The Joy of (NOT) Having a Panic Attack

Image Credit: http://www.firstaidforfree.com/first-aid-for-a-panic-anxiety-attack/
Image Credit: http://www.firstaidforfree.com/first-aid-for-a-panic-anxiety-attack/

 

I’ve had the kind of panic attacks where people think I am having a heart attack and call 911. What a load of fun that is! The screaming ambulance ride, being hooked up to IVs and monitors, the blood tests, the EKG, the poking and prodding. And all the while, I’m trying to be brave and gracious about the fact that I am probably dying.

Then, after three or four very tense hours, the ER doc strides into the cubicle one last time with a put-out look on her face and informs me that there isn’t a darn thing wrong with me… while the nurse standing at the foot of the bed actually rolls her eyes.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. The people who called the ambulance in the first place want to know how I am and what was wrong with me. And the insurance company informs me they won’t cover the ambulance bill or most of the emergency room expense because it was “all in your head.” Then my husband’s and my credit goes into the toilet while we strain our budget every month trying to pay the whole fiasco off, already. And every time another bill comes in the mail I can feel my face turn beet red with embarrassment.

It would be so much cheaper and far more therapeutic to go on a cruise.

I wrote most of this in a comment recently on a blog called Lucky Otter’s Haven. My comment was in response to one of the other commenters saying that the fear of having a panic attack sometimes keeps her from going places and doing the things she enjoys.

After I left my comment, I started thinking about how long it has been since I had an off the scale, heart-attack-mimicking panic attack. That’s when I realized… my last big panic attack was more than four years ago! Wow! I used to have panic attacks at least once a month. When I first started having them at the age of seventeen, I often had several major attacks per week — sometimes several in a single day!

What caused my panic attacks? PTSD, stemming from multiple incidents of trauma and abuse. I endured most of my traumas without crying, without screaming, and without panicking in any way — usually because it wasn’t safe to panic and cry out.

When the worst of my traumas happened, I froze like a deer caught in headlights, my terror wedged in my throat. After my stifled emotions began to thaw out, that’s when my panic attacks started happening — even though my worst traumatic events were, by then, in the distant past.

I think it’s amazing that I haven’t had a major panic attack in over four years! I believe this is the longest I have ever gone without an attack, since my panics started more than forty years ago.

HERE’S THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: what caused my panic attacks to stop? I believe my panics have stopped for several reasons. To find out what those reasons are, read my page: How to Heal PTSD.

I am still not completely healed from all of my PTSD symptoms. But I have come so far from where I used to be, even compared to just a couple of years ago, that you probably wouldn’t know I am the same person.

My hope is for every PTSD sufferer who reads this blog to have a similar healing experience. Thank you for stopping by and God bless.

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16 thoughts on “The Joy of (NOT) Having a Panic Attack

  1. survivednarc March 10, 2016 / 12:07 pm

    I am so glad for you, that you have come so far in healing, and that you do not have to deal with panic attacks as much, any longer. Good for you. Take care, friend. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. atimetoshare.me March 10, 2016 / 12:55 pm

    Linda, I’d think reactions you got from the ER staff and the huge bills would be enough to set off another panic attack, but I believe you are a survivor, like me, and. You’re going to show them. Way to fight off the attacker!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. mychildwithin March 10, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    I am so happy for you! It really is wonderful when you have a break from these awful attacks! My last one was 7 months ago and luckily haven’t had any more. x

    Liked by 2 people

  4. luckyotter March 13, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    I have panic attacks too. I used to have them worse, but occasionally they still sneak up on me at the worst possible times! They SUCK!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 13, 2016 / 9:56 pm

      I’m sorry you have had them too, but glad they aren’t as bad for you anymore. Panic attacks are horrible. What’s even worse is the way some people treat you once they realize that you are having a panic attack. People can be so hurtful.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 13, 2016 / 10:04 pm

          Yes, it does make the panic attacks even worse. In my opinion, being mean to someone who is suffering psychologically is as cruel and ignorant as it would be to beat up a paraplegic for not being able to walk.

          Liked by 3 people

  5. bluebird of bitterness March 20, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    Panic attacks are HORRIBLE. I’m so glad you haven’t had one in four years. You really are a survivor!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. memeethemuse March 25, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    Hi Linda,

    I am also a survivor of child abuse and domestic violence. I and my son have both been diagnosed with PTSD and have come a very long way in our healing processes, although of course there are times when something can trigger the symptoms.

    I co-host a mental health awareness blog and would love for you and your husband to both consider writing about PTSD. It is my belief that the more we speak out about living with mental illness the sooner we can come to a world without stigma.

    I am providing a link to our About page in the hopes you will check out our site and perhaps even share your experiences with our readers. Thank you.

    Letters to the Mind

    Memee

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee March 26, 2016 / 12:29 am

      Thank you, Memee, I appreciate it. I will take a look at your site tomorrow, when I’m more awake. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lady Quixote/Linda Lee May 28, 2016 / 10:25 am

      Awwww — thank you so much! You just made my day.

      My husband and I are traveling right now, heading back home from a nephew’s wedding. The round trip drive is more than 1200 miles. After we get home, I plan to write a post about how I managed my social anxiety throughout this event. Meanwhile, I need to get off my tablet and get checked out of this motel room before we are charged for another day. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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