I’ve never really been prone to panic attacks. I’ve heard other people describe them, I’ve seen their effects, but rarely have I experienced them. That is until a few years ago.
See, I got hit by a drunk driver, which broke my wrist. I had to have emergency wrist surgery, where the doctors screwed a plate into the carpal bones as well as reset the ulna and radius. I woke up in extreme pain, blinding white pain. I have yet to experience anything else as painful in my adult life.
Since that day, I’ve had a few panic attacks. They usually, but not always, take place in a car (which is understandable) and thankfully I haven’t had one while I was driving (probably due to a control issue).
Panic attacks are awful. They start in my chest. I can feel my heart rate speed up. Then come the jitters, as if I’ve had too much caffeine that day. My entire body is alight, waiting for some signal to untangle. It’s like being in fight or flight mode for several minutes, somethings hours, but never receiving that final cue as to which route you should take.
The worst part is the accompanying insomnia. Because every nerve seems to be standing at attention, waiting for that final sign, it’s almost impossible to sleep. Laying down violates the whole flight or fight process. Laying down and relaxing is right out.
So I get a few restless hours of sleep then go back to trying to calm my restless body. Tea helps, deep breathes, walking the dog. And life continues.