What to say to someone having a panic attack over text (Tips)

In this guide, we will discuss “what to say to someone having a panic attack over text” and a few useful tips.

What to say to someone having a panic attack over text?

You can say the below things over text to someone having a panic attack:

  • You can do this
  • It will be over soon
  • Take huge deep breaths
  • It’s just a phase that will pass
  • I am proud of you
  • You will get through this
  • You have been through this before
  • Think about your happy place

How to calm someone with anxiety over text?

Here are some things you can do to calm someone with anxiety over text:

  • Tell them you are there
  • Tell them they can take their time
  • Breathe with them
  • Ask them to get some ice and keep it against their forehead
  • Tell them to drink some water
  • “We’ll get through this together”

What to say to someone having a panic attack over text? It is not a simple and easy question to answer.

Some people expect to find a template that could make their lives easier but in reality, it is not that simple.

There are a few things we need to consider when helping someone who is having a panic attack over text. 

Moreover, text messages have a communicative intent but lack the usual characteristics of a conversation such as the tone of voice, non-verbal behavior, visual contact, etc. and you can find various articles about people who suffer from anxiety or panic disorders and some tips on how to help but there is not much about what to say to someone having a panic attack over text.

Additionally, we can say that the easiest way to help someone when having a panic attack is having someone they trust and feel comfortable talking to and assuring them everything is going to be OK, after all, panic attacks are just temporary, usually lasting between 20 and 30 mins.

However, it is recommended to seek professional advice if you think someone you care about is having serious issues managing their anxiety or panic attacks.

Panic attacks can happen anywhere at any time, without warning.

In order to help, it is important to become familiar with the symptoms so you can understand what is happening and how to support your friend better.

This is why being available whenever they have a panic attack can be challenging and even more so over text. 

On the other hand, if we talk about anxiety disorders we have not only panic disorder but generalized anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, among others.

Having an anxiety disorder is considered to be normal, they are considered one of the most common disorders worldwide.

What can I do or say to someone having a panic attack over text?

You can start by reminding them that they are not obligated to stay where they are, suggest they can always leave and find a place they feel more comfortable while having a panic attack.

In addition, if you feel you can and have some spare time then offer them a ride home or going where they are.

Remind them to breathe slowly and encourage them to do so. 

Also, since you can’t just be there immediately, send them a reassuring text about how there is nothing to be afraid of and that their panic attack is just temporary, it won’t last forever.

Reminding them they are safe and you are there if they need any additional help can make them feel supported.

In addition, you could remind them to take their medication (if they are taking any).

You can also offer them to have a conversation later if they feel up for it but without putting any pressure or bombarding them with questions, just make sure they know you are there for them.

Also, you can start by sending a “What can I do to help you right now?”.

It can sound super simple and obvious but it is extremely important to let them know you are willing to help and not just simply assuming what they need. 

Another text you can send if it is someone very close to you or a loved one is “I can’t imagine what you are going through but I do know I love you and I will always be here for you, no matter what.”

This can offer reassurance even if you are not physically there with them, it also displays compassion, empathy, and comfort.

In addition, you could also say something like “You can always call me if you want advice or if you just need someone to listen”.

On many occasions, they may be looking for someone to hear or offer advice instead of looking for someone to fix things for them.

On the other hand, some may look into expressing what they think or feel without getting a list of the things “they should do”, instead. 

Listening is a skill, so it implicates having empathy and leaving any comments or critics to yourself unless you ask them if you can share some tips about what helps you feel less anxious or stressed.

Avoid…

  • Telling them to calm down or relax, this will only make their anxiety spike and will have the contrary effect. Remember it is never as easy as saying “calm down” or “relax, take it easy”.
  • Asking them why they are panicking since they will be very confused and may even feel embarrassed or misunderstood. They will probably have the same information about the panic attack as you do. 
  • Telling them they should be used to it by now. Do not assume that because it is not the first time this happens they are used to going through a panic attack.  Every episode can be felt with the same intensity and it can be as traumatizing as the previous attack. 
  • Distracting them with things like “oh look over there, it is a nice bird isn’t it?” or “think about something relaxing” since they are pretty aware of their surroundings and will not help them at all. 
  • Feeling angry or irritated because it is the 20th panic attack this month. It increases their fear and will only make them feel misunderstood, isolate themselves and will avoid making any contact with you because they know you will react to it as if it was something that tends to bother you.

Remember: Look after yourself…

Helping someone who experiences panic attacks or severe anxiety can be emotionally exhausting and you need to make sure you take care of yourself as well.

This is why it is important to set boundaries about what you are and what you are not willing to fo to help.

For instance, if you are studying and do not want to be disturbed then, it is necessary to establish the availability according to your schedule.

In addition, if helping your friend or loved one is starting to affect you emotionally or is too overwhelming and it is affecting your social life, consider getting help from a mental health professional or someone you trust to talk about how you feel.

Why is this blog about what to say to someone having a panic attack over text important?

As discussed, what we say to someone that is having a panic attack over a text message it is not easy but can make a huge difference.

The most important thing to remember is to make sure you let them know you are there, avoid panicking, getting angry and any judgments or criticisms since it is not helpful at all.

In addition, advise your loved one to get additional professional help if they are feeling too overwhelmed during their attacks, or if they feel they have lost control over their emotions leading them to depression or feeling sad all the time. 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about what to say to someone having a panic attack over text

What do you say to someone who is having a panic attack?

You can use short and positive statements to help someone who is having a panic attack such as:

– “I am so proud of you, you are doing an excellent job”

– “You will get through this”

– “Tell me if you need anything now”

– “Focus on your breathing, let’s do it together”

– “Remember is not the place but the thoughts you are having that are making you feel this way”

– “I know it is scary but it is not going to hurt you”

What do you not say to someone having an anxiety attack?

When someone is having a panic attack it is important to avoid:

– Telling them to calm down or relax.

– Telling them there is nothing they should be worrying or being nervous about.

– Telling them they are behaving inappropriately and embarrassing themselves.

– Telling them they are just overreacting and everything is in their heads.

How do you calm someone with anxiety?

There are several ways how you can calm someone with anxiety, such as:

– Advising them to avoid caffeine or alcohol since those substances tend to worsen anxiety symptoms.

– Advise them to write down how they are feeling and the thoughts that trigger their anxiety.

– Using herbal remedies such as chamomile, valerian or lavender oil.

– Getting professional help if they are feeling too overwhelmed from their anxiety and it is affecting significantly their lives. 

– Mindful meditation can be very helpful when managing anxiety.

– Exercise and healthy habits (changing their diet).

– Drink some water or green tea.

How do you help someone who is freaking out?

You can help someone who is freaking out by incorporating some of the following tips:

– Doing breathing exercises with them.

Help them to inhale slowly through their nose and count until number four, then make a pause of three seconds and then ask them to exhale through their mouth counting until four.

– You can try to distract them with any anecdotes you share together or any plans you may have in the near future.

– Assure them you are there for them if they want to talk. 

– Advice them what they are feeling, scared or frightened, is normal and it is necessary to accept it.

Also, assure them their episode is temporary and won’t last long.

What should you not do when someone is having a panic attack?

Here are some recommendations on what we should not do when someone is having a panic attack:

– Do not tell them to “relax” or “calm down”, this will only make things worse.

– Avoid feeling angry, frustrated or freaking out when someone is having a panic attack.

It will only add more stress and anxiety.

– Avoid being judgemental or criticizing their episode. This will only make them feel embarrassed and afraid of having another attack when you are around.

– Do not help them avoid places or situations because they fear they may have a new attack.

Slowly and gradually, help them overcome their fears. 

Recommended reading

  • Panic Attacks: The Guide to Beat the Panic Trick and Workbook About All Therapies and Social Issues. Self Development program to Cure and Improve Good Relationships. (Anxiety and Depression 2)
  • Panic Attacks: What They Are, Why They Happen and What You Can Do About Them
  • Badass Ways to End Anxiety & Stop Panic Attacks!: A counterintuitive approach to recover and regain control of your life
  • Making Friends with Anxiety: A warm, supportive little book to ease worry and panic – 2019 edition
  • Panic Attacks Workbook: A Guided Program for Beating the Panic Trick

What we recommend for Panic disorder

Panic Courses

  • Panic courses are a cost-effective way to seek help for panic attacks. A panic course such as this may help you alleviate those feelings of fears as it has with over 50,000 people.

Professional counselling

  • If you are suffering from a panic disorder, then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Weighted Blankets

Weighted Blankets may help you sleep better if you are having panic attack and they are affecting your quality of sleep. Weighted blankets apply enough weight on you that they make you feel much more relaxed and calm at night.

References

Tirani, G. (2014, Jun.) How to Handle Someone Else’s Anxiety or Panic Attacks. Retrieved from Medium.com

Todd, C.L. (2018, Jun.) 5 Helpful Things to Say to a friend Whose Anxiety Is Skyrocketing (and 3 to Avoid). Retrieved from Self.com.

Reachout.com “How to help a friend with a panic or anxiety disorder”.

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