Fear and anxiety are natural reactions to scary events, when the fear and anxiety become overwhelming, you experience panic. You might notice your heart pounding, sweating, trembling, difficulty breathing, chest pain, nausea, numbness, feeling detached from yourself, or fear you are losing control. The difference between anxiety and panic is that when it’s panic it erupts suddenly and peaks within 10 minutes. So what’s happening to you? Well from a physical sense panic is caused by a surge of adrenaline being released into your bloodstream. Adrenalin is designed to prepare your body for fight or flight. So you stay and work your way through the panic or you run.
If you are going to stay and work your way through you might need to develop some tools in identifying and challenging the negative thoughts like the one “I’m losing control” or “I’m going crazy” and replacing them with “The adrenalin will pass” or “When this passes I will be able to focus”. You will also find it useful to try and control and slow your breathing to combat the adrenalin burst or some grounding techniques. This Way Up have a good resource with a few things you can try and some more information about panic attacks and panic disorder if you are looking for some additional information or assistance.
If you can feel your anxiety rising as you are preparing for exams then take a look at some of these resources and prepare to stay and fight through the panic. Panic doesn’t have to get in the way of you reaching your goals, it is usually short in duration, so hang in there and you will be on top again.