Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, August 07, 2015

Yesterday I had a panic attack

My first in years, actually, and at first I didn't realise what was happening. It started at work during a more stressful than normal day, and unlike most attacks, lasted several hours. In fact, I don't think my heart rate went back to normal until I was in bed at home at about 9:30 or 10 pm, when it started at work about 2 or 3 pm. I was trembling, crying, my heart raced, I felt like I was going to die, and I felt almost detached from myself (I think the psychologists call that depersonalisation). Things didn't exactly feel real, but at the same time I was hyper-aware of all sorts of things and how terrible things might be. Voices, sounds--they grated on me and made me more anxious and upset. It was awful. One of my co-workers found me crying at my desk and tried to comfort me, and that helped. Being with YKWIA helped, too, and we managed to visit and watch the second episode of 'Lost Girl'. But I still felt weird and all keyed up inside. On the way home, I thought, why not just die in the car. It wouldn't matter. Then I got home, didn't bother to eat or blog, and went straight to bed, finally in a quiet room, and everything seemed to release.

I used to have these things I called 'emotional storms', which usually lasted about 20 minutes and often were triggered by driving, which is a stressor for me. I'm a bit phobic with driving. But if I could be at home and just go into the bedroom for awhile, then I would calm down. I now realise these were also panic attacks; the feeling was the same, exactly, as yesterday--the feeling of being separated from myself, almost unreal, the heart racing, being upset, being unable to interact with people and getting more and more anxious if they tried to talk to me. I am on medication, including medication for anxiety, but I'm also premenstrual, and sometimes hormones do not play nicely with my brain chemistry. I see my psychologist next week and my psychiatrist the week after that; I'll definitely mention it. But it's been awhile since I've been that scared. I knew it wasn't my heart, that I was beyond upset, and that it was my neurotransmitters. It still sucked. I have a workbook for phobias and anxiety that includes exercises to calm oneself during an attack. I'll definitely be looking that over, just in case they continue. Anyway, sorry I didn't write last night; I was utterly drained by all that anxiety. Yes, I have stressors in my life (money is a big issue right now), but it wouldn't normally have affected me like that. The trigger was the copier going down, and that happens all the time without me having a meltdown. This time I could barely function. And that's not good.

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