The ReturnI first experienced a panic attack when i was around 18 years old.
I had gone round to my then boyfriends house and we were watching a film - 'Saving Private Ryan'
Although I had had experience with death before something about this film opened my eyes to the harshness and somewhat pointlesness to life and it scared the heck out of me.
My head began to swim, i felt like my entire body had expanded and everything in the world just did not matter. I became hot, my heart thudding in my chest ... too fast .... I couldnt breath, my skin was tingling with hot and cold sweats .. I felt every pain in my body .. my arms ... I actually thought i was going to die.
It took around an hour to calm down.
It was a surreal and frightening experience. I felt like i had no control. I didnt know what to do.
I read some where that people have a mental switch in there brains to alert them that something is wrong. And those who have panic attacks are prone to always keeping this switch on. Always alert for the signs of another attack coming on. The slightest tingle in the left arm. The feeling that you are concentrating on your heart beat or taking your pulse to make sure it is right.
I became sensitive to every minor thing that could turn into an attack because i was so afraid of feeling that way again.
Since that first attack there have been quite a few more. Mainly at times where i have had a lot going on in my life.
One scary situation was where i was standing at the sink about to wash the pots and al of a sudden i became hot. Red hot. And it began. I stood at that sink for a long time ..... Gripping the edge of the work top. My eyes centred on a huge knife that had been used to slice potatos earlier that eveining. I stared at the knife as i inhaled and exhaled with huge gulps of air. And all i could think was that i could not handle this. This feeling of not knowing if this was the real deal. If i was actually going to die. And i wanted to take the knife and stop it. My mind swimming with bad thoughts. Thats when i knew i had to try and control it. Instead of it controlling me ... leaving me incapable of rational thinking.
Dont get me wrong. I honestly did not want to end my life. Which is what made the situation even more scary. I felt as if i was going mad. in the truest sense.
That all seems like a long time ago now.
I began to learn how to control my breathing. Calm myself down before anything could over take me.
I quit drinking. I became scared of alcohol. Who knows what would happen if i relaxed, Alcohol making me loosen up and suddenly ..... having no control .... having a panic attack whilst drunk .... i just could not trust myself. So i have not touched a drop for at least 4 years.
I guess the main reason for writing this is because even after taking precautions, learning techniques ... i have been shown today that it will never completely go away.
I sat at my desk this afternoon and felt a hot flush.
My heart starting to race.
So i rolled up my sleeves and got myself a glass of water. Calm down, i told myself. This cannot happen at work.
Then my arms started to tingle. My fingers felt like pins and needles. I felt pains shooting down my left arm.
And so we are back.
I thought 'this is it ... this time its for real'
I felt my face redden ... had to loosen my bra!
I sat there for what felt like hours with people around me clueless to the battle that was happening between my mind and body.
And eventually i calmed down enough to know that i would be okay.
I am still feeling the pains i my arms ... but i think this is because i have once again become hyper sensitive to sensations related to the panic attacks.
I know i will be okay.
But i know that i will never truly over come this.