Living with Panic Attacks

It had been less than a week since we’d broken up. Still friends, we sat on the futon and watch Orange is the New Black. As the prisoners were running around the prison frantically, I started to feel antsy. I ignored this for a few minutes, but suddenly I started to feel like something was horribly wrong. My arms, especially my left, started to feel tingly and my extremities went numb. I was bursting with energy.

“I’ve got to get up and move around.”

Since I’m usually naked when sitting around the house, I jerked on the first pair of shorts I could find and bolted out the back door. Thankfully no one was in the back yard, which we share with two other neighbors. I paced back and forth between the vegetable garden and the patio furniture. The energy was coursing through me and the strange sensations had me convinced I was going to die soon. I had never felt this uncomfortable. I felt like I was going crazy.

“I’ve got to go for a walk.”

I threw on my shoes, grabbed my phone, and told my boyfriend (um, ex-boyfriend) to check in on me in 30 mins. We track each other on our phones, which in moments of crisis can be quite comforting.

What I was experience was a panic attack. Panic attacks are very common, effecting millions of people a year. And, they are terrifying. These episodes aren’t like typical

What does a panic attack feel like?

While the experience is different for just about everybody, hereĀ are the common symptoms of a panic attack:

  • Muscle tremors
  • Elevated heart beat
  • Feeling of impending doom (I’m going to die!)
  • Restlessness
  • Racing (negative) thoughts

 

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