Culture

Kelsey Darragh Shares ‘15 Realistic Things You Can Do To Help Me Through A Panic Attack’ 

by Tod Perry

May 23, 2018

Kelsey Darragh is an actress, comedienne, and development partner at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. One of Darragh’s segments on BuzzFeed is “Married vs. Single,” in which she talks candidly about relationships and women’s sexual liberation. 

She’s also been open about having bipolar disorder, extreme panic attacks, and chronic pain.

Darragh’s boyfriend wanted to better understand her anxiety disorder, so she wrote him a list of 15 ways he can help her during a panic attack. She then decided the list would be a big help to others who deal with anxiety and those who love them. 

“15 realistic things you can do to help me through a panic attack!

1. Know that I am scared and won’t be able to explain why, so please don’t freak out or be annoyed with me.

2. Find my meds if they’re nearby and make sure I take it.

3. Breathing exercises are going to frustrate me but they are vital. Try and get me to sync my breathing with yours.

4. Make gentle suggestions of things we could do together to distract my panic. (Don’t tell me what I need/should do – and listen when I say no to something).

5. For dissociative panic, remind me that this has happened before and this too shall pass! It always does, but it’s scary when it’s happening so maybe tell me some fun facts about me or our life together that will make me smile or laugh.

6. Sips of water can be helpful but don’t tell me I need to eat or drink because trust me like I’m going to vomit.

7. Keep breathing with me!

8. If we can leave where we are – take me home!

9. Please be really really nice to me. I’m not feeling like myself and I’m embarrassed. Feeling guilty already for putting you through this so please don’t get frustrated with me.

10. Sometimes a really long big, loose, long hug will make me feel safe.

11. Helping me breathe will be hard but so key!

12. If it’s really bad – call my mom or sister or BFF on the phone for me!

13. Tell me not to fight it – rather, let it pass through me. The more I try to control it, or for you to try and control it, the worse it will be.

14. Empathize with me! You may not get it, but you get me!

15. Once it passes (like hours later), open up a dialogue with me about it. How’d you do? What can we do next time?”

Darragh’s list important because it shines a light on a widely misunderstood mental health issue.

People with panic attacks are often portrayed as overly sensitive and unable to cope with stress. But in reality, panic attacks can come on suddenly and cause people to believe they are in serious, life-threatening situation, even when there is no danger present.

Twitter users are applauding Darragh for sharing practical advice on how to help people struggling with panic disorders.

Darragh also used her list to inspire others to share how they cope with panic attacks.

Share image via BuzzfeedBlue/YouTube.

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Kelsey Darragh Shares ‘15 Realistic Things You Can Do To Help Me Through A Panic Attack’