I’ve heard the phrase “panic attack” used in conversation all of the time. In fact I’ve probably said I was going to have one or thought I’ve had one during my lifetime struggle with anxiety. In times where my anxiety gets a little unbearable I tend to feel my heart race and my breathing get a little erratic. But never in my life have I felt what I felt last Monday afternoon…
I was sitting at my local coffee shop just working away. I had eaten a blueberry waffle that morning, followed by a homemade latte. And then a few hours later purchased an iced coffee from the coffee shop. Having a small breakfast and a decent amount of caffeine wasn’t anything new for me. I practically live on caffeine. But as I was sitting there I felt my head do a little jolt and thought hmm maybe I should get some water. I stood up to walk over to the water dispenser and felt funny. I felt a rushing cooling sensation running through my head and I didn’t feel like myself. I was shaking and literally thought I was going to have a brain aneurysm. Naturally I panicked and asked them to call 911.
I was mortified. I kept saying how embarrassed I was and went to one of the back rooms so no one could see me. I was shaking uncontrollably and just kept feeling pressure in my head and this cooling sensation running from head to toe in my body. The paramedics arrived and checked my blood sugar and blood pressure and my blood pressure was a little elevated, probably due to the fact that I was freaking myself out at this point. They asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and said yes… just to be safe.
Upon arriving it started to get worse. I was shaking, shivering, and the cooling sensation intensified. It felt like a build-up and I was terrified it was building up to something bad happening. When I finally got to a room the doctor came in to evaluate me. He asked me questions about family history and based on everything I was telling him, he determined I was probably having a panic attack. What? How did I have a panic attack!? Nothing had even been wrong. He explained that panic attacks often come out of nowhere and for no reason and he gave me a pill to see if my symptoms went away. And sure enough, they did.
As I was driving the kids to school yesterday, I started to feel funny again. This time, an intense pressure and heating sensation on the left side of my chest. Then the cooling sensation came back and was running through my body. I tried to take deep breaths and told myself “you’re fine, this is probably just your anxiety.” But it didn’t stop and I started to get worried. So I dropped the kids off at school and met Z at the ER. Happy birthday to me, right?
They took an EKG and everything looked fine. Followed by a chest x-ray and massive amounts of blood work. Everything came back clear. I have an MRI scheduled for Thursday to rule out anything with my head, but I’m just so frustrated with the entire situation. A panic attack literally feels like I’m going to die. And I have no idea why I’ve started having them or how to make them stop. Even when I know nothing is wrong, my body still does things I don’t want it to. I’m completely out of control and I hate it.
I’ve talked to so many people about panic attacks and it’s surprisingly a lot more common that I thought. And all of the times I thought I was having a panic attack in the past, I wasn’t. Because nothing I’ve felt the past week can even compare to anything I’ve ever felt before. I’m sure they’re different for everyone and the severity can change but I am really just at a loss on what to do. Why do they keep happening? What can I do to stop them?
Once I get the results from the MRI I’ll feel better. Hopefully it says nothing at all and then we know it really is just panic attacks. But then at the same time, I have no idea how to handle them. Why am I getting them? How do I make them stop? Why all of a sudden am I getting them?
If you’ve ever experienced anything like this or have any advice, please let me know! Talking to other people about it helps to calm my nerves a little and I would love any advice I can get.