Panic disorder, one of the most disabling mental health problems worldwide, remain mysterious in their origin, occurrences, frequency, triggers, etc. While treatments are said to be available and efficient, 5% of the world’s population is said to experience it at some point in their life.
In 2017, an estimated 284 million individuals worldwide suffered from anxiety disorders, making it the most common mental health or neurodevelopmental condition in existence. In comparison to 105 million men, approximately 63 percent (179 million) were females, our world in data.
Coming to 2021, it would be no surprise that this count has inclined in the graph, and panic disorders have taken tolls on people’s lives. So if you are suffering from one form of anxiety disorder or another, know that you are not alone!
Panic Attacks happen to be one of my 99 problems!
The anamnesis about the earliest memory of my experience with panic attacks makes me recall the day when I was in school going through the day as every normal kid would do. Without any warning or any initial discomfort, I started experiencing tightness in my chest and suddenly had trouble breathing. Soon it was followed by a tingling sensation all over my body due to rapid heartbeats and my desperate gasping for breath. The trembling and sweating immediately after that frightened me for my life. I was 11 years old when this first happened.
How would I know what was going on with me, exactly? What was the reason behind it? What might I do to stop this from going on?
I was laid down and made to drink water. So for the next two hours, I was frantically trembling, and I know that scared me for the rest of my life. It still does!
Fast forward to a decade later, I still suffer from panic attacks, and it isn’t only an occurrence of the day but also during my sleep accompanied with sleep paralysis and nightmares. I lucid dream during panic attacks sometimes. Symptoms I suffer haven’t always been the same. I used to have tightly and involuntarily clenched jaws during my attacks as a child. But now, I have an uncontrollable and inconsolable need to cry my heart out, which I didn’t usually experience as a child.
Numbers of my attacks have been in public settings, on-road cross or bus stops, or my office or restaurants. The scariest part of this is how vulnerable and helpless this makes you feel.
You might want to know about the Panic Disorder Diagnose
I was never diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or panic disorder until I was 21.
I was getting a handle on what was going on required years of treatment and knowledge.
When I finally figured out what a panic attack was, the overwhelming surge of dread and misery I’d experienced so many times was eventually explained to me:
Panic is often misconstrued. Exploring what panic attacks look like and distinguishing reality from what you imagine it to be is one way to reduce the stigma associated with these experiences.
I found myself a therapist, and that’s how my healing process, or at least real coping with the problem, began.
Until I was old and educated enough to understand the problems I suffered from, I didn’t get the right help.
My teachers had little to no knowledge regarding mental health issues, and we didn’t have mental health counselors in school. My classmates were afraid, and many of them even though I was possessed. Talk about superstitions that exist in our society!
My parents took me to many known traditional healers. Many elders (well-educated ones) even claimed this was attention-seeking behavior based on my upbringing in a toxic environment because of a lack of attentive parents. (I am choosing to not dive too deep into troubled childhood, which I understand played an essential role in my mental health condition and its deterioration over the years).
Panic Disorder’s Real Help
The real help for me was educating myself. When I knew about the prevalence of this horrible and crippling experience, I was shocked. I always thought I was alone and people around me would never understand how it felt. The isolation, loneliness, and even lack of people who would realize made this experience even more excruciatingly painful when I was still growing into my adolescence and eventually adulthood.
I took para counselor training in psychology counseling and went on to get a diploma degree, and now I have a certified degree in the same. I pursued this subject to help myself. Unfortunately, this self-help process has taken longer than anticipated but trust me; this did help me a lot. I now feel better capable of coping with it, and I am also managing my triggers very well. I have gotten myself suitable coping mechanisms, hobbies, and a healthy outlook towards life, making it much better.
There is no shame in admitting what a good job I have been doing with my mental health. Super proud of myself!
Seeking professional help is a must! You may be afraid and even doubt if it works and is entirely valid. But having someone that knows what you are going through and has proven scientific methods to help you deal with it is empowering and beneficial.
Panic disorder is not an exaggerated and severe reaction to anything.
Contrary to popular perception, panic episodes cannot be controlled. Panic attacks are not entirely understood, but we know they can be caused by stressful situations, mental illness or nonspecific stimuli, or changes in the environment.
A panic attack is a painful, uncontrollable, and frequently unexpected event without warning or warning signs.
It’s not that they’re searching for attention, but that they’re ashamed of experiencing panic attacks in public or among others.
Are you someone silently suffering? Do you feel misunderstood, helpless, and alone? You are not alone!
I am trying to build a supportive community for people like myself. Nobody deserves to feel so lonely anymore!
Have questions about panic disorder? I have a dedicated blog post diving deeper into it here!