Panic attacks are no easy thing to deal with. When a supporter wants to help someone going through panic attacks it’s important to understand the 3 types of stress responses, and which one is the most common with the panic attack sufferer.
With the fighter you’ll recognize a high amount of fighting against the thoughts, feelings, and the environment they’re having the panic attack in. Fighters tend to raise their voice, feel tension in their jaw and neck, use strict and strong movements, show a high level of impatience, and lock eyes strongly with their target. Guided imagery can truly help a fight-er find freedom.
As someone looking to help someone going through panic attacks, it’s important to understand how to react to a fighter.
- Don’t – Try and undermine their authority (interrupting or questioning what they say), annoy them, or laugh at them.
- Do – Listen, accept, explain, offer solutions – if the fighter has nothing to fight against he will back off
A flight-er looks to take off away from the environment their currently in, and even looks for exit signs and doors to leave an environment prior to a entering (just in case). A flight-er consistently programs his/her subconscious mind to become sensitized to many different environments, thus slowly making their comfort zones more and more of a priority.
If you know someone who is a flight-er, watch this video. And understand this:
- No closed questions to someone in flight mode (questions that lead to a yes or no reply). Don’t shout at them either.
- Do give them open questions that begin activating the pre frontal cortex, show them that they are open to choose and have options, use humour.
- If the flight-er has nothing to flee from he will be present again
The freeze-er is someone who experiences a decrease in heart rate, feeling frozen to the fear and immobilized. Any kind of quick or lengthy action is denied by a freez-er as this can be one of the most frustrating type of stress response for a supporter to help with. Life coaching for anxiety can help with this stress response greatly.
To help someone going through panic attacks in the freeze mode…
- Don’t push for being courageous and utilizing willpower. Don’t try and pump them up or wake them up.
- Do Match or mirror his or her body language. Respect the fact that the freezer won’t be willing to talk. Speak in a soft and slow manner. Discuss small baby’s steps forward. If the free-zer slowly and gently begins to see through the fear they will expand their perspectives and actions
No matter what, to help someone going through panic attacks don’t allow yourself to get caught up. Caught up in the thoughts and emotional states of the sufferer. Or else you are no help to them anymore.