I seriously feel that if you’ve never been unfortunate enough to have experienced a panic attack then, it would be very difficult, if not impossible to realise just how overwhelmingly frightening they really are. On the other hand, if you have been in the unfortunate position of experiencing one first hand, then I doubt that you could ever forget just how brutal they are.
So what are the most common panic attack symptoms? Well, first of all you must appreciate that when you’re in the middle of one, the last thing on your mind is making mental notes about your current physiological and mental state. But thinking back to my panic days, the following list springs to mind:
1) Dry mouth.
2) Tensing of my stomach muscles.
3) A slight feeling of nausea.
4) Sweaty hands and feet.
5) People used to tell me that my face went as white as a sheet.
6) Pounding heart.
7) Shallow breathing.
There were possibly more than this but that’s all I can recall at this moment in time.
As I became more used to experiencing panic, I became able to spot the above symptoms and in doing so was then able to distract myself one way or another in order to prevent an attack reaching its peak. I will add though, that, for me, using distractions to ward off panic was a very hit and miss affair and it did nothing to reduce the massive amounts of anxiety that I had to deal with.
Now, when the panic peaked, it used to feel similar to someone hitting me hard in the chest with a soft hammer repeatedly. And these “hammer” blows would “echo” right through my body all the way down to my feet. Whilst this was happening, I would experience an overwhelming level of raw fear. In my case, the panic attacks only seemed to last for a few moments but they may have lasted longer in real time.
Once the panic had subsided, I would feel very light-headed and “not there” for at least thirty minutes afterward, sometimes, over an hour. And, if the truth be known, I wouldn’t feel completely myself for the rest of that day.
The panic attack symptoms that I’ve described above were more or less what I used to experience. But please be aware that it’s sometimes difficult to attempt to describe physical sensations using only words. I’m also quite sure that other sufferers will have encountered different experiences when they come face to face with their panic.
I lived for all too many years with panic and anxiety as my close companions. They ruined my life by taking my love for life and replacing it with constant dread and fear. Panic and anxiety are both curable. I conquered mine and my lust for life returned just like it had never been away.