With the holiday season soon upon us many of us will be spending some time with seldom-seen family and friends. Family get together’s are stressful enough for most people in at least some respects with possible travel, gifts, food, and hosting issues involved. But if you have an anxiety or panic disorder the whole experience can make things stressful enough for you to trigger anxiety & panic attacks.
If you think you’re likely to have some problems it may not be a bad idea to explain these issues to your family and friends in advance of the holidays. By doing so you may be able to defuse much of your anticipatory anxiety over such events. Katharina Star at about.com has some suggestions for you:
Explaining Anxiety And Panic Disorders: Panic disorder is a real and diagnosable type of mental health condition known as an anxiety disorder. The main symptom of panic disorder is panic attacks.
Clarifying what panic attacks are:
Panic attacks involve many physical and emotional symptoms. When I have a panic attack, I get chest pain, my heart races, I sweat a lot, I feel afraid, and _________ (add any symptoms that you often experience with panic attacks).
Sometimes when I have a panic attack I feel as though I am having a heart attack or dying. Please get emergency medical help if I ever ask for it because I would rather be safe than ignore a potentially serious issue.
I have unexpected panic attacks, meaning that I can have a panic attack at any time without notice; there is not any type of situation that causes them.
I have expected panic attacks whenever I ________ (drive, fly in an airplane, leave my home, or whatever type of situation often causes you to have a panic attack).
The truth is that most people who have never experienced anxiety or panic attacks before are probably misinformed about what the condition is and how it affects us. Make sure you emphasize the fact that the common belief that we are ‘over-reacting’ to a set of circumstances when we have anxiety and panic attacks is completely false.
Explaining anxiety and panic attacks and how they personally affect you – including the challenges these problems present, even among family and friends, is big step and can go along way toward your recovery.