My first full-blown panic attack came at night. I had no idea what was happening to me. My small children and husband were sleeping. I woke up with a choking feeling. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I felt no pain, but was sure it was a heart attack. I waited for the pain but it never came.
I walked around the house for hours, my condition getting steadily worse. I was sweating, heart pounding, the feeling of choking still there and now I had a pain in my left arm along with clouded vision.
I woke my husband up and told him what was going on. He asked me if I thought I should go to the ER. I really felt foolish and confused so I said no. He tried to get me to come back to bed. I said I would. Of course I could not.
The word “panic” had entered my head, but only in the way I felt, not as a diagnosis of any kind. At 2AM I called my MD’s service, got the doctor on call, tried to explain my symptoms and he told me I was fine. I should take a dose of Benadryl, wait until it took effect and go to sleep. I did what he said, but somehow I knew my symptoms were too severe for this to help at all.
By 4AM I was literally going out of my mind! I could nearly stand up from loss of breath, my vision was nearly gone, I was terrified that I was dying and at the same time feeling too foolish to wake up my husband. Again I called the MD on call, told him I was worse and was sure I was dying. He asked me if I had any narcotics in the house. I did not and told him so. I asked him why. He told me that I was having a panic attack. I was not dying. He told me to go to my regular doctor the first thing in the morning for some medication and assured me I would feel better soon.
First of all, I want you to know you do not have to be alone and terrified like I was that night! Unless you have had a panic attack you cannot understand how it feels to go through it and how hard it is to explain your symptoms to someone else-who has not experienced it. General Practitioners in on the whole, do their best, but are not so helpful. I would say to call a mental health hot-line in your area for a safe first response.
Second, do not think you are foolish for feeling any way you feel! Feeling are feelings and they are real not foolish in any way! If you feel bad, you deserve a chance to get help to feel better! The disease starts that way. It makes us believe we are less-than. It makes us afraid of everything-even getting help. Do not let it lie to you! When you start feeling like, “I really don’t need that MD visit or I can do without my meds, or that was just a little panic attack no need to tell the doc,” remember that is not good! That is part of your disease-the part that lies to you.
For me it has taken four things to get to a good solid place: courage
a good doc, the right meds and prayer support from friends.
It has been 23 years since that first horrible night alone and panicking. I have had a hard few years of ups and downs, but I can say that the days are more up now than down by far and I can’t remember my last full-blown panic attack. There was hope for me and there is most certainly hope for you!
Thanks for listening to my story.
It took me over a year to begin this blog. At first, I just couldn’t do it. I was so afraid of all the horrible comments that people put online. It’s nasty out there at times. All you need to do is check out a YouTube video to see what filth escapes the fingers of anonymous commentators. I feared that because I was not yet strong enough to deal with any more criticism. I was also deathly afraid of not being believed… AGAIN.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is most often referred to as “controversial”. If you look up depression, anxiety, or many other mental health issues, the explanations never begin with “depression is a controversial diagnoses”. Why not? It is just as invisible as DID is. You can fake depression too right?
I’ve also been diagnosed with depression and PTSD (an anxiety disorder by nature) so I am not being…
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