A Friend Saw Me Have a Panic Attack & I’m So Embarrassed | #MyCounselorSays

Alison Pitts, MA, LPCC

Question:

Renee says, “I get really embarrassed after a loved one has seen me have a panic attack. Should I be embarrassed? How do I get past feeling ashamed?”

Read more to find out what counselor Alison Pitts has to say about how to communicate your needs to loved ones who are there to support you during the panic attacks.

About the Author

This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts.

Alison Pitts, MS, LPCC is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, specializing in Marriage Counseling, Premarital Counseling, and Anxiety & Depression in Women.  You can schedule an appointment with Alison for online counseling.

Video Transcript

(Transcript is generated by a software and may have discrepancies from the video.)

Cassie

Welcome to My Counselor Online. I’m Cassie and this is My Counselor Says. My Counselor Says is where you submit a question, either for yourself, or for a friend,  and one of our incredible therapists takes their time and answers your personal question. So let’s go find out what My Counselor Says.

Alison Pitts on the Scariness of Panic Attacks

That’s a really great question. First off, I want to say that it is such a scary experience to have a panic attack. One of the reasons why it’s so scary is because you feel like you’re so out of control, that your body and mind are running away with you, and you just don’t have the ability to slow yourself down in that moment. You feel so out of control.

So first off, I want to acknowledge that. It is such a scary thing, and I’m so sorry that’s something that’s so common for you.

Your Loved Ones Want to Support You in Your Panic Attacks

I don’t think you need to be embarrassed, especially if you’re with somebody who loves you. Honestly, they are probably just as scared as you are. They love, support, and protect you. And if they’re seeing you go through something so hard and scary, they’re probably scared because they want to be there for you.

Communicate Your Needs During a Panic Attack to Your Loved Ones

So what I would recommend is to have a conversation with your loved ones; people who are around you that you trust. Talk to them about what it’s like for you to be going through that, what you need, and what would be helpful for you in that moment. Whether that’s a hand on your back and trying to talk or breathe with you, or if you don’t want to be touched at all, if that would make it worse.

Give them some guidelines around how they can be helpful for you in the middle of it, just so that you guys can both know that you’re on the same page. And if it happens again, there’s no need to be embarrassed, because there’s a game plan.

And if you ever need to talk to anyone about your anxiety, feel free to sign up with any of our awesome counselors on this team.

Cassie

Thank you so much for submitting that question!  We certainly love to answer your questions. If you have a question for yourself or a friend, you  can submit it using our web page and then look for the answer in an upcoming edition of our weekly e-newsletter.

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