My Story: Anxiety and Panic disorder

Posted by fredclark on September 25th, 2010

I was just a kid playing volleyball in my friend's back yard.

It was a crisp fall day, the kind of day that makes you want to stay outside. You know, not too hot but not chilly at all. Just perfect.

I had just finished my first week of the eighth grade. I was ready to serve the ball as the phone inside the house rang sending my best friend Lisa inside to answer it. I served the ball over the net to her little sister Katie and we volleyed back and forth waiting for Lisa to return. That is when that perfect autumn day took a drastic turn.

I jumped to spike the ball and as my feet hit the ground my chest made a "popping" sensation inside of me. I sat on the ground and felt my blood rise into my neck and face. My heart was pounding so hard that I could hear it in my ears. I was trembling and short of breath.

My nose and lips started to tingle as I forced myself off the ground to run inside to get help. I was sure that I was going to die. I started screaming at the top of my lungs "call 911! I'm having a heart attack! Call 911!" I was pacing Lisa's kitchen and sobbing hysterically. I stopped pacing the floor to listen to Lisa speaking to the 911 operator. "I don't know what happened," she said "She just ran inside yelling that she is having a heart attack!"

As I stood there listening, I could hear my heartbeat through my open mouth. It was an odd, fast, clicking rhythm. The sound made me panic even more. I ran to my friend and yelled "LISTEN! YOU CAN HEAR MY HEART BEATING! OH MY GOD! I AM GOING TO DIE!"

What I said must have really scared her. The look on her face only cemented my fears. She dropped the phone onto the floor and led me outside onto the front porch. Her little sister was making her way back from across the street with their neighbor who thankfully, was a registered nurse.

I was shaking so badly that I probably looked as though I was having some sort of seizure. The nurse calmed me down and started asking me questions. She asked if I had used drugs or eaten a new food. I couldn't think of a possible cause for this attack. I was convinced that the only scenario was that my heart was about to explode. It must have been a birth defect.

The next thing I remember, the ambulance was pulling into the driveway. When the driver got out I actually laughed! We had gone to see a play at our church a couple of nights ago and the ambulance driver had played the part of Jesus in the play! I thought out loud "Wow! Jesus is coming to save me!"

My youthful intention wasn't blasphemous, it was appreciative. It was a sign. I was calming down. I was not going to die. I was going to be alright. As the paramedics lifted me into the ambulance, I became very tired. I felt as though I had just run a marathon. I tried to explain what I had gone through to the medics but I don't think my 13-year-old brain did a very good job describing the incident to them.

They looked baffled. Once I was at the hospital, test after test was performed, reveling that nothing was wrong. The doctor came into my room to inform me that I had a panic attack. I didn't believe him. I was perfectly calm that whole day. What would I have to panic about? I knew they must have just missed the REAL problem. They must not have run the right tests.

They sent me home with a note to get out of school for three days and a prescription for bed-rest. I thought it was all a cruel joke. There was something really wrong with me and they didn't know what it was or how to fix it. I now understand that on that day, I had my first of several panic attacks.

That day was the day that launched my panic disorder. I spent the next thirteen years believing that I had something fatally wrong inside my body. I spent everyday expecting another attack. I spent thousands of dollars on test after test, all of which told me nothing was seriously wrong.

I don't know why I never believed the results. It would have made life so much easier to trust the doctors. I am doing better now. My last attack was in September of 2006. I have decided that I am not going to have anymore panic attacks.

I am going to trust God and I am going to trust doctors. What changed in my thinking? Well, I just got to the point that I realized that I wasn't dying!

Funny, I got comfort in the fact that I wasn't dead yet! This realization lead me to another realization: The doctor was right. It was a panic attack that I had at my friend Lisa's house over thirteen years ago.

I had wasted so much time being afraid. I am not afraid anymore.

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Joined: September 16th, 2010
Articles Posted: 12

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