ ʙᴜᴛ ɪɴꜱᴛᴇᴀᴅ ɢɪᴠᴇꜱ ʏᴏᴜ ᴛᴏᴏʟꜱ ꜰᴏʀ ᴍᴀɴᴀɢɪɴɢ ʏᴏᴜʀ ᴏᴡɴ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴇʟʟ-ʙᴇɪɴɢ ɪɴ ᴀᴅᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴ ᴛᴏ ᴡʜᴇɴ ʏᴏᴜ ᴍᴀʏ ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴘʀᴏꜰᴇꜱꜱɪᴏɴᴀʟ ʜᴇʟᴘ. ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ɪꜱ ᴀ ʜᴇʟᴘꜰᴜʟ ʟɪꜱᴛ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴇꜱᴛ ᴏɴʟɪɴᴇ ‘ᴄᴏᴜɴꜱᴇʟʟɪɴɢ’ ꜱᴇʀᴠɪᴄᴇꜱ ᴀꜱ ꜱᴜɢɢᴇꜱᴛᴇᴅ ʙʏ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜʟɪɴᴇ’ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀ ʟɪꜱᴛ ᴏꜰ ᴀᴅᴅɪᴛɪᴏɴᴀʟ ʀᴇꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇꜱ ᴇɴᴅɪɴɢ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴀ ‘ᴘᴀɴɪᴄ ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ ꜱᴄʀɪᴘᴛ’ ᴀɴᴅ ‘ᴘᴀɴɪᴄ ᴀᴛᴛᴀᴄᴋ ᴄᴀʀᴅ’ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴍᴀʏ ᴘʀᴏᴠᴇ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ᴠᴇʀʏ ᴜꜱᴇꜰᴜʟ ꜰᴏʀ ᴛʜᴏꜱᴇ ꜱᴜꜰꜰᴇʀɪɴɢ. ᴛʜᴇ ᴀᴜᴛʜᴏʀ ɪꜱ ᴀᴍᴇʀɪᴄᴀɴ ꜱᴏ ɪᴛ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʙᴇ ꜰᴀʙᴜʟᴏᴜꜱ ɪꜰ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏᴏᴋ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ᴛᴏ ɪɴᴄʟᴜᴅᴇ ʀᴇꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇꜱ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀʀᴇ ʀᴇʟᴇᴠᴀɴᴛ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴜɴᴛʀʏ ʏᴏᴜ ᴀʀᴇ ʀᴇᴀᴅɪɴɢ ɪᴛ, ʙᴜᴛ ɪ’ᴍ ꜱᴜʀᴇ ɪɴ ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴛʜɪꜱ ᴡɪʟʟ ʜᴀᴘᴘᴇɴ. ꜱᴏᴍᴇ ʙᴏᴏᴋꜱ ɪ ᴀᴍ ᴀꜱᴋᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʀᴇᴠɪᴇᴡ ɪ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ɪ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴅᴇꜰɪɴɪᴛᴇʟʏ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴀɢᴀɪɴ. ᴛʜɪꜱ ᴏɴᴇ ʜᴀꜱ ᴀʟʀᴇᴀᴅʏ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ ᴍᴇ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴄʟɪᴇɴᴛꜱ ɪ ᴄᴏᴜɴꜱᴇʟ ᴀɴᴅ ᴡʜᴇᴛʜᴇʀ ᴀɴʏ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴍᴀʏ ʙᴇ ᴇxᴘᴇʀɪᴇɴᴄɪɴɢ ᴀɴʏ ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴇꜱᴇ ɪꜱꜱᴜᴇꜱ. ɪᴛ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴀ ʀᴇꜰᴇʀᴇɴᴄᴇ ɢᴜɪᴅᴇ ꜰᴏʀ ᴍᴇ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ꜰᴜᴛᴜʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴅɪᴘᴘɪɴɢ ɪɴᴛᴏ ᴏɴ ᴀ ʀᴇɢᴜʟᴀʀ ʙᴀꜱɪꜱ, ᴏꜰ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪ ᴀᴍ ᴠᴇʀʏ ɢʀᴀᴛᴇꜰᴜʟ
Thanks to this feedback from Nicola, I also created a UK edition of this book, with resources and diagnostic criteria specific to the UK.
Have additional questions about the Trauma Survivor's Guide to Coping With Panic Attacks or how you can use this in your life? Let me know in the comments!