Since I'm not sure what you're talking about with these flashes, I can't tell you if I think they're "normal".
Personally, I have what I call "fleeting thoughts". Some of them are disturbing, of course, but I don't think I am disturbed. I think probably everyone has thoughts they probably wish they didn't have. If you're creative and have anxiety disorder, they could probably be extremely vivid. It doesn't mean you're a bad person. I'm not embarrassed to say I have weird thoughts from time to time, and I don't even let them bother me on a moral level. I can't control what my mind comes up with, after all. But at the same time, if the thoughts occur during a panic episode (which they often do) they can make it worse. That's the truth.
Anyway, in my experience psychiatrists really aren't for talking. Maybe that's because the only one I went to wasn't any good, I don't know, but for talking things out I'd think you'd want a psychologist. If you're having a lot of "flashbacks" or your thoughts are genuinely disturbing you, I think that you probably do need to talk about them.
As far as recovering from panic attacks goes, mine aren't focussed on my breathing and I rarely have chest pain. When mine manifest physically it's in the stomach. With those, it just depends on length or frequency. If I have a really long one or a series of intense ones, it could be many hours before I feel normal again. You, however, mentioned you had an inhaler...do you have asthma or COPD? My mom has that and she can be sore for DAYS after a bad attack. Breathing under those circumstances must be extremely difficult.
Best of luck to you.