It might be your friend, your spouse, or one of your parents. It might be a co-worker, your sister, or your child.
If you’ve never had a panic attack, however, it can be difficult to imagine how panic feels. Thus, it can be difficult to comfort someone who is legitimately panicking.
In a way, I can only speak for myself. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a therapist. I’m just another woman with panic disorder, after all.
But thankfully, I’ve established a pretty large support network in my nine or so years of dealing with panic. Friends, family members, and internet acquaintances all seem to agree on one thing: “help” can sometimes hurt.
The quotation marks are intentional. To the non-panicker, “just calm down” might be the first phrase to trip out of your mouth during a friend’s surprise panic attack. We know you mean well — really, we do.
But phrases like that have the potential to fan the fight-or-flight flames. Find out how in today’s video:
To everyone who took the time to watch this video: thank you for taking a solid step toward better understanding and supporting someone you love.
This post currently has
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.
No trackbacks yet to this post.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Aug 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Beretsky, S. (2012). Video: What NOT to Say to Someone Who is Having a Panic Attack. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/08/18/video-what-not-to-say-to-someone-who-is-having-a-panic-attack/