During a panic attack or through the process of OCD being triggered, your brain immediately goes into ‘flight or fight’ mode. You may be familiar with the racing heart, the heat, the shaking and just the sheer terror of the episodes.
So it is important to realise that your brain can not make rationality of chaos in these moments. You are not going to be able to think your way out of it (whether in a state of panic or not).
When an unexpected trigger comes I do these three things:
1. Acknowledge that I have been triggered and tell myself that the terrible feelings I am experiencing may or may not have basis in reality (classic ERP there 😉 ) and allow myself to feel them.
2. Take five or ten minutes (if I can) to do mindfulness. I have some 3 minute ones mindfulness meditations ready on my phone. If you don’t have anything handy, slow your breathing down and take deep breaths in and out, not judging what you are feeling.
3. Carry on. Even though I feel like running for the hills, I try and carry on with work, the outing, etc. It is amazing how your brain responds when you just keep doing what you were doing. I stop the OCD from controlling my life and making a big fanfare.
One other little trick is that I tell the OCD that if I am still thinking about it tomorrow, I might do something. Seriously, I rarely do or I have even forgotten!
Even those who experience panic attacks or anxiety will hopefully benefit from this.
God truly bless you,