Originally Posted by anomicdeer
I don't know if it's panic attacks but when I get mad and fight I start shaking badly.
The same happens to me when I fight (verbally), but in my opinion it's just the body responding to a very stressful situation. Panic usually implies feelings of fear: either fear causing the physical symptoms, or the physical symptoms causing you to fear.
In my case it's always the latter. First time I had a panic attack it was in one day of November when I had a bit more coffee than I'm used to. I felt a bit shaky and my heart beating faster, but I thought it's the coffee, it will go away (and it did), so I went out for half hour. After I came back, and settled in front of my computer, right in the middle of an email my heart started to race, I started to shake like I was electrocuted, I was feeling too cold and too hot alternatively and all I could think was that I was having a heart attack and I would die alone, nobody noticing until late in the evening when it would be too late. Being a smoker made this for a very plausible conclusion. I phoned my BF and my dad but that half hour until someone actually arrived seemed like a year.
Anyway, back to the topic. As I read on the Internet, the symptoms of a PA can vary from person to person, some being more usual. My physical symptoms are among these:
- increased heart rate (130 or more)
- sometimes the heart beats very strong (I feel the pounding in my neck) or it skips a beat, or has an extra-beat - which alone is an unsettling feeling, according to the cardiologist that I saw in order to make sure there's nothing wrong with my heart
- my whole body trembles
- a feeling like something heavy is set on my chest, or like a too tight embrace, which makes me take deep breaths in hopes to release the pressure
- I feel as if my breath is useless, as if I'm not getting enough air, although breathing faster or deeper doesn't help (only would make me dizzy/hyperventilated)
- hot/cold flashes
- if my body doesn't shake, then it feels tight and i can't stop from straining/stretching my muscles, either from legs or hands; if I'm laying in bed then I fidget and can't stay horizontally for long; if I'm up, I tend to bend forward and prop with my hands on my upper legs like the gallows
- lately during the PAs all my skin hurts at a light massage (not sore like a rash, but more like after you stretch your hair in a too tight ponytail or you change the usual ponytail position)
- sometimes dizziness, but rarely and lasts only a couple of seconds
- going to pee very often
- no patience to concentrate on other things like talking/listening on the phone
As for my mind:
- First I must say that for me the PAs take long, sometimes till 6 hours, sometimes I have one in the morning and a second in the evening, often they occur after eating or before going out. I only had 3 full blown (I ended in ER each time, where a calcium shot helped calm me down), but some less intense or with only a couple of the symptoms I had almost every day. This made me cherish every day that went without that feeling of pressure on my chest, but also made me cry more often, especially during the late night PAs when I'm very tired and tense and I want to sleep so all I can think of is that I can't stand this anymore. On the good side, crying helped lighten the pressure.
- Strangely I never felt any fear before a PA, only after it starts, and of course because my thoughts were usually: "I'm going to die", "nobody believes how bad and real this is" or "these doctors are no good, I am suffering of something else that will be discovered only at my autopsy!"
Note: I said "my thoughts were" because when I started to look on the Internet for more information about panic, I found that from 10-15 usual symptoms I had around 8-10 and then I went to forums and discovered so many people having the same problems - this had more positive effect on me than anything that the doctors said, and finally convinced me that my problem is indeed a panic disorder, not some "House MD" subject
I found it hard to believe because I have a normal family, I am not stressed and my problems exist (who doesn't have problems?) but are nothing out of the ordinary.
- Last but not least this had impact in my behaviour too. Because I wasn't convinced of the diagnosis and wasn't even able to properly describe what I felt (there was no actual pain), I kept paying attention to every little unusual symptom. I started to be always en garde for any signs of of another PA coming up - yes, more worries. But the worst was that I started to avoid staying alone (I had less PAs when I'm talking to people, even strangers), going out alone, or going out anyhow. And when I went out, I always made sure that I have with me my cell phone and my pills (a light sedative recommended by my GP for the hard times), although I still have the impression that the pills have more a placebo than a real effect.
As I said above, reading about other people's experiences was for me as moral-lifting as a revelation, so I hope that this extensive list will be not only boring but also maybe helpful to someone.