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Panic Attack

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At four o’clock this morning I suffered a panic attack. I have had similar events a couple of time over the years but it was Emma that found all my symptoms tied in with a panic attack.

I had a couple of bottled beers the night before but only a couple. I also had a decaf coffee.

When I awoke my first thought was that I’d been given caffeine instead as I felt suddenly alert. I felt slightly breathless and started taking deeper breaths through my mouth. I started to worry that my heart wasn’t beating properly so I wasn’t getting the oxygen I needed. I pressed a finger to my jugular to feel my heart beat … it seemed slightly irregular. I felt a little alarmed. Could this be a heart attack?

I went to the toilet and I noticed that I had sweaty palms. I tried to pace the bathroom to calm myself but started to feel faint. So I returned to the bedroom and woke Emma. I said I felt weird and light-headed. I then laid on the bedroom floor with Emma standing over me. It was in these seconds that I kind of lost awareness or passed out for a second.

When I recovered I felt a bit better but I had pins a needles in my hands and forearms. I got back in bed but started to shiver uncontrollably for a few minutes until I calmed and eventually went back to sleep.

I wanted to write down these symptoms while I still remember them. Having read about panic attacks it is now obvious that that is what it was. I had almost all of the symptoms described.

My previous episodes include a ‘funny turn’ after I got a strange sensation in my groin lifting heavy equipment after a gig (nearly twenty years ago). That incident involved worrying that I had a hernia, feeling weird, getting out of a car and lying in the rain and seeing colourful bizarre dreamlike images during a few seconds of unconsciousness. Apparently, I heaved several times as if to throw up during my unconscious spell.

I have also had bad reactions in the past when having blood taken (nausea, sickness and cold sweat). Last year I had a similar bout after a nasal endoscopy which involved nausea, vomiting, numbness and very strong pins and needles in my hands.

It is strange though, that I had a local anaesthetic to have a small benign lump removed from my upper arm three years ago and watched the whole thing with no ill effects.

I hope that in future I will be able to recognise the signs and calm myself before the panic attack develops. It is clearly mentally self induced although the physiology of a panic attack is real enough.


Written by barnabyfry

December 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Life and Health

Tagged with , ,