Although panic attacks generally start in a person’s early 20′s, panic attacks can come at any age, and it’s possible for someone to suffer from their first panic attack well into their marriage. Panic attacks are not your everyday anxiety – they’re intense levels of severe anxiety that cause genuine physical symptoms.
· Chest pains
· Rapid heartbeat
· Difficulty breathing
· Trouble concentrating
They can be immensely scary, and what makes them more challenging is that they often come back. Most people, especially those whose panic attacks were not triggered by some type of severe emotional event, often find that they experience numerous panic attacks that can not only affect their happiness, but also their success as a couple.
When one person in your marriage suffers from panic attacks, both of you suffer. One partner is dealing with the panic attacks, while the other partner sits back feeling confused and helpless. If someone suffers from panic attacks in your marriage, here are several tips to overcome it as a couple.
Tips for Dealing With Panic Attacks – The Sufferer
For the panic attack sufferer, the key is to be open and honest about your feelings and your experiences, and show dedication to curing the panic. This is especially important for your marriage, because your partner is likely feeling fairly helpless and it’s up to you to find the internal strength to try to overcome it. If you let it prevent you from living your life and give up, your marriage will experience more struggles. The onus is on you to seek treatment, because your partner can seek treatment for you.
Tips for Dealing With Panic Attacks – The Partner
If your partner suffers from panic attacks, your role is a bit unusual – especially in a happy marriage. Normally, your goal is to try to help your partner work through it. But in some cases, this can actually hurt the relationship. Consider the following tips:
· Don’t Tell Them How to Feel
This is crucial – don’t try to tell them to get over the feeling or tell them that nothing is wrong. Panic attacks are generally uncontrollable when they start, and the rush of adrenaline and anxiety that comes during a panic attack can’t be simply turned off with the knowledge that everything is okay. They know that they are suffering from a panic attack, but they can’t stop it from coming. Most panic attacks generally peak about 10 minutes in and suffer a slow drop off, regardless of whether you’re there as a partner.
· Be a Distraction
One way you can help, however, is to be a positive distraction. While panic attacks are hard to stop once they’re coming, their severity is often dependent on how much they’re focusing on the symptoms. If you can talk to them about other things, keep them talking about other things, and make sure that you’re not sitting there in silence, that can be a big help. Joking around or pretending nothing is wrong may not help, but telling your partner that you’re there and that you’ll talk about other things until they feel better can be.
· Be Positive
Again, the severity of the panic attack (and the easier panic attacks are to control – which is often dependent on severity) are often related to how much someone focuses on them. That’s why it’s important your partner doesn’t feel like they need to keep it to themselves. If you can maintain an upbeat attitude, your partner will know there is hope, and they’ll feel free to talk to you and depend on you when they start to feel panic coming on.
None of these can cure panic attacks, but they can reduce their severity, and the weaker a panic attack is the easier it feels to control, which is important for treatment.
Panic attacks affect a lot of couples, and if not dealt with correctly they can take away from the marriage. But panic attacks are also curable (or at least reducible) and if the two of you team up to handle them, you’re guaranteed to overcome panic attacks as a couple.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera’s panic attacks affected his relationship a great deal, because he and his partner weren’t sure what to do. Now that he’s free of that level of anxiety he writes about it for others at www.calmclinic.com
If you found this article helpful, please share it with someone else by using the buttons below. Thanks!
While you are here – have you already signed up to receive our free email course “Seven Secrets of Happily Married Couples“? Join our global online community of thousands of happily married couples around the world!
Image Credit: Will Merydith