Today I was in my abnormal psychology class and we were starting to discuss panic attacks.
My professor said that a panic attack usually peaks at about ten minutes and is accompanied with sweat, tingling in the hands or feet, heart palpatations, shortness of breath, chest pains, dizziness, fear of losing control, fear of dying..
And then it hit me in the middle of his lecture on the symptoms of panic attacks. During the summer, which I was going through some emotional things and trying to recover from a horrible spring semester, there was this one day where I was at home and then suddenly I felt this terror come to me and I had tingling in my hands and in my feet, mild chest pain, cold sweat, heart palpatations, and was extremely scared that maybe I was having some sort of heart attack and that I could possibly be dying.
It didn’t last too long. After a while everything stopped and I felt okay. I remember looking in a mirror and thinking, “What the hell was that?”. I called my mom afterwards and told her that I needed to see a doctor. On our way to the doctor I told her what I experienced and that I may have had a heart attack or I may have a cardiovascular disease. She began to worry which made me worry even more, making me unable to calm down while waiting at the doctor’s office. Fearing for the worst of news for myself.
I finally got called in and the doctor asked what my symptoms were. I told him my symptoms and he did a few tests. He took my blood pressure, did several reflex tests, some sort of gripping test to check my strength, and listened for my heart. He said everything was normal and there wasn’t really anything wrong with me. He told me that it’s very uncommon for someone my age to have a heart attack and said also that since my tests were normal that it was even more unlikely.
I was beyond relieved when he said it wasn’t a heart attack. He then continued to ask me how school was the passed semester and then suddenly I just couldn’t form any words. Nothing came out of my mouth even when I opened it to say something. He then began to realize that maybe I’ve been stressed so much that I began to have these symptoms that seemed like I was having a heart attack even when I wasn’t. My heart began racing because I sincerely didn’t want to talk about school. He waited for me to say something, anything, but I didn’t say a word but look down.
He said that maybe talking about it with someone like my family or friends would help me and then there would be a lesser chance of me getting these symptoms. I was pretty embarrassed by myself for barely saying anything while he was trying to get me to cooperate with him.
And that was it. I left the doctor’s office with no prescription for medicine but just some calming advice on how to deal with stressful events.
When I got home my mom told my dad what happened and why I went to the doctor. My mom and dad then kind of sort of tried to have an intervention with me and try to ask what’s wrong with me, am I okay, why am I so worried and such. And then I said that I have nothing to share. Even though it was so obvious that something was bothering because of the fact that my doctor even told me so. I just can’t talk to people about it. Especially my parents or brothers or close relatives. I can barely even talk about things like that to my closest friends. I don’t know, I just can’t open up and talk things through. I don’t like for people to know my struggles and fears because then I feel like they will look down on me. I know that my family and friends would never look down on me but still, I just feel weak. Being so vulnerable makes me feel like I can’t handle what life throws at me. And I so desperately want to handle it, specifically on my own without people’s help. I know that may come off as rude, but I like to be independent. I like to be on my own a lot. And if I can handle it on my own then I feel more accomplished and overall better about myself.
Okay, flashback over.
Now here’s my point. Could what I got that day been some sort of panic attack? Since summer started all I would think about was how bad my spring semester went and all the things I wanted to do and all the things I regret doing and because of that I believe I started to get some anxiety. It was completely new to me, I didn’t really know anything about mental health issues and how it can affect people, but only that it’s very difficult to deal with. And then I experienced it. A new unwelcoming, treacherous feeling that makes you worry nonstop and feel so vulnerable. I never thought it’d happen to me, but then again after what I’ve been through, why was I so surprised at all of these new feelings and the challenges it comes along with?
So, could I have been having a panic attack at that point in time? maybe, I’m not completely sure. I’m still learning about disorders and mental health issues in my abnormal psychology class. Was it anxiety? could have definitely been.
If you’re curious about how my spring semester went, I actually wrote about it on here. It’s under “A Bad Spring.” if you’re interested or not, I don’t know perhaps.