Panic Disorders/Attacks/Is this a panic / anxiety attack?
I am a university student and i have a very supportive network of family and a few close friends. I have had issues with anxiety before, sometimes feeling constantly anxious for no reason but i have since learnt to suppress the anxiety. About a month ago, i was university and i was quite sick with a cold or flu or something similar, but went to my lecture anyway. My friend was telling me to leave the lecture and just go home - i was feeling pretty terrible with that and with stress. I really felt that i should stay in class not only because i'd come all the way into uni for that class, but also because i felt quite fragile and unstable and i didn't want anything to snap.
Then i suddenly felt an overwhelming emotion of anxiety and panic - i don't really know how to describe it. It consumed my whole body and i started to cry uncontrollably. This is very unusual as i do not like crying in front of people. I couldn't catch my breath, was feeling trapped within my body and i just had to get away from people (which i did). I wasn't thinking about anything in particular when this happened (trying to concentrate on my lecturer actually) but i just had an overwhelming sense of panic. This feeling lasted for about 15-20 mins. I don't feel that i can describe exactly what i felt, but it was bad. Very bad.
I have never had something like this happen to me before. At that time i was under stress from uni and i was pretty sick as well. But there have been times when i have been stressed and this has not happened.
whenever i do feel anxious, worried or any negative emotion really, i try to suppress it, ignore it and move on. I was wondering if what i described was a panic/anxiety attack or not. I also don't know what triggered it. Does there have to be a trigger for panic attacks?
I am sorry that i am unable to describe more clearly how i felt, but like with everything negative, i have tried to distance myself from it, and so i can't really hold onto the memory clearly. (I am sure this is not a healthy way of dealing with it, however it has become automatic for me).
I am sorry for the long winded question. Pretty much, was it a panic attack? What was the trigger (if you even need a trigger)? Should i be worried about having another one? What can i do to stop them from coming again? Also Does this mean i have a panic/anxiety disorder?
Thank you for taking the time to answer.
Ok I will answer your questions at the end point by pint.
I am sorry for the long winded question. Pretty much, was it a panic attack?
yes it does sound like it to me. I know what they feel like and they are terrible. i too felt like i wanted out of my body and had to get away from people. Also the over spill of emotion and the shallow breathing. Completely normal for an anxiety attack.
What was the trigger (if you even need a trigger)?
Good question. I never used to think there was as they would seem to just happen to me. but know I know there are triggers but they can be subtle ones.
Stress and anxiety is a big issue with lots of things going on in our brain and body chemically. It is sort of a chain of events that lead you to a panic attack so it sort of build up. That is why manging stress and not ignoring it is important.
For you it sounds like a combination of worrying about uni and feeling run down and tired etc. All these things will be causing your body to go into over load.
Should i be worried about having another one? What can i do to stop them from coming again? Also Does this mean i have a panic/anxiety disorder?
Worrying about having another one is a sure fire way of having another one.
What you need to realize is that a panic attack, as horrible as it feels cannot harm you. It is a normal response to anxiety. Your body is pumping chemicals into your blood stream to help you fight or flee the danger, when there is no danger it has no where to go so it produces these horrible feelings.
I have a website all about stress and how to manage it and also information about panic attacks. I would recommend that you read through the what is stress pages and the anxiety pages so that you understand what is going on. Once you understand the process then that will go a long way to over coming your stress and prevent any more attacks.
Don't worry this will pass but what you have to do is look after yourself. get good sleep, exercise , east properly. All these basic things will make sure that your body is strong and better able to cope with life's stress.
If your feeling tired then you are at a low ebb and this is when illness and stress can take over.
best wishes kate