I have never had the “I think I am having a heart attack” type of panic attack. The anxiety builds and begins before I have even begun my trigger scenarios. For example, the anxiety thrums the day before having to get on a plane. The anxiety continues to build throughout the drive to and waiting in the lounge. I become snappish and short tempered and freaked out. Then I get on the plane. If there is the slightest chop or turbulence, all of my bodily systems, the sirens in my brain, the overshooting of adrenaline receptors —– all goes out of control, raging, screaming and I want to get off of the plane now. Let. Me. Out.
I have begun to have the same problem on highways. Is it a PTSD reaction to two previous major car accidents? I don’t know. But when that panic builds, I must pull over. Immediately. Wherever I am on the highway, the panic shrieks in my brain and crowds out any rational thought or clear breathing and I must pull off to the right and onto the shoulder. I cannot drive in the left lane and come back over because the panic attack is in massive high alert and I am brain-paralyzed. I must pull over. somewhere. right now. this instant.
A stewardess (insert whatever the politically correct terminology is here) semi rolled her eyes at me and said “Why don’t you take a Xanax?” Hmmmm, why didn’t I think of that. Oh yeah. MY DAMN DOCTOR WON’T GIVE ME ANY.
My fear and overwhelming panic feels very real and there is no question that the brain chemicals flying and frying my brain cannot be as bad as sugar, caffeine and all the other supposedly unhealthy things I am doing.
Do you suffer from panic attacks, and if so, what triggers cause them?