Panic Attacks

A couple of months ago, I started having panic attacks. So far, a total of three that I consider major ~ but then, since I’ve never had them I don’t really know if they are major or not since I have nothing to compare them against except each other.

It was late in the evening when I experienced the first attack. I was feeling anxious for no particular reason that I knew of. When my husband and I went to bed, he fell asleep right away but I was wide awake ~ I usually don’t fall asleep til midnight unless I’ve done a lot of physical work. Suddenly, I felt that I had to get out of the house for 6 months.  Not just out of the house but out of Minnesota. How odd!  Strangely, I felt like I was being restrained.

Who in their right mind would want to leave the State they live in at that hour for no particular reason?

With tears streaming down my eyes, I sent a text to a friend who was a social worker in another state to see if she was awake. Fortunately she was and we texted back and forth as she asked me questions to see if we could pinpoint the problem.  Eventually she just offered for me to stay in her house if I “needed to get away.”

The feeling subsided and I feel  asleep.  When I awoke, I was back to “normal” yet felt a little uneasy about what happened.

A week or so later, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner and suddenly felt as if something was enveloping me ~ a very strange sensation that I can’t really explain. “Something” was surrounding me and seemed to have a hold on me.

I stopped what I was doing and stood there when suddenly a thought popped into my head ~ “Why don’t I just walk to the nearby lake which was almost melted, walk on the ice and if I fall in, well, who would miss me?”

The thought startled me so much that I started crying uncontrollably. Where was this coming from? I didn’t feel anxious yet this thought sounded suicidal to me.

After 15 minutes, the feeling subsided and I returned to “normal.”

I started researching panic attacks on the internet and self-diagnosed myself. I would discuss this with my doctor when I went in for my annual checkup.

But I was not immune to another attack before my doctor appointment.

This time, I had been soundly asleep and woke up feeling the same sensation ~ something was surrounding my body.  I went to the bathroom and as I was walking back to the bedroom, I told myself that this would pass as that is one helpful tip I remembered from reading on the internet.

Once I affirmed that “this would pass” the feeling subsided.

In talking with a few people, I learned that there are quite a few others who suffer from panic attacks. Have you ever felt like this?

When I went for my yearly checkup I told my doctor about these attacks and she was concerned but explained that as we get older we sometimes have feelings of wanting to flee as we reflect back on our lives and this can cause us to feel “panic.”

Well, okay … I understand the “getting older” part but not necessarily the anxiety that might be caused by looking back at our past.

The doctor gave me a prescription and told me to take a pill at the onset of the panic attack. She said it can also be taken if I get anxious when traveling on a plane (although I’ve never needed anything before for traveling.)  Otherwise, she said, if I take a pill when I don’t have an attack it would just make me sleepy.

An interesting thing ~ I haven’t had a panic attack since I left her office.



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