Sufferers of a panic attack often report a fear or sense of dying, “going crazy,” or experiencing a heart attack or “flashing vision,” feeling faint or nauseated, a numb sensation throughout the body, heavy breathing (and almost always, hyperventilation), or losing control of themselves (Wiki)
Panic Attack Sufferer – Read One Mans Story
Some days, I’m afraid of waking up in the morning. Sleep is the only state of mind that always brings me peace. When I wake up, I can’t predict how I’ll be feeling. I might wake up feeling drowsy and find it hard to get through the day without having a panic attack.
I might wake up sad and watch that sadness turn into depression as my mind pinpoints every negative aspect of my life and blows them up to epic proportions. Sometimes, I wake up and never make it out of bed, crying because I’m tired of being like this.
But sometimes, I wake up and I’m just me. A twenty-something, friendly psychology student who has suffered from panic disorder, social phobia, and major depression off and on for the past twenty-something years (or so it seems).
Mental illness is part of my life.
I probably have more good days than bad days, but my damaged brain likes to convince me that the world is a dangerous, unrelenting place. Without my sick brain, I wouldn’t think that way – but then I wouldn’t think at all, would I?
Growing up, I always resented the fact that I was socially anxious. I found it hard to make new friends and I felt awkward every minute of every social interaction. Speaking up in class didn’t just give me butterflies in my stomach, it gave me elephants stampeding around in my chest, ripping my heart open with their merciless tusks. I didn’t know it then but I would have a panic attack most days.
I wanted to contribute more to my social environment, but I just couldn’t.
My resentment became depression over time. I started to hate myself for who I was. “Grow up and just be normal!” I used to shout at my reflection. Thoughts of suicide danced around my head for many years.
Some thoughts were more convincing than others. Eventually, I came to realize that despite having a mental illness I had a full life ahead of me, and giving in to the depression was not the path I wanted to take.
So I ignored my mental illness for some time.
Then the panic started. One panic attack, two, three panic attacks, agoraphobia. All of a sudden I was too anxious to stay in school. I moved back home with my incredibly supportive parents, and everything seemed so grim.
I was just one mental health issue after another, it seemed. When was I going to get a break?
Mental illness has been both a curse and a blessing for me. The curse is obvious; I’m sick. I have an illness that no one can see, few people can understand, and some people don’t even believe in.
The blessing is a little less obvious.
I’ve seen the world in many different frames of reference: anxious, panicked, depressed, suicidal, happy, joyful, loving.
I have many moods, and all these wonderful moods color the world in different ways. My multifaceted view of the world has lead me to realize that I have a voice. I may not be able to express myself verbally as well as I’d like to, but I take to writing instead.
This is my life: a rocky, unstable roller-coaster of emotions on its way to a far off land. I can hate it all I like, but in the end, this was the hand I was dealt and I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is make the best of my experiences: mental illness is my way of staying unique and interesting.
What is a panic attack?
Panic attacks are periods of intense fear or apprehension that are of sudden onset and of variable duration of minutes to hours. Panic attacks usually begin abruptly, may reach a peak within 10 minutes, but may continue for much longer if the sufferer had the attack triggered by a situation from which they are not able to escape.
In a panic attack that continue unabated, and are triggered by a situation from which the sufferer desires to escape, some sufferers may make frantic efforts to escape, which may be violent if others attempt to contain the sufferer.
Some attacks can subside on their own over the next several hours. (Wiki)
Justin spends most of his time in Montreal studying psychology and biotechnology. When he has a break from school, he likes cooking, pretending to go to the gym, writing horror stories, and watching a lot of supernatural dramas. He hopes one day to become a professor and expert on anxiety disorders. He writes a blog called Anxiety Really Sucks!follow and can be followed on Twitter @justinrmathesonfollow.