I think I just had my first panic attack.

That’s about as mundane and pointless as it gets.

I asked family to come in town about 6 months ago. I bought Braves tickets to the tune of about $600. I’m always the one who has to schedule the logistics of this stuff. I just found out that they may be getting here a day early.

Besides the Braves game; I had an outdoor movie scheduled. I have a big 10 foot screen and a projector. It’s always a fun thing to do in the warm weather. It’s supposed to rain all weekend.

My career is that I’m a DBA for a gigantic health services company. I’ve been trying for 6 months to work out a date for a gigantic move from one SAN to another SAN. Well we (I) finally worked through the bureaucracy and the move is happening this weekend.

For recreation, I umpire ball; and have done so for almost 20 years. It’s a great way to get a little exercise; and spend a day out in the sun. It’s not usually too bad. But sometimes coaches get on your ass. Sometimes it’s justified sometimes it’s not. I don’t think it was justified last night; but I ended up raising my voice to a coach. Never a good thing; because then the parents get into it too; and you’re stuck with it the rest of the game. Last night was no exception.

I think all of these things culminated into an anxiety attack. Last night after my games that I had to rush home from to do some pre-SAN transfer related work, I decided to stop and get a beverage at the local convenience store. As I was standing at the counter asking myself why a coach/game is still in my head; I literally thought I was going to pass out. Everything went dark. It felt like my heart was about to pound through my chest, and I literally got weak in the knees. I grabbed the counter by the cash register, closed my eyes and just stood there for a minute. It was the strangest sensation I’ve ever experienced. Now today all day I fell like I’m constantly on the verge of another one. I’m 51 years old. I have had some crazy stressful things happen in my life. The least of which is finding my late wife dead on my sofa. I’ve always been the calm one when things are falling apart around me. What the hell?

So; today I felt the need to talk to someone about this; but my wife has been out of town (20+ days out of the last 30 ) and I couldn’t reach her by phone. Instead I’ll see how cathartic it is to post it here in my ‘other’ home here on SDMB.

Any other people here who have had a panic/anxiety attack that feels like sharing? I’ve read that once you have one they come a little easier next time.

That sure sounds like one. I used to get them all the time. Now, not so much.

It would not be wise to diagnose yourself with anything. Those symptoms could be caused by a myriad of things, including heart problems, thyroid disorder, low blood sugar, etc. You should call your doctor and schedule an appointment instead of assuming that you know what it is or asking non-medical people on a message board.

if it is anxiety, it is well worth reading up on & practicing diaphragmatic breathing. It can help immensely with attacks.

I don’t think I was asking for advice from anyone; and here you are giving it?

yeah yeah, it could be caused by a myriad of things. You can leave that up to me to take care of. While I thank you for your concern; I guess you really don’t have anything to add from what the OP is asking.

Yeah, I’ve had a few panic attacks, and they were doozies. Not on the edge of blacking out like yours, but racing heart beat, cold sweat, and extreme anxiety - I described it as knowing there was a hungry grizzly bear in the room with me, and being able to to feel its breath on the back of my neck.

From what I’ve read, people in situations where they have a lot of responsibility but very little authority are susceptible to panic attacks, and it was certainly the case in my circumstances. I was responsible for taking care of my dad, who has moderate dementia and had grown very hostile towards me, and I couldn’t find enough work, and I had no money of my own but had to depend on my parents and was always being questioned as to why I spent so much money on groceries. And that whole time, I could not risk an emotional breakdown. I had to suck it up and keep smiling.

It got better when I had a prescription for anti-anxiolytic meds. I didn’t even use it that often. It was just knowing that I had a surefire way to deal with it if breathing exercises and guided imagery and all that didn’t work. Since I moved away, found a full time job, and am no longer responsible for my dad, it appears to have resolved itself.

Very interesting! I can see how that would work.

Yes, I had them a few times when younger (and stressed out). FWIW, I dealt with them by not dealing with them. That is, after the first one, it was explained to me that the panic part was all there was to it - I wasn’t going to suffer any real damage, and it didn’t get worse. I was just panicking for no reason.

For some reason, that helped. When it happened again, I said to myself “Okay this is unpleasant” and didn’t try to make it go away, or worry that it would get worse, or anything. Just carried on with whatever I was doing. To the extent that I could.

After a while, it stopped happening. Hasn’t happened for years.


I would say that’s an accurate description of the panic attack I had, but at the same time, I knew that the anxiety I was feeling had no rational basis. Knowing that didn’t make the anxiety any less, though.

I’d say it’s more of a stress attack, because it’s not part of a pattern of behavior. You do sound really stressed, not to mention you may have been hot and dehydrated from being outdoors and walked into an air-conditioned convenience store which could cause that reaction as well.

Enright3, I have them. The first time I had one I thought I was going to die. Seriously. I was just about hysterical.

The first one, at least for me, was the VERY WORST one. As you mentioned the ones that I got after that first one WERE easier - because I knew what it was and knew it would be over soon. The first time was the worst. They’re no fun ANYtime, but I know I’ll never be as freaked out as I was that first time.

NM - and now I seem to have gained the ability to double post on TOP of my ability to mispell stuff. Jeez.

Like others have said, you should make sure it isn’t low blood sugar or some other physical issue. I’ve felt the way you described, but it was usually from not eating, not sleeping and being stressed.

I’ve had ‘events’ that have not been diagnosed, but I think they may be some sort of panic attacks. The overwhelming logic in my mind is the need to NOT be where I am at the moment (to the point of crying about it). They’re always in crowds that my mind is convinced are using up all the oxygen in the entire universe. Sort of like the reaction you’d expect to have if all humans were to suddenly turn into honest to God zombies shuffling around.

I usually face into a corner of a wall or something until I can get enough control and plot a path to get the F**** out of where ever I am. Then my mind is totally fried for a good day or so.

But, I’ve never felt like I was about to black out and never felt weak in the knees. The closest would be really short of breath.

It sounds very similar to some episodes I have had that are caused by something else. Both anxiety attacks and my condition can set off the same symptoms by stimulating the same neural pathways.

For me, I can feel one of my episodes coming on. I start sweating, feel lightheaded, and my heart is racing. If I let it keep going on then my vision will black out (peripheral first) before I completely pass out.

The good news is I can bring an episode to a halt by laying down. Not sure if it would work for the OP too.

Sounds a lot like the symptoms my husband has when he gets panic attacks. The symptoms are so scary to him for the first of each series (he’s had two series) that he called an ambulance.

He’s found that laying off coffee helps alleviate future attacks.


You might want to see someone about that uncalled-for grumpiness, as well.

Last week I had one. My first. Horrifying experience.

It was graduation + Mother’s Day weekend. The busiest four days of the year for our restaurant. For the past few weeks, the owners have been getting on me about labor costs and getting a more exciting bar menu. All my Dinner and Brunch special plans were falling apart due to things not being ordered and things being used up from unexpected high sales. I had to go to the grocery store 4 times to get things that we ran out of. I was finishing the last few projects on friday night and stressing about what was still to come on the weekend, and how behind I was with the preparations, when I started to panic.

I was breathing faster and faster. The kitchen seemed to be getting smaller and unstable. I had to balance myself against tables and walls as I made my way outside for some fresh air. I passed about 4 busy people on the way out the door, and I can only image what I looked like, white as a ghost, sweat dripping down my face, bracing myself against the wall like the building was shaking. I grabbed a milk crate to sit on as I exited, and plopped it down right outside the door. I planted my head in my hands with my elbows on my knees and the breathing just kept getting faster and harder. My face was soaked and I couldn’t tell what was sweat and what was tears. My hands reeked of crab, the food I was working with last, and that only made things worse. After what felt like 5 minutes, but was probably 15 seconds, I realized I was sitting right next to the patio, full of Happy Hour patrons. I thought, “Somebody help me!” and then I thought “No, don’t look, this is embarrassing!”

I didn’t want to go back inside, but I couldn’t stay there. I decided to rush back to the office, which was probably empty, to hide from the world. I made it half way there, and stopped to get a glass of water, but My hands were shaking and numb, and I couldn’t do it myself. I made eye contact with my boss from the other side of the dinning room, and he rushed over and got my water. we made it back to the office, and in a shivering voice, I said “I think I’m having some kind of panic attack.”

I couldn’t feel anything past my shoulders, and my hands could barely handle the glass. I had a painful knot in my back, and I was chilly from all the sweating. My boss helped calm me down, gave me some breathing advice, and got me on the phone with my sister. Both of them have experience this many times themselves, and they helped me through the experience. After I calmed a bit, I was able to go outside and actually make it farther than 5 feet from the door. I chilled out at a bench far away from the patio for a solid hour.

My boss brought me a sandwich as I hadn’t eaten a thing all day, and checked in on me from time to time. He told me about his experiences with panic attacks and told me were he keeps his Xanax, Just incase I need one, and recommended that I see my Doctor about a prescription just in case.

It took me a few days to get over the attack. The following day felt like my brain booted in safe mood. I couldn’t handle conversations or questions without taking a deep breath first. I scrapped the majority of my special plans and just focused on some realistic goals. I’m sure my food suffered a bit, and I accomplished very little, but I didn’t have the will to do anymore. Even a week later, I’m still behind in prep. There is now more stress, anxiety things to worry about, and I can feel my chest tightening up every time I think about it all. Its hard to tell myself to slow down and stop worrying, but I don’t want to go through another panic attack.

Also recommend getting a rule out for medical condition…

Well that is awfully dickish of you.

I had one really bad panic attack, similar to the one you describe. That was over 20 years ago. I’ve suffered episodes of anxiety since then, but nothing like that panic attack. So, as others wrote, if you start experiencing one again, you’ll recognize it.

Earlier, I was about to respond to this thread, then stopped when I saw your response to Alice. You were needlessly curt, unless Alice and you have some shared unpleasant history. Others have offered advice and not been snapped at.

Take care of yourself.