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This happened about a few months ago. I had smoked a spliff then I was watching a film with my boyfriend. The whole of the film my heart was beating really fast and I felt like I had a massive lump or something blocking my throat. I had to concentrate on breathing all throughout the film otherwise I thought I might just either stop breathing completely or breathe too fast and hyperventilate. At the time I didn't link this to the marijuana.

Then, a few weeks later I smoked a spliff with my boyfriend and we were going to sleep when suddenly me heart started beating really really fast. I tried to go to sleep for about an hour but, like before, had to really concentrate on my breathing and was scared that if I went to sleep I would stop breathing. I had to get up and just pace the room downstairs. This lasted for 2-3 hours before I eventually fell asleep.

That time I thought that this might have been because of the weed. So, I stopped smoking, but I was going to Amsterdam on holiday about 2 weeks later. On the first night I thought "I'll just have 2 tokes, what can that hurt?" I was ok for about 30 mins when we went into a tiny but packed restaurant. I started getting nervous, feeling a bit shaky, my heart was beating really fast. Again, I had to concentrate on breathing. I might mention here that after the two previous experiences I started to read a lot about panic attacks and though I didn't think that I had experienced one, I was absolutely terrified that I would. So this time, I just had to get out the restaurant. We paid for our barely touched dinners and left. Before we left I caught a look of myself in the mirror and I looked terrible, really anxious and scared and pale, and no matter how hard I tried I felt so bad that I just could not get this look off my face.

RIGHT so after this I am never smoking weed again! But since then, every day I've had points where my heart beats really fast and I have to concentrate on breathing or else just try and distract myself. Annoyingly, though, I've got into the habit of checking my pulse regularly when I feel a little strange. This kind of helped me calm down as I realised my heart wasn't beating that fast UNTIL a couple of nights ago when I was at a club and quite drunk. I felt quite strange and checked my pulse and it was going ridiculously fast, it felt like it was beating 3 times in a second. I couldn't get rid of this feeling by the time I got home. My chest felt strange, I felt sick and I just couldn't get my heart to slow down. I was short of breath and it took me hours to get to sleep as I was scared I had a problem with my heart.

Anyway, what I'm asking is are these panic attacks? They are very horrible to go through but, from what I've read, they don't seem to be quite as bad as what other people have gone through. I've read about a thing on Wikipedia; Limited Symptom Attack which is basically a panic attack with 4 or less of the usual symptoms of panic attacks. Perhaps I am suffering from these?

I'm really sorry this is such a long post, I hope someone has the patience to read through it all and reply as this would be much appreciated.

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although you only started experiencing this while smoking, you were probably prone to anxiety before and this just brought it out to the surface.
what you are experiencing are panic attacks. but there are many levels. yours aren't as bad as some other people's.
now your problem is probably that you're worried that they WILL get worse. most of the time when i'm having a panic attack, the thought of it getting worse is what makes it worse. its a vicious cycle really.
my advice would be to stay off drugs AND alcohol for a while. if this is a phase, you don't need anything contributing to it.
also, breathing exercises really help in this situation. when you start to feel funny, take in a slow, deep breath. as deep as you can. hold it for a few seconds. than slowly release. after about three of these you will feel your muscles start to relax. this is a great feeling because it makes you feel like you do have control over the situation.
sometimes after i start to feel relaxed, i freak out again over the thought of having a panic attack, but i just keep up the breathing. if i keep up the breathing, i NEVER go to the next level.
as they say, there's nothing to fear but fear itself. but it certainly doesn't help when your body misfires and feels fear for no god reason.
it took years for the doctors to convince me that there is nothing physically wrong with me during a panic attack. but it really is true. even if your heart is racing, your heart can take it. just like it can take a scary movie or a roller coaster ride, or even an intense workout.
if it'll make you feel better, go to the doctor and get an ekg.
i've tried several techniques for helping anxiety, but for me, for some reason, i feel like the more i do to try to help it, the more its just on my mind and it keeps me worried of when it will happen.
i feel like i can forget it knowing that i CAN control it with breathing.
also, i have a prescription of xanax. if it gets really out of control and i have a really bad panic attack, i know i can take some xanax and in 20min its gone.
i keep those pills on me where ever i go. i almost never take them. but knowing they're there just in case helps me feel relaxed.
also, consider talking to a therapist. there may be things happening in your life that are more stressful on yourself than you realize. personally, in 10 years, i have yet to find a therapist that is good for me, but some find the right one the first time.
but just like you, i finally came to the realization that smoking was making it worse, and quit. that in itself was a relief because i knew i didn't have to worry about that being a cause anymore.
also, when i'm having bad anxiety, even drinking makes it worse. i guess anything that makes you feel like you're not in control, or not really in your own body is the opposite of what you want if you're having a panic attack.
also hangovers make my anxiety worse because i don't feel normal. i've actually had friends who've said they only get panic attacks on days they're hungover.
i guess you gotta just try to keep the chemicals in your brain as normal as possible for a while.
hope this helps.
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FIRST SIGNS.

From what i can remember, and this is all still very clear to me, the first time i experienced anxiety was when i was young, around 8 yrs old (1967ish). It always hit me on Christmas morning - was it the excitement of the new presents? Hmmmm. As a sneaky kid, i would get up in the middle of the night, sometimes with my brother Brian (who on occasions would see a big bird at the foot of his bed and could speak perfect latin in his sleep - but thats all another story). we would sneak downstairs to see what Santa left under the tree. It was a fun, a but scary as we didn’t want to get caught. I vividly remember the Christmas lights outside, they created, what now is a picture perfect vision of Christmas - snow falling and building up on the roofs, trees and bushes with the Christmas lights glowing under the snow. I wonder if it really looks like that as I have been in South Florida most of my life since. We always had to “wait” for our parents to get up before we were allowed to go downstairs - this may be classified as torture because we had to sit at the top of the stairs while they slept! Then, when they were ready to get up, we were allowed to do our thing…of course we would move down the stairs a little at a time to get a peak. As the morning kicked in i would get a “sick” feeling and thought i would “throw up”…never did, but always ended up on the couch - and to this day, throwing up must be one of the most dreaded things for me to feel. This is what i remember to be my first signs of anxiety…the question would be, WHY? And what caused me to get so excited that i made myself feel sick? Is there more than this? Things to think about!

Anyway, the years went by and i got used to being anxious and having no patience (still, to this day too) - i remember a few other things about my younger years and anxiety, my grandmothers scary attic, being scared sh*tless by night-time thunderstorms (love them now), sitting on the side of my grandma’s house wondering why my father was leaving…again (another story in the works)…but, life moved on and years later, became as real as it can get.

FAST TIMES AT GROSSE POINT

Marijuana. Pot. Grass. Reefer Madness - from what i can remember, my first panic attack happened when i smoked my very first joint - bought a “4 finger” lid (fingers is how they were measured then, and a “lid” was what we called a bag of grass)…this was when i was hanging out with my best friend Eddy, and it was for both of us. Or all of us who hung out. We did all the typical “teenage” stuff…take the parents car and cruise around before we had a license (Eddy had to sit on a pillow to see over the dash of his mom’s late 60’s Lincoln Mark III). We did the parties, made-out with chicks, hitchhiking to get around, skipping school and so on - Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road album was BIG then. And of course, we decided to do what the other “cool” people were doing…smoke grass and get stoned.

The day i bought the “lid”, i decided to roll one up and catch a buzz before i went over to Eddy’s house. I sat on the side of our house and rolled one up…i ended up smoking the whole thing, and wouldn’t you know it, NOTHING happened. Was this a joke? Fake batch or what? I started to roll another one (i can remember the strawberry or banana papers too), thinking maybe i didn’t have enough to get buzzed. And this i remember as if it was yesterday…as i was rolling it up, “BAM”, it hit me. And it hit HARD. Well not hard, I WAS FREAKIN OUT. I stopped rolling and dropped it all into the bag and stood up…I mean it was hitting me so freakin hard that i remember praying for it to go away, and go away FAST. I was getting a panic’ee feeling…a scary LOSING CONTROL OF MY MIND feeling and wondering, what if i am stuck like this? What if this never go’s away? What if this is how i am going to feel forever? I was scared (or stoned) out of my mind. BIG TIME. Beyond scary, i was totaled. This is what all the fun was about? Freakin out was not as fun as everyone made it seem, at least not to me. BUT, maybe i got a bag laced with acid, LSD, heroin. We all heard stories of this…just my luck, i was going to be stoned for life. Stuck in this panic’ee, weird, losing it, uncontrollable feeling. I ran into the house, running up the stairs, right by my mom as she was coming down…i went to my room and then i went back down. I went out to the garage, back out to the yard, back in the house, up the stairs, lay down in bed, oops, not good, back down the stairs, out into the garage. I felt like this was it, i really screwed up now…i jumped on my bike and hauled butt over to Eddy’s house so i could give him the whole bag…didn’t want it ANYMORE, he can have it all…this was so not cool for me. This feeling, i did not want it, didn’t know what to do. WILL IT EVER GO AWAY?

When i found Eddy, he laughed his ass off at the site of me (wonder if he remembers all this?)…the very first thing out of his mouth was, “your eyes are red’r than tomata’s” (my eyes always became the super red). He was laughing, i was freaking, what a picture this must have been. This was scary as hell, even to this day - but kind of funny as i look back now. I remember the panic lasting for a half hour or so (felt like hours at the time), and the “high” tapered off over a few hours. I remember promising god, myself, and whoever else was hearing my thoughts, that NEVER, EVER, in NO shape or form, would i ever smoke again, please just make this go away - NO WAY, this was the scariest feeling imaginable and i was not interested in this at all. NO MORE POT. NEVER AGAIN. JUST LET THIS GO AWAY.

AGAIN, but no pot…WTF?! Flashback?

A few days later, we were at a friend’s house (i think it was off Cook Rd) with a few others; Eddy, Melinda, Michelle, Jesse, and a few others that i can’t remember the names). We were in her room, Alice Cooper was screaming from the record player, the strobe lights flashed throughout, and the black light posters were looking wild. I think everyone was smoking pot and drinking beer. I did not smoke anything and all of a sudden, “BAM” it hit me…i started to freak out again - the strobe lights flashing and making movements look weird seemed to mess with my head somehow…was it a flashback to the pot smoking? If that stuff was laced with something else, it just might be a flashback - i had seen the commercials, the movies, damn, it was true? I am going to have flashbacks for the rest of my life? Why is this not happening to anyone else?

As i freaked out, i focused on one thing, and one thing ONLY, find the door and get out of there fast. I clearly remember running home, wishing, praying, hoping…why run home? Not sure, just seemed like a safe place to be…was it to be close to my Mom in case something happened? Whatever, just needed to leave and get home. So, after getting home, it was gone. It wore off. It went away. But, when will it happen again? I was scared, this was not cool - how could Pot do this? Everyone told me no big deal. My father smokes it, and if he does, it must be OK, right?

So, while sitting on the couch with my brothers and watching TV, i thought i noticed the picture on TV jerking, like it was sticking on the reel or something. But, nooooooo, my mind did not think like that, my mind immediately went to the “worst case” scenario - BAM, all of a sudden it hit again. I remember freaking out, a flashback again, man, these things suck, what’s going on? I ran upstairs to my mom and just blurted it out…”Mom, i smoked pot the other day and now i am having flashbacks”…”i will never do it again, i promise, how do i get rid of them?” I got a weird, strange look - not pissed, just a blank, weird look…hmmmm. She gonna hit me? Kick me down the stairs? Nope, she gave me a little talk. Not about anxiety, but about the grass…don’t really remember that much, but i didn’t get hit or grounded. Of course, i was making all sorts of promises. Everyone knew that certain drugs caused flashbacks, but i think they meant LSD and Acid, not pot.

STUCK ON STUPID

Of course, i continued to smoke pot over the years. Why? Not sure. I always felt that i needed to relax, so pot helped me relax and escape reality, whatever the hell reality is. In the late teens, i was not a heavy user like many, but every once in a while with friends when partying, skipping school and stupid stuff. I seemed to have adjusted to it, so now it was ok…i forgot about how the “panic’ee, flashback stuff that scared the c**p out of me, as well as all the promises - and i kept on, keeping on!

Yeah, had a few anxious episodes here and there when using a stronger “imported” batch (referred to as sensimillia back then), but i just rode it out. I would just take the chances, dealt with it and went for the ride (escape), after all, it was an escape from the day to day realities. I also became a stupid funny guy while stoned…the dumbest things would get me to laugh hysterically - and i could not stop laughing. And the more i tried NOT to laugh, the funnier everything seemed, and i just couldn’t stop…only people who know me can understand how freakin halarious this would be…imagine uncontrollable laughter for 15 minutes or so, non-stop. The more i tried to stop laughing, the funnier things became. And yes, laughing is uncontrollably contagious among anyone around, not just the stoned, but even straight people would get a kick out of this.

I once closed my friend “D’s” face in the window of my 280 zx in front of a crowd, and i just couldn’t stop laughing at the images in my head - he was pissed, but it became funnier as we kept going…even had to pull over off I-95 to finish laughing, couldn’t drive. Was this normal? Not really sure, but i never met anyone who laughed as hard and long as i would…i guess i had the happiest, happy feet (a steve martin thing in the early daze) when the pot hit, i just went off with UNCONTROLLABLE, HYSTERICAL, SCREAMING TYPE LAUGHING. Over the years, i more and more preferred to get high with friends and NOT go anywhere - hated to be in public with the RED EYES and on the potential to bust-out laughing.

My friend Frank would do “the walk”, Kevin, the stare, and they all played the part to get me going!

PANIC?

I remember being at a friends party (Billy Parker)…guess this was 9th or 10th grade and about 16. Billy drove a dark blue MG midget convertible and had a father who sat around with 4 phones (it was a big deal back then). Anyway, the party was really rockin and there was plenty of alcohol and pot. Billy was the type that would smoke all day and could handle it.

I remember vividly, getting stoned and half drunk, having an absolute riot, must have been 50 plus people. Everything was funny and everyone was really having fun…We smoked some good stuff and - here it comes…BAM, it hit me hard, REALLY hard. NOT LAUGHING, the flashback thing. I remember thinking, WTF is happening? The people talking was blending together, but sounded distant, my heart was pounding, my legs felt weak, there must have been something wrong with my heart or brain, probably a tumor, or worse…a FLASHBACK!!!

I attempted to try to walk it off by walking around his house over and over - not a big deal as everyone was stoned drunk, but a few people did comment and thought it was goofy - i guess i would too if i was watching me walk around the house…after all, it had been some time. I mean, what is going on…i don’t do hard drugs, what is this all about? OH NO, did someone put something in it? Was it laced with Acid, LSD, HASH, WHAT????

Of course, after 30-45 minutes, it kind of went away - always left me worn out though. Looking back, it seems that anytime, or every time i experienced what i learned to be a Panic Attack, it was associated with the use of strong pot, ALWAYS…hmmmmm? Something that makes one relax and laugh can create high anxiety and/or panic? We understand this now, but back then…hey, it was JUST POT!

NO BIG DEAL?

As the years went by, I became more interested in health and was working out, running 4+ miles a day, playing squash all the time - was in really good shape. Would Party on the weekends, but that was it, no big deal. One thing that bugged me was, i would get light headed every once in a while running, typically, towards the end of the run. Was i now capable of worrying more since i was running? The doctor told me it was possible - there is that word, possible. I just kept pushing. But, this weird feeling would sneak up on me and i would become very dizzy and feeling a little panic’ee every once in a while as i dreaded the idea of passing out and laying on the side of the road until someone found me - how embarrassing would that be? So, i trained my dog to run with me and how to sit by me if i did pass out. (We now know that exercise can create anxiety and mimic symptons of panic; like increasing the heartbeat, etc). Or, did i just push too hard, too fast and run my oxygen down to the point of passing out? Or, is it both?

For some STUPID reason, i kept smoking pot over the years, I would get STONED and sit around, just chill and watch TV (boat racing tapes) in the evenings - i mean, i was high strung and this was a good way to slow down and relax…even though, i was in great shape, i still would get bouts of strong anxiety off and on. Became such an issue around my mid 20’s, but i just smoked more pot to put me out for the night. People who do not get anxious, say that pot doesn’t do this, but it affects everyone diffently - just like drinking.

After these bouts became so bad, i visited the doctor and he told me “no big deal, its just a little anxiety, take one of these twice a day, and take one of these at night to get some sleep”! I never knew how big a deal it was, or would become, but these little pills that seemed to ease the pain, relax me and make everything better, would really take its toll. But wow, they would… s l o w - m e - d o w n and make everything OK!

They let me relax (as i never seemed to be able to do it on my own) and when time to go to bed, just pop one in, take a few smokes, and good night. Man, this was great - i could go full throttle all day and just turn me off at night. What i “thought” was making things better, was contributing to a bigger issue…only, it would take a severe mental crash to wake me up and see the light - and this is probably the only luck i ever had as i look bad, because i met Mike Kasdaglis, a Psycotherapist, who understood the mind, and tried to help me get back on track.

Over the years, the alcohol became more popular. Instead of just weekends, it started moving into the week, and so did MORE pot…of course, i only did this in the evenings after 5, so i couldn’t develop a problem, right? LOL! And of course, the work outs got farther and fewer between and eventually, there was just no drive to stay healthy and in shape - it was the easist excuse to blame the anxieties. Drinking and smoking was so easy, RELAXING, soothing and it made me chill out and forget about all the problems. Ahhhhhh, so it seemed…no big deal.

Anxiety. Drugs. Panic. Drugs. Anxiety. Alcohol. Drugs. Anxiety. More Drugs. That is No Big Deal UNTIL i got hit upside the head (well, inside the head) with a freakin SEVERE PANIC ATTACK DISORDER that would last 6 months straight. Not occasionally, but every hour, every day, all week, all month, off and on, all day and night, and the Doc said no meds until you get past the first stage. (But, let’s not go there yet, i had to dig a little deeper to get there and i will get to it soon!)

FASTER MAN, Faster!

Before the panic daze, i just lived with the fast crowd, spending every dime i made on cars i shouldn’t have bought, partying, and showing off - doing all sorts of things and digging myself deeper and deeper into the hole of Anxiety Hell…after all, it was the 80’s…Parties and clubbing around almost every night, $100 bottles of champagne, snorting and partying like it’s 1999!

NOW, to understand this behavior and attitude a little better, here is a little background on my life in my 20 somethings, which also outlines several probable causes to my anxieties and behaviors.

At this time in my life, my father was sent to prison for white collar crimes, somewhere around $140,000,000 (yes, $140 million in 2 years). He likes to tell people he didn’t do it, and he probably even believes it by now, but everyone who knows him, knows he did (except him) - and anyone involved with this scam still has their money (and made a lot more) as he sits around waiting on some big pink elephant. Or in his world, the secret bank association that he has been fortunate to find, although its been at least a decade and he is still waiting by the phone and is agressively working on this daily.

Anyway, Dr. Mike (psychotherapist) said “my waiting” for my father caused a lot of my anxiety and was something i did since i was born - waiting for dad to come home, to come back, to pick me up and so on. There is another “thing” too, but it has to do with fears, but its from the child thing, and not at the core.

For me though, at the time, his being away in prison was OK, and considering the people i ran with, it was actually cool (acceptable) as the people in the day were up to all sorts of things and this allowed me credibility within certain crowds.

So, as the days, months, years go by, my father would write to me and/or call me to tell me ‘how” we were going to do BIG things when he got out; I got the letters, the phone calls, the messages, the outlines, the spreadsheets to the BIG plans…all good boosters, all the things i wanted to hear, and a great reason to never consider a solid career decision or further education. I mean, WHY? This was a slam dunk - why waste time working or going to school when we would easily get something cookin’ as soon as he got out…he told me so, it was a must, after all, he isn’t going to just sit around and wait! And, everyone who new him said he was smart and if he did it once, he could do it again. Key word here “could”. And this is what i thought (and was led to believe by the continuos reinforcment of our future together), but was probably more of wishfull thinking on my part. All this made it easy for me to justify a lazy, drug fueled, alcohol induced, partying lifestyle, waiting to get rich, blowing thousands and thousands of dollars just to show off - I know now, this IS NOT what healthy people do.

And what a fool I was to think this could possibly even happen a second time. Why? Because if he was able to pull it off again, he would have forgotton all the promises and would have been sailing off into the sunset faster than we would even find out that he did it. A leopard can’t change it’s spots!

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE

So, to bridge the gap while waiting for my “Ed McMahon” to show up at my door, I moved up to New Jersey to do a boat project. And that is another story in itself…i guess the ole “disfunction always seeks dysfunction” thing has merit. So, while there, I started to experience bad stomach problems, not really pain, but more of a full, upset feeling that came and went. The doctors would say I might have an ulcer and so on. TESTS, Tests, tests.

Of course, i kept on smoking pot, only in the evenings as usual…after all, the pot made me relax…yeah, right. I had a few more Panic Attacks - they were always scary! When they hit, i would go outside and try to catch my breath (not sure why my breath would be outside), then walk in, then out, walk back in, up the stairs, then down, all just trying to keep moving…but, moving from what? Not sure…movement always seemed good so i kept doing it; maybe it’s in hope of leaving it behind? Or getting in front of it?

This went on and off for a while and continued after I moved back down to florida a year later after the company in NJ went under. All the while, my father would call and talk about these BIG things - I thought damn, this stupid government, locked up the wrong guy, and if he was out right now, we would be set…the Mercedes, Boats, Mansions, Jets…damn, i wish it would hurry up. Soon…he kept telling me…soon.

The doctor visits continued, so Zantac and Xanax prescriptions started. WOW, Xanax - great stuff - too bad it will mess you up! Got the X-Rays and anything and everything that they needed to try, all in search of this mysterious stomach illness. Of course, now it seems weird that all the searching for a stomach problem was actually in my head…so close, but so far! (i did learn that most people with anxiety will continue to find a problem, any problem, to justify the pain, the hurt, the sickness), when in fact, if the person would accept it and practice fixing their mental health, but then they wouldn’t have anything to woory about, not to mention, this is all much easier said than done.

So, I started working out again, running, lifting, eating right…did really good too! Went to the gym every night and got in really good shape…everyone noticed. Compliments everywhere i went. I looked good and felt like c**p!

Still, my stomach issues kept nagging and started to kick in with a vengeance. And, what’s a good stomach problem without some good old fashioned back pain - more doctors, more money, can’t isolate this either - at the time, i believed i was the only one in the world who can get problems that can’t be fixed. At first (needed to blame it on something) I thought it was the weight training, then the way i sat in the evenings, then the way i slept, then the way i walk, then the way i lifted, then, then then, just like the “what If’s”. It became more difficult to eat food and i started losing weight - a lot too. Doctor$, Doctor$, and more Doctor$. It must be something, i can feel it, so what is it?

Of course, now I had to slow down the workouts, because every time i did certain exercises, the stomach and back got worse. The doctors said it didn’t make sense, but believe me, it was getting bad; i was prescribed pills to stop the feeling of vomiting (big fear of mine) - and the guilt of not working out was incredible…MORE ANXIETY. So now, i get to go on the Ativan, Restoril, Dalmane, Xanax, Transxene, and several other pills to fix lil’ other things that would sneak up from time to time. Find more problems, get more pills - way too easy! Some people even try the healthier approach, but this just makes for a healthy mental illness - LOL!

Must be something with my stomach - i made an appointment to get the Endoscopy that next day. This is going to be fun…stick a long tube down my throat to see my ulcer…i was gagging the whole time, trying to throw up while relaxin on a valium IV.

Before getting this proceedure done, while getting set up with the IV and stuff, the nurse gave me a phone number of a Psychotherapist (Doctor Mike) and told me i should visit him - yeah right, me? She must have mixed me up with someone else, i wasn’t crazy, why would i need therapy? I am a perfectly normal person who is “STILL” waiting on his father to show up so we can make millions of dollars and move to an island, be the big kahunas and live happily ever after on the beach sipping pina coladas while relaxing in the sun. This lady is nuts. She had me all wrong!

Anyway, got the Endoscopy, nothing wrong inside, looked healthy. WHAT? How can that be…the stomach doc said i need to learn how to relax and rest - no ulcer. No more meds…just relax.

TERROR, AND NOW IT HAS A NEW NAME

Then, one afternoon, i was on the phone speaking to someone…I had just taken some older stomach medication to help calm my stomach down since my meds ran out and the Xanax is all gone. As we were speaking, his voice started to get distant sounding, and then I started feeling a little light headed (now the mind starts doing its thing to really make this more than it is).

So, i finished quickly and hung up. Jumped up and walked out of my bedroom and towards the kitchen. My mother was watching TV and i said to her that i felt weird, something was REALLY wrong - she took one look at me and FREAKED, said i was pale white and something looked very wrong…of course, this helped, made it kick in really hard as I now wondered what was happening myself.

It kept getting worse, a weird panic’ee sensation (i had no idea what a panic attack was and anxiety was just another word my doctor used when giving me more meds - (WHY didn’t someone make me aware at how serious anxiety can be?)…i related the word to STRESS, but was clueless as to how anxiety could cripple someone; after all, all i needed to do was “simply” relax…yeah, real frickin simple!

I kept walking towards the kitchen to get some water as my mouth was dry, it was hard to swallow, my legs felt like jello sponges, it was really hard to keep my balance as the room was starting to tilt and move while i tried to walk. GREAT, i know what this is…i have feared this all my life. I blurted out to my mom to call the doctor as I tried to make it to the sofa, but it was hard, i was SO weak…my mom was freaking out, and the Doctor said to call an ambulance!!! GREAT, and ambulance, they’ll never make it in time…i knew it was my time to “check out” as this WAS WITHOUT a doubt, a heart attack. I mean, what else could it be? A heart attack at 31 years young, c**p!

If you have never known anyone with panic, or experienced it, you have no idea of the terror.

I told my mom to say goodbye to everyone as the ambulance was on the way - i had trouble breathing, the room was on an angle and starting to turn, everything was pulsating, my heart thumping, skipping beats, and a weird darkness of rings surrounded my view, i was going to faint and embarrass myself while dying. WOW, WOULD THAT SUCK! Then the doorbell rang…it was the paramedics…they rushed in, trying to keep me alive. All this medical stuff out of nowhere…needles, things wrapped around my arms, things stuck on my chest…How long did i have left? As they hooked me up to all sorts of things, one yelled…”i got an irregular heartbeat”…”heart rate is high too”…GREAT, that made it worse, cause now it’s official…what a way to go! Anything and everything compounded the effects, making it worse…it just kept getting scarier by the minute - i mean, how long does it take to die?

I was on my way to the hospital within minutes…my first ride in an ambulance. No big deal.

My visit to the hospital was interesting - they hooked me up and monitored everything for about 3 hours before telling me that i was the healthiest person in there at the time. HUH? Yeah right, now tell me the truth, how long do i have? But, the doctor was serious and was sending me home. Said it was a one-in-a-million chance that i did something that affected something that caused this…”probably” will never happen again. WHAT?

So…is it possible to have a heart attack and they can’t find it? Something WAS WRONG, how could i be healthy? Something happened? SOMETHING HAS TO BE WRONG! Now, just like my stomach ulcer and back issues, they can’t isolate my heart attack - weird. I must find a way to connect all this together and figure it out…go type “A”, go!

Little did i know at the time, something WAS wrong, it was right in front of all the doctors, in plain view. But they all kept looking around it, trying to find SOMETHING else, something medical…but it was starring them in the face the whole time, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS LATER and it was not medical??? They searched and searched to find something, anything, and could not. I guess Doctors MUST find something medical - after all, that’s how they make their living! Actually, it is more than that, they are trained to search, psychology is not something they want to admit to.

The emergency room Doc gave me some kind of a “medical” explanation about what “might” have happened…some kind of weird medical term for something unusual that may have happened to me, it happens one in a million, but nothing to worry about. At the time, it was interesting, but the fact of the matter is, he NEVER mentioned anxiety and gave me one Halcyon pill and told me not to worry about it and get some sleep, chances are it will never happen again.

So…now that I knew I would probably live (unless he missed the heart issue), I went home. Must be something with my stomach.

It seems that people who are anxious, type A’s, ALWAYS NEED TO FIND SOMETHING MEDICAL - and they really will not listen to the OTHER stories cause they are different (yeah right) - this repeats OVER and OVER and OVER – they must find something, maybe a pinched something, or a hereditary thing, or maybe they have that one in a million thing, but they keep fighting the obvious. And this is much easier said than done, I KNOW THIS. Now, back to the story.

Ahhh, but it wasn’t over…no, no, no, that would be too easy. WAIT, i have a number to some psychology guy and maybe i should call him. Although i new i did not need him, i just wanted it to go away, and FAST, MAYBE HE HAS SOMETHING TO HELP. I called him and talked for a few, he asked me to call in the morning and schedule an appointment, no big deal, i just didn’t feel right, will call in the am.

So…there i was laying in bed watching TV, and BAM - it started again…feeling all wired out and weird, stuff started to get funky again…I was having another heart attack! Oh c**p, not again? I yelled for my mother and she came in and asked what was wrong…my feet were ice cold, my heart was racing, i felt like the bed was tipped and i would slide off the bed (and that is weird)…damn, now what? The TV was too confusing to watch or listen, BUT when turned off, it was way too quite. And i thought i heard stuff, weird stuff. Did something move? Not sure, but i think i may have seen something…I must be going crazy…that’s it, i was going insane. The doctor didn’t catch that, but i can tell - part heart attack, part insane. I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONGI need to go back to the hospital!!! That’s it! Call an ambulance. My mother said no use, nothing is wrong…ohhhh, how easy those words are to say when you are not the one in this condition…what do you mean nothings wrong, i am sliding off the bed, even though its level, SOMETHING IS WRONG!This was the longest night of my life, where each minute felt like hours…and hours felt like daze! Finally, it was morning, didn’t sleep at all as i had to make sure i wasn’t gonna die in the middle of the night. In the morning, i called Dr. Mike again - he asked me all kinds of questions and explained my symptoms to me. So, how the hell did he know all this? He told me what i was feeling…how is that possible? He said i was experiencing severe panic attacks….hmmm, severe? Panic Attacks? WTF is this, nobody ever told me about these things, and i went to school. He said to stop by at 2:30 for my appointment. WHAT? 2 freakin’ thirty? 7 hours from now? You mean, YOU want me to sit here like this for 7 more hours? I needed help, i need to get this fixed, and FIXED NOW! This was too much for my brain - so confused. But, he was busy. Finally, after begging and crying, he said to stop by…whew! Damn, now that’s what i am talkin bout!The minute I walked in, everything went away and i found something good. HIM. He made me feel calm. He sat with me and my mother and gave me a book…said read the first paragraph on the page. It explained my symptoms to every detail. Everything was right there on the page…wow.So, after an hour and a half of question and answers, he had to continue on with his “other” patients (and when you are in this frame of mind, you want someone who knows and relates, so this wasn’t cool at all - and at $100 an hour!) But, i needed answers, and more answers. He said I could come back in a few days and told me to STOP going to the doctors and wasting money! It will all be gone in about 6 months. HUH?SIX MONTHS? ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME? Nope, he wasn’t kidding, not at all. After i returned home, my mother had to go to work, that was ok, i was feeling much better…i mean, i knew what i had (and someone gave it a name and i am not going to die). About 5 minutes after she left, it started up again…WAIT, i just started feeling better, what are these Panic Attacks trying to do to me? How did i catch them? What can i do to help get them gone? Can i take something? These are all the questions i need answered, and there was no internet to search back then. I had to wait until the next appointment with Dr. Mike.

So, while sitting on the couch, i think i saw the broom on the patio move…it did! I think. No, thats not possible, but i am sure…i think! I called my brother, told him to get over to my house right away, something is wrong, HURRY!

He was over in a flash, anxious and wondering why i was close to hysterical as i am typically the guy who is in control. He wanted to know why so urgent…i said lets go for a drive and i will tell you…so, off we went. He looked shocked. I think he was a little scared too, trying to figure out what was going on.

Panic Attack + Car Ride = Help? We were driving and i was trying to explain some things, but my head was too full of too much of “something”…as we drove, I kept telling him to just go here, turn there, and keep going. Oh, that’s funny, here we are at Dr. Mikes office…hmmmm, might as well run in there and freak out in his waiting room! My brother was almost in shock…here i am in the office waiting, AND TIME DOES SLOW DOWN WHILE PANIC IS DOING ITS THING…i was curled up in the chair, wanting to talk, but not wanting to talk…(don’t try to figure this sentence out, that is how it was) WEIRD!

So, Dr. Mike finally comes out to see me. He asked, WHY was i here, and i lost it…this is terrifying, i need this gone. He made it clear; it wasn’t going anywhere fast, it would take time and changes in my lifestyle and thought processes… WHAT? He asked me if i had ever done acid…nope, not me. He said, well you are now going to experience what it feels like to be on a bad trip, ONLY, it is going to last about six months. 6 FREAKIN MONTHS! A 6 month ACID TRIP is definitely NOT what i wanted, but guess what, i had NO say so in this trip.

MY GET UP AND GO, MUST-A GOT UP AND WENT!

That was what happened to me…i am not good at writing, so excuse this mess, and ONLY those who have experienced panic attacks can even come close to understanding the scary thoughts, weird feelings and TERRIFYING realism - and don’t forget, it has been almost 15 years since the first big one, and though i haven’t had a full blown panic attack since, it still haunts me every single waking (and sometimes sleeping) day of my so-called life.
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I feel bad for you but I'd love to know who this "nurse" was that gave you "dr. mike" number. HE IS NOT A DOCTOR!!!! He doesn't even hold a Florida licience to practice. Be afraid, very afraid.
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