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This woman’s list of “realistic” ways to help during a panic attack might be the most useful thing on the internet today


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If you’re never had a panic attack, it’s impossible for you to understand the experience. And that likely means you don’t have a clue of what you’d need to do to help someone through it, which also means you might try to help in the totally wrong ways. And that’s exactly why a handwritten, go-to guide on how to help someone out when they’re feeling their worst—from someone who is very familiar with panic attacks—is going viral.

Kelsey Darragh, an actress and video producer who has panic and anxiety disorder, came up with 15 “realistic” things that will assist someone through a panic attack, and people are resonating with it—hard. With more than 7,500 retweets and 22,000 likes, it’s one of the most-useful things making the rounds on the internet today. It’s popularity isn’t surprising, considering that 2 to 3 percent of Americans experience panic attacks every year—and it is twice as common in women than it is in men, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

The prevalence of panic disorder—combined with the fact that the episodes can be brought on by anything, anytime, anywhere—makes this list key info to know in case you ever happen to be around someone who’s struggling, especially since the attacks come on quick. The ADAA reports that within just a few minutes, you have a pounding heart, are shaky, feel like you’re choking, have chest pain, are dizzy, have immense fear—the list goes on. Darragh’s tips work for her and offer great insight. But consulting a medical health professional is always best practice.

When you witness someone having these symptoms, you might freak out yourself or tell her to chill out—two things that just make matters worse. Instead, if you try breathing techniques like this one a psychologist recommends or get her out of her current location, ASAP—you’ll be her hero. And really, all it takes is being open-minded, gentle, reassuring, and—most importantly!—calm.

While working out can do a lot to boost your mood, here’s how and when exercise can make anxiety worse. Or, check out some anxiety-soothing tips Kristen Bell would tell her younger self.

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