Comfort in a Panic Attack


I’m so tired right now that when I think of comfort, all I really think about is my big bed with its layers of padding and clean sheets…with my necessary fan blowing, and how I plan to climb in there pretty soon. 

And I hope I have a comfortable night.  Last night was not.   But let me tell you about my uncomfortable last summer…

Something I haven’t shared with very many people…
I sometimes have panic attacks.

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In the middle of the night last July, I had a dream where I was running with all my might and out of breath, and it woke me up.   Realizing it was only a dream, I notice my heart was racing.  I mean racing!   I thought it was from the dream and waited for my pulse to slow back down.  It didn’t…which made me panic.   (I think the dream happened because my heart was racing in my sleep.)

I went to the ER, and they did all the normal heart things, but everything appeared normal.   They sent me to a cardiologist, who, after more EKGs, a stress test, an ultra sound, and bloodwork, couldn’t find anything relating to my racing, palpitating heart.   I hadn’t mentioned the palpitations yet, had I?   Can you imagine elephants dancing in your chest and every now and then missing a step?   Yeah, that’s what it felt like.   Makes you feel like you can’t breathe…but you are breathing fine.

For the next few weeks, just about every night I would wake up to a panic attack.   Heart racing, skipping beats, shaking, cold without a blanket, too hot with one, and a feeling like…well, no delicate way to put it, it makes you feel like you need to go to the bathroom.  All this makes your mind race, too, because you aren’t convinced you aren’t dying.   It would happen at work sometimes, too.   One day it was so bad I went home.  My mom came over that day and prayed for me; that definitely made me feel better.

I think I’m past my five minutes, too.   So let me get back to last night.

Last summer, the cardiologist gave me a beta blocker (which I am accusing of making my hair get really fine and thin), and for the most part, if I have an episode, I sleep through it.   But last night I was awake.  With the beta blocker, it is never severe, but at times it’s enough to keep me awake a while.

If ever someone tells you they have panic attacks, give them some comforting words like you understand, even if you don’t.   Those boogers are can be pretty scary, and there is no rhyme or reason why they happen. 

Siggy 2


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