Ever had a panic attack walking down the street in broad daylight? No? Let me elaborate. It feels like you are walking on air – almost – and then you feel like you’re going to drop, trip or pass out. Usually, one or both of your eyes starts to blur and you start to breathe very quickly. Then hyperventilate. Your hands and arms go numb (from the hyperventilating) and you start to shake.
Meanwhile you’re thinking how can I act as normal as possible without looking like an idiot? You become self conscious and your eyes dart around like a wild animal being closed in on by hunters. The clip clopping of my shoes echo in my ears; I keep walking, walking, walking. There’s really nothing else I can do. What I really want to do is stop someone and ask them to drive me to the hospital.
What’s really awful about this whole episode, as well as the all the others I’ve gone through? I know deep down inside there is NOTHING wrong with me. It’s all psychological. Or is it……
I went to the hospital last year the day before Christmas Eve having what I thought was a heart attack. I had terrible pain in my chest, neck and left arm. I couldn’t breathe well. So, off to emergency I go and get all these tests done to find out….. NOTHING IS WRONG!
The doctor was kind and showed me my ECG graph and said, “See this? This tells me your heart is perfect. So what you had was a panic attack. Don’t let anyone tell you they aren’t real, ok? Just get some help to work through them.” Then he gave me a prescription for Ativan.
So there I am, feeling like a bit of a dumbass. I went home and went to bed. I was tired. Oh, that’s another thing about panic attacks – they drain your energy so much you feel like you could collapse afterwards.
Nothing like feeling you’re fighting your way out of a wet paper bag and the bag is winning.