I Had a Panic Attack…

by Sami

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It’s true, I had a panic attack.

Mind you, I didn’t know I was having a panic attack when I was having it. It took four people pulling me into a room after church on Sunday to explain why it felt like an elephant was sitting on top of my chest and I couldn’t breathe.

I told you last week I’m walking a journey I never imagined I’d be walking…but I’m still here. The strain of the flu I’ve been battling has been hard enough, but once I started on the Amoxicilin, I thought things would start getting easier. Instead, I found myself reeling this past weekend. Not knowing what was going on, I started walking aimlessly up and down our street simply to try to force some fresh air in my lungs.

But after church when I was still experiencing the same heaviness in my chest and the room kept spinning, I learned that everything I was experiencing was actually a panic attack.

Now keep in mind, I haven’t taken a pill other than natural supplements for YEARS before giving in to take the antibiotics last week…not that there’s anything wrong with medicine, I just like to try to do things naturally. But I have NEVER experienced the feeling I had this past weekend.

First of all, I couldn’t breathe out of my nose because of the congestion. So when I couldn’t take a full, deep breath out of my mouth, it was scary.

Of course it happened on a Saturday. Not that it mattered, since I don’t have health insurance right now. (Although I later learned that you can visit the health department for need-based health visits during the week – a must-know for anyone without health insurance going through a bit of a rough spot).

Luckily, a counselor visited with me at church and gave me some good advice:
1. Don’t worry about tomorrow; take things minute by minute
2. Get back to as normal of a routine as soon as possible
3. Focus on the basic necessities: Eat, Sleep, Work
4. When necessary, find a healthy escape, like a good book, movie or even journaling
5. Accept help

That last one was a tough one for me. I’m used to being the one offering help, not accepting help. But then again, I don’t think that any of us ever go through life thinking we’re going to need help.

I don’t think we need to live in the land of accepting help, but it is important for us to recognize when it’s ok for us to lean on others for a little while.

I share this with you because I had NEVER imagined I would ever have a panic attack (and if it wasn’t for good friends coming to my aid, I STILL wouldn’t know I had a panic attack!). But what I realized is that sometimes your body manifests what your mind won’t allow.

So if I didn’t know it was possible, I’m assuming there are some of you out there that didn’t know what your body was capable of either.

So take it from me, we may not always know why things happen the way they do, but I sure am glad I had friends willing to put their arms around me and sit with me for three hours when I found myself in a time of need rather than simply run away.

Have you ever experienced something similar?

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Chandra Zoba February 28, 2013 - 11:24 am

Oh Sami! Anything I can do? Come this way, I’ll make you lunch, you can come just hang out and relax!

sami February 28, 2013 - 3:47 pm

Thank you Chandra, I can’t think of anything right now, but I may take you up on lunch soon 😉

AnnJanette Toth February 28, 2013 - 9:13 am

I love the “Accept help” one too! Praying for you!

Jen @ BigBinder February 27, 2013 - 9:18 pm

Sami!! Thank you for sharing this; a friend of mine had a panic attack a few years ago and it sounds very similar; so scary you don’t think you are going to make it but you don’t know what is going on. You got good advice, thank God! I wish more than anything I lived closer so I could bring you a meal. {It’s what I do… when I don’t know how to help people, I feed them…}. I’m sure you have friends and family nearby who will lift you up to get through this!

sami February 27, 2013 - 9:21 pm

Thanks Jen! Yes, that’s the good thing about living in the South is that meals are a way to show love 😉
If I had health insurance, I probably would have driven myself to the hospital this weekend – I really thought I was going to die…sounds silly, but never having experienced anything like it, it’s legitimate to say I was freaking out…. Hope this will help others realize that help is not that far away.

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