Please, don’t panic.

Couple of days ago I’ve experienced a panic attack. It’s not a completely unfamiliar feeling, but has never happened to such extent. You probably got to know fear or panic to some degree, right? There was usually some sort of reason for it. Was it a bill you had to pay? A test you had to take? Boyfriend/girlfriend to dump? A job interview? Whatever it was, the awareness that you do have some control over it must have eventually kicked in and you calmed down. Now, the sensation I am trying to picture here would be more in the line of one that a person might have when speeding down the hill just to realise the brakes don’t work.
I was having a nice dream about something when I woke up, suddenly, to a strange sensation around the heart area – as if plastic foil was being crumpled. Now, this was not me having the panicked attack yet. That came a thought later which believed I was having a heart attack. I mean, it felt freakin’ real. Subsequently I started thinking, damn, I am gonna die right here, far away from home, alone in some town in England. Couldnt it have happened last year when I was 27? I’ve never heard of a 28 club. Anyway, such thoughts and others combined just added on to and escalated the initial feeling of “feeling a bit under the weather”. My heart started racing due to the adrenaline rush which, in turn, made me freak out even more and pumped my heart even harder which then… Well, you get the picture.
Yeah, the mind is powerful thing. What I was experiencing was a text book example of a anxiety attack with all the usual symptoms. Of course I didn’t know that at the time. But what I BELIEVED was happening… well hello freaking the fuck out! As if by miracle I did manage to calm myself down gradually and, what felt like being in a storm, subsided to the point where I could go back to sleep.
The next day, I got up, right as rain. As if the pleasant dream never stopped and I’ve just woken out of that. I did vaguely remember the whole night, of course, but more in a “thank God that’s over” way.
So yeah, started Friday in a usual not-recovering-from-an-imaginative-near-death-experience manner. Made breakfast, showered, starred out the window before realising I am running late… usual stuff. Took my leave to the shopping centre, turned on the till unit, started an new trading day, went to the bank, came back, started sipping my morning cup of tea and waited for the customers to start coming. And they did! Very much so! Everything went great, I felt great – sort of like the air after a storm – clean, fresh and released of it’s tensions. Yeah, the sun was definitely shining in 🙂 Until, of course, the dark clouds of fear started appearing again and I could see lightning and sound of thunder in the distance. The same crumpling sensation in my chest, anxiety and fear of a heart attack which were, this time around, accompanied by palpitations, nausea and shaking of the whole body. All this, mind you, in the midst of a busy shopping centre while trying my best to serve the ever increasing flow of customers for it was at exactly rush o’clock. I tried my best to conceal my state or vomiting in their faces while they were explaining me all about their awesome dog. OK, I thought, this can’t go on. I have to find out what’s happening to me. I got a replacement and started making my way towards the hospital, as advised by the receptionist of the fully booked doctor I wanted to see initially.
When I finally managed to find the proper reception desk that would deal with my condition my luck started turning for the better. First ray of sunshine was a note on the counter explaining that people suffering from chest pains and heart problems need to report at once. I skipped the queue, pointed to the note and said as gravelly as I could: “I believe this is me.” In actuality I just thought it was but just couldn’t be bothered with waiting. Neither could the doctor, who had me plugged in all sort of devices within minutes. He asked me a couple of general questions after which I began describing what was happening. He listened, glanced over the readings from the machines and then with an assuring tone began explaining that I am not having a heart attack, I am not going to die and that it’s a known condition. “Here, I’ll give you leaflet where you can read all about it”, he concluded. “Do you have any more questions?” I wanted to say if I could keep the little round stickers which he used to connect me with the heartbeat measuring machine but decided to bite my tongue. I found two of them later still stuck on my ankles so I’m glad I did.
So that was it then… “Just” a panick attack. Explained on a leaflet. Might as well google it. According to the doctor’s test I am super healthy – but have probably been under a lot of stress lately, why with the new job, enviorment, people, travelling and everything. But that is bullcrap. Could have triggered it, sure, but not caused it. I did exactly the same thing last year, didn’t I? If anything I should have less stress since I know more or less what to expect. There was a certain level of it, of course, but not more than what I’m used to. I mean, I’m not the kind of person who worries. Much. Just can’t wrap my head around this. Must be some kind of subconscious complex demon childhood shadow trying to get some tlc or something. If that is the case, could I please ask you to make an appointment beforehand? C’mon, if you’ve been more or less silent for the past 20 odd years, can’t you wait for another month or so to finish this calendar thing, get the money and fly to Spain, Brazil or wherever you fancy going. I’ll eat some shroomz and let you talk for as long as you need to. OK? Just please, don’t panic.


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