Thursday, July 22, 2010

Panic Attack vs. Anxiety

I always thought panic and anxiety were along similar lines. I always thought that a panic attack is the same as an anxiety attack. Similar words, denoted similar meanings - right??
I have been seeing a counselor and it has been great. He asked me if I ever had a panic attack. I made him define the meaning between the panic and anxiety. I mean, I am a nurse right? I should be able to differentiate between the two and diagnose it (that last bit was for my parents:) They think I tend to diagnose myself, which I admit I do:) Anyway, the difference between panic attack and anxiety is that anxiety is the feeling of being anxious, constantly thinking and heart racing. Panic attack is a full blown whole other story. I had the joy of experiencing one while I was driving home from a work meeting. Camryn had went with me and I was strapping her into her seat belt. I started to feel kinda funny and just attributed it to the heat, not having water with me and the misery of being asked to work 9 days in a row:( I stupidly said yes to that one - I just cannot say no to the owner of my company.
I started driving home (30 mile drive) and started to spasm in my neck. Next it went down the whole left side of my body. My muscles kept relaxing and spasming. Next it went to the left side of my mouth and my mouth started to droop. By this point, I was hysterical. Of course, I kept driving. Stupid, yes, but I felt I had to get home. I did not want to pull over on the freeway and be stuck on the side of the road in traffic like that. So I started praying and so did Camryn ( I do believe I freaked her out!). I finally made it home and collapsed on the living room floor. Darin was very worried and called 911. By this time I had stripped off all my clothes, down to my Mormon undies, because I was so hot. It was then the cute firemen showed up. So now the panic went full blown again because I was in my Mormon undies in the middle of the living room surrounded by firemen and police - all male!! My husband came home right after the paramedics showed up. Thankfully, they checked me over and said they did not think it was a stroke but a panic attack. So I decided to stay home and not go to the hospital. Instead, I finally calmed down and went to bed.
The next day I had an appointment with my counselor already. I told him what had happened and he said "yep, that is a full blown panic attack". Downside, having one can trigger others. Upside, I now know what it is and the counselor said if one comes on again, to welcome it, tell myself that is what it is, and he said it will go away very quickly by responding that way to it.
I hope to never have another one but I can now say I experienced it!!

The End


E-squared's Mom July 22, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

Been there, different reaction for me but it was last year when my dad was in the hospital for heart surgery, my brothers wedding on Saturday and my mother fell and broke her shoulder, and I didn't have a car to get to her (my sister was already there) but I started to hyper-ventilate and couldn't think straight was very dizzy and just couldn't get a hold of reality, ice cold and heart racing. made it over to my neighbors (kids in school) and melted down right in her house, I never want to repeat but I still have a few mild S&S ever few months. But I do what your counselor and they leave just as fast as they come on. keep praying and you too can over come it. Love ya Steph and it sounds like you have a lot of others that do too.

Mom of The Fields Five July 22, 2010 at 11:34 AM  

Well, I think it is time to take a Yoga class girlfriend!!!! I completely understand what you are experiencing. I had to learn this several years ago and had a wonderful counselor get me through it all. Best Wishes for a bright days ahead! All my love....

JaNae July 22, 2010 at 6:19 PM  

Glad you know what to do though I hope you never have to do it again. So thankful you were safe during the whole thing too. Remember it says "and it came to pass" not it came and stayed....