I found my way here after just having relaxed myself out of another anxiety attack, and thought I could really do well by talking to others and reading what other people have to say about their experiences with anxiety and panic.
Here's my story. It's a bit of a long one, I'm afraid.
For a background history; I've had recurrent anxiety attacks since I was eight; I'm now twenty three. Over the years, I've identified the trigger of the attacks and a relaxation technique that works well for me, which has helped me cope with and most times control the anxiety reaction. I was dealing with it so well that I actually hadn't had an anxiety attack since about October of 2008- until last Friday.
I woke up feeling fine- absolutely fine, nothing perceivably wrong. As my morning progressed, I noticed an onset of pressure and a sensation of slight buzzing/tingling/vibrating at the top of my head. I took two excedrin to relieve it. It didn't really help, and I noticed that around my eyes, my nose and near my ears felt a little tight (like sinus pressure) so I took a Sudafed approximately two hours later. That actually did help.
Then, I sat down to take my break at work and eat. I recollect feeling fine one moment, but then coming under extreme worry, and then finally (a mere few seconds later) feeling extremely light and dizzy (vertigo), experiencing a heat rush in my chest that quickly surged to all of my body, intense tingling in my head, chest, hands and feet, shaking, throat constrictions, dry mouth, panic and terror, and etc. I knew from past experience that these symptoms represented an anxiety attack, but I couldn't hold that knowledge in my mindset and became further enveloped in the attack. I was overcome with terror that I either 1) Had a brain tumor, stroke, or clot, or 2) Had late-manifesting complications from a car accident I was involved in on March 5th. By the time the EMTs arrived, I felt localized tingling (about the size of a half dollar) at the back of my head (linear to where the pituitary gland is), had either a really cold or near-numb nose, was shivering, and could not stand without intensifying all of my symptoms.
I'd NEVER had an attack that bad.
There was a split moment inbetween the time I sat down and the time of the attack where I worried that something might be wrong with me. (Through having recurrent anxiety attacks, I came to notice that moment where I can choose, while my mind and body are still in a normal state, to exstinguish the worry or to indulge it. It's a very small window of opportunity, so it is sometimes hard to grasp). From the accident, I only suffered pains from the seatbelt tightening at my chest and my torso. I hadn't hit my head or snapped my neck too badly, and I got a clean bill from the EMTs and the MACC doctor that evaluated me. That sated my concern for a couple days, but old habits tend to die hard..
The EMT and ER Doctor asked me everything: from how my symptoms progressed that day, to what happened at the car accident (did I hit my head or hurt my neck), to had I been sick recently (I'd been sick with a productive cough and a constantly runny/sneezy nose for almost two weeks shortly prior), to when my period was due. I told them I was explicitly worried about the tingling that had invaded my crown and then localized itself at the back of my head. They didn't seem concerned. They did a chest x-ray (I should have asked them why, when I was frightened about my brain!) and gave me a Zantac and to calm down.
When the doctor came back, he smiled at me and told me he was giving me a short-term prescription for anxiety. I kind of gawked at him (convinced it was something else) and asked him blatantly about the tingling and pressure. He said something along the lines of having an anxiety reaction in response to what was probably a headache or my still getting over being sick, in addition with my period coming and my history of anxiety, lubricated by the worry over the car accident or malelific disease.
It made a lot of sense. I'd been on "red alert" for abnormalities in my physical wellness since the accident... and when a perceived abnormality finally came, I had an anxiety attack, which isn't a NORMAL reaction persay; but it's somehwhat usual for me.
Since then, I've been battling off anxiety attacks. Again, the most prominent trigger this time is the WORRY over the pressure, migrating tingling, and "lightness" I feel in my head. It's not all of the time I feel it; if I'm up and active, it either decreases, or I don't notice it. I've been able to breathe deep and slow and focus on only one thing in my visual field to end the attacks before they climax. The intensified head pressure and tingling eases when the attack ends.
I'm worried that something more serious is wrong with my head. There's a million and one things it could be; but then again, something is telling me that part of the problem is my anxious state since Friday. I've learned from experience that if I'm under near-constant anxiety, of COURSE I'm not going to feel right. Anxiety stresses your systems, doesn't it? Other than the other symptoms, I'm mostly focusing A-OK, I'm not foggy, and I have normal movements/reflexes with no dizziness.
An appointment to a regular doctor will be made tomorrow, and I'll air my desire for a CAT and MRI to be done. Until then, I really needed to air out my story, in hopes that someone has advice, or can feel supported by knowing they're not alone if they've had similar circumstances.
If you've stuck it out til the end, thank you for reading. And thank you in advance for any shared advice or stories.