Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Panic Attacks

I was reading Flowerpot's posting on panic attacks earlier. It's a strange thing to have to cope with to be sure. I have often wondered whether panic attacks are caused by some kind of hormonal imbalance.

My little sister used to suffer them (so I believe, with hindsight) as a teenager. She could not bear to be in large airless stores and would often rush out after 15 minutes of shopping. I always thought it most strange of her. She grew out of the problem at some point and has not shown any such signs of discomfort after becoming a mother.

I first experienced a panic attack standing in a queue at a supermarket checkout. I thought I was about to faint. My heart started to race, a hot flush overwhelmed me and I felt I couldn't get enough air. I contemplated rushing out for fresh cool air. But part of my sensible pragmatic brain wondered whether this could be a 'panic attack'. I knew that if it was I shouldn't react or the next occasion I would feel the need to take the same action. I stood there and rode the storm. Deep breathing exercises and thinking coolly about how I felt and wondering why? I'm glad I didn't take the strong urge to flee. These attacks occurred frequently in queues. Rarely while I was hauling a supermarket trolley around but always while I had to stand in a queue. I remember once being so distracted by how I was feeling that I almost became a blatant shoplifter. My groceries were on the belt but before the checkout girl could scan the goods I started to collect it together again and pack it away. Oooh - we did Laff. I'm just relieved she didn't call the store detective. I've never fancied the idea of a body search.

Now it was only reading Flower's post that I remembered these attacks. They must have started for me just as I entered the pre-menopause stage. I'm not quite sure that I can think of the last one ... but I'm not aware of any for a 2-3years. Obviously from Flower's observations my natural inclination to take deep slow breaths helped. So next time, if I have them again, I'll try singing. It sounds much more fun.


teeni said...

I wouldn't be surprised if hormones had something to do with it. Not as many men seem to suffer from them either. Glad you were able to use deep breathing to suffer through an attack.

merry weather said...

Henry's dog's Facebook page ! My goodness Lady T you are an intrepid explorer. I can't find it....

I've heard about these panic things - some feel like a heart attack I've read - oh dear! Glad they seem to have passed.

Thanks for the meme - it's me me isn't it, I thought it was French. Ahem. x

Flowerpot said...

glad you haven't had any recently - let's hope that phase is over. Yes, try singing - much more fun!

Mark Wadsworth said...

Good description. Good way of dealing with it. No pills, counselling and the like? Have added to my Top Twelve (I wasn't sure whom to cull from Top Ten).