12 People On What Gets Them Through Panic Attacks

produced by Anna Jay; photographed by Eylul Aslan; produced by Meg O'Donnell.
Anyone who has gone through a panic attack can tell you how scary and debilitating they can be. You might start sweating, your heart starts beating faster, you're nauseous, and you might even feel as if you're choking. Some people even feel as if they're dying when they're experiencing a panic attack.
Suffice to say, those are pretty terrifying symptoms. But, just like there are plenty of ways people experience panic attacks, there are also a lot of ways to get through them. Read on for advice from 12 people on getting through a panic attack.
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If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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"Talk to a friend." — M.P., 26
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"Doodle. Nothing particular, but it usually ends up being little flowers and stars. I use a reference photo occasionally. I also talk to my twin sister since she and I are the same age, and she tends to understand me a little better." — Sonia, 23
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"There’s this GIF on google — just search anxiety breathing GIF. It’s a little graphic that helps you calm your breath in a panic attack. I also have a list of mantras that I say out loud to myself. Or an anxiety meditation video on YouTube." — Sofia, 22
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"Essential oils, breathing techniques, medication." — Jessica, 39
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"My worst panic attacks have occurred while driving by myself. When it happens, I try to calm myself down and breathe slowly. Usually I will put on a softer radio station, and I will always put on the air conditioner. Cold air helps me sometimes. If I'm alone, I will call my boyfriend or dad or sister, or a friend if they aren't available. If I am with people, then I will explain what is happening, and usually they are receptive and understand that either I need water and a few minutes or need to go home." — Rachel, 32
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"Breathing but if it doesn’t help, I take medication for my anxiety." — Ruth, 40
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"Go for long walks." — Rese, 29
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"Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, exhale 3 seconds, repeat." — Cassie, 25
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"I try to imagine that I am somewhere else for a few minutes, like on a beach dipping my toes in the sand. Then I open my eyes and just say to myself, I can do this, I can do this. and breath and repeat until I feel better. It's all about remaining calm, cool, and collective... and not freaking yourself out." — Brittany, 23
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"I try to take a walk, but more often than not I just have to let it happen until I get tired, then I fantasize about going to sleep for the rest of the day." — O., 22
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"Pray — especially Psalm 23." — Deann, 29
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"My mom normally notices it before I do and helps me calm down." — Anna, 16
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