Cry it out. That is what someone might say if they are supportive of you needing to cry. As we are grow up, crying is often something we do when we are sad, maybe even angry. As adults, we often restrict our crying to mourning the loss of our family and friends. Are there benefits can we get from crying other than releasing our grief?
I think there are. First and foremost, crying is an excellent stress reliever. Not just the bad stress but the good stress as well. When we are overwhelmed with work, overwhelmed with our own achievements, overwhelmed with love or fear or anything. Just too much. Crying is a release and can help you get past the feeling of being overwhelmed so you can focus more clearly on what is really going on for a more constructive attitude.
Crying in front of someone else is a great way to bond with them. In our society it is so taboo to cry that we forget the connections that we gain with people when we are in difficult situations. When we cry or are there to comfort someone else who is distraught or crying, regardless of why the person is upset, we feel closer to them, we connect as humans. While it is poor taste to want someone to cry in your presence there is no harm in opening yourself up to another person and crying in their presence.
Opening up this connection to another person can have an odd additional effect. I have been around enough friends who have frequent panic attacks to notice a pattern. Individuals who experience frequent panic attacks are often calmed and centered when they have the opportunity to care for another person. When person A is in a state of panic, if person B opens up and shows themselves as being distraught, by crying or another means, it can help bring person A out of their panic attack.
While this may not be something that always happens, my opinion is that person A feels drawn to help B and it is human nature to help those we see struggling. When A is able to help someone outside of them self it helps them to take control again, through showing compassion for another. When you are aiming to help a friend with a panic attack, consider supporting them by opening up your self and show your own vulnerabilities rather than focusing on theirs. This way they can sometimes be drawn back out.
Understand that this support may not work for all individuals every time they have a panic attack as all of these are different unique experiences with different levels of support being needed. And remember, sometimes we just need to cry. Offer someone the space and allow yourself to feel moved to cry. Create the bond with your friends, family, and partners. Relieve the tension and stress you are holding onto. We are all in this together.
Jillian Carnrick, founder and manager of The Dancing Herbalist, has a Masters of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine, practices as a nutritionist, wellness counselor, and is a Certified Personal Trainer and Exercise Is Medicine Professional through the American College of Sports Medicine. Join her for live classes and The Dancing Herbalist’s home herbalist courses online for more learning opportunities.
If you would like more information in supporting someone having a panic attack, start with this article.