National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Suddenly, it creeps up on you. You are suddenly panic-stricken at the idea that you will die one day. You think “What if someone breaks into the house and murders me tonight”. You start entertaining and believing the scariest thoughts, and you forget that all of them are highly remote. The most weirdest thing, is these thoughts visit your mind for no reason or cause. Along with the thoughts, you feel physically revved up, sweat, and feel a lump in your throat. You wonder what’s wrong and think about calling 9-1-1, but don’t. Nothing is really wrong and the panic will stop in about an hour. Panic attacks are not real physical problems and only originate in the mind. How do I know this? I’ve been through this before, and so has a family member of mine. Such a panic attack is brought on by, I can speculate, a biological process in the mind that may set-off a false alarm to a person’s fight or flight adrenaline response. A person can be fooled into thinking something is seriously wrong, call the hospital, and end-up in inpatient for an evening. Let me tell you why this is the worse thing you can do.
First off, the doctor will not take you very seriously at your word due to the fact you are having a psychiatric problem, and he/she could place you into a psychiatric ward as soon as you mention your having thoughts of death. It won’t matter that you’ll have to be at work the next day, or have kids to take care of. The doctor can take your complaint of a fear of death to mean you are suicidal or homicidal, or the doctor can overreact to your condition and misjudge the best solution for you. These common miscalculations of doctors can create a downward spiral for you should you end-up in a psychiatric ward, as being confined in one can have a major impact on your life outside it. Being locked up in a psychiatric unit is as damaging as going to jail. The nurses and doctors who would place you into a psych unit think your mental health is of upmost importance and consider all your responsibilities not to matter now that your mental health is unstable. So, please do not go to a hospital when you are only having a panic attack. Also, emergency room and inpatient ward visits are about 5 times more expensive than regular appointment visits, unless you have medi-cal. But, if you have medi-cal, your odds of getting an accurate diagnosis and good care are slim, because doctors don’t like to waste time on medi-cal patients in emergency rooms. Also, in an emergency room, you’ll wait forever, and by the time you get into to see a doctor, your anxiety attack will be over.
Next, it is a good idea to buy some over-the-counter sleeping pills. Right now, if you are a type that has anxiety attacks, get a small stock from a drug store or Wal-mart of over-the-counter sleeping pills, unless you get addicted to them. If you get addicted, please try to just ride-out your anxiety attack by lying down until it’s over, and not using sleeping pills. During a panic attack, don’t expect to be able to concentrate on anything like reading, doing homework, or any tasks. Sleeping pills will help put you to sleep in the midst of a panic attack, or at least, make it’s symptoms milder. If you are not an alcoholic, have a couple drinks unless you’re sure a couple alcoholic drinks will make you worse. Sit in one place and make yourself as comfortable as you can. Do not get into the shower, bathtub, or go out in public. If you go out in public, only one person or event can set you off, and you can succumb to worse panic. If you are having a panic attack at work, try to get home. Say you are sick and need to go home for the day. If you can’t go home from work, try to go on an errand that will take you away from the office, or let you hang out in the bathroom for a bit. Don’t show that you are having a panic attack around co-workers. Under no circumstances should you take any prescribed medications from anyone you may disclose to that you are having a panic attack. Prescribed medications are custom for everyone, and what can help one person can severely harm another. Do not take sleeping pills at work. You will be drowsy all day to such a severity, that it can do irreversible damage should you botch a job, or appear to be completely out of it. There are people who never get over such things when they see a co-worker really mess things up, or look completely stoned for one day. Someone can speculate that you get stoned or drunk during your breaks, and if this becomes a big rumor, you can lose your job these days. Don’t make yourself the centerpiece of attention, even though ‘Gabby’ across from you, at another cubicle, makes herself stand out every 5 minutes by talking about her latest, most private situation. Don’t copy ‘Gabby’. At work, it’s no okay to tell everyone your suffering, look stupid, mess up the job, or make your problem the center-piece of office talk, unless the office culture is this way. At most places of employment, even though you think you might get popular doing this, don’t. Most people find a person who behaves in these ways to be annoying.
Finally, when you get through the day, or evening, if you have the attack at home, just stay put and let it ride. It won’t last forever. Remember, the death fears and other fears are not real. During the attack, write a list (if you are able) of all your symptoms, what you are thinking and feeling, and don’t react to the panic by running outside or acting nuts to stop what you think is something about to happen to you, unless ‘Freddy’ or ‘Jason’ really is outside trying to get in and kill you, or a plane really is coming down from the sky. Fear from a panic attack is not real. Next day, bring the list in which you wrote your symptoms and thoughts on, and see your doctor as soon as you can get in with an appointment. Show the list to your doctor and discuss your experience. Most likely, the doctor will prescribe you medication to hold onto in case you have another attack.