I was convinced I was dying. As a matter of fact, there was no way you could convince me otherwise. Oddly I accepted my fate and whispered to my husband “call 911, I’m dying”. I was sweating profusely, I could feel my heartbeat in my neck and my pulse echoed in my ears. I couldn’t breathe, my face felt weird, my hands were numb, and I was shaking like a leaf. EMS arrived and tried with all their might to convince me I wasn’t dying, but I was convinced they just wanted me to die peacefully without a fight. After some deep breathing and close monitoring I realized I wasn’t dying and was told I had an anxiety attack.
Anxiety attack? Surely not me. I had no precipitating event. I was just washing dishes. I had very little stress and in my opinion I had it all together. Anxiety? Really? Not understanding why I had an anxiety attack only made me more anxious. Now I really had anxiety, and boy did it take over my life.
My next few attacks were at work. This was embarrassing to say the least. I was the counselor who helped everyone else deal with their issues and my life was spinning out of control. The next few were random places – the mall, WalMart, the grocery store. Pretty soon I was kind of afraid to go in public out of fear of having yet another attack.
I was embarrassed about my anxiety. I didn’t want people to know because I felt it was a sign of weakness or that I couldn’t control my life. Although I knew I would never tell a client that and would never believe that about a client, I believed it about myself.
One day I decided I was going to fight back. I refused to accept this fate of constant fear. I embarked on a journey of self-exploration and several visits to physicians. In the end, I found that my anxiety was due to a hormonal imbalance and that made a big difference. Once I figured out the cause, it wasn’t as scary.
Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. Even now, my hormones get out of whack and I will have random attacks. If you are having anxiety, don’t sit in silence and suffer. Seek help and find a method of coping that works for you. Talk to your doctor, find support groups, engage in counseling, take medications, find alternative therapies; the possibilities are abundant. Discovering why you have anxiety is the first part of the battle, learning how to deal with it is the other. When I decided to stop being anxious about being anxious, I got my life back.
Emergency photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 10 Oct 2012