PLEASE RE-POST THIS….I WANT IT SHARED AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE.
(ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE IN THE NORTH-EAST OF ENGLAND.)
Here is my actual Facebook post which I want people to share…
PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE THORUGHOUT THE NORTH-EAST AND BEYOND XXX
People of the North-East. Please help me track down my ‘angel of the north’ who helped me through my PANIC ATTACK at the Tyne Tunnel toll booths yesterday at approx. 1pm when I was en route to a meeting in South Shields.
You did everything *perfectly* to help get me through that horrendous experience, and I genuinely don’t know how I would have coped in that traumatic and terrifying situation without your AMAZING altruistic support.
PLEASE SHARE THIS POST AS WIDELY AS YOU CAN THROUGHOUT THE NORTH-EAST AS I WANT TO FIND THIS WOMAN AND PERSONALLY THANK HER!!!
I told my story about you and how you helped me to the national Mind media team in London today, and said I want to go public with the story of how you helped me. I am a media volunteer for the MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY MIND, and a fundraising volunteer for my local Mind (Tyneside and Northumberland). I also told my tale to a very lovely regional ITV reporter lady, so you are almost famous!
You didn’t care that you were holding up the drivers behind. You saw my distress and panic and responded calmly and kindly, talking me through what I had to do, keeping your voice calm, smiling at me, encouraging me, reassuring me. You gave me your bottle of water so I could sip water which helped a lot, and and you made me feel reassured that I was going to be ok and get through this miserable and embarrassing situation in one piece. You spoke to me through the passenger window of my car rather than the driver’s side which meant my PTSD wasn’t triggered as I felt at a safe distance to you. You were AMAZING!!!
**INFO TO ALL.
If you ever see someone who appears to be having an anxiety/panic attack in public, or a stranger approaches you and explicitly tells you they are having a panic attack, or maybe a PTSD flashback, the best thing to do is NOT PANIC yourself!
I told two men I was having a panic attack before this lady came to my aid. Maybe they were unsure how to help me or what to say, or perhaps were in a rush yesterday so got quickly back in their cars. I am not blaming you for that. I do understand being approached by someone who appears hysterical and in mental health crisis can be very stressful. I am sorry to those people that I made you uncomfortable when I approached you….Please understand though, the person having the panic attack or the flashback is always A LOT more stressed than you are (!!) and we are absolutely desperate for assistance. Our panic can be so OVERWHELMING that we may even have fears we are dying.
If this ever happens to you and someone having a panic attack approaches you asking for help, it helps so much if you can spend a minute or two talking to us in a reassuring way in a soothing relaxed voice, telling us “YOU ARE GOING TO BE ALRIGHT. THIS WILL PASS. YOU ARE SAFE, AND I’M HERE. YOU ARE GOING TO BE OK”. Over and over again if that is what it takes.
These are simple steps you can take to make a massive difference to someone’s day.
Offering us a drink is also massively helpful if you have one to hand, as the act of swallowing activates a calming mechanism in our brains which makes our parasympathetic nervous system kick in to reduce our adrenaline levels. Cold drinks like water are best as the cold temperatures refresh our brain, and help shock us out of our state of panic and dissociation.
We may be dissociated. You may never have heard of this word. What it means (in plain English) is our brain may shut down almost completely to protect us from the panicky feelings and to help reduce our stress hormone levels (which by now will have reached toxic proportions.) A sign we are dissociated is we may appear visibly spaced out to you ,or to not be able to process what you’re saying very easily at first or reply to you coherently, but calm persistence and continuing to talk to us soothingly (from a safe distance) and asking questions WILL engage the rational parts of our brains which will eventually activate the soothing systems in our brain.
These are very simple things we can all do to help someone we come across who appears in severe psychological distress.
There is always the possibility however that someone having a panic attack may NOT want you to go near them. They may have PTSD or a trauma background and be nervous of unfamiliar people. If we tell you to go away or are hostile please allow us some personal space, but continue to talk to the distressed person from a distance and be physically nearby. This will hopefully gain their trust. Most people will be grateful of help just as I was.
Having a panic attack in public is humiliating and terrifying, but thanks to this amazing woman (my angel of the north) my faith in human nature was restored.
THANK YOU TO THIS AMAZING LADY!
If you were this person at the Tyne Tunnel, please get in touch so I can thank you. I have attached a photo so you recognise who I am :)
Mental health blogger @ http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Mind Media Volunteer.
Tyneside and Northumberland Mind Fundraising Volunteer.