The Secret Handbook 4 Teens

Ever Have a Panic Attack? I did & it is NOT fun.

panic button

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted since my Dad died and while I know that I’ve been grieving and have been experiencing stress, I thought I was coping pretty well. I still got up and went to work every day. I still talked to my friends, went grocery shopping and spent time with my family. The weeks after my Dad passed were the most stressful…we moved my Mom, sold her house, got her settled and drove to NJ every weekend from down south so sure, there were lots of hours in the car. Still, I thought I was doing pretty well.

Well, two weeks ago my Mom went into the hospital with a respiratory virus. Because she has an existing lung condition even a cold can be a big problem so to say I was stressed would be an understatement. My stress was compounded by the fact that my Mom has been telling me and my sisters that she just wants to go be with my Dad in heaven. Then my sister really freaked me out be telling me that I needed to come up to see my Mom immediately implying that she was dying. OMG.

So yeah, stress. My mom went into the hospital on Thursday night and they quickly got her stabilized and my other sister informed me that no, my mother was not dying and that I could relax. Sure I felt relief but I guess I was underestimating how stressed I was. On Saturday I felt funny. Not like myself. Short of breath. Dizzy. Nauseous. Headache. I sorta knew I had a sinus infection and even though I’ve had these symptoms for a few weeks now, I was still attributing them to various other issues…I must just have a head cold. Allergies. My asthma was acting up. As my I began to feel worse and worse my husband insisted he was going to take me to the emergency room. And then it all started.

I felt a tingling start in my spine and it soon traveled to my arms and legs. I began hyperventilating and asked my husband to call 911 telling him I was having a heart attack or stroke. My arms and legs began to shake uncontrollably and I felt like I was hanging on to my consciousness by a thread. The EMTs got there and monitored my heart rate, put me on oxygen and took me to the ER after assuring me I was not having a heart attack or stroke (at which point I decided I must be getting ready to have a seizure then because my body was so out of my control). What did they know?! I felt like I was dying!

So they did all the things they usually do in an ER. Put in an IV, heart monitor, more oxygen, chest xray, bloodwork etc etc. And then the doctor came in and told me I had a panic attack. I was embarrassed, horrified, confused, and in disbelief that stress could do that to my body.

So, what’s the point of my tale? It’s to tell that I am now a firm believer that stress really can kill. Yes we all hear about how stress is bad for you. How you need to do things to manage stress and we all poo poo it and say yeah yeah, I know. I’ve got this though. I’m good. I’m getting through all my days aren’t I? I’m getting my work done. I’m living my life. I’m managing my stress like a pro. Until you’re not.

Honestly, I still don’t quite feel like myself since my little trip to the ER but I immediately began taking steps to truly take care of myself (instead of just saying I am). I am trying to eat healthier. I’m limiting sugar. I can’t even think about coffee or caffeine at the moment because the idea of taking anything that would make my heart race like that again is terrifying. I stretch. I have started walking again. I am honoring my body when it tells me I need to rest. But most importantly, I am truly practicing mindfulness and meditation. I religiously spend a few minutes meditating every day but I’m not doing it on my own. I downloaded the Mindfulness apps and Buddhify (my favorite) and I manage to find the time to quiet my mind and monitor my breathing.

I’ve spent many posts here preaching about the importance of meditation but I have to admit, I got lazy and didn’t practice what I was preaching. Don’t be like me. Meditate. Quiet your mind. Manage your stress. Don’t just tell yourself you’re managing it when you know you’re really not.

There are a lot of things that can kill us in life but this is one that we can control so why not control it? I see the stress that my daughter is under in school and now I worry more than I used to about how she’s managing it. And how you all are managing the stress in your lives. With that, I’ve realized it’s time to get back to blogging. It’s time to stop ignoring the things that I care about in life and start to actually engage in life again. It’s time to manage my stress. It’s time to help you manage yours.

Thanks for reading folks. It’s good to be back.

5 thoughts on “Ever Have a Panic Attack? I did & it is NOT fun.”

    1. Thank you sophiejames20! It truly was one of the most frightening experiences of my entire life and I have to say, every day is still slightly stressful because I start to worry about having another one! I know that’s a vicious circle though so I am becoming best friends with my breath instead of letting it get away from me. You’re also right about talking to someone. Even in the ambulance on the way to the ER, the more I talked to the EMT (who knew exactly what he was doing by asking me about vacation plans) my heart rate started to drop. It’s just amazing how our very own bodies can rise up and say “No more!” A painful but important reminder to take care of ourselves.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. Knowing that there are people out there who support and care about other human beings (like me who you don’t even know!) is relaxing in and of itself!

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