Before I begin this blog post, I’d like to let you know that this is quite a personal thing for me to write, but I wanted to share this with you as I’m hoping that if you’re reading this as a panic attack sufferer, I may help you in some way. Alternatively, if you are reading this and you know someone who suffers with panic attacks, I hope I can help you get a better understanding and display ways in which you can show support.

Anxiety is an awful emotion to feel, a feeling that cannot be controlled & you are unaware of it creeping up on you. Different levels of anxiety lie in all of us all the time. From a simple thing like “Oh no, I’ve got school/work tomorrow” to something a lot more nerve wracking like a scary job interview or waiting for your appointment at the dentist (I know I’m not the only one). Although anxiety lies in all of us, It affects people in different ways. When we’re stressed, our anxiety levels are much higher and some of us become a lot more sensitive to it. For those of you who are calm, collected and pretty fearless, you will have a much lower anxiety threshold. (I am jealous
of those of you who are like this)

Extremely high levels of anxiety, can, in a lot of people, cause panic attacks, whether you are aware of your anxiety or not.

I’ve suffered with panic attacks for 6 and a half years, and so i’m writing this blog post for those of you who struggle to understand, feel alone, need advice or need someone else to understand.

It’s understandable that not everybody “gets” what a panic attack is. In fact i’m pretty sure more people don’t understand than do, which is really sad. Even some of the people closest to me, struggle to understand exactly how it affects me, or my life, or some decisions that I choose to make. Even after hours of explaining, unless someone has been through a panic attack themselves, they will never truly or fully understand.

What exactly is a panic attack?

A sudden feeling of dread, the sudden urge to push your way through to the nearest exit, the whole room shrinking down around you and everybody staring at you and smothering you. In a split second, without you anticipating it, or knowing it’s going to happen, your body releases adrenaline. This adrenaline is released as your body is preparing for “flight or fight”. Something our brain is programmed to do in a life or death situation. You need adrenaline for a fight in order to be strong, and you need adrenaline for flight, in order to run fast and get away. This would have prepared our cave-dwelling ancestors to fight or run away from danger, but it’s much less appropriate to the stresses we encounter today. Clearly, we are not cavemen any more, and we don’t need to hunt for our food, but this adrenaline is released in situations like tripping over a step, being extremely excited, being on a roller-coaster, being in a fight, In an accident, adrenaline is released into our bodies all the time, but us panic attack sufferers

My doctor said: “You are like the car in the street, who’s alarm goes off with the smallest gust of wind, whereas all the other cars, take a good beating before their alarms go off”, and really, that’s the best way it can be described in the very simplest of terms.

What happens during a panic attack?

Adrenaline is released, thus causing your heart to beast faster, and your muscles to tense. We breathe in more oxygen, which our muscles use to turn sugar into energy (even though we don’t need extra energy for anything), Blood is diverted to the muscles, making you pale and light headed. This also causes you to shake. Our digestive system shuts down, making your throat dry and making you feel sick. Your senses are heightened, you become more aware of sounds and smells around you (It’s like someone turned up the volume, and in a busy place, it was loud enough anyway).
When adrenalin floods your body, it can cause a number of different physical and emotional sensations that may affect you during a panic attack:

These may include:

very rapid breathing or feeling unable to breathe
very rapid heartbeat
pains in your chest
feeling faint or dizzy
ringing in your ears
tingling or numbness in your hands and feet
hot or cold flushes
feeling nauseous
wanting to go to the toilet
feelings of absolute terror
feeling smothered
feeling claustrophobic
being extremely emotional/uncrontrollable crying
feelings of unreality, called depersonalisation and derealisation.

Panic attacks come on very quickly, symptoms usually peaking within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks last for between 5 and 20 minutes. Some people report attacks lasting for up to an hour, but they are likely to be experiencing one attack after another, or a high level of anxiety after the initial attack. This is what I suffer from, If I ever have a panic attack, it will NEVER last 20 minutes, it will always spiral, until I can be alone, somewhere I feel comfortable, which can sometimes be hours away.

I’m not 100% sure what first triggered my panic attacks, although I will explain it below. The only major downfall for me, was that my brain stored this panic attack away so that when I re-entered a similar situation, my body had learnt to react in the same way.

This is the way I like to describe it:

“Imagine that your brain is filled with hundreds of filing cabinets full of different information. You have memories, things you’ve learnt..etc. Well, there is this one filing cabinet that stores every panic attack you have. Where you had it, what happened, who you were with, what you were doing, what you were eating, what you were drinking, everything. When you re-enter the same place, with the same people, or do the same thing, that cabinet unlocks, and releases the same adrenaline, and the same emotion. My brain thinks it’s protecting me, by making me “Fight or flight” in the same situation”

Almost as though your brain has trained itself to react in this way. Which is annoying, and can be undone (more on that later)

For me, this happened in nightclubs, pubs, around drunk people and around alcohol. The reason being that my first major panic attack, was at a house party, in the middle of nowhere, which got completely out of hand. I was with friends but everybody was so drunk that I may aswell have been on my own. I wasn’t drunk, but my then-boyfriend was, and he passed out and fell asleep, leaving me awake, and sober. All my friends were drunk also. Please bare in mind, I was 15, as were most of the people around me, and this was a serious case of irresponsible drinking and drug taking (not on my part i’d like to add). I didn’t know a lot of the people there and I remember this one boy who had diabetes (the more serious type) and everyone was making a massive who-ha about him being VERY drunk. I was trying to sleep in a bedroom with my boyfriend passed out next to me, and another friend had fallen asleep as well, so it was silent, and away from the chaos. The next thing I remember was that I could hear someone violently being sick and lots of people freaking out. The diabetic boy was paraletic, vomming everywhere and needed sugar. Everyone kept running into the room asking me for help, and I didnt have a clue. I remember I kept saying “Give him lemonade, no point giving him food he isn’t keeping anything down”. It was then that I had a massive panic attack. Was it because someone was being sick (I have a phobia of sick – even more so now than back then), was it the chaos and the fact that ambulances arrived or being surrounded by people who were so out of it in a serious situation and being the only one that could see straight. Whatever it was, I lay there from 11.30pm until 5am, having panic attack, after panic attack. Shaking violently. I felt trapped, as the toilet was opposite the bedroom door, and I knew I couldn’t go home because that meant walking past all the comotion and the sick. So I just lay there. trapped and panicking for 5 and a half hours. When it started getting light, and I felt phsyically exhausted (having a panic attack makes you feel like you’ve run a marathon) and I called my dad who kindly came and rescued me.

Now you know why I don’t really drink, and why I’d much rather stay in watching crappy TV than have a night out. Is this how I want to be? No. I’d love to get dressed up, get some heels on, go out and have a few drinks, maybe even get completely sozzled once in a while. This is what girls my age do right?

Even now, when I think back, all those nights I tried my hardest to walk into a club/pub feeling positive that nothing would go wrong, and end up having to run out. I really did try, I tried to put on a brave face and act like nothing would happen & I tried to tell myself it was all in my head
and nothing was dangerous and as long as you don’t think about it, you’ll be fine. But it’s not your choice. I don’t think my friends understood, and in all fairness, I guess I didn’t really explain as I wasn’t sure myself why this kept happening to me. They started off inviting me out lots, and gradually, I’d just end up saying no for the fear of having an attack, until they gave up inviting me all together. This upset me, as I felt as though they probably thought I didn’t want to be there, or maybe they didn’t want me there, who wants a panic attack sufferer as a massive burden on a fun night out? I was missing out, and I hated it because it wasn’t anything I could control.

For a while, I couldn’t even go to a quiet pub for a few drinks. What a boring sod I was. I’d also like to point out, this was around the time we all turned 18 and started “properly going out”. So many things contributed towards my attacks becoming worse. I didn’t want to end up being severly agoraphobic (in serious cases can mean you are affraid to leave the house) so I really did try to force myself, which in some very rare cases, didn’t ever result in me panicking, but then there were always the few incidents where I would feel so much worse, and felt as though I’d taken a back step. My ex boyfriend (different to the first I previously mentioned), used to invite me out with his friends to the pub etc, which I liked, and of course I wanted to socialise with new people and make the effort (being the good girlfriend I am) so I’d go. One of his best friends, who happened to be there a lot of the time, managed to pop himself in my filing cabinet of “things to panic from”. I hope he doesn’t ever read this and feel bad, haha. I once felt panicky, and my ex explained to him that I was panicking (instead of deciding I was more important than a pint and taking me home), and I just sat there, whilst he asked me pointless, patronising questions to try and distract me. (trust me, things like this do not work). I felt like an idiot, like it was some funny game, when really all I wanted to do was leave. That same friend was there on a quiet night out, which resulted in me getting up from the table and walking out without an explanation. The thing that topped it all off though, was the time he got so drunk, he vomited all over himself, then strolled back into the pub for another pint. Again, you will notice a pattern here? Sick. Drunk. Pub. After this, I couldn’t bare to go anywhere with him. He is such a lovely guy too, but I couldn’t control it, whenever he was there, my brain would let me know I was in danger and release the adrenaline.

Something people don’t seem to realise, is that self esteem is seriously dented from suffering these attacks. I still, to this day, think that people judge me, and that they possibly all talk about how weird I am, or how annoying I am for having panic attacks, or even that they may think you make it up, or are using as an excuse. You start to think that you are ruining everyone else’s life around you & have become a nuisance.

I’d turn things down ALL THE TIME, but it’s not because I didn’t want to go, I wanted to go more than anything, I just COULDN’T put myself in any situation where I felt I may have panicked. I’m going to list places I’ve had panic attacks before, as I want to express that they won’t just happen when you anticipate them, but they can literally just spring on you, anywhere…

In bed at night
In a supermarket
In a pub
In a club
In a taxi
On a bus
On a tube
On a train
At the train station
In a restaurant
At a friends house
At a family members house
Boyfriends house
In a car
On a boat
At school
At work

That’s all I can really think of for now, but there have been endless places where I’ve suffered a panic attack. Only when I was at my worst would I walk into a supermarket, or go to someone’s house and panic. More recently, I’ve been a lot better, and I’ve found that I only really panic if I am placed in a situation where I cannot get out easily if I was to ever panic. (Train, Tube, Boat, Work, Club, Bus) More recently, as you will know, I was invited to go on the London eye with GlossyBox, and I cannot tell you how much I stressed over that. It’s my worst nightmare, being inside a glass pod, that’s locked, with lots of people, knowing that once that door closed, I was stuck in there, and if i were to panic, there would be no way of me getting off, and everyone would look at me, and think, what an idiot. Only Louise, and my boyfriend knew how anxious I was about it, but I wanted so desperately to get on it, and to see people, and I did, and I was fine. I was really proud of myself, for not throwing in the towel and missing out on an opportunity, and for doing it anyway. So many people live in fear of ever having an attack, and I think this is what makes life more difficult. For a while, I kept having panic attacks on the tube, and on the train home from London. Being that my boyfriend lives there, this devastated me. WHY WAS MY BRAIN FILING THIS AS A DANGEROUS SITUATION. I would cry, and think “I can’t go. I can’t go and see my boyfriend. I’m scared to get on a train. Why can’t I just be normal“.

One thing a lot of people don’t understand, is that people who suffer panic attacks, DO NOT WANT TO FEEL THIS WAY. We don’t want to get on a train and think “I really hope I get to the other end without panicking”, we don’t want to restrict the way we live because of something we can’t control that leaves us feeling mentally and physically drained for days/weeks/months on end. We want to be normal, and carry on with our everyday lives without any added anxiety. I’d love to be able to say “I don’t worry about anything, besides the normal things”. After a panic attack, I feel so upset, but it’s mostly anger. Angry at myself for not having any control and angry that I don’t know how to make it stop. Then I feel angry because I feel like nobody understands.

What helps me?

When I’m actually having a panic attack, I find the only things that really take the edge off, are going outside, walking away from the place I was and fanning myself (I know this sounds weird, and probably looks it, but when you have so much adrenaline and your muscles are pumped, you should do some form of exercise to use the adrenaline, which is why i frantically fan myself or walk or knock my knees together or flap my arms around – discreet? I think not) Fanning also helps with the horrible hot flushes you’ll experience, and cool you down.

Slow, deep breathing.

If i’m with someone, I need them to stay quiet unless I ask them something. I can’t handle anyone talking to me, or trying to distract me, or working me up. At the time of a panic attack, I don’t need someone highlighting the fact I’m panicking by making me say the alphabet backwards. It’s nice to know someone is with you, but If I’m having a panic attack, I’m already hearing everything 10x louder and need to try and calm down. You also don’t have a lot of energy to speak, as any energy you do have, is being used everywhere else.

In terms of long term treatment, stupidly, for 6 and half years, I put off going to a doctor, because I thought that I’d be able to control them myself. When I started having panic attacks visiting my boyfriend, I knew I had to do something about it, as it was hindering my way of life, and everyday things i really wanted to do, and I got fed up, and decided to make an appointment at my doctors surgery. Unfortunately, this completely destroyed any faith I had as it was the most pointless hour of my life. She sat and explained to me what a panic attack was. Funnily enough, after 6 and a half years of experiencing them, I already had a pretty clear idea. I have also been reading a few books. I’d really recommend the one I have photographed, and even for your partner, family member or friends to read. Have a look on line for self help books, some are a load of tosh, but some are quite eye opening. I don’t take any medication for my panic attacks, mainly because my doctor said “I don’t think we should put you on anything, how about you try some from a chemist or something” I take Kalms, but whether they work or not, I don’t know. In all honesty, I’m not all too pleased with my Dr’s approach, or the NHS. They’ve not been helpful at all. This may not be the case for you, but I think in order to get further treatment I am going to have to go private for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Re-training the brain) or try hypnotherapy techniques. If any of you have had any experiences you want to share, please do. Not just for me to read, but others reading the comments.

Avoiding Panic…

For many people, the only way they can avoid having a panic attack, is literally sitting at home and never leaving the house. I never want to get this bad, but I can see how it would happen very easily with a lot of people. My panic attacks are a lot worse when I am stressed, or run-down, so I find it’s really important to give myself a break. For many people that means taking time off work or going on holiday. I just make sure I get enough sleep, try to be as organised as possible and don’t rush anywhere. You may think the last one is a given, but for a while, being in “fast-pace” London made everything a lot worse. In the mornings before I’d leave to go home, Me and my boyfriend decided we would get ready slowly, walk slowly and even wait for the next tube if we weren’t there in time (I literally didn’t rush anywhere for about 4 weeks) & this made SUCH a difference.
I also tend to listen to relaxing music before I know I need to go somewhere where I may panic. A favourite of mine recently has been Dianna Vickers’ album (Her voice, I appreciate, could have an adverse affect on some people – but i find it keeps me calm because there are no fast beats or shouty bits) So find something you find relaxing.
I also think it’s important to write down how you are feeling if you feel like you are about to panic. Once when I was on the tube, I started having a panic attack, so I whacked out my phone and started frantically writing how I felt and every time something changed mentally or physically, I’d write it. This weirdly, calmed me down a lot quicker. I don’t know if this is because it distracted me, or because it made everything slightly more logical.
I still can’t really go out and drink with friends but I’ve not been as bad recently. I do find however, that driving (so i know I can leave when I want), or having someone who is prepared to pick me up, makes things a lot less tense. Knowing I can get home if I do panic, puts me at ease. If you were to tell me we were all getting a taxi at 3am an hour from home, I’d freak out.
I don’t like to have set times for things, as I feel a bit trapped. Sounds weird, but i’m sure plenty of you know exactly what I mean. I won’t even book an advanced train ticket any more (even though they are slightly cheaper), I get a ticket which gives me a bit of lee-way so I don’t have to rush anywhere or be stuck to one time.
I think everyone will have their own individual ways of avoiding and banishing panic attacks, it’s really whatever works best for you, but I think “Taking it easy” really is the best advice I can give. You don’t want to overwork your heart, as this may bring on panic.

How can I help someone who suffers Panic Attacks?

I’m going to do a little section here, on how to help someone who is having a panic attack, or someone who suffers them quite a lot. I looked online for something similar to this to show my boyfriend, and I didn’t have much luck. So I’m going to write this myself, in the hope some of you will show this to your partners/friends/family and then they can feel a little more at ease about how to help you. Although it sucks having a panic attack, I can’t imagine standing next to someone feeling helpless feels very nice either.

1. Remain calm. There is nothing worse than being with someone who is freaking out whilst they are, they will never calm down if you are flapping about like a headless chicken.
2. Do not be forceful. Be patient, and accepting. Do not settle for them panicking and being affected alone.
3. Let them do things at their own pace.
4. Don’t make assumptions about what the panicker needs, ask them.
5. Find something positive in every experience. If the affected person is only able to go partway to a particular goal, such as the cinema or out for a coffee, consider that an achievement rather than a failure.
6. Remember that they don’t choose to be this way. Do not show any dissapointment or annoyance when panic strikes or if they don’t feel they can’t do something.
7. In a panic attack, DON’T say:
“Relax. Calm down. Don’t be anxious. Let’s see if you can do this (i.e., setting up a test for the affected person). You can fight this. What should we do next? Don’t be ridiculous. You have to stay. Don’t be a coward. Pull yourself together, Stop being silly, what’s wrong with you”
Instead, DO SAY:
“You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It’s not the place that’s bothering you, it’s the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it’s not dangerous. You are courageous. Remember that panic attacks only last a maximum of 20 minutes”

8. Do not try to distract them with stupid questions. As I said before, we don’t want to say the alphabet backwards or talk about our day, it just highlights the fact that we are having a panic attack, thus creating more panic.
9. Be supportive & reassuring. After a panic attack, the person can feel down, depressed, angry, insecure and with very low self esteem. It’s your job to help them to feel better about themselves and to let them know you are there.

I really hope I have managed to cover everything, and I hope this has helped some of you. If you’re reading this, and you really feel down and depressed about your panic attacks and the way it has affected your life, please remember…

You are not alone, panic attacks are VERY common, and although terrifying, will not kill you. Don’t let your attacks ruin your confidence or dent your self esteem, you are an amazing person, and you CAN stop them, with the right treatment and techniques. Do not force yourself to go somewhere you don’t feel comfortable, you and your health are far more important than keeping someone else happy. If someone close to you fails to understand, it can leave you feeling terribly alone and insecure, FORCE them to read this blog post and tell them I’ll kick their bottom if they don’t LISTEN and show as much support as possible.

That’s all from me. Please share experience’s and leave comments below, it won’t just help me, but will also help others just like you reading this blogpost.

  • millie moo πŸ’“

    thanks zoe this really helped πŸ’“

  • Emma

    This helped so much Zoey I go through the same thing and it’s really hard for me because everyday I go to middle school trying to get to my classes with out having a panic attack in front of everyone especially the 7 and 8th graders I’ve only been in school for 6 days and already had 4 panic attacks and I really don’t want to have them for the rest of the year what should I do when I get them at school?

    • Sabine

      Aww, i hope you find a way!! Sending you a lot of love!!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

      • Emma

        Aww thank you so much😘

  • Becca

    I just had a panic attack that lasted fifteen minutes and I got so scared. I had no one and it’s 3:53am. I remembered reading this when you first posted, so I came back and read it again after watching some of Joe’s videos. I still dont feel 100% and i have school tomorrow and I’m scared it’s going to happen again. I just want to say thankyou for this because it’s helped me a lot.

    • Sabine

      <3 <3 <3

  • Sabine

    Wow Zoe! This really opened my eyes. A panic-attack is so different then i thought… I HAVE SO MUCH RESPECT FOR YOU! It’s so brave of you that you still try going out or going on the tube. Pls never give up
    A massive thanks for writing this, although i don’t know anybody with panic attacks, but like i said it really opened my eyes…. Now i see how brave you are, how brave others with this are. I hooe i can ever help anyone during a panic attack with your tips.
    It made my sad reading it, so everybody with panic attacksattacks: pls dont give up, you are wonderfulπŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ˜­πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

  • TheLittleBlogger

    Hi Zoe
    Just too say I think your amazing and you are a massive inspiration to me. I had my first panic attack a few months ago and watching your videos and reading your blog often helps me calm down and relax. So just thanks for always being there and actually posting this as it is quite personal
    Love you soooo much

  • Izzy

    Wow ZOE!!!!

    You and all the others who have/had panick attacks are so brave. You cleared so much up and just opened my eyes to so much more about people.You’re amazing. You inspire me and so many people.
    Love YOU!!! Keep doing what you do-it helps all of us!


  • Loida Arinal Fregil

    Hi zoe! I’m suffering panic attacks Nd anxiety 2 weeks now. Thank you for making this blog and for making me realize that panic attacks could last for 20 mins. Because panic threatends me so much that I just wanna stay at home. I didn’t expect you also suffer this one. But im so proud of you bcos u overcome this! Hopefully i can also. God bless you more! Hoping i could get a reply from you. πŸ’‹

  • Hannah Rolleman

    Thank god I’m not the only one. I went for a long time thinking I was crazy or there was something wrong with me. So I forced myself to keep it to my self. Now I know I’m not insane. It feels good to finally be happy with myself.

  • Maddy

    Thank you for having the courage to write this. I kept quiet and ignored my anxiety for about four years and figured it would get better by itself and sort itself out. Totally agree about the NHS. I went through private healthcare and have had a really good experience – I got assigned to a psychotherapist for CBT within two days and have been going ever since. Hope you manage to get some professional help because panic attacks are so overwhelming and debilitating that it can be too much to do all by yourself. That’s what I found anyway! xxxxxx

  • Alysha

    Only found this now. I am so glad I did. I’ve suffered with Anxiety and Panic Attacks for about 7 month now. I went to the doctors and honestly, they helped a little by taking my blood to see if anything was wrong but after that when it came out clear they didn’t help one bit. I read so much about Panic Attacks and Anxiety, yet I never fully understand it even though I go through it my self. I have counseling in school, which I don’t think is working that much. I’m getting so much out of it, but lately in the past 4 weeks (the weeks I’ve had counseling) I’ve had a total of 3/4 panic attacks. Worse part is they happened in the places I never wanted it to happen. At my clubs at my churches. They place where I thought I felt safe and perfectly happy, turns out to be the same as every where else now.
    I know I’m not the only one who suffers but when I have an Anxiety attack its the first thing that comes into my head because basically all the time there’s no one who’s been through the same as me anywhere around me so I feel isolated. Its the worse. I hate even talking or mentioning it because I need soo much confidence to say it.
    Thanks so much for writing this blog post. I hope it has helped many, many, many more people/

  • Alex-lea

    Thank you for writing this, although I have suffered for years with anxiety I didn’t actually know that I was having panic attacks until I read this. Recently it’s been on trains which is hard because I’m on placement for university far away but I’m hoping to transfer home. I realised that I had the panic attacks because I knew there was nowhere for me to go, I couldn’t get off the train because I’d be in the middle of nowhere and then what. I was on my own and felt embarrassed because there were other people on the train. Thankfully my family understand that it’s not something I want, and my boyfriends extremely supportive I’ve had a week off but I’m hoping to go back to uni and explain and get transferred and get help hopefully CBT and try yoga.. Thank you so much, lots of love 😘❀️

  • Abby

    I’ve been feeling very anxious recently. It’s not quite to the extent of panic attacks, but feeling very anxious and tense all of a sudden, including some panic attack symptoms. I’ve been worrying a lot more recently as I am afraid this might lead to a panic attack. I feel this blog post has helped me a lot about understanding more about anxiety as a whole. Thank you Zoe Ly xxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Laura

    I just wanted to thank you so much Zoe. I am 15 and have had serious panic attacks since I was 10. I totally relate to everything you`ve said, and I am so glad I found such a positive role model. I get panic attacks whenever I feel like I am not in control, like I have no choice to stop what I`m doing and leave. This includes planes, boats, tests in school, going out with my friends, other people`s cars, and even vacations. It`s really hard because my family often tells me that it`s all in my head, and if I go and force myself to try new things I will be cured. But this approach has resulted in some really negative experiences that only added to my anxiety. After reading your post, I now have the courage to speak up about what I can and can`t do. I know that if I do things in my own time, at my own pace, I can work through this. Thank you so so so much!

    • Puppy’s for life

      My parents do the same thing! You should tell them how that is making you feel! I also have the same problem with public transportation! I’m so grad I’m not the only one.

  • Callie Lewis

    i had a panic attack for the first time last month and I’ve been having them quite a lot recently and i read this after a recommendation from a friend it has helped so much xx they have stopped me from doing a lot of things and now I’ll try to make a change because if you have done it then maybe I can too

  • Zoe Imogen

    I have panic attacks every english lesson and i have english everyday i hate it and i dont want to go to school because of it but i have to and i cant tell anyone in my class because they all hate me idk what to do about it

    • Meelah Rose

      If you haven’t let the school know then you should do that. And you shouldn’t worry about your peers, they don’t matter any more than your health!

  • Faheena

    I asked my two sisters to read this because my sisters wedding day she and the other sister both had a panic attack cant believe that happened cause i faint alot and everyone thought something would happen to me lol bu you have such great advice
    Thank you so much

  • Amy Fitzpatrick

    Wow! I think one of the main issues with having anxiety is feeling like everyone is looking at you yet you are so alone. Everyone deals with things differently and people deal with anxiety differently. Me? i have had anxiety for as long as i can remember, and when i say that i mean even Family members telling me they can remember me at the age of 3 being a little wreck. Some people have panic attacks where they stop breathing and going in to PANIC MODE. Me obviously someone has to be different….. i’m sick…. yes sick … not like a tactical chunder or bulimia full on OMG IM PANICKING OMG OMG … VOM.

    Now can you imagine growing up as a teenager … going through your nervous stages… meeting boys… job interviews and all that … when the only place you feel “safe” is …. your safe place. I can remember being 7 in a restaurant and Panicking because the toilets were far away and if i felt sick i would have to run … i got myself that worked up i was sick all over the place! I have literally been sick in the most random of places and have so many stories, helpful tips and ways that have helped me and others, i could write a book about it if anyone would actually buy it! – Hey Zoe Fancy giving me a break and writing a book together?

    The thing that gets me through a bad day is remembering ….. when you think you have it bad someone else has got it 10 times worse. I developed my own tactics/help i read books from “the secret” to listening to women in audio books telling me to be as calm as the trees in the wind and all that B.S. At the end of the day the sooner you come to accept your self for who you are, find something you are good at and feel confident doing you will shine …. and when you shine you feel better…. and when you feel better your Panic buttons don’t get pressed because your body is buzzing with excitement. The hard thing is, getting to this stage. I am now 22, i have suffered from anxiety for years and years- i would say from going back when i was in year 2 so whats that 5? – and i still do, i have been sick in total 3 times today, i have problems eating certain foods …. but do you know what…. I AM HAPPY – well not 100% of the time but who ever tells you they are always happy are on drugs.

    If i have any advise for any of you who are reading this…. essay that was suppose to just say “thanks Zoe!”…. Just breathe, take a step back, you’re not alone, count backwards from 10 (don’t count forwards because thats to quick), think of a colour (trust me it works), put your hands over your eyes, count again. THEN DO THE BIGGEST GRIN EVER AND THE NEXT PERSON YOU SEE TELL THEM TO HAVE A NICE DAY.

    Sorry about the essay- i could go on and on and on. Love you all. Be good, If you can’t be good be careful, if you can’t be careful be spontaneous and if you can’t be spontaneous then don’t do it.

    • sophie

      This helped me so much and I tried your counting thing it really worked your probably wondering why a 11 year old girl is up on a school night I had a panick attack before I went to be and know I can’t sleep

    • Puppy’s for life

      Look at the comment above.

  • Christa Snellenberg

    Thank you so much for writing this ZoΓ«, I’ve been suffering from panic attacks for about a year now and I still feel like I’m not normal. Especially at school they have been getting really bad the past time and most of my teachers don’t understand if I ask them if I can go out for some fresh air. Your story has helped me so much and I now know that I’m not the only one. Thank you for being such a strong person and being able to share your story with us. Thank you so so so much! <3

  • MyLifeAsYas

    Thank you so much Zoe ! I thought i was was not normal. This has helped so much, thank you ! Love you xx

  • Salina

    I suffer from panic attacks, and even though I have watched your video three times this really helped, the thing that I really need help with is that I have no clue how to tell my friends about this. I really want to tell them but I don’t have the courage to do it because I know I will start to cry when I tell them or they won’t understand.

    • Meelah Rose

      You should wait until you are ready, and feel safe. Make sure you know your friends are going to be open-minded about it. Good luck!

    • Nadine

      You don’t need to tell them straight away. In fact, the only friends who know about my anxiety are my close friends that were there when I had my first panic attack. I took me 5 months to tell anyone one else, not even my parents knew. The point is, don’t rush yourself. Tell them when your sure your ready to share this part of you life with them. Good Luck!!! Xxx Nadine

  • Leah Borthwick

    Thank you so much for writing this Zoe, I have had anxiety ever since I was 10 years old and it’s been so difficult, evrytime I walk into drama class to preform I start shaking and it leads up to having a panic attack, I feel weak and worthless but your blog post and video have made me think more about saying yes to things and how much easier it would be just to open up and be more adventurous.

    Thank you, and never stop doing what your doing, you’re am inspirationπŸ’—

  • Nathxx Blogr

    Hey Zoe, recently I’ve experienced something that could be panic attacks and anxiety quite often.. How do I know if that’s the case for sure? This post really helped me <3 Thanks

  • sophie

    Hi Zoe I thought if you could tell everyone your story why can’t I so here it is when I was much younger I fainted in church in front of my entire school everyone was starring at me and I was just shaking wondering what had. Happened I have fainted 2 times since then and because u fainted in front of a big crowd my Anxiety has mainly been about performing or speaking in front of crowds I can’t even walk into class late because I’m scared everyone’s going to stare at me , but your probably wondering when my panick attacks first started , the first time it happen fed was 2years ago and I wasn’t even aware of what a panick Atrack was Anyway my class had to do a assembly and just before it started I couldn’t breathe and I told my teacher I felt like I was going to faint and she let me go and sit in the class room I just cried my eyes out and tried to catch my breathe I didn’t have anothe panick Atrack for 2 year ,okay I know your probably board know but I really need to talk about this to help myself and hopefully others – it started again when I went a knew school and we had to do a presentation on are own in front of the whole class reading and i hate reading out loud Iam deslixes adm when I went up my heart started pounding so hard I couldn’t hear myself speak and I felt like I was shaking but when I looked at my legs they weren’t moving at all / so basically 2days later I had a mini but really scary panic attack so happy to be able to talk about it Thxs everyone hope someone can relate to my story

  • Moniek van Bussel

    I’m having a really, really bad panic attack right now and when I do, I always read this. It makes me realize I’m not gonna die and I don’t need to worry.

    • Fitstargal

      I hope you’re ok now x

      • Moniek van Bussel

        Thanks, I am! I’m having help for it as well so it’s going to get better I hope :)

  • Amy

    My god ur not the only one !!
    I get over stressed about everything in life and having read your first book , I know exactly how you feel and I felt happier that I wasn’t the only 1 !!

  • James

    Thank you for writing this, never have I read something about this where I am able to relate so much. I’ve been having panic attacks for just under five years now, it all started for me in a pretty similar situation to you although for me I was the one being uncontrollably sick from alcohol. I was 15 and this was my first NYE party, I was having a great time and ultimately not knowing my limits I drank way too much and was sick multiple times. Never have I felt so bad! Ever since that day the thought of going out and drinking makes me incredibly nervous until I get to the point of throwing up myself. As disgusting as it sounds I’m almost now glad when I’m sick, it feels as if the panicked feelings are leaving my body the moment I throw up. It’s a sort of cycle that goes – Potential situation that I may feel uncomfortable with has arise -> me hoping that I won’t feel panicked -> can’t stop thinking of the situation, I almost big it up to something huge in my own mind -> get to the situation must know where nearest toilets and exits are so I can get out if needed. Prepare excuse to leave -> panic attack starts GET OUT GET OUT!! Alarm bells ringing in my head against the situation –> throw up. All those negative thoughts leave my body -> head back out like nothing has happened and continue in that situation with no feeling that another attack will come.

    Probably important to say now that I have only ever told one person about this, my ex girlfriend. So when people ask me to come out with them and I refuse and make up some terrible excuse about me ‘not feeling it’ or ‘cant be bothered tonight but another night maybe!’. I know they don’t believe me but no one understands or will understand when I say unless they’ve experienced it as well. I tried to explain to my ex girlfriend why I couldn’t or didn’t want to do certain things, she didn’t understand and I could always feel the annoyance from her to me. This was the main reason I couldn’t continue seeing her, I wanted more than anything to continue seeing her I just felt I could no longer give her what she deserved. So as years went on the panic attacks seem to affect more and more of my life. Suddenly the thought of doing anything was too much. I was restricted to the house on my own, in a matter of months I remember feeling panicked about these situations:

    Eating out at a restaurant
    Eating with family
    My sisters graduation
    Going out for staff birthdays/Christmas meal
    Any pre-organised trip to the pub with the boys – I’m sitting here 1st November 2015 already thinking ‘I hope I’m gonna feel okay for NYE and my birthday on the 24th Nov.’
    Going out for the day with friends/family
    Meeting up with friends
    Meeting women and potentially having a relationship. Sex
    and as stupid as it sounds just getting in the car with my ex was enough to set me off. The feeling of being trapped and her just talking to me. Me there saying the bare minimum just wanting her to be quiet so I could concentrate and avoid what I knew was inevitable, I’m still yet to win that battle

    I’ve felt so alone battling this, reading this is one of the first times that I’ve realised I’m not the only one going through this. People do feel exactly like me. So thank you for writing this. I’ll never forget this line from Sherlock no less which said ‘You can’t kill an idea, can you? Not once it’s made a home. {taps forehead} There.’

    Recently my attacks have been less frequent which is great, however my mind seems to be now wired to expect that to change like flicking a switch on when certain situations arise again.

    It’s strange because behind closed doors I feel all of this, I never tell anyone this. Behind a computer screen its so much easier to say the truth. I think if people knew I was going through this they’d be shocked. I’ve got a great mechanism of showing to the outside world how confident I am. Never stop talking, as I’m sure I have shown in all this, I do sometimes think of saying something but never quite have the guts too.

    If you’ve stuck with me reading all this then I thank you. Goodinight


  • Fitstargal

    Dear Zoe,
    I found this incredibly relatable and inspiring. I have anxiety, panic attacks and OCD… your blog and your Q & A’s always really help me and make me know that I’m not alone. I really respect you, and I love you so much and I hope that one day I might possibly be able to meet you and thank you (for how much you’ve helped me and many others) in person.
    Thank you Zoe.
    Lots of love, Darcie x

  • Nikola

    Thank you so much this post has helped me so much and I feel as though I have to live my life to the fullest everyday but be careful with what I do. Thanks again.
    xoxo Nikky

  • Rutu Luhar

    Thanks so much. You really helped me feel better about things. You are a very strong person. I am sure this helped lots of people…

  • Avery Heaver

    I once had a panic attack during an exam and, being in a hall with 200 students, I tried to keep it to myself, but then the teacher called me out on it and everyone turned to stare at me… when we were dismissed I ran out and proceeded to panic for an extra half an hour (two panic attacks separated by twenty seconds of calm) and the only way I calmed down was when a girl I barely knew wrapped me into a really firm, but comforting hug and repeatedly told me that I was okay until I calmed down. Normally I hate being touched but that hug really did help me.

    Another time I had a panic attack at a festival and passed out from hyperventilating so hard – I got pulled over the barrier and when I came around I began to panic again, but a woman stared at me in the eyes and told me to copy her breathing, and it calmed me down in seconds.

    The worst panic attack I’ve ever had, however,was when I was home alone watching (coincidentally) a Zoella video, when I suddenly began to panic. I stood up to go and get the phone so I could call for help, but was so dizzy I couldn’t stay upright. I crawled to the bathroom as nausea washed over me, and got there just in time to be sick. I remember shaking so violently that my head was constantly banging on the toilet seat (classy, huh?) and my heart pounding in my ears at what felt like 1000 beats per minutes, and crying uncontrollably. After about twenty minutes of this I calmed down considerably, although I stayed curled up on my bathroom floor for another two hours, drifting in and out of sleep, until my mum came home.

    Thankfully it is very rare that I have panic attacks these days, although I still suffer from severe anxiety.

  • Hearts for evaaaa

    Hey Zoe I have panic attacks which I now know because of this. It started today in lesson and I had to wait until break to get some fresh air.The only trouble is that all my family think I’m a ‘Zoella wanna-be’ so the only people who believe me are my friends.Pleasee help because I don’t now how to make them believe me!!!

    • Hearts for evaaaa

      It would really help if someone had a tip for me about how to deal with them aswel

  • Lois Brakes

    Thanks zoe this really helped!
    My main symptom is depersonalisation and it’s really hard for me to manage! It would be great to finally meet you one day.
    I’ve had soo many counsellors an nothing has changed The other day I thought of your tips when I finally tried to go out the house because I haven’t in ages and they helped! Thanks soo much zoe!

    • Tori

      Lois have you tried mindfulness? It’s really good for depersonalization. I have that too and it’s a living hell. Mindfulness helps, and especially keeping myself busy with projects and such.

  • Puppy’s for life

    So true! I remember, two months ago, I had to get stitches and the whole time I was looking at the boy across from me, crying his eyes out. Apparently, he had just found that he had a brain tumor. (form of cancer)
    The whole time I was getting stitches, I was looking at the boy, he looked about 10. I just looked at him, and thought to myself, many people have it worse than I do. I then cried for the boy, instead of myself. It’s hard not to believe that many have it worse when you watch it first hand. I felt so bad for him, that I forgot I even had an issue.

  • Jillian O’Neel

    I keep telling myself that it cannot hurt me, I try to make it go away, I can’t. It’s been happening since I was 10, I am 12 now. The last one I had was 2 days ago. I think they are getting worse. One time I actually did black out. One time I almost actually stopped breathing. It’s so horrifying. If you or anyone have ANY tips I would be more than thankful. I’m trying to keep my head high through everything. I’m in one of the hardest most stressful years of school right now and want to get it under control. It happens almost once every month, sometimes 2-3 times. It feels so good to get this off my chest. Except not literally yet. Please help!

    • Puppy’s for life

      I’ve had them since I was only nine, I’m 13 now. I know how you feel.

      • Jillian O’Neel

        Thank you puppy’s for life

        • Puppy’s for life

          No problem :)

    • Sarah

      One of the best things I think you could do is learn breathing techniques. You need to practice everyday for a while and do this even if you feel anxious. There’s different places you can learn breathing techniques online you can try meditation or just simply breathing in mouth and out your nose counting to about 5-7 seconds. Make sure you’re eating well and sleeping well too because this can also affect you :) hope this helps x

      • Jillian O’Neel

        Thanks Sarah, I’ll try it. :)

  • Mimi

    It was only today that I was at home at I started crying and not being able to breath. Do u think this a panic attack or just stress??

    • Tori

      It sounds like it could be stress and maybe some depression. But it depends on what’s going on in your life, to figure out why you’re feeling this way. Consider your social life, anything biological, and anything psychological. You can try to map your moods and when you feel most anxious, then assess what you were doing in those moments to see what’s triggering you.

      • Mimi

        Thank you Tori I will try:-)

  • Mimi

    I also can’t sleep at night and I haven’t been genuinely happy for around 2 years now please what do I do!?!?

    • Tori

      If it was a panic attack you would know. People don’t ask “is this a panic attack?”

  • Jem McKenna

    how do you deal with a panic attack when you are driving? I’m a Learner driver and I had one whilst driving and it was really dangerous….

  • Lauren Jones

    Hello Zoe.

    The NHS are a complete disgrace to me too, they never seem to even know what i am talking about and/or don’t believe me when i say i feel this and that etc. My GP certainly never gave me any sympathy and i found the whole situation really annoying. After that appointment with the GP, i ran out, cried, and had a panic attack .
    I have had Anxiety/Depression since 2012 and yet nothing has been done apart from some Beta-Blockers(which made it even worse) and a 6 month waiting list for counseling which even then i didn’t feel like they truly understood, or could relate. I have an appointment on Monday to once again tell my GP that my Anxiety and panic attacks are worsening, and ask for at least something that will help me have a better quality of life, wish me luck:(

    If all else fails i think i shall go private, to a specialist doctor. Although, after 2 years of trying to ask my dad for a private consultation never seemed to work.

  • Tori

    I got my first attack at 15 and I’m 34 now. This has consumed my life, because I didn’t get treatment in time and became agoraphobic then was in/out of behavioral hospitals being diagnosed with everything you can think of and pumped full of medications. Right now I’m surviving but definitely nowhere near thriving. Life just feels like hell all the time. I do try to get enough sleep, meditate, eat nutritious foods, and go outside. If I’m able to do these things it’s much more manageable. I do wonder if someone drugged me the first night I got the attack (at 16). I’m wondering if something like that may have happened to you too, since you were at a party. I was in a similar situation. The attack started in the middle of the night after everyone went to sleep — and I remained in a dreamlike state for years.

  • mysterycomment

    Hi Zoe, just want to thank you for the helpful tips.
    I know you probably aren’t going to get to read this, but just in case I’m going to share anyway. I’m 12 years old,(yes, 12) and i have had panic attacks since i was 6, not mini ones, full on panic attacks,they would come about here and there but i didn’t have many. This year everything has been absolutely terrible! My panic attacks have slowly begun to take over my life. Now, i don’t only get them once or twice, i pretty much get them every second day. The more i have, the worse they get. At first my heart just started to beat fast and i started to feel nauseous, but now when i have them, i feel dizzy, nauseous, i start to shiver to the point when i can’t even walk, i feel as if i can’t breath and as if the world is closing in on me. i have been to many psychologists and psychiatrists, its slowly getting better. people say that I’m too young to have panc attacks, but as you have said i don’t want them! the just happen! it’s probably going to sound weird, but you are my absolute role-model. when i grow up i want to be just like you! you have really inspired me and for some odd reason after my panic attacks, when i feel all depressed and stuff i go onto your blog, Zoella, and i immediately start to feel better. And this comment is probably very late but it took a lot of courage.
    thank you Zoe for giving me some one to look up to!
    P.S don’t know what happened to the font as i was typing.