Panic Attacks. The journey begins.

25 Jan

I have panic attacks. They suck.

May 2005. I was driving to Ottawa with my mom and (then 2 year old) daughter in the car to visit my brother. I suddenly felt as though I was smothering. I could not get in an entire breath and my heart was racing. It was as though I was both watching what was happening from somewhere else and feeling each sensation so acutely. I pulled the car over and calmly (my exterior was so calm despite my interior being in turmoil, something that would prevail even today) told my mom I couldn’t breathe and needed to get help. I got out of the car and called 911.  I stayed with the operator pacing on the side of the highway. My mother stayed with my daughter.

An ambulance came and took me to a hospital outside of Ottawa with my mother and daughter following behind me. After heart tests and blood tests and other tests, a really nice doctor asked me if I had a history of panic and anxiety. Until that exact moment, I had never thought so. I began to cry and shake hysterically. And then my journey began.

February 2001.  I was sitting in a seminar room in History 421, Russian Revolution, at Queen’s University. I felt like the room was getting smaller, closing in on me. The professor sounded far away, like she was speaking in a wind tunnel. I wanted to get up and run.  My heart was racing and my palms were sweating. I was going to be sick. I was going to go crazy right there in that room.

A few years ago, my mom brought me some old boxes and in one of them, I found  my old journals.  Funny, how at the time, and even looking back, I never thought of myself as an anxious person, and yet, reading the journals, I so clearly was.

I have panic attacks. They suck.

This is my story.

Part 2 coming soon.

Photo Credit

11 Responses to “Panic Attacks. The journey begins.”

  1. Dana Goldstein January 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    I had a panic attack once. Came out of nowhere while driving to Seattle. I know exactly how you felt. Fortunately, I have not had another episode.
    Anyone who has never had a panic attack just cannot understand how unpredictable they are. They catch you when you least expect it and when things seem to going along nicely.
    Yes, Jenn, they SUCK!

  2. jg January 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Jen! The amazing thing about anxiety is that so few people talk about it and so many experience it. I think a good portion of our anxiety can be alleviated by giving it air and letting it out. Awesome post, can’t wait for part 2.

  3. jexalt January 26, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Thanks Dana, they DO suck. I’m sorry you had to go through it, and hope it never happens again!

  4. jexalt January 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    JG, I totally agree with you. We never really talk about it, especially me, because I don’t want to burden people, but I also don’t think people know what to say (they don’t have to say ANYTHING) and instead say things like “just pull yourself up”, “It happens to everyone”.

  5. Multi-Testing Mommy January 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Oh dear, panic attacks do suck! They run in my family. I feel for you!

    Do you have any tips for how to deal with them?

    Thanks for visiting SASS!

    • jexalt January 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 I do have some tip – I am going to start talking about them as I move on with these posts.

      I do think that there is something to be said about them running in the family.

  6. panic attack December 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I just like the helpful information you supply on your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I’m moderately sure I will be told a lot of new stuff proper right here!
    Good luck for the following!


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