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I think stress caused it

Posted Apr 23 2009 5:23pm
It’s been a mildly stressful week, which is what I believe must be responsible for my panic attack on Thursday and again today. In truth, it’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll share it here with you.

On Tuesday I received a phone call that alerted me to the fact that my masters swimming clinic started a few weeks before I thought it actually started. This little detail threw me into a bit of a tizzy and I tried not to let depression take a stranglehold over my little mistake. Fortunately, it helped when the facility offered to reimburse me for the missed classes.

After beating myself up for the next two days over that mistake I wasn’t very eager to attend the class, but I sucked it up and went anyway. It was on the drive there that my panic attack struck. As if out of no where, my heart started thundering faster than it does during an intense workout, my breathing was fast and furious and the “fight or flight” feeling came over me (well, the “flight” portion of the feeling).

If you’ve never had a panic attack before, it’s a little unnerving. When I get them I feel like I’m going to die. It’s like my heart is beating so fast that it’s just going to explode. If the exploding heart doesn’t kill me, my inability to obtain some satisfactory oxygen will.

Whenever a panic attack comes, I lose my head for the first several seconds. Once I realize that I’m really not going to die right then and there, I try to focus my breathing and ask myself if there is anything real to panic about. Usually there isn’t a good reason for my body to be in a full-blown state of panic, so I try to “talk” myself out of it, which is exactly what I did yesterday.

After regaining control, I went to class and wished that I didn’t. I was very far behind the one other lady in attendance that evening and had to push myself to just keep moving. I couldn’t keep up. I was humiliated at how horrible I was, but in the end congratulated myself on attending despite the obstacles in my way.

After facing my fears I thought that the panic attacks would fade away once again, but that’s not going to happen right away. Today while running errands with my three-year-old daughter I had another panic attack at the bottle return depot.

Fortunately it was a mild one that I was able to recover from without my daughter ever noticing that something was wrong.

Tomorrow I’m having a huge birthday party for my other daughter’s first birthday and I believe the stress of being hostess (I hate being the hostess) is what’s behind this current wave of panic attacks. Perhaps after the big party is over things will go back to “normal” without the freak occurrences of panic attacks. I can only hope!
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