Attacked by panic
I was having a regular day, a routine day which starts with a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee, followed by me either writing or doing research for books I am writing. That day I did the latter. Actually, I decided to drink some new energy drink which I bought and was told that it is good for burning fat. So after having my apple flavored energy juice I sat next to the window and started reading my seventh book on Mesopotamian civilization for research purposes. Everything was going alright, just like any other day. Except, and out of nowhere, some invisible baby elephant sat on my chest in the middle of my second page. I know; weird. That is exactly what I felt, well maybe not weird, more like terror, for I had no idea what was happening, but something made me breath hard. First I thought it might be the energy drink that I was having; it might have caused my heart to pump faster. So I thought I should start exercising and whatever is happening might go away. Oddly, it did. I exercised by doing aerobics. And after I was done I took a shower.
I went downstairs to my car. I was going to visit my family and to have breakfast. That’s when I felt the pressure on my chest and I started breathing hard. I struggled to reach home, unable to understand what was happening. Was that energy drink still acting on me? Why this is happening? So I went home and told my mom what was happening to me. She offered to take me to the hospital. I refused and she kept urging me to do so but I didn’t want to go there, telling her that it will disappear by itself; I just need to relax. But then the pressure kept building up, the baby elephant was growing bigger, and when I felt a tingling on my left arm, I ask mom to take me to the hospital.
My mom was calm at first, she kept chatting with me; her way of distracting me from whatever was going on inside my chest. She kept asking me questions and kept me talking, but the more I talked the more tired I got. I told her I can’t talk, it makes me tired. To be honest I snapped at her, and I feel guilty about it, even though I was in pain, I still feel I shouldn’t have snapped. I concentrated on breathing, and mom concentrated on driving within the speed limits, but all that changed when I started to feel something that made me frightened. My hands, both of my hands were starting to become numb. I was afraid, I told my mom that my hands are getting numb and that there is something wrong. My mom drove fast to get me to the emergency entrance for the hospital. Then I saw it, the long line of cars that stood between me and, what I thought at the time, what left of my life.
In that moment, a memory of a friend came rushing to me. A guy I knew who was a fencer who told me that he quit drinking energy drinks because his heart stopped after drinking so many before his workout. I lost it. I was very frightened. I told my mom to go to the parking lot and I will go on on foot. I went out of the car and shouted HELP as loud as I can. A porter spotted me and ran with the wheel chair. My hands became stiff, I wasn’t able to move my fingers. I wasn’t sure what was happening. Am I dying from an energy drink?
The porter wheeled me in, I looked at a doctor who was outside checking his phone and shouted for him to help me, I shouted that I can’t move my fingers, my chest hurt, HELP. But he did nothing, he just looked at me, and then went on on his phone. I got scared, and angry, I was in pain and no one cared. The porter cared because he pushed me in fast. I had to pay for a stamp, they didn’t let me in until I pay for a stamp. I couldn’t reach into my pocket because my hands doesn’t work at the time, they were stiff as a statue. I asked the porter to do it for me.
My mom came in behind, she was crying and afraid. At that moment I calmed myself. I told her I’m fine, they will let me in. I pretended that nothing was wrong, even though I was in tremendous pain. The doctor saw me, his calm demeanor infected me, I started to talk normally. He told me I was just having a panic attack and that I should breath normally. By the time I was doing my ECG, the stiffness was gone. I was left with only chest pain.
I went home after they told me that there is nothing wrong with me, that my ECG and blood tests were normal. I was completely healthy. I didn’t believe them, there was something wrong with me. They said maybe it was mental. I dismissed that immediately, thinking not me, I’m not the kind of person to be affected by stress… me?? no way. I do parachute jumps, I did bungee jumps, I traveled through Asia. Why would I be… why??… I knew why… but I was too proud to face it… So I went to stay at my parents house to recover. At night I lied down on my bed, thinking that this was the worst day of my life… how naive I was…
TO BE CONTINUED