So, where do I start?
It seems like it’s always been an issue with me; panic and anxiety. I remember the issues starting at the age of 18, but not sure if it was any earlier.
The earliest memories I have of my anxiety was when I’d try to fall asleep at night and I’d wake up in a full panic; sweating and out of breath. I would try to “catch” my next breath but it seemed like I would run out of oxygen. This would only make me feel more out of control and I would begin to worry that I was going to die. I would begin to move around to get out of the feeling and this would only increase the issues.
My mom at that time was really worried about my episodes. I would be inconsolable and fight any help from anyone and wouldn’t want anybody to look at me as I was in the height of panic. I called 911 a few times and was rushed to the emergency room; only to be told later that I was fine.
It’s so difficult to try to explain the feelings and sensations and I know that those of you who have experienced this issue will understand completely. The irony is, that when I felt “good” and think back to the previous episode; I imagined that it must have been something I could have handled better.
But the next episode would hit and all rationale thoughts and feelings would be out the door.
The worst part of it all, was that there were no explanations for my episodes at that time. I remember visiting the doctor multiple times and explaining these issues and they would sit there, puzzled, looking at me with no help for what it could have been. That would make me feel more anxious; not knowing and thinking the worst each time. How did they know I wasn’t going to die when they didn’t even know what was wrong with me???
One doctor sent me to a heart specialist and they have me an EKG. From that test, they concluded I had a heart murmur and put me on medication to help me.
That did nothing for my episodes. I would go into full panics and then wonder what was going on when I was clearly taking care of my “heart issues”. Being 19 at that time and tired of being run around; I stopped taking my medication. That made my mom angry and scared that I had just stopped taking medication that was prescribed to “help” me.
It turns out I didn’t have MVP. (not “most valuable player” but “mitral valve prolapse”) lol
It was through my years of searching for an answer that I began to stumble upon the mere idea that I might have a panic disorder. When I was pregnant with my second child, I remember hearing a radio commercial of a woman who was explaining point-blank my mysterious “issues.” Could this be it? I wondered.
She was selling a program with cassette tapes and workbooks that was meant to “heal” your anxiety issues and allow you to live “episode” free. I ordered that plan asap!
And, it did help me to understand the many reasons that were responsible for my anxiety. I realized it went so much deeper than just a “quick fix” and although I knew at that time what was causing my stress, I was in for another many years before I finally got to the bottom of it and able to live a “normal” life without ever worrying about dealing with another episode again.
I will share more in my next post about what I did to get help and how I finally overcame this powerful hold over my emotional and psychological state of panic.
Tell me below if you suffer or suffered from any form of this or if you know someone who has. My reason for sharing this now is to help anyone who may be fighting the battle alone and not knowing how to get help. You are not alone and it is treatable.