1. It’s Not Our Fault – There is a big chance that if you know a person that has Panic Disorder, it is inherited. That does not mean there is not environmental Panic Disorder, it just means large percentage of people who have Panic Disorder, inherited it. (Thanks mom and dad! But that doesn’t mean we are victims.)
2. We Don’t Want Attention – I love this myth. While it is true that some people do create drama and get attention. However, I promise you, if you know someone who really does have Panic Disorder, the LAST thing they want when the are having a panic attack is attention. In fact, the thought of panicking in public and having people notice is a trigger for most people who have this disorder.
3. Telling Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack to Calm Down or Relax Won’t Work – If someone you know is starting to panic and you stay something like, ” Oh just relax!” or “just stop worrying!” in a negative way, it is not helpful and can actually cause more stress to that person. On the other hand, if you truly are trying to help a person calm down, try speaking gently and help them to breath slowly.
4. Acting Like Panic Disorder Isn’t Real, Doesn’t Make It So – You may not understand Panic Disorder. You may think the person is over-reacting. The fact is, Panic Disorder is REAL. Instead of acting like is isn’t real, try doing some research online and maybe even find ways to help that person control their disorder.
5. People Who Have Panic Disorder Are Weak – The truth is, people who have Panic Disorder are anything but weak. We can’t be weak, we can’t afford it! We have to fight daily to do “normal” things that other people do without thinking about it. Getting on a plane, parachuting or fighting crocodiles may cause your heart to race and your breathing to get labored. What if riding in an elevator to the third floor did the same thing to you? For a person who has Panic Disorder, any trigger for that person can cause great stress, anxiety and even physical pain. Try living with that daily?
While there is more things that are unhelpful to say to a person in the midsts of a panic attack, these are some of the things I wanted to address in this post. They have come up over and over throughout the years since I was diagnosed with Panic Disorder. Saying such things can be so hurtful that a person that they can learn not to trust people who talk to them like this. If you really want to help a friend, family member or loved one live successfully with this disorder, research how you can help them through panic attacks and daily life. Doing so will benefit you and them!
Till Next Time,
Rebecca & The Gang
Finding Our New Normal