Comments are an essential part of this website’s success.
There has grown up a community over the years that support each other and new commenters.
Unfortunately, there has been of late a flood of “comment trolls” touting everything from fake Vuitton bags to aluminum siding (really!) to enlargement pills for your err… umm… member. These clog up the comments and are a pain to delete daily.
To combat the trolls, I now have comments moderated. This means that I have to approve every comment before it is posted. Don’t worry, I check my email many times daily and will approve legitimate comments quickly, usually within an hour.
I regret that I have had to take this action, but in my opinion it is better than the comments being inundated by comment trolls. I value and welcome your comments on this issue.
The article I’m Dying: What a Panic Attack Feels Like is one of the most popular posts on this site, with over 350 comments.
Many of the comments–some are very long–are heartbreaking: relationships wrecked, jobs lost, fear trailing like a shadow.
Over and over people describe how panic attacks affect them:
- In response to heart palpitations: “I’m going to have a heart attack,” or I’m going to die.”
- In response to choking sensations: “I’m going to stop breathing and suffocate.”
- In response to dizzy sensations: “I m going to pass out.”
- In response to sensations of disorientation or feeling “not all there”: “I’m going crazy.”
- In response to “rubbery legs:” “I won’t be able to walk” or “I’m going to fall.”
- In response to the overall intensity of your body’s reactions: “I’m going to completely lose control over myself,” or “I’m going crazy.”
Panic attacks are an intense “fight-or-flight” reaction occurring in a situation that poses no obvious or life-threatening danger, such as sitting quietly at home, driving a car, or attending a social event. Because there is no obvious, external danger, your mind tends to invent or create danger to match the intense bodily symptoms you’re going through.
Your mind can very quickly go through the process: “If I feel this bad, I must be in some danger.” And so it’s very common when experiencing panic to invent any or all of the “dangers” listed above–or more.
The ironic thing is that this reaction is absolutely and always false. Panic attacks are not dangerous. They cannot hurt you physically. Ever.
[Read the entire article...]
All anxiety disorders can devastate your life.
But panic attacks are unique in their ability to spread fear and uncertainty into every minute, every daily activity, every relationship.
You become a virtual prisoner of that fear, with all your freedom to act snatched by the awful anticipation of the next panic attack.
I had my first panic attack in 2002 while driving to work. My face, throat and chest became increasingly restricted and it became harder and harder to breathe. I started hyperventilating. My heart was pounding and my arms and face were getting numb. The world around me became distant and very strange, and I started seeing black spots like I was about to pass out. I was terrified that I was going completely crazy, was dying, or both.
The panic attacks soon developed into panic disorder and teamed up with agoraphobia, so I could go nowhere without having a panic attack. I would have panic attacks at home in bed, during meals, when going to the doctor, when cutting the grass. It seemed like no activity – or inactivity – was safe from panic attacks.
But that is not the end of the story. After years of help from excellent psychiatrists and psychologists, I have learned how to nip panic attacks in the bud before they blossom into full-blown events – using only coping strategies and no drugs. I have not had a full panic attack in three years and counting.
What’s my secret? There is no secret, just some hard-won observations. Here’s what panic attacks have taught me over the years:
[Read the entire article...]