In 1993 even though I had a good job, I had three young boys who ate up every dime I made. I looked for a part-time job and went to work as a third-shift counselor at an apartment where two men who were intellectually challenged resided.
At the same time I was working on another degree as well as trying to keep up with industry periodicals.
I was under a lot of stress and always worried that something was going to go wrong.
I was allowed to nap on the couch when the gentlemen went to sleep.
One night, or I should say one early morning I awoke feeling that I was dying. It is an odd feeling because the symptoms are surrealistic. Your heart is pounding and you’re gasping for breath but as you sit there waiting for the impending doom nothing happens.
I had been introduced to a panic attack.
Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of certain disaster and of losing control.
What are feelings associated with panic attacks?
People suffering from panic attacks have sudden and repeated attacks of fear, a feeling of being out of control, a feeling that things aren’t real and they are always worried.
Physical symptoms of a panic attack include a pounding heart, sweating, chest pain and nausea. There may be other symptoms but these are the most prominent.
I checked with a doctor at the time and found there is treatment much as any form of anxiety with counseling and medications.
These treatments will be paid for by standard private and group health insurance although sometimes “mental conditions” are paid at a lower percentage than physical conditions.
Panic attacks are considered one of the easiest anxiety conditions to prevent and it can be completely cured.
I can attest to that.
Once the doctor told me it was a form of anxiety and what the symptoms were I found that even when I was going through it I could tell myself it meant nothing.
In other words it is possible to identify what you’re experiencing and just “ride the wave.”
As soon as you do that a couple of times the panic attacks will often subside.
However “beating” the attacks is only half the battle.
It must be remembered that something brought the attacks on and often it is, as in my case, a ridiculous lifestyle, trying to demand too much of yourself or looking at something incorrectly.
I have been told by a couple of my doctors to look at anxiety as a “thermometer.”
Anxiety is the reporting of an “activity fever” if you will; it is the body’s way of warning you all is not well.
When I cut back my lifestyle I was fine.
We all have 168 hours in the week. That is plenty of time to do whatever you want and need to do. It is the poor use of time that causes problems.
“Panic Disorder, When Fear Overwhelms:” Booklet, 2008, National Institute of Health
National Institute of Mental Health, 1-301-443-4513