Anxiety is defined as ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome’.
An anxiety attack is defined as ‘a combination of physical and mental symptoms that are intense and overwhelming. The anxiety is more than just regular nervousness. The anxiety is often a feeling of immense, impending doom that makes many people feel they’re about to die, or that everything around them is breaking down’.
Symptoms of anxiety attacks include:
- A feeling of overwhelming fear
- Feeling of going crazy or losing control
- Feeling you are in grave danger
- Feeling you might pass out
- A surge of doom and gloom
- An urgency to escape
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure or pain
- Turning pale
- Feeling detached from reality
- Weak in the knees
- Burning skin
- Pins and needles
- Hot and cold flushes
- Numbness and tingling sensations
All of my life I have never done more than get excited about a positive event that would occur in my near future like a field trip or homecoming or a date. If bad shit happened I never thought much about it. I let it roll off my shoulders without a second thought.
Lately though, I’ve noticed things creeping up on me and suddenly, no matter where I’m at I have what I’ve learned is a panic attack. The list above is a common and general list of symptoms related to a panic attack. The ones that are bold and underlined are the symptoms I’ve personally experienced.
I’m learning to pinpoint the scenarios that trigger these ‘attacks’. I know I don’t have social anxiety. I’m actually more comfortable around people or in the public eye than I ever in my life thought I would be.
My mother can vouch for the fact that I never get nervous about typical things like homework or dinner plans or things like that. I’m cool as a cucumber there. But here’s a great example. I love to plan. I live out of a daily planner (Day Designer) and rarely make spontaneous plans. When something is part of a routine, then I expect it to stay that way. If it’s changing I expect a notice even if it’s nothing more than five minutes.
Tonight I had a routine quiz in an online class. It is always set to a time limit of ten minutes and is always ten questions long. Tonight I entered into the quiz only to find that I had ten minutes to answer TWENTY FIVE questions! I immediately felt all of those bolded, underlined symptoms. Right away, all at once and I was still running out of time.
I’ve been job hunting lately since I don’t plan on being a part-time lackey for the rest of my life, so I’ve been somewhat in and out of interviews for the last month or so. Every single time that I get about halfway through an interview, I find my usually optimistic mind pulling the plug on the interview and sending me spiraling. So all hell is breaking loose in my head but I’m still supposed to be cool and collected on the outside and still be able to answer questions with ease.
Anxiety, in my case, I’ve learned has the ability to range from mild to fucking extreme. I’ve been in WAY too many situations, some that Mychal has witnessed in our relationship, where I’ll dress up for something but halfway through it, I’ll convince myself that this was the worst idea ever. I get nervous about still being wherever it is and then I get fidgety, I break out in a sweat, and I lose my breath.
I don’t do sweat unless I set out with the goal of getting sweaty. If I plan to go workout, I’m A-OK with being soaked from head to toe. If I’m in a dress at a social or business event and suddenly I break out in a sweat that leaves my clothes damp? No ma’am. I’m out of there in a heartbeat and I’m infamous for buying a tank top and leggings on a whim. I often rush to the nearest Wal-Mart, Target, Academy, etc. and make a quick purchase then change in my vehicle and suddenly all is right with the world. I’m myself. I’m calm.
And I can go about my day. I’ve always prided myself on being 100% in touch with my body and knowing myself better than anyone else. I always have and still do, but even I’m surprised that this issue came crawling out of the shadows for me. I wonder what’ll happen next?