I was in the grocery store, when all of a sudden, I could not breathe. I could not move. I began to shake and sweat. I was paralyzed with fear, and I didn’t know why. My heart began to race faster. It was to the point where I thought I was having a heart attack. It literally came out of nowhere. I just stood there in the middle of the aisle with my cart of groceries, for what felt like an eternity, as my heart continued to race. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know how to ask for help. I eventually abandoned my cart of groceries and went to my car and left.
This was the first of many of these episodes. I couldn’t find words to explain them. They would happen out nowhere. I could be at church, the store, driving, with my kids, or at the house. However, when they did come, they would come fast and furious.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress. These episodes occur “out of the blue,” not in conjunction with a known fear or stressor.”
Their statistics state, “An estimated 2.7% of U.S. adults had panic disorder in the past year.”
While working with my therapist, I discovered my panic attacks started because of the miscarriages I was experiencing. I was so scared that something bad was going to happen to my children that I would begin to panic. It was my reaction to the loss of my babies and not properly processing the grief.
With the proper help and some techniques, I have fewer panic attacks. If I feel one coming on I do the following tips to help me work through it. First, I begin to regulate my breathing. Next, I use positive self-talk. I talk to myself in a kind way so that I can calm myself down. Finally, I use meditation so I can center myself.
If you are experiencing panic attacks, there is not anything to be ashamed of. I would encourage you to seek help so you can learn to work with them and find the root of the problem. Once you find the root of the problem, you can face them and find techniques that will help you through them.
My information comes from personal experience, my therapist, and the National Institute of Mental Heath. For more information talk to your doctor as they can recommend what is right for you. The National Institute of Mental Health’s website is https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/index.shtml, please go there to learn more.