The Panic Loop

Panic attacks, my newest nemesis.

I experienced my first panic attack Fall semester 2011 in my German class going over a homework assignment. I was just sitting there listening and what-not when I felt a pain in my left arm... That was all it took. I thought I was having a heart attack and flipped out. My heart rate went so high I thought it was going to explode out of my chest. I thought about standing up and leaving but I couldn't even move. I was confined to my desk, getting dizzier and more nauseous by the moment. Fortunately, my abnormal psychology class had just gone over panic disorders the week before so I was able to recognize the signs and calm myself down before the class was over. I remember violently shaking afterwards and being terrified it would strike again. That sole experience has changed me to this day.
Some days I was so scared of it happening again I would skip classes... Or I'd go to class sit in the back where no one could see me and mentally walk myself through steps to keep me from wigging out the entire class time. Either way, my focus was not where it needed to be. That semester was easily my worst to say the least.
They had me on medicine for a while, which helped a bit I'd say, however, I have never felt 'normal' since that first experience.
Driving has always been an issue with me, so as you could imagine, that's gotten worse. I do the whole deep breathing and all but you can only distract your mind so much when you need to be focused on the road.
It really drives me mad thinking about how some panic disorder could so easily steal so much life from me. I feel like a prisoner in my own mind some times.

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