Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I had an awful panic attack last night. Actually, it wasn't as bad as they can be; it was an average panic attack. But all panic attacks are awful. Yuck. Fortunately, I don't have them often. At the time of the panic attack, they're scary. But they're really just annoying because they're so disruptive to me. And they scare the bejezus out of my husband - he can't do anything to help. I sometimes scream or yell. I use relaxation techniques to end it earlier, and usually holding me while I try to relax helps, so if my husband is there, I ask him to hold me. But sometimes, when they're bad, I will run up and down the stairs to try to tire my body, in the (futile) hope of tiring my brain, too. So I just tell him what I'm going to do and what I need him to do.

Yuck. And for the record, I don't mean "panicking", I mean a panic attack. The first couple times I had a panic attack, I thought I was having a heart attack. Once I learned what I was experiencing, coping became better. I know I'm not dying; I know I'm physically fine; my breathing is not affected; I don't actually panic. But the racing heart, sweating, extreme distress, trembling, etc, are not alleviated by the fact that I know I'm physically fine. Grr. They only ever occur in the evening, almost always when I'm in bed.

Go to wikipedia or the CMHA to learn more. What they describe is typical panic attacks. I don't think I'm going to die: in fact, I know I'm not going to die, so that is not anything for me to worry about. I don't have schizophrenia at this point (Thank God), but it can appear later in life, too. Also, I don't have agoraphobia or any other phobias. In fact, I love social situations and thrive in them. So I don't fit the "classic symptoms" of a panic attack in that way.

They only affect my life if I start having them frequently. If I have a couple in the same week, I start to worry / get anxious I'll have more. Then, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, I usually have more. And that just sucks. Because I always have them at night, in bed, my sleep can suffer.

But I haven't had a panic attack in months before last night (Thank God) and I have no reason to suspect more will be coming. I'll be more vigilant in relaxation techniques before bed and not get anxious about it.

Does anyone else who reads my blog have any mental health issues? I don't mean to ask "are you crazy?". I don't consider myself crazy, at least not in the clinical sense! If you would like to comment anonymously, please feel free to do so! Mental health is so taboo, but it's nothing to be ashamed about. The more we talk about it, the more we break down stigmas. Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I had terrible anxiety attacks during my third year exams. Thankfully I nipped it in the bud before getting a full on panic attack but I still get mild moments of it. I think that's why I really can't sleep at the moment. Not having J around makes me worry more about things so my sleep is disturbed. I also agree that talking about these things makes it so much better. I had some very suportive people around me who helped it all be a lot easier to deal with. Hope they don't continue. M x