Video: What NOT to Say to Someone Who is Having a Panic AttackYour intentions are pure. You want to help.

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.

For the World of Psychology post that inspired this video, click here. For more on understanding a loved one’s panic disorder, check out this guide.

Creative Commons License photo credit: vanessa_hutd