How do I respond to people who tell me to "just calm down, it's not that bad" when I'm having a panic attack?
Last Updated: 08/06/2018 at 7:30pm
Penny Dahlen, Ed.D., LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I am committed to helping you find your passion, heal old wounds, and flow smoother in all aspects of your life path! I use a compassionate listening approach.
Top Rated Answers
It helps if you calmly say 'What you're telling me isn't helping me at all. If you want to support me, please ask questions on how to distract me from my anxiety' or walk away and find another way to distract yourself.
People who don't have panic attacks themselves don't understand them. They mean well and just assume it's easy to calm down from when it isn't. Just realize that they will never understand your situation and deep down they are just trying to help you out.
I can't calm down ! it's like telling someone wounded not to bleed! i'm feel like i'm about to have a heart attack and my chest is hurting me and can't breathe well,so i just can't calm down.
Tell them for them it isnt that bad , but you dont understand what it feels like to have your breath feel like its bing taken away and having your heart beat so fast that your gunna pass out tell them that is anxiety and it is a mental illness and you cant just "calm down" Because your body is on autopilot whe this happends
Tell them that it's not easy to "just calm down". Remind them why you're feeling anxious, and maybe they'll be able to talk you through it.
Tell them, it is bad to you, or you wouldn't be reacting badly. Also tell them, saying that isnt making anything better, and they are dismissing your feelings as stupid.
Explain that minimizing your anxiety will only worsen your feelings and that panic attacks are very scary and that you need to have people around you who support and understand what you're going through.
Get away from them. I have witnessed a panic attack and I know it's bad. If you can get away from them, then ignore them.
As they are trying to understand what you are going trough, understand that they might have no idea of what you are going through, you have in mind that they are only trying to help in the what they can.
I respond to people who tell me to "calm down, it's not that bad" when having a panic attack by acknowledging it is not their fault that they are uneducated and inexperienced in panic attacks. So, my response is calm and just letting the person know what pain I have to deal with during a panic attack and how hard it is to recover from one. To them it may looks like I am going "crazy", but in my head a million thoughts are racing, I can't breath, and my heart is beating faster than a cheetah. In my head, it is that bad. The people who tell me this should not be speaking on matters that they do not understand.
Tell them what you want them do to at the moment, if you want them to be quiet, tell them, do you want them to get some water, tell them, try to make them clear what they can do so you get help in a way you like to get helped
If they aren't being helpful, I ask them to leave me alone. I can handle it better on my own than with someone who isn't supportive.
Understand that all they're trying to do is bring you back to the reality, many times panic attacks can be fuelled by overthinking or unrealistic fear. Ask them to give you a break if it helps, and see if you can bring yourself to think more rationally or clearly
That's tough, especially since it's difficult to respond at all during a panic attack sometimes. Maybe consider ignoring them at the time, but later speaking to them about how that phrase is not really helpful and actually makes you feel worse. It's difficult for people who haven't experienced a panic attack to understand what it's really like, so they may think they're helping.
Hello, just don't responde when you're having a panic attack, focus on getting pass it first. If they're people close to you (family) maybe they should read more about that topic or visit a therapist so he/she could explain what's happening to you and learn to manage the attacks properly. Hope you get better!
Don't respond, allow yourself to feel what you feel. Reflect on it later and discuss it with a cooler head.
Ignore them. simple answer but i know it's not that easy to do. They are in the wrong and should show more empathy. When you feel you can, maybe tell them a bit about what triggers you to help them understand.
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