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Anxiety and Depression Support
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New here and new dealing with panic attacks

Hi everyone!

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.

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You're not crazy I had my first panic attack my whole body got freezing and I could not control my shaking I my boyfriend drove me around the hospital to comfort me just in case I really did die, which is how I felt but I eventually calmed down. I never had another till today no bad thoughts felt fine then out of nowhere my heart started racing I felt clammy hot I thought I was about to have a panic attack so I layed down until I could finally catch my breath. Just focus on your breathing. Count each inhale and exhale as one feel the breath fill your body and exhale all the negative energies that no longer serve you

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Thanks so much, it's just amazing how much terror it can make you feel. I wish I could just hug you and every single other person out there that has to deal with this. It is so helpful to just not feel alone or crazy <3

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It really does help knowing you're not alone! It's so fricken scary all day I've had this anxious feeling it sucks the life out of you

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I am 46 years old. You are not alone. I get them quite frequently. My first panic attack felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. It felt awful, like I was going crazy. I have been trying to determine what is triggering the panic attack and avoid it. Still trying to find a good therapist. I carry Ativan just in case I really need it to calm down. I also start sweating. I am trying mindfulness exercises and grounding. Hugs to you.

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I have had anxiety issues for quite some time, my father had to retire early because he was not able to drive 45 min to work. I was young so I didn't understand until I experienced this about 13 years ago. Like you , I could not understand why I was having this problem. I would get online and research and it would actually cause me to have panic attacks just worrying about having a panic attack....I started taking Wellbutrin 150 mg along with 10 mg of Lexapro about a week ago and I will see if that helps. I HATE taking medication but I'm hoping this will help me cope better with this. I hope you find your happy place and be able to get past this horrible feeling. Your on my thoughts and please keep us posted. And remember..find comfort that you are not alone, the struggle is real, your not crazy and talking about it to someone, anyone can help you cope.

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It can be really scary when something goes haywire in our mind and/or body and we don't know the cause or why it's happening. I've been dealing with anxiety and some depression for a few years and one thing I've learned is that sometimes our brain/body just does weird things, like hiccups, and sometimes there's really no good reason for it. Our society wants to pinpoint psychiatric issues on our past, our upbringing, some "reason" to explain our symptoms. But in reality, sometimes something just gets messed up for a short time, like a panic attack, or for longer like chronic disorders. There's not always a well-defined reason for it. If you think about how many hormones, neurotransmitters, muscles, etc., etc., our body is regulating at any given moment, it's no wonder we have these hiccups now and then.

I wish you the best. I greatly appreciate your empathetic attitude. I'm with you that I wish I could just comfort everyone here who is suffering.

I haven't had a full-on panic attack, so I don't know the best way to manage it. But I've read a lot about how people find success in "giving in" to it and letting it ride over them like a wave. I feel out of place advising you, but I would think it would make sense not to fight it, just to let it wash over you and away. I've had five babies with no pain meds and that's what always worked for me in that situation- relax and breathe through it. Hopefully people who have had success dealing with them will give you some good advice. Hugs to you!

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Hi toastghost. You described panic attacks perfectly. At least mine present very similarly - with physical symptoms and apparently out of nowhere. I’ve been told this happens when you repress anxious feelings, and then they seem to pop up out of nowhere, but it’s just that those feelings have been ignored/suppressed unconsciously so they have to come out (unfortunately) and they can manifest physically.

I noticed my panic attacks decreased with talk therapy. Maybe even chatting here will help. Hope things get a little easier 🙏

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First thing to remember is that you CAN take back control when these things occur. Often times when I find myself in an OCD or panic episode I feel like my brain is out of control. With practice and focus you can redirect your attention on what is happening which oddly enough helps! Becoming aware is the first step.

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