Managing Anxiety & Panic Attacks – an Autistic Perspective




I’ve been asked the question: “What do I do to mitigate stress, and how does it help me?”

So, this is a complex problem as an autistic person because, for me personally, I feel that my flight-fight response, my startle response, my tendency for adrenaline and anxiety-inducing chemicals to pump through my body is more easily triggered than the average person.

It’s weird, because sometimes things that would really stress and stop a normal person in their tracks have no reaction on me, but things that have like, no reaction to most people and are little things to other people, will really be too much for me.

So, how do I deal with stress?

I try to look at it from a very logical perspective.  I understand what the physical sensations and anxiety, like when I recognize it’s happening to me, I go into “logic mode” in my head because I also suffer from panic attacks, and so I go to grounding.

If it’s really bad, I’ll start touching my chair with my hand next to me.  I might close my eyes and listen to the sounds in the room around me.  I will probably count and do breathing exercises.

If it is really bad, you might see me do a shutdown where I freeze, and I’ll get really stuck.  It’s kind of like I’m shutting in on myself and I’m just trying to slow everything down and tell myself I’m okay.  When it’s really bad, I have this feeling as if I am in danger and I am not okay.

And so, it is just telling myself “Okay, this is a chemical reaction.  It will pass once your body gets all the chemicals out.  Just breathe.  Just wait.  It’s okay.  It’s only temporary.”

And that’s what I do, but I had to learn to recognize when it was happening to me and to go into that preventative, protective mode.  And just learning to recognize this was happening before it was too bad has been a process, and I don’t even know how to say … just watch for patterns, learn your own behavior, and try to realize if you’re spiraling.

Let me know your tips for dealing with stress and anxiety because this is more about anxiety.  Sorry guys.  Talk to you next week.  Bye!




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