Panic attacks can happen to anyone at any time of the day. You could be in your house with your family, in a party with all your friends, on an airplane with strangers around, or in your car in the middle of the highway -alone-. Panic attacks were never easy to handle. However, having someone by your side that knows your condition (or simply having someone to help you) somehow makes it better.
But what if there”s no one to help you right in the middle of your panic attack? To add to the that, what if you’re driving? Here are some of the things you could do when experiencing Panic Attack while driving:
1. Check yourself – rate your panic attack from mild to severe. Can you still manage to drive without making sudden/wrong turns? If yes, you may proceed. If not, pull over to the nearest but safest place you could find. When already there, do not run. Call someone and wait. NEVER run outside. You may get out and find some place safe, but inform your friends/family/authority about it.
2. Drive anyway – If you truly believe you can handle it, drive anyway (but drive safely). Try not to get overwhelmed by your panic attack and keep on moving (safely). By doing so, you are overcoming your panic and would gradually get over it. The next time you drive, you’ll know that you can handle it.
3. Get distracted – It’s important to focus on driving, but listening to music or podcast can distract you from thinking about your panic attack. The main goal is to try to ‘forget’ your panic attack.
4. Hold your breath – We usually breath really fast and ingest as much air as we can when in panic. Truth is, the feeling of lack of air when we panic is not because of lack of air. It’s because of too much air. Try to breath normally. Control your breathing and develop a pattern if possible.
5. Try to control your emotion – This could be the hardest, but the most effective. Panic attacks affect our emotion, but if we can control our emotion, we can reduce the risk of panic attacks. Think of happy thoughts, focus on other things, decide on what to eat for dinner, the shoes to wear for an upcoming party, or any other thought that could shift your mind from your panic attack.
Try not to drive alone next time. Keep company especially when driving to far places. It is always safer when you have somebody around to help you. Always remember that prevention is better than cure. Take proper medications and emotionally preparing yourself before your trip is very important. Always drive safely and take note of the list above.
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