I just joined and look forward to being able to connect with and learn from others sharing these similar experiences. I'm 27 years old and though I have always been an anxious person, it hasn't been anything I haven't been able to handle on my own.
Anyhow, I have suddenly been experiencing what seems to be panic attacks. I went to the hospital at the beginning of the month, with stomach pain, they told me my white blood cell count was very high and started treating me and running a bunch of tests but couldn't determine what was wrong. I think maybe thats what set off my first panic attack, I was so worried and consumed with the fact that I felt like ANYTHING could be wrong with me since they didn't know. I stayed up late at night researching my different symptoms wondering what was going on with me. It was during one research session late at night that I suddenly felt like I couldn't breathe normally. I had to take deep breaths, like there was a pressure on my chest, like if I didn't I would die. I was at my parents house and I woke them up, both of them had panic attacks when they were my age and kept trying to convince me thats what it was. But, I felt so sure I was dying, that I was having a heart attack because I had pain in my chest, my arms and face were numb and I couldn't breathe. It was absolutely terrifying. Of course, I went to the hospital and they couldn't find anything wrong with me so I went home still feeling at odds with why, if nothing was wrong with me, I still felt so uncomfortable in my skin, a heavy breath caught in my throat.
Fast forward 2 weeks, to today. I was driving home from work, with my mom and brother in the car with me, through a long windy mountain road. We are all talking and I don't feel particularly anxious, or upset about anything. And all of sudden I feel like it is difficult to swallow, difficult to breathe...that same heavy feeling on my chest, numbness in my face and arms. I feel like there is cotton in my head, pressure in my eyes, it feels difficult to focus on the road. I tell my family I think something is wrong with me, that I feel the same way I did when I went to the hospital. I try to remind myself that the doctors said nothing was wrong with me, but "no" my mind says, this time you probably really are dying, you must be. We get into town and I try to go to a restaurant with them but I feel like I can't walk 5 feet outside the car. My body doesn't feel like my own. My brother offers to take me to my doctor in town. He was kind enough to see me and of course tells me that physically I seem fine. I rambled on about how embarrassed I felt, that I didn't understand what was happening to me, that I was scared, that I really didn't know what a panic attack was supposed to feel like. My brother confirms with my doctor that I rarely seem stressed, that I am a pretty easy going person. I had gone to the doctor after I was last in the hospital and he had given me a prescription for lorazepam and he tells me to go home and try taking one to see if it affects the symptoms, but he also suggests we get a chest scan in the future to make sure nothing else is going on.
My biggest problem through all of this I feel...is a general misunderstanding about what a panic attack really is. I thought it was something that happened to people when they just go SO overwhelmed, SO anxious and upset that they slipped into a panic attack. And i'm sure that does happen. But I had never heard of people doing absolutely nothing out of the ordinary, going about their day feeling just fine, suddenly being smacked with a wave of horrifying physical symptoms that sets your mind into a panic about those symptoms which just spirals you around and around.
And I know this is quite long, so TL;DR version: I started experiencing panic attacks, I have very strong physical symptoms that seem to come out of nowhere. I feel frightened now that it just seems like they can pop up out of nowhere and make me feel like I am dying. How do you ride out such intense feelings? Where do I go from here? I don't understand why my body is reacting in such a way I am used to being and desire to be a strong person, I do not want this to beat me down.
much love to everyone dealing with this, I never truly understood how horrible panic attacks were until it happened to me.