Panic Disorder – Experience – Anxiety Blog

I have always had anxiety, I over think and unfortunately for me, my anxiety disorder progressed into a panic disorder.

MY FIRST PANIC ATTACK

My first panic attack was probably one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I wasn’t sure if I was having a stroke, a heart attack or if I was just slowly dying. My whole body started to sweat, I could hear my own heartbeat pounding out of my chest. My vision was almost like an out-of-body experience like I was viewing from above my head. I could barely stand, it felt as if I were walking on stilts. Having someone close by was helpful, to touch and to hold. It helped make me feel like I was still in this realm. This lasted for hours and kept coming in waves, and did not weaken.

AFTER TREMORS

The next day during work, while I was in the office I was still experiencing this surreal feeling, at this point, I was pretty obsessed with checking my pulse on my iWatch. This didn’t help the situation at all. I tried breathing exercises, lying down and talking it out with my manager. I literally felt like I was losing my mind and was going to go insane. The next few weeks were pretty much living in the tumble of panic, then waiting in fear for the next one.

I was thinking that I would be able to get a hold of myself. That they would get easier as I experienced them more, I was wrong. Each time feels just as intense and surreal as the previous. Each time it feels as though I have exited the room. Some are more focused on the depersonalization, the feeling of not being “in” your own body. Others more focused on the feeling of not being within your surroundings – derealization. Every-time has my palms sweaty, my heart racing, my throat dry and my breathing being either shallow and slow or too fast and worried that I was hyperventilating. It feels like I cant breathe as if the air isn’t actually getting into my bloodstream.

Triggers

  • Sitting at my desk while at work
  • Waiting in heavy, slow-moving traffic
  • Being in a store
  • Sitting in the cinema

Each of these moments all had one thing in common, that I was expected to act or behave in a certain way, calm, collected and socially acceptable. When I get an attack I feel like I need to move, to run away or escape the situation. This is impossible in any of the situations above, especially when you’re trying to live your life and not let the anxiety rule how I live.

I also have noticed that alcohol (primarily the day after), lack of sleep and being under stress can also be a trigger.

I have spoken with colleagues and friends. A lot of people I know have had experiences like myself. I would ask them “will these ever go away?”, “can I get better?” and “what did you do to overcome these?”. Some people gave hope, some people were still working it out. I finally asked my doctor these same questions, and he said that I may never be fully cured of this condition but can expect it to improve.

Trigger points are one thing, but panic attacks can happen at any time. When it is occurring, I can’t help but feel like everyone around me must notice me freaking out. Once it finally passes you feel like an idiot, over exaggerated and embarrassed.. and also petrified anticipating that the next one is around the corner.

Anytime I find out anyone else experiences these, it doesn’t make me feel any better or any less alone. Just sympathetic and sorry that the other person has to deal with it too.

I have found YouTube to be a great resource when dealing with anxiety. I follow a therapist called Kati Morton. She explained anxiety, panic attacks, de-personalization and de-realization extremely well.

Depersonalization/ Derealization

The scariest part was the out-of-body experience, the de-personalization. Kati described it as “normal” that your mind is protecting itself due to your consciousness being under too much emotional stress. I have heard of this happening before with other people. This didn’t feel normal to me, and it just made me want to remain present and in the moment.

ACCEPTANCE

I guess the thing with anxiety is to accept that you’re suffering from it and try to “go with it”. I know that it is definitely easier said than done. How does one go with the feeling of the heart attack that never happens? I try to tell myself that I’ve been here before and that I have got through previous panic attacks and will get through this one too. I saw a video that helped explain this a little better:

SILVER LINING?

When you are alone and “trying to go with the panic attack” you have to make peace with death. This disorder has made me have a real look at how I’m treating my body. Be thankful for all the people and love I have in my life. In a way, it maybe did need to happen. It’s forcing me to become a better person.

I truly hope that this post has helped anyone going through the same thing, or at least raised a little awareness for those that have loved ones that experience panic disorder.

I fully encourage anyone experiencing this to go and speak to someone. A friend, doctor, family member or a professional mental health care provider. This can be helped, we can get through this and hopefully overcome entirely!

Much love & as always,

Peace out folks!

 

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Panic Disorder – Experience

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