I’m having a heart attack I must be! My mind is racing, my body is shutting down! Pins and needles in my hands, the tops of my legs, down to my feet. I’m talking but I can’t understand what I’m saying, my speech is slurred, my heart is race, pounding out of my chest, I can’t slow down, my breathing is out of control…my mind is racing and my body is shutting down…HELP ME!

I’m having a heart attack, I’m going to die, I have two small children, a husband, what will they do…HELP ME!

What is happening to me, please make it stop, can’t you hear I can’t speak properly? Get me help please, please save me I have children they need me!…HELP ME!

My mind is racing my breathing is out of control, then the doctor is there, she’s says…”Calm down it’s a panic attack.” I can’t believe it – what do you mean? I’ve never had a panic attack like this in my life, are you sure?  Are you sure I’m not having a heart attack –  really sure?

I feel like I’m having a heart attack, can a panic attack really slur your speech? Make your legs and arms go numb? Really…it’s just a panic attack?!  I’m given Oxygen, a nurse talks to me, reassuring me that if I calm down it will ease. Slowly my breath starts to calm, I can feel my legs, my speech is clearer. But now I feel like a fool because I really thought I was dying, and that was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.

As everything settles down the doctor is talking me through what happened, she’s telling me I need to reduce my stress levels, manage my day to day to avoid any further recurrence, I need to relax and take time out. All of this advice makes perfect sense but even as she’s saying it I know it’s never going to happen, as my to do list grows daily and there is always something important that needs to be done. But I nod and tell her I’ll try, my husband smiles and thanks her, telling me I need to slow down despite knowing that if I don’t do the 101 things that I do they won’t get done.

I get home exhausted, emotionally and physically. It take 24 hours for the pins and needles in my hands to disappear completely and then it’s all forgotten and life carry’s on as normal. Until next time!

If you’ve ever had a panic attack you will know how scary they can be and how out of control you can feel. Here are a few tips on how you can try to help yourself in the moment, and I hope it helps.

  • Firstly find a quiet place close to where you are.
  • Try to make a conscious effort to look around and see that there is no danger to you and your fear although very real is due to your Panic Attack not any imminent danger.
  • Focus on your breathing, take a slow deep breath to the count of 5, hold for 5 seconds, release and repeat. Continue until you feel calmer and more relaxed.
  • Try to concentrate on your body, relax your shoulders, arms, hands etc, stay as loose as possible, tensing up will only make it all seem worse.
  • Be patient and wait, it will pass.
  • Once it has stopped realise that what you had feared did not happen and you are okay.
  • Following these steps isn’t easy but it will get easier each time you do it and slowly you will realise that you have some control over these attacks, they will pass and you will be okay.
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