I have a lot of phobias. Arachnophobia, claustrophobia, and acrophobia are a few of my more common fears. One of my less common and more debilitating fears is social phobia. Anytime I have to socialize with someone, I get extremely bad anxiety. In rare cases the anxiety gets to the point where I end up having a panic attack.
The first time I had a panic attack was one of the scariest moments of my life. It was my second semester of college. I was struggling with really bad anxiety that day. My heart was pounding, hands were shaking, and it was a struggle to breathe. In one of my classes, I tried to cross my legs but I couldn’t. My left leg was completely numb. I couldn’t feel it and therefore couldn’t lift it.
This obviously made me go into a panicked state. I had to leave class early. I simply gathered up my things and limped out of there. I was able to feel the pressure of my left leg hitting the ground and I could feel my left hip so that was enough for me to be able to walk. By the time I got to my car, I couldn’t feel my hands and I was incredibly light-headed. I went straight to urgent care.
The doctor there took my vitals and said that they couldn’t find any problems with the tools they had. They recommended I go to the ER. I called my mom and I was hysterical. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I could have been having a stroke for all I knew! She picked me up and drove me to the emergency room. As soon as I was in the presence of my mom, my anxiety slowly went away. I could feel my leg and hands again. I almost felt completely normal except for being exhausted.
We arrived at the ER and I told them everything that happened and that I was feeling completely fine at the moment. They ran some more tests and eventually came to three conclusions: 1. I had a panic attack, 2. I was suffering from a silent migraine, or 3. I have multiple sclerosis. Based on my history with anxiety, I assumed (and prayed) that it was the first option. But I was too embarrassed to admit that I went to the Emergency Room because of a panic attack so I said it was probably option 2. Later, however, it became clear to me that it was in fact a panic attack.
Ever since that first panic attack, I have been getting more. Sometimes I would have a couple in one week, and other times I would go months without having any. The summer of 2016 was when I had the most frequent panic attacks. It probably had to do with the fact that I was hanging out with a group of people a couple days a week and I was crushing hard over one of the guys in the group.
Presently, I am doing great! I might get an attack once every couple of months, but they don’t last long and I am very good with dealing with them. I am on medication to help me get my anxiety under control and it is working great. I am on the lowest dose so I still have anxiety, but I’m learning how to live with it and tame it and hopefully I won’t need to rely on medicine anymore.