Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Panic Disorder

Hi, my name is Crystal and I have panic disorder.  I know what you are thinking, "that's not real, just get over it", well my friends panic disorder is very real and very scary.  I've been dealing with this since August 21, 2013. This last month has been CRAZY to say the least.  My life as I knew it has changed.  Depression has set in.  That once strong, vivacious woman that everyone knew and loved is now hidden beneath a sea of fear and PANIC.

The first day I experienced this I was sitting at home completely relaxed and not worried about a thing.  Suddenly my heart was racing, I couldn't breathe, I was dizzy and had blurry vision.  I was convinced that I was having a heart attack and that I was about to die.  It was the scariest experience.  I rushed to the emergency room, had an EKG, CT Scan, Chest x-ray, and blood work done.  I had a resting heart rate of 160bpm.  As I lay in the hospital bed I started to get frantic thinking is this how it all ends?  As they doctors did tests and checked me out they were puzzled.  They came to the verdict that I was fine and that nothing threatening was going on.  Confused I asked how could I be normal when my heart is racing and my chest was in so much pain.  My mouth was dry and all I wanted was water, but all I got was ice chips. Eventually they released me and told me to go home and try to manage my stress.

Stress?  What stress?

I was never one to stress about anything, my dad always taught me to never worry about things that you can't change.  So anytime I was faced with a potentially stressful situation I would shrug my shoulders and say "oh well, life goes on" and continue with my day.  But now the doctors were throwing this word around as if it was my fault.  Leaving the hospital that night left me confused and even more frightened.

As I lay in bed that night I feared the worst, I had several more attacks throughout the night and saw no end to this horrible thing.  The next day to my surprise I was still here.  I didn't have a heart attack, I was alive.  I tried to stay calm most of the day until I decided to have some ice cream thinking it would calm me down.  Boy was I wrong!  After eating the ice cream my body went into full panic mode and I ended up back in the ER again.  They ran the same tests and told me that I was okay and that nothing life threatening was going on.  I was discharged and left feeling unsatisfied. I went home that night trying to figure out what could be going on with my body.  I am young, 27, healthy, have never had any health issues so why now is this happening?  I wasn't stressed, I was happy, feeling loved, joyful, strong, and optimistic about my life.  After about a week of constant chest pain, I ended up in the ER for a third time.  This time the doctor told me that there was nothing she could do and that she wouldn't run anymore tests because I was okay and not in any danger.  She told me that I may be suffering from anxiety.  I thought Anxiety?  How? She suggested I see my regular doctor so they could do further testing to completely rule out anything with my heart.

I went to my doctor and they had me wear a lovely heart monitor for 2 weeks to record my heart and pickup on any weird rhythms.  I then was sent to have an echocardiogram (ultrasound of my heart) to make sure that I had nothing going on with any of my valves.  Of course, every test came back normal.  Of course I was happy and thankful, but still left confused.  The doctors sent me to a physiatrist and she diagnosed me with PANIC DISORDER.

So now here I am 27 and living with panic disorder.  Something that has changed my life completely and through this blog I am hoping to not only cope but help anyone else who is suffering or dealing with this exhausting, depressing disorder.  Let's take this ride together....buckle your seatbelts because its going to be a bumpy ride.


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