This picture above is by far the best depiction of the thoughts that go through your mind during the beginning of a panic attack.
The past three days have been hell, I won’t lie. Even talking about or thinking about these major panic attacks I have been having, and the tunnel vision, heart racing, chest pains and shortness of breath comes back. So it’s hard to blog about, but I feel the need to document it. I have a feeling a therapist is the next person I will see outside of my house.
It all started about 3 days ago, when I was going for a walk with my dogs. That’s it. A walk with my dogs. Walking anywhere is a bit of a struggle, but mostly with general anxiety, and not these major attacks. On that day, however, I got a major attack after swallowing my water wrong and dry heaving, which made me feel like I was choking, and it just escalated from there.
The following day I got another one when walking to the store. This was one of the “mini heart attack” ones where I get it for about 10 seconds in a single location, usually somewhere I have had a panic attack previously. No surprise, this was in the exact spot I had the one the day before. It’s like you’re walking through a tunnel of anxiety, but once you get out of it, everything is fine. So that’s basically what happened. My entire body got weak and it felt like I was crawling through the tunnel, but I made it home.
Today I experienced 5 of them. FIVE. I would cry, but that gives me heart palpitations which we all know just makes everything worse. The first was when I as again, walking to the store. I thought it would be no big deal because I didn’t have any anxiety this morning. It didn’t matter. As soon as I walked out the door, I felt it coming. On the way there, I had the mild anxiety I generally have while walking. And then it got worse. After about 1/4 mile (which is halfway to the store) I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it home. I had to reach out for things at every opportunity, to brace myself. (Which makes me think I have agoraphobia). I grabbed telephone poles, gates, fences, even tree branches. Anything.
Once I was in the store, I was fine, but then I had my 2nd one that day on the way home. This was bad. I actually felt like I was going to pass out. I grabbed my phone and was about to call someone to come get me, but I didn’t think anyone would be available. So I just ran. This is how you know it’s serious. I don’t run. Anywhere. I can barely make these walks without being winded. But with 3 heavy bags in my hand, I ran as fast as I could the 1/2 mile home, including up a super steep hill to get there.
Number three attack of the day occurred about 2 hours later when I was attempting to take the dogs for a walk. We made it about a minute through our housing community before I picked them both up and ran back home. Again, similar to agoraphobia, I just felt like I was too far from home (was so close I could see my house still) and had no control over my surroundings. When I got home, I sat on the steps and let them pee in the yard, but I felt bad about cutting the walk short.
The biggest surprise today was that the last two panic attacks were at home. I almost never have them at home. Probably not even 1% of the time. They always happen outside the home, when I feel like I can’t control where I am, especially when I’m out alone. The first was when I was just sitting at my computer, working, and all of a sudden I was sure my heart was no longer beating. I can’t describe it too much, as it is getting me all anxious and sweaty just thinking about it. The next was in the shower, which I also had to cut short. Seriously? I can’t even take a damn shower now?!
The ones at home got so bad that when I was in the living room going from one side to the other where there is nothing but empty space, I felt those “mini heart attacks” just trying to get past that empty space. What the hell? I think it’s therapy time. This is insane. And the more I am having, the worse it is getting.
So that was a fun time. I have been looking up and asking for advice on natural treatments in the meantime. So far, I am going to be trying mindfulness, yoga, chamomile and green tea, lavender oil, and counting backwards. Any other recommendations?