Panic attacks can be scary both for the person who is experiencing it and also for anyone who may be witnessing it. During a particularly challenging and stressful time in our lives, we talked with our therapist about a panic attack episode that happened. She made a few suggestions for what to do if a panic attack happened again. They included actions that would force the body into having a bigger threat or pain to deal with, thus forcing the mind and body to focus on something other than panicking. A couple things she suggested were to keep an orange in the freezer and when the panic attack came on, to hold the frozen orange in the hands. Another suggestion was to do wall squats in order to feel the pain and pressure in the legs. This would make the mind and body focus on the pain and pressure rather than panicking.
So the next time a panic attack came, Colt tried the frozen orange thing and it didn’t really work. It took too long to register that the frozen object in the hand needed immediate attention from the mind and body. By the time it got to being an emergency for the mind and body to have to deal with, his hands were pretty frozen.
When the next panic attack came just a few days later, first I held him and assured him that I loved him. I did not want to leave him to get something from the freezer, but I knew I had to. I let him know that I would be right back. When I came back with a small bag of frozen vegetables, I gently lifted up the back of his shirt and put the vegetables right on his bare back. He immediately jumped and started laughing. It took him right out of the panic attack!!
There were another one or two panic attacks that came after that where I grabbed the vegetables and surprised him, which stopped the panic attack. Several months later, he had another panic attack. I left Colt to go get a bag of frozen vegetables. He wasn’t in panic mode when I got back because he knew what I was doing and had run away laughing.
I was so happy to know the reason behind our therapist’s suggestions and that I was able to take that reason and come up with a solution that fit our needs better.
I hope this helps you or your loved one when dealing with panic attacks. Remember, in order to get them out of it, their body must experience a different but greater threat to the mind and body. A bag of frozen vegetables did the trick for us in an easy and harmless way.