I’ve talked briefly about the fact that during my divorce, I began to suffer from the occasional panic attack. At the time, it came from a feeling of being burdened by responsibility when I was in no position to be responsible for much at all. It was hard enough to run my business and wake up every morning – anything else was impossible.
Two years later, I still get affected by the occasional anxiety attack. Usually it’s very minor, but sometimes it’s a full-blown onslaught of anxiety that has me deep breathing in the fetal position under my desk. Some of my triggers are a loss of control, a feeling of helplessness, or even a furiously overworking mind developing hypothetical scenario after scenario that lead to me being unhappy and miserable. Over time, I’ve learned to control these attacks completely, and I thought I would share my tactics with you.
Not all of these will work for everyone and many of them won’t work for you, but if you are suffering from a panic attack, I’d suggest pulling up this post and trying each activity on the list until you feel better. Trust me, I’m a doctor*.
- Take an anti-anxiety drug. I take Klonopin, and I find it works well because it makes me fall asleep almost immediately, especially if I take it rectally. Just as long as I remove it from the bottle first.
- Punch a nun. The relaxation that is involved with doing something really terrible to a nice lady who loves Jesus cannot be found in any other way.
- Breathe deeply. This is especially effective if you’re inhaling from a bong or hookah, or if you happen to be underwater.
- Distract yourself. Pick any random Youtube video and read the comments. The sense of despair that will be derived from your resulting lack of faith in humanity will help shift that anxiety to something more suicidal, which, while not an improvement, is at least different.
- Rationalize your anxiety away. I find that telling myself, “Adam, you’re being stupid. You can’t control it and all you’re doing is making it worse. Relax and look at this logically” helps immensely in reducing anxiety, especially if I simultaneously slam my head into the wall repeatedly until I achieve unconsciousness.
- Punch a ninja. Ninja cannot be found, so the effort you put into finding one to punch will take all of your energy and concentration, and you’ll be anxiety-free in no time. Unless your panic attack was triggered by the fear of not finding a ninja, in which case, don’t do this.
- Invent a time machine, go back in time, and slap yourself in the face before you start to get anxious. This works every time.
- Embrace the anxiety. Why not just treat it like a mondo gnarly wave that you’re about to ride, brosef? (I assume that’s how the lingo works, having never surfed anything in my entire life.) Make it a game – see how many times you have trouble catching your breath and how many times the room darkens, and give yourself a prize if you beat the score from the last panic attack! Personally, I prefer to get in my car when my anxiety is building and drive really fast at night with the lights off, then just let it rip.
- Eat bacon. This doesn’t really help with anxiety. I just think everybody needs to eat more bacon.
- Realize that you’re not in control of anything. Anxiety can be escalated by the thought that something is going to happen or is happening that you cannot control. By realizing that any control is an illusion, that you actually have no control over anything, and that a meteor could crash from space right on your head and kill you right now and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, you-ohhhhh boy. We’re all doomed. Fuck fuck fuck fuck. I can’t breathe. Never mind. Forget this one.
- Go for a walk. By exercising and increasing your blood flow, your body will do something something that will make you feel happier and better by something something – I don’t know, I’m not your health teacher. I assume it’s just magic.
- Write a post that gives fake advice about preventing panic attacks. Or, a really bad poem about it might work, too. But not haiku. Never haiku.
Good luck with your anxiety, and remember that it will be okay. Life will be fine and you will be okay, even if you don’t get that job and your dog doesn’t come home and your mom is still mad at you and nobody will love you and you’ll die soon and the world could end at any moment and we’re going to run out of fossil fuels and you’ll always be alone and africanized bees might kill you and you might get bird flu and they might stop making Coke Zero and everybody is looking at you and you shouldn’t have cut your hair that short and you had a booger in your nose all day and you forgot to take your birth control and that’s a gray hair and it’s thundering outside and nobody will remember you when you die and did you just rip your pants and you just sent that private email to everyone by accident and you might screw up at that presentation tomorrow and you will have to live in your car if you can’t pay your bills and it happens to everyone and that car almost hit you on the interstate and life is bleak and there’s no point to anything and it’s all too hard and all of your friends are probably talking about you behind your back and oh God I need to go lay down under my desk.
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