Not many people have heard of panic disorder, though many know about anxiety.
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety, something which your mind creates for you.. such a lovely little present!
I suffered my first anxiety attack (panic attack) 8 years ago, I was asleep, it woke me up.
I woke up shaking, my heart was racing, like I had run a marathon! My mind couldn’t focus, I was sweating, I had a slight ache in my chest and was feeling kind of tingle sensation throughout my body.
As stupid as this sounds, my first thought was “Fuck, am I having an overdose?”
Logical thought was obviously gone, considering that you actually had to have taken some kind of drug/medicine to have an over-dose, which I hadn’t. I finally realised that 15 minutes in.
Then I started thinking and convinced myself that I was having a heart attack and I was going to die.
My partner at the time didn’t really care about what was happening, mind you it was 2am, but he was also a bit of a knob (asshole/twat for those non Aussie people) so I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Thankfully his mother, who was a nurse, was visiting us and staying at a place a few houses down from us. I called her in tears, freaking out like crazy and she said she’d come over.
When she got there.. the only thing I could do was pace up and down, I could barely string a sentence together and gather my thoughts. My obs/vitals were taken, I managed to tell her all my symptoms. She told me the good news was that I wasn’t having a heart attack but having an anxiety attack. Oh how I wish it would have been a heart attack, sounds crazy I know, but honestly.. for me, I think that would have been better.
From that first attack, my mind, my soul, everything was scared to death, thus my mind created a lovely phobia of panic attacks, which is Panic disorder.
The mind is an amazing thing, it can also be your worst enemy, mine is.
Because I was so afraid of having another panic attack, every time my body experienced a similar symptom of an attack, I started freaking out and a panic attack would start.
Exercise became something of the past, it raised my heart rate so my mind would start-up in its fight or flight mode.
Heat cause me to sweat, the cold would cause me to shiver, and even though the small sane part of my mind would tell me that these things were a normal reaction, my mind wouldn’t let go of the fear of panic attacks.
I stopped going out in public, stopped socialising, I became a prisoner. My home was where I felt safe and comfortable. If I had a panic attack at home, at least I had familiar things around me, I didn’t have to worry about people looking at me, I didn’t have to worry about feeling like I was going to faint or throw up, because I could do it in the comfort of my home, rather than so publicly.
After a while, I saw a doctor, I got prescribed Lexapro.. haha what a kick in the face that became. The doctor didn’t talk to me about side affects or anything like that. Nope instead I went in blind.
I took one tablet the following morning after breakfast like I was told. 45 minutes later, I was feeling sick as anything, my gut was turning, my head started hurting a bit.. I felt a bit weird.. of course, my mind lit up like a bloody christmas tree didn’t it!
I started getting scared, an anxiety attack started forming like a fricken storm.. gradually increasing its intensity just to create some more fun-filled fear for me!
An ambulance then was called, turns out I was having some awesome ass reaction to Lexapro, something which is experienced by a few people who take the tablets, and something which then should have been explained to me.
Now a normal person would have accepted that and continued on like everything is fine, either continuing with lexapro or asking for a different medicine. Not me though, nope instead I created a phobia of ALL drugs some how from that, I was convinced that all drugs and medications were bad, that I would have a severe reaction to them which then would spike my anxiety and cause more panic attacks.
I couldn’t even take over the counter pain medications! I still bloody can’t!
It’s taken a few years for me to be able to take paracetamol while im alone
My panic attacks aren’t as bad as they used to be, I can go out in public, I work, I do things on my own, I have just taught myself different strategies when I do have a panic attack. Little things to concentrate on rather than concentrating on what I’m feeling. For example, I pick a list, like girls names, then I have to go through the alphabet and think of a girl’s name for each letter. If my panic attack hasn’t settled still, I pick another list and continue.
I have to also say, my current partner is amazing when it comes to my anxiety and has helped me quite a bit with it. When I first told him, he didn’t fully understand, so he read about it on his own, then told me about what he read and different strategies we could try if I hadn’t tried them already.
He has been the only person who has understood that I have a full fear of these nasty little things and has helped me use them to make myself stronger and not feel so bloody ashamed about the attacks. His amazing choice of words will stay with me always as they are so true and so simple, ” Babe, fuck everyone else, if you’re having a panic attack in public, try not to worry about others, if they look at you, tell them to fuck off, if you need to throw up, throw up the one staring at you ”
Of course I wouldn’t do any of that, but he was right in a way, Panic attacks are scary as fuck as it is, they’re tiring for my mind, body and soul, focusing on what people around me are thinking as they see me won’t do anything because everyone will judge everyone as they always do, panic attack or no panic attack.