Anxiety Over Re-Opening: When a Party Causes a Panic Attack
Despite the pandemic, you may find yourself invited to a party, even one that is following the proper safety guidelines. However, if you have experienced anxiety in the past, you may not feel too comfortable with going out just yet and there could be a chance that a party may cause a panic attack.
Before you leave for the party, you can look up ways to cope with your anxiety in creative ways, especially if you have tried other methods.
BetterHelp also provides a plethora of articles on overcoming anxiety, such as ways to manage potential panic attacks. These quick resources can help you reduce your anxiety a great deal, but may not stop a panic attack in the moment, especially at a party.
If you are willing to give the rest of the article a fair read, the following tips may help you overcome your panic attack and still enjoy the rest of the party.
The following contains some pieces of advice that might work for people with anxiety, but keep this warning in mind: if you experience anxiety or panic attacks, you may have individual needs unique to you, and you should consider seeing a mental health professional to get personalized diagnoses and treatment plans.
Don’t fight the feeling
If you have a sudden panic attack, try not to fight the feeling. While the advice sounds counterintuitive, if try to fend off your feeling, you may focus more on the panic attack, which could make it worse.
Try acknowledging that you are having a panic attack, rather than trying to stop it immediately. Try to focus your attention away from your panic attack.
Not focusing on your panic attack can require concentration and a firm belief that you can get out of your situation. It may take practice, and at the onset, you may focus on the panic attack. But so long as you try, you may shorten your panic attack in due course.
Get yourself to a safe place
The next step is stepping away from where you are right now. If you are at a party, you could leave for a few minutes and get some fresh air. If that is not an option, try going to a quiet place, such as an unoccupied bathroom.
You could also use noise-canceling headphones if you cannot move away. They might block out the party’s noise, allowing you to fully concentrate on yourself and your mental health.
The overall goal is to find a quiet, comfortable place where you can freely use coping mechanisms to reduce the length of your panic attack. If you are in a loud environment or if patrons are bothering you, your panic attack may worsen.
Once you are in your quiet space, try to practice mindfulness by performing breathing exercises. However, try not to take too deep of breaths to stop your panic.
Instead, focus on your breathing and pay attention to how you take in and exhale air. Try to practice this form of mindfulness without judgment, and only focus on your breathing.
According to Scott Bea, PsyD, practicing mindfulness takes practice. The exercise is about accepting your panic attack and letting the episode run its course, while you are focusing on the present.
In other words, you are trying not to change the attack, but rather, trying to endure it in the safest way possible.
Ask for help if you need it
Lastly, after you have calmed down and gotten control over your emotions, ask for help if you need it. Get a friend’s attention and talk about your recent episode. They may take you home or go to another quiet place so you can freely express your emotions.
If you did not come with a friend, try approaching a trusted individual, such as a bartender, the host of the party, coworkers, or anyone who you may see as trustworthy. These individuals may call a cab for you or lead you to a quiet space where you can relax.
Overcoming your panic attack
Trying to practice mindfulness and not focusing on your panic attack may take practice. But, through your determination to see through your attack to the end, you can leave the party safely and feel at ease. Consider attending regular therapy sessions if you need help managing symptoms of anxiety, like panic attacks.