For the past several weeks, my anxiety has been spiraling out of control. I have suffered from severe anxiety for most of my life; even as a child but back then I didn’t understand what it was, how to describe it, or that it wasn’t “normal.”
It was in my early twenties that I began suffering from debilitating panic attacks, which often landed me in urgent care clinics in fear that I was having a heart attack or worse.
After many doctor visits and a cardiology work-up, it was determined that my heart and lungs were basically healthy with the exception of trace mitral regurgitation (an early/mild form of mitral valve prolapse, where some of the blood that is supposed to pump out of the heart actually goes back in through the “exit”) which often causes sinus tachycardia. Those things are part of the medical component which predisposed me to anxiety and panic attacks.
When I could not tolerate the beta blockers prescribed by my cardiologist to control my incredibly high heart rate, I started to do some research on my own and discovered some literature about panic disorder. The symptoms include intense uncontrollable/unexplainable fear, a sense of impending doom, high heart/pulse rate, difficulty breathing, sweating, feeling as if you might faint or in some cases actually fainting, chest pain, hyperventilation, among other various symptoms.
I immediately knew that I had this condition and within a few weeks I was diagnosed with it. Continue reading