panic attacks

Panic attacks, anxiety attacks…whatever you call them they suck hard like a straw in a Wendy’s frosty.

I experienced my first full blown panic attack in February of 2010.  I was driving home from my second job on a Friday night in the middle of a snow squall and was having trouble breathing, my inhaler wasn’t helping.   I remember making a panicked call to manfriend begging him to come pick me up because I didn’t think I could drive any further.   I pulled over by the airport  because I thought I was going to pass out.  Soon it felt as if I couldn’t breathe at all, my arms went numb and my feet went numb I honestly thought  I was having a heart attack…because I have a condition where that is possible (but rare) I hung up with him and dialed 911.    After an embarrassing $840 ambulance ride and hours in the ER and CT scans and xrays and blood work I was told there was nothing wrong with me.   Score.   While thankful and blessed I was also incredibly frustrated because the symptoms I’d experienced were real.

After this incident I had many conversations with my doctor.    It became clear I had experienced a panic attack.  I knew there were some elements in my life I needed to change so I altered my diet, changed my mindset, I even switched jobs.   Things had been going flawlessly until this past Friday when – BAM- anxiety attack.   I was driving into work and suddenly couldn’t breathe.  I pulled into my office’s parking lot and just couldn’t focus, I felt like I was going to pass out.    It took all my will power to  walk into the office.   I felt like I was going to keel over.    I wanted to scream, I wanted to breathe, I just wanted to feel normal.   I tried to drink some water at my desk but couldn’t even swallow properly.   I eventually went to the doctor and was once again told there was nothing physically wrong with me, great…but still, why do I get these bizarre panicky feelings?

Have you ever experienced a panic attack or anxiety attack?   Do you have them often?   How did you overcome them?

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Comments

  1. Hey, this is the Katie you know from Siena =) First, I want to tell you that I really enjoy your blog – I just recently started reading it. Second, I have dealt with anxiety and panic attacks for years. Strangely enough, my anxiety is triggered by my hormones. It took me a LONG time to figure this out, but at certain times in my cycle, I am very anxious – other times, I am very calm. I have been on medication (Zoloft) twice in the last 3 years b/c the anxiety got so bad that it was almost constant, and was starting to interfere with my life on a daily basis. One thing I have learned – when you are feeling anxious or you are having a panic attack, try to distract yourself. If you focus on the anxiety, or the physical symptoms, it will only get worse. I used to distract myself with my hand held Tetris game. I would force myself to focus on the game, and my anxiety would calm down or my panic attack would stop. Nowadays, I use my iTouch and play Angry Birds or Word with Friends =) But it has the same effect. It’s a tough thing to learn how to do (focusing on something else) but once you can do it, it really does help. When I feel anxious now, I can usually get the feeling to pass in 5-10 minutes. If you have any questions, feel free to email me or FB message me!

  2. ashallann says:

    Katie, thank you so much for sharing! That’s great that you’ve been able to keep it under control. I will definitely be using those tips to make sure the anxious feeling doesn’t turn into an all out panic attack. Thanks so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it!

Trackbacks

  1. […] written about panic attacks before they are awful.   Mild panic attacks aren’t much better. It’s still that ridiculous […]

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