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My First Panic Attack : A Memorable Experience!

May 23, 2008
When I had my first panic attack I literally thought I was going crazy. I was 17 years old and I was the passenger in a car when suddenly I felt my heart racing. I was terrified but I did not really know why. I just had very strong feelings of dread and fear.

Almost immediately I felt I needed to escape from where I was. The problem was that I was in the car with my current boyfriend and we were on our way to meet his extended family that happened to live in the mountainous area of eastern Kentucky. There really was not a place to go to as we were on a winding narrow road leading up the mountain. It was very dark and lightly raining.

I began to feel as though I could not breathe. I was trying my best to hide my anguish from my boyfriend, I did not want him to think I was crazy. I told myself everything was okay, I could not see any real signs of impending danger. I told myself to listen to the song on the radio but I could not force myself to actually listen.

Although my symptoms were basic textbook panic attack symptoms, at the time this was happening I did not know what panic attacks were. I really was not interested in that sort of information and I am not sure if I had ever known anyone that suffered with such problems.

I asked my boyfriend if we could stop the car for a minute but of course he wanted to know why and he explained that there really was not anyplace to stop. I truly was trapped in the vehicle.

There was no way that I could explain to him how I was feeling, not only did it sound crazy, but at the moment I did not want to even try to explain. The feelings were so terrible and so intense that I did not want to take the time to explain. I remember having flashes of opening my car door and jumping out.

I was glad it was dark because I was sure that my fear was obviously showing on my face. My hands were shaking and I felt dizzy. I was not thinking straight, I only knew that I needed to get away from the situation as quickly as possible.

Thank goodness the intense panic attack feelings began to subside almost as quickly as they started. After about 10 or 15 minutes I was almost back to normal. However, I continued feeling nervous for quite some time.

I could not get that event out of my mind. I was afraid that there was something medically wrong with me, that this was the beginning of a mental illness. I was worried that it would happen again and it would not be dark and I would be in a group of people.

For days I felt anxious about this event. Then about a week later the feelings of fear and dread came again. This time the episode seemed to last a little longer. I talked with my boyfriend about the situation, I even told him how I was feeling the night we were driving to meet his family.

To my dismay he told me it was all in my head. He said I was just stressed about meeting his family for the first time. But I had actually been looking forward to that trip. I did not believe that was the problem at all but my boyfriend seemed to believe that I was being silly or weak.

After my third panic attack I realized I needed to seek help. After all, I had to know if I had some awful disease or if I was losing my mind. Fortunately my doctor was able to correctly diagnose the problem and I was placed on effective medication. I took anti-anxiety medications daily and I had medication to take during an actual panic attack. This regime allowed me to regain control of my life to a great extent.
About the Author
To learn more about panic attacks and other topics of interest to women of all ages visit:
Debbie Allen is a writer, internet marketer and personal coach.
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