I suspect my body is trying to do a murder on me and I don’t appreciate it.


Yesterday I felt a bit gross and headachey but I’ve had a cold for a week so I thought I was just normal sick and maybe I just needed to eat something, but then at dinner I ordered something but before it came I started feeling hot and cold and wrong and terrible and that level of nauseous where you feel like you should throw up but you don’t want to throw up because you know you won’t stop throwing up.  This was all accompanied by a terrible sense of dread but probably because that’s what you’re supposed to feel like when you realize you’re about to get violently sick in public.

I walked to the restaurant bathroom and made it almost halfway to the stall before I found myself falling to the ground and I sat up against the wall for a few seconds wondering what was happening to me and then next thing I knew I woke up and I had blood in my mouth and I’d somehow rolled myself into one of the stalls (which was thankfully empty because I can’t imagine how horrifying it would be to see an unconscious stranger wriggle under your stall door while you’re pooping).

I texted “help” to Victor and then crawled outside to the lobby and he and Hailey took me to the Emergency Room where I spent hours with a nausea that three rounds of anti nausea IVs didn’t touch, chest pains, dizziness, faintness and a very ouchy tongue that I apparently tried to bite through while unconscious.  After X-rays and blood work and an EKG and CT scans came back clear the doctor said she had no idea what was wrong with me and sent me home.

I still feel weak and off and wrong, but after sleeping most of the day I realized that I’ve felt this way before…after a panic attack.

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks aren’t the same thing although we tend to use the words interchangeably, but anyone who has had a massive panic attack knows the difference.  I have anxiety attacks a lot.  It’s a sense of dread coupled with racing thoughts and terror.  They suck and can be debilitating but you usually can recognize them once you’ve had a few.  You can calm yourself down with breathing tools or meds and eventually they pass.

Panic attacks are much more physical.  If an anxiety attack is like being punched in the face a panic attack is more like being  mauled by wild dogs who also have switchblades for some reason.  The symptoms are different for everyone, which makes it even more confusing.  Severe stomach distress, heart pain, fainting, the feeling that you are definitely going to die and very soon.  About 10 years ago I ended up in the ER thinking I was definitely having a heart attack but it was a panic attack.  I think yesterday was the same thing.

In a way it’s reassuring, having an answer for something that otherwise makes no sense.  In other ways it’s scarier than ever, knowing that my brain can mimic murdering me so strongly it baffles everyone.  I feel lucky knowing that I’m probably okay in spite of a really terrifying night.  I feel guilty for scaring my family and for costing us $2k in ER bills that basically showed how crazy everyone already knows I am.

If this happened to anyone else I’d tell them that they’re going to be okay and that they did what they should have and that it’s not their fault and that everyone deals with medical bullshit.  I don’t know why it’s always so much harder to tell yourself the things you so easily believe for others.  But if I write it maybe I’ll believe it.  Maybe you’ll believe it too.

This is where I was going to put a picture of my CT scan for the most introspective selfie ever but I’m looking through my paperwork and apparently they just sent digital copies to my doctor so basically this was the most overpriced photoshoot ever.  Instead just imagine a picture of a brain with “WHY ARE YOU EVEN LIKE THIS?” written on top of it.

244 thoughts on “I suspect my body is trying to do a murder on me and I don’t appreciate it.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Wow Jenny. That’s a scary sounding episode. Yes, it’s good to know what may have caused it. It really bites though that the hospital fees come to USD$2000. I’m grateful in Australia, we can present to an emergency department in a public hospital and receive expert care and not be out of pocket. I wish it was like this around the world.

  2. Oh man, I feel for you. I also have panic attacks, and there is no way to really accurately describe them for me, other than that it is like just having swallowed a handful of broken glass while connecting a car battery to my heart and the base of my skull at basically the same time.
    Brains are good at faking a murder. I’m glad you’re probably okay!

  3. Hugs Jenny – cause that just sounds awful! My body can be a real asshole too…so i understand what fun it is to be out and about and all of the sudden – WHOOPSIE – i’m not in control any more! BUT WE share and we hold each other up and we laugh…and i thank you for always helping me to do so:) xo xstacy

  4. Thank you for shedding light on this for all of us, Jenny. A near exact scenario happened to my friend, though she was in a craft store when it all went down. So now that I’ve heard about it twice, it’s written in indelible ink and stored in the good-to-know file in my brain. Interestingly, she’s brilliant and hilarious and unfairly tortured by demons, just like you. Thank you for your continual outstretched hand to the next one in line.

  5. That sounds extraordinarily scary! I suppose that is because, at the time, you have no idea what is going on, but it seems like death is imminent. Your mind is playing an evil trick on you, but I am glad you are okay for now. Do you have any idea what triggered it?

  6. This same thing happened to me over the weekend!! The er doctors told me it was a “silent migraine.” What kind of bs is that? Good luck Jenny. The panic that accompanies stuff Iike that is no joke but luckily it fades from fear of immediate death to just your normal high strung anxiety. 🙂

  7. My daughter had a panic attack in Vegas (seems like a sensible reaction to Vegas in my opinion). She took an ambulance to the ER…$10K later and our insurance won’t cover it…

  8. I’m so sorry this happened to you Jenny. The thing about anxiety or depression, is you don’t get the ‘hang of it’ or ever ‘used to it,’ no matter how long you’ve suffered with it. A massive panic attack like you described is just so frightening and I’m so glad you are ok. xo

  9. Shit, Jenny, I’m sorry. Panic attacks are the worst. I love you. Hang in there and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.

  10. For whatever reason I’ve head a heads he for the last 24 years that they don’t know why. So my brain just likes to give me crippling pain for shits and giggles. I have to have another CT next week to again show it’s not a tumor and waste a whole lot of money. So excited. I also get random drops in blood pressure, which my doctors are always like no you must have high blood pressure due to your weight, so I will randomly pass out. Doctors never seem concerned and last time just said oh you’re so short because that was helpful. So we all have screwed up stuff. You are absolutely normal in your fucked upness.

  11. I’m so sorry you went through this! Though I wager your family thinks you’re worth it (even if it’s a ridiculous sum). Big hugs.

  12. You are going to be okay. You are loved and you are safe and this is not your fault.
    Sending you love always (although it’s tbe frozen, Canadian kind)

  13. Did you still have to pay the bill at the restaurant?

    (Yep. But only because when I rushed to the bathroom Victor knew I was sick so he paid and wrapped up our food while I was unconscious. TEAMWORK! ~ Jenny)

  14. I had an extremely similar experience where I ended up in the ER and was admitted to the hospital for 3 days on Thanksgiving for a “mystery heart condition that wasn’t a heart attack but they don’t really know what it was” situation. Pretty sure it was a panic attack as well. What’s been weird to deal with is my family saying, “well something actually happened to you because they kept you in the hospital” vs. all the other times I’ve had mental health issues that manifested super physically and I was just “overreacting”. My thoughts aren’t working very well and I’m not articulating very well, but what I’m trying to say is that I feel you 100% and it sucks. 🙁

  15. Those ARE the (often ignored and misdiagnosed) symptoms of a woman having a heart attack, so the ER was the right place — hope you’re feeling better now!

  16. You can’t mess around with this stuff. I’m glad you went to the hospital. You gotta take care of you. <3
    (In other news, I am wearing the socks in the “Things I Love Today” column on the left. I love them too!)

  17. Jenny, I feel you, went to e.r. thought I was having a heart attack, nurse scolded me when the sticky things wouldn’t stay on my breast…sheesh

  18. You’re going to be ok and you did exactly what you should have done. Sending you peace, love and light on this day, and every day. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  19. Ack, I’m so sorry! 🙁

    I sincerely hope that this particular kind of cruddy event never repeats.

  20. I believe every terrifying word. Sometimes I think our brains are actually alien creatures from Jupiter that have invaded our bodies and short-circuited whatever we used to use to navigate through our life on this planet. Or worse. Oh God … my imagination is going wild right now….

  21. The minute you started describing your symptoms I thought it was a panic attack. I had a breakdown in a grocery store (in the almond milk aisle) and when they couldn’t calm me down, the EMTs took me to a local ER. Anyway, it’s a long, traumatizing story and when my therapist suggested I go to the ER again last week when I was having anxiety/panic attacks… I wondered why she hated me. She dumped me today, fyi. Because I’m apparently too difficult to deal with. Perfect timing.

  22. The best way I have been able to explain an anxiety attack to those lucky enough not to have them is when you are driving… Its raining and your car skids. That feeling of being out of control.

  23. I have never posted before but I do love you. I wanted to say you might consider whether this was a seizure. The existential dread and the tongue bite are both potential symptoms. It’s probably not! But maybe worth considering. From someone with lots of seizure experience.

  24. I hope you feel your version of 100% quickly.
    Also, you should be able to request the images though it may require going to some obscure office in a basement where they give you a cd that has images only readable via some archaic application. Could make for a great halloween profile pic.

  25. That’s absolutely terrifying! I’ve thankfully never had a panic attack that severe, although twice on Saturday, on my way to being social somewhere, I started feeling like what I’ve read heart attacks are like. I was pretty sure I wasn’t actually having a heart attack, just a somewhat mild panic attack–worse than my usual anxiety attacks, but not nearly as bad as panic attacks I’ve had in the past, and I was able to calm myself down with a little Xanax and distracting myself with other thoughts. The thing I really hate about anxiety is when you rationally understand you don’t need to be anxious, but you can’t get your body to calm down. The kind of panic attack you had…UGH.

    I hope comments here telling you it’s not your fault and you’ll feel better help get that into your head. Sending you love.

  26. Thanks for sharing. As Allison said, “you are loved and you are safe and this is not your fault”.

    I have both anxiety attacks and panic attacks too. Thank you PTSD. It all sucks. I am glad, however, that you have Victor and Hailey. How wonderful to have such support.

  27. Big hugs for you. You’re going to be ok. I’m sorry you had that happen, but I’m glad you hot everything checked out.

  28. Girrrrl, you really know how to have a night out on the town! Glad you are ok. No, glad you are alive. ♥

  29. I’m very glad your heart is okay, and you have nothing to feel guilty about! Going to the ER with those symptoms was absolutely the right thing to do. I’m sure your family would rather take you to the hospital and figure out it’s a panic attack, than not take you and have it turn out to be a heart attack! (I get it, though. I feel guilty about the crap my body pulls, too.)

  30. You did the right thing!
    I had a full blown “YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!!!” panic attack on the subway once. People must have thought I was nuts. I also have low blood pressure and a very sensitive vagus nerve, which has caused me to pass out on an escalator and a bus. You should look up vasovagal syncope, it is very similar to the full blown panic attack, but with less “I’m having a heart attack” and more nausea and passing out. It’s taken years, but I can now tell the difference when they are coming on. When I sense a panic attack coming I know to run and hide somewhere alone, but when I sense the vasovagal syncope I know I need to lay down or sit with my head between my legs.

  31. I am glad you are feeling better. Life is so hard sometimes.
    Keep on keeping on…you are not alone

  32. My mom for years thought she was having panic attacks, in her 80’s they finally decided that she had likely had several mini strokes over the years. Our health care is covered here in Canada but beacuase she didn’t want to be a bother went undiagnosed.

  33. Thanks. This might explain an eerily similar experience I had at work last month. Too dizzy to drive home and got bashed by someone in another department for lying down on a couch (horrors!) while I felt better. Slept half the day once I got home. I’ve had three rounds of going to the doctor and everything’s fine. The night before I freaked because my cats knocked some prescription cream into the toilet that got flushed (hilarious and sad, but true)–I was thinking it might have been a physical panic reaction, but blew that idea off until now. I do not have a history of anxiety or panic attacks, but maybe there’s always a first.

  34. This really resonated with me as a person who has experienced both panic attacks and epileptic seizures. Please, please, please make an appointment with a neurologist to rule out any sort of seizure disorder. Seizures are more common than you’d think and your description of your episode is what they felt like for me. Sending you the absolute best luck and all of the love.

  35. Thank you so much for posting this, Jenny! I am still punishing myself for a panic attack that I thought was a heart attack from 9 years ago. I really needed to hear that going to the ER was the right thing to do even though there was nothing physically wrong.

    Please keep telling us all this 🙂

  36. This is so, so awful and I’m so sorry this happened to you. The physical manifestations can be absolutely debilitating. I once spent days throwing up over an encounter I had with a person that lasted less than five minutes. I’m picturing what happened to you and it’s so upsetting. I’m glad you shared it with us so you’re not sitting with it in your mind.

    It can be so hard to describe “that feeling” to people who have never had it without them looking at you like, “Huh?” Even my own husband, who is very understanding and empathetic, seems to think that anxiety = you just need to calm down! That would be fine except that the part of me that is able to calm down does not exist. It would be like asking me to sprout an extra arm – I just don’t have it in me.

  37. I’m so sorry that happened to you. In case it helps anyone, you made the right call. Something similar happened to me last year, but I was in septic shock and hours from death. The doctors told me some people will pass out, but get into bed and hope to sleep it off. I would have died. People don’t want to bother anyone, or they don’t take their health seriously, and they die. Better safe than sorry. I’m glad you’re recovering!

  38. I know exactly how you feel. It’s horrifying knowing your brain is working against you. I’m glad you made it through safely!

  39. Oh my gosh! That definitely sounds JUST like a heart attack so please don’t ever hesitate to go to the ER for this. Hugs. You are so smart for asking for help when you needed it! Good brain! Take that, stupid body!

  40. Mauled by wild dogs with switchblades is the dictionary definition of Not Good. Anything worse than that is Double-Plus-UnGood.

  41. I went to Twitter for some light (ha!) reading, to decompress after intense perusing of two books that just came in the mail: Julia Ross’s Mood Cure and The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. The universe has a sense of humor. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook has some really good ideas that are probably genuinely effective. Ideas I have known about for years. Apparently I don’t want to give up caffeine, go on a carb-less Candida diet, exercise, meditate, and relax every day. I’m happy to read and write in a workbook, however. My anxiety laughs.

  42. My brain has tried to murder me before. I didnt know it at the time. I figured it out later. By myself. Huddled in a corner. I’ve had numerous anxiety attacks which I can feel coming on and calm myself (usually). But that panic attack was the single scariest event of my whole life. I was sure I was dying. And I was alone. And it was horrible. I feel for you so much. And I hope that you feel better soon. 💙

  43. I super love you guys.

    The doctor did think it sounded like a seizure in some ways but usually after a seizure people are out of it for awhile after they wake up and I was still faint and sick but aware. Apparently anxiety can cause a vasovagal syncope thing that causes you to pass out and sometimes it can cause a seizure if it’s severe enough but it’s also possible that I just bit my tongue when I passed out. I pass out a few times a year usually and this felt different but I’ve never passed out from anxiety so who knows?

    Nothing really triggered it but usually panic attacks sort of come out of nowhere. The one where I thought I was having a heart attack woke me out of a full sleep. Brains are crazy, y’all.

  44. October 2016. The pussy tape had just been released and my heart was literally skipping every third beat. Diagnosis, panic attack.

  45. I’ve been in the ER twice with panic attacks. They seriously suck.

  46. “Why are you even like this?” I think you just found the title of your next book, and it will be AMAZING!

  47. FIRSTLY:YOU’RE going to be okay and YOU did what you should have and it’s not YOUR fault and everyone deals with medical bullshit. <3
    Also I’m thankful I’ve only ever had one true panic attack and luckily I was actually in a medical tower full of doctors at the moment and that’s when I got my first Zoloft. 🙂 Mostly I have anxiety attacks and they always make me want to start smoking again. Thank goodness I’m poor and cig prices have gone sky high because really that’s the only thing keeping me from lighting up.
    Also ALSO have you tried some Magic Medical MJ?

    (Sadly, medical mj is still a pipe dream in Texas. One day. ~ Jenny)

  48. I’m sorry it can feel so judgy to have a panic attack, which is obviously a serious medical event, when there would be no judginess whatsoever about say, appendicitis or bubonic plague. All as real as panic attack. There should be another name for panic attack, ending in -itis and then it wouldn’t feel judgy, it would just be a horrible thing that happened to you. Sending you love.

  49. You are so fortunate to have such a supportive husband and daughter. That would have been so frightening if you had been left to fend for yourself. So glad you’re okay.

  50. That sounds super scary, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad you went to get checked out in any case. Wouldn’t want it to BE a heart attack and have you ignore it, so best to be safe. Just sad it’s so expensive to find out you’re going to be OK. Sending a virtual hug your way!

  51. Jenny,
    I am very glad your OK. It sucks your body is mean and lies to you. Please know myself and those in my household very much believe you. Medical stuff DOES indeed happen and you very much did the right thing.

  52. “I don’t know why it’s always so much harder to tell yourself the things you so easily believe for others.” I know, right?? I feel like this all the time! But I’ll say it to you, anyway: it’s not your fault and going to the ER was the right choice. I know how hard it is to listen to this from yourself, so listem from us, ok?

  53. Wow, better safe than sorry, I always say. With the symptoms you had, who could have said for sure in the restaurant that you weren’t having a heart attack. Glad that you’re still with us:-)

  54. Please accept virtual hugs from an internet stranger! I have anxiety attacks and panic attacks too. I’m so sorry you experienced this! I hope you feel better soon. Please know that your writing here and in your books has helped me immensely, knowing that there are others out there like me.

  55. Be well dear. You’re an inspiration to those of us that suffer silently and try to look normal at work and home. Prayers coming your way.

  56. You did the right thing. It sounded like a heart attack. Glad you now have some idea of what might have happened. Take care.

  57. It is always easier to do for others than for yourself – in fact, one of the only things I’ve found will almost always nip an anxiety attack is having someone need me. That sounds scary as hell, I am sorry you went through it.

  58. I’m so sorry you went through this! That must have been so scary. You absolutely did the right thing going in to check you out. I’ve been in the ER with panic attacks in the past but get anxiety attacks quite frequently. I’ve been getting more physical symptoms, like whole body flushes and intestinal issues. All of this we have to endure deserves a big NOPE. Be good to yourself 💜💜💜

  59. I hope you start feeling more yourself soon, Jenny! I’ve passed out from a panic attack before and it sure is scary. You definitely did the right thing in taking yourself to the ER. You didn’t know what was happening and you were trying to make sure you were okay! There’s nothing wrong with that AT ALL.
    Also, the most recent picture I have of myself (face or otherwise) is from my colonoscopy. I thought about sharing it on social media, but I don’t think anyone REALLY wants to see that.

  60. I have anxiety attacks all the time (sometimes daily for a while and then gone for months) that feel like a heart attack. So someday when I have an actual heart attack I will just die because I’ll think it’s just anxiety. (That thought also sometimes works me up and not an anxiety attack, so fuck my brain.)

  61. I know this is a long shot, and I’m not sure how old you are, but have you had your hormones checked? I’m only asking because I’m 48, entering menopause, and every woman I know who is going through it has episodes exactly like this- including myself. It also makes panic that you already have much, much worse. I am so sorry your body hates you. Mine hates me as well. Just a thought to check into. Hormones (and lack of them) can make you very ill. Sisters in misery unite.

  62. So sorry you had this awful experience! I had a very similar problem a few years ago and spent two days in the hospital. It’s a terrible feeling and so unsettling to think it could happen again. Life goes on and I have not had another this far, I hope and pray that I don’t. I hope it never happens to you again either. Thanks for all you share with your fans. It really does help having shared experiences with other great humans. We are tough, but we are also fragile. Be well. Peace.

  63. I’ve had panic attacks, and as soon as I started reading, I thought that might be where this was going. They’re horrible and disconcerting, and people who haven’t had panic attacks don’t understand what they’re like. More often than not, mine have come out of nowhere.

  64. I have been in the ER with panic attacks, too. They’re scary and exhausting and very different from acute anxiety. I’m glad that you’re doing better today.

  65. I’m so sorry. It sounds horrible. I’ve had anxiety attacks and they are bad enough.
    Sending virtual hugs and real sympathy.

  66. I had something very similar recently, but when l followed up with my GP, she found a cause the ER had missed. Did you have an abdominal ultrasound? If not, you might want to have one to see if you have gall stones. What you described sounds exactly like a gallbladder attack.

    (Gallbladder attacks are the worst. But I had mine out a few years ago so it’s not that. ~ Jenny)

  67. Oh, Jenny, that happened to me in December. My face went numb, I had chest heaviness and pain, and it even scored me an ‘abnormal EKG’ at the urgent care. They wanted to put me in an ambulance but I refused (we were across the street from the hospital!). Got to the ER for them to tell me it was a panic attack, and oh by the way, here’s your bill. I’m still paying for it, not only financially but in the waves of guilt I have for costing my family so much money for my stupid brain. Anyway. Hugs. I’m so glad you’re okay and also glad to not feel so alone in this.

  68. Thank you for sharing. The same thing happened to me a year ago. I was so sure it was a heart attack!!! I couldn’t breathe, my heart wouldn’t stop beating out of my chest and my brain tols me I was never going to see daylight.

    I struggle with depression and had never before had a panic attack. I went to the ER. They told me I didn’t have a heart attack and sent me bome.

    Thanks for telling us all we aren’t alone. I Love your writings. You’re honestly honest and we need more of that. Love to you Jenny!!!

  69. Jenny, I believe you when you say it was likely a panic attack. I only wanted to mention that I pass out when I throw up or am very nauseated; it’s a vagus nerve thing. So, you may have had a panic attack, or it’s possible that you had a stomach virus complicated by passing out from the nausea (or both at the same time). I passed out at our local Mexican restaurant a year and a half ago, and I had such post-traumatic stress from the event. It turned out to be a combination of dehydration, blood pressure medication that needed to be reduced, and an anxiety attack, so I was also completely fine one I was re-hydrated. But it was a really traumatic experience, just because I was so scared. Time has helped that to fade quite a bit for me, so take heart–you’ll gradually feel better about it, too. Until then, just know that lots of people pass out at restaurants, followed by traumatic hospital visits. You are not alone 🙂

  70. I’m so sorry you went through that and I’m so glad you’re okay. Several of my favorite people deal with anxiety and panic attacks – it’s scary to see them go through it, I can only imagine how scary it is to experience. I’m also glad the stall was empty, the universe owes you that at the absolute bare minimum.

  71. I have panic and anxiety attacks. I had to talk my 18 year old son through an anxiety attack yesterday and it about broke my heart. I used to have issues with panic in college and I’d dry heave every night. I had no idea what was wrong with me at the time. Please know we’re here for you!

  72. Before I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder, I had several similar trips to the ER. It’s been a while since I have had one that bad but I 100% sympathize with what you went through yesterday. Hope you feel better today. Also, a follow up with your PCP wouldn’t hurt either.

  73. even if this were to happen again, i would hope you wouldn’t hesitate to go to the er again. just have something along with your med lists, that says, ‘suffers from debilitating panic attacks; observed in the form of…… and your symptoms. maybe then, it would cut down on all the tests. but maybe not, you never know. i’m glad you told me about the differences in the 2 attacks tho. i am in the midst of an anxiety attack. i know it won’t go away for 2 days, because what i have to deal with today & tomorrow. i’m glad Xanax helps, but it isn’t the be-all end-all.

    when i have a sore in my mouth, i put salt on it. tends to make it heal up right away. you could try it on your tongue. be very careful chewing the next few days, as if it is swollen, you could re-bite.

    good luck. we love you.

  74. Holy shit-monkeys, that was quite a day Jenny! I had something similar thing happen to me, on and off, for a few years, and my doctor diagnosed it as panic attacks. Then I got a BETTER doctor and they were like “Nope, you’re not having panic attacks, you’re clearly having seizures. But seizures can look a lot like panic attacks, especially because some seizures happen when you’re awake [“partial seizures”]. I had the feelings of pain, overwhelming nausea, dizzyness, racing heart, then passed out, bit my tounge, etc. It was “classical temporal lobe epilepsy.” Anyway, I’m not saying that’s what’s wrong with you, but I do know that doctors don’t always get it right the first time, and that everyone’s symptoms and experience with mental and physical healht problems are wildly different. Good luck and feel better, I’m sorry you had to go through all this garbage.

  75. You were EXACTLY where you needed to be! As women we are trained from an early age to take care of everyone else first and it’s just not right! That’s why more women have FATAL heart attacks—because they don’t get help fast enough. My doctor told me any pain above the waist on a woman should be checked out because it presents differently for us. In January i went to the ER because it was the weekend and my doctor told me to go. The ER doc said (after a bunch of tests) that he knew i was sick but I “didn’t look sick on paper” so he couldn’t admit me and sent me home. Fast forward 3 days and the lab work they sent out to Mayo Clinic came back all fucked up. I had never been so glad to finally look sick on paper!! Sorry to put my own spin on this when all I really wanted you to know is that you did the right thing. Hope you feel better soon!

  76. GAH! I feel for you. Our brain can be jerks sometimes. You know has happened to me TWICE? I’ve had the sudden dread that I’m about to be very violently ill and need to go sit on the potty NOW. I get there, have a seat. Nothing. Oh, but then I pass out. WTH?! The first time, I came to while draped across the edge of the bathtub. I looked up and could see straight into the shower head. Half my body was hanging OUT of the bathtub. Did a number on my back. The second time, I fell the opposite direction and was out for several minutes. Figured out the next day I had hit my head on the edge of the sink on the way down. What on earth?! I was not anxious about anything at all the second time. Sheesh. Maybe one day we can compare cat scans. 😆

  77. I’m sorry you had to deal with that but I’m really grateful to have gotten to read it today because this weekend I may have royally fucked up my chances at getting something I’ve been working hard for because of a panic attack and the physical and emotional fallout from it. And out really hard not to feel like it’s all my fault and if is just been stronger… But reading your words helps. Thank you. I hope you stay to feel more normal soon.

  78. I was LITERALLY drafting up a post about this very same thing because I was just trying to explain to my husband how one makes you feel kind of like you want to die and the other makes you feel as if you are in fact, no shit dying. It sucks so bad that you had to go through that. Like you said, it is partly a relief that nothing is wrong but also super frustrating that your body is capable of pulling off that level of a charade.

  79. I had a panic attack that landed me in the hospital for three days. So I totally get this.

  80. Don’t EVER ignore chest pain, dizziness, syncope. Far too many women, especially, ignore chest pain and don’t seek treatment for cardiac issues. I too have my brain is trying to kill me moments. It comes out of nowhere and usually when I think I feel perfectly fine. Sucks. Be well Jenny. You’re my favorite.

  81. Five years ago I spent an entire summer waking up every morning with the belief I would die before the end of the day. I finally admitted to myself I needed to resume taking antidepressants and when I did things calmed down. I was okay for five years and then my boss, a close friend, died suddenly. A week later I am sitting in the office of the doctor who attended to my friend at the ER and I had a panic attack. The doctor sent me off to the ER to be certain it wasn’t a heart attack. It wasn’t but I had to spend six hours lying in the ER room where my friend had died, of a heart attack. It all felt very circular.

  82. My friend… And yes you’re my friend even though we haven’t met. We share frighteningly similar combo of brokenness and that makes us friends. I am so sorry you had such a scary evening. I know that feeling all too well. Even worse, I work(ed) in medicine. For 13 years I’ve cared for people with all sorts of ailments and can’t tell myself I won’t die tonight when I go to bed. It’s so messed up. Two months ago I left my job because even my physician and psychiatrist agreed I needed a break. My panic was getting worse with an increasing patient load. It’s so scary. I understand the medicine behind it when my 7th EKG comes back normal and chest CT is all clear, but I can’t deny how real it feels when I think I’m having a hear attack or stroke. Our brains suck. They’re broken.im glad your probably just fine. I’m sorry your brain wants to play “hold my beer and watch this” with your damn nerves. It’s not cool. It’s makes your brain an asshole. Be well, be gentle on yourself, and let’s hope it’s doesn’t happen again.

  83. I had my first panic attack at work and I didn’t know what was happening to me except I was pretty sure I was dying. It was super embarrassing to be loaded into an ambulance at 7:50am when the whole fucking company was coming into work. The doctor, of course, couldn’t find anything wrong, so diagnosed a panic attack. I thought he was a fucking quack. Well, until I had another one a few days later. I guess I’m saying I totally feel you on this. I’m really glad you went to the ER and they ruled out seizure, stroke, and heart attack. Selfishly, I need to point out that your tribe needs you here! We love you! Just the way you are!

  84. You are NOT alone, and you definitely did the right thing. I was diagnosed with panic disorder twenty years ago, and I could describe my symptoms to you pretty clearly. Racing heart, sense of displacement and unreality, dizziness, nausea, and this supernfun thing where my hands clench up and won’t… function? Or move ar all? Pretty awful to say I am used to that now. However! Last year, I woke up in the middle of the night with something WRONG. I I had all those same things, but I couldn’t catch my breath, my heart was racing (225+ from a dead sleep), my vision was telescoping, and I kept trying to walk and falling down. My husband took me to the ER, and they did all manner of tests. Yep. A panic attack. When they asked me if I had panic attacks and I said yes, they looked at me incredulously – – like I should’ve known that was what this was and not wasted everyone’s time.

    Those bastards will change things up on you. And always, always better safe than sorry.

    Thinking of you and hoping your brain gives you a break.

  85. So sorry this happened to you, Jenny – I’m glad there’s an explanation, but that’s faint comfort when your body is screaming that you’re dying. Glad your family was there for you, too.
    You aren’t any crazier than most of us – again, it’s faint comfort to say you have a lot of company, but there are plenty of us who can relate. When I read one comment above where someone compared it to having swallowed broken glass and getting electrocuted I thought, “Yeah, that’s exactly what it feels like for me too.”
    Our health care system sucks – this shouldn’t have cost you money on top of the emotional price. I’m paying off an ambulance bill after I mysteriously passed out and ended up bloody and concussed myself, although for me at least it was free once the ambulance got me to the VA.
    Take care, be gentle with yourself, find something that makes you laugh, and keep us posted.

  86. You have my fullest sympathy. I’ve only had some passing anxiety issues, and not for some time, but I know there is nothing more uncomfortable than having a medical issue in a public bathroom. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I once passed a kidney stone in a McDonald’s bathroom outside of Pittsburgh. I was torn between being afraid that I was going to die in a McDonald’s restroom and afraid that I wasn’t. As far as I can tell, I did manage to survive the incident. Either that or heaven is a cruel joke.

    In any case, I’m glad your people were there to take care of you and you don’t seem to have been banged up too badly. I hope the medical response is measured, and doesn’t add more meds to your mix. Hang in there!

  87. “I don’t know why it’s always so much harder to tell yourself the things you so easily believe for others. But if I write it maybe I’ll believe it. Maybe you’ll believe it too.” Words I Definitely needed to read!! I always think I have the answers for everyone else… but never seem to take my own advice!! Thank you, Jenny.

  88. You are going to be OK, you did what you should have done, and sometimes brains are just straight up assholes. Based on your experience I have had two anxiety attacks in my life and lots of panic attacks…and it it scary as hell especially when the doctor is all “don’t know, go home.”
    You do so much for so many – just know there are lots of us out here who love you and are sending you light, love, peace and calm. Proud of you texting Victor and proud of Victor for being such an awesome guy. Hailey is pretty damn awesome as well.
    Hug, hug hug. Love!

  89. As someone who has been to the ER many times after/during a panic attack, I’m so sorry you had to go through it. It IS a terrifying experience and it is hard to explain to people who have never had their body go completely haywire for no reason. My body likes to attack my digestive system when I go from anxiety to panic mode, it causes a “I’m going to pass out if I poop and I will die like Elvis” feeling, then if that doesn’t work making me pass out, it makes me think I am dying of appendicitis. I just had my 3rd ER trip last weekend, I had to convince them not to operate on me for appendicitis (the scans were clear).

    It is a special kind of hell. The gut/mind/body connection is a very strange thing. I’m over here in my little corner rooting for you!

  90. I would have a panic attack if I found out I had to pay $2000. for a trip to the ER. Not here in Canada, whew. Glad you are feeling better

  91. I’ve cost myself thousands of dollars in ER bills for the same reason. Shit happens. Maybe this is what we get for medical bills instead of the cancer variety? We can only hope. Of coursw you did the right thing and you are not broken or burdensome. Your people love you and you are worth it ❤️

  92. I hope they worked you up for a pulmonary embolism! The symptoms are like a panic attack.

  93. So the way this works is; you tell yourself it’s not a big deal and you go home, then you die or some horrible thing happens, BUT, if you go to the ER/Doctor and get all the tests, you are OK. That’s how my luck works anyhow. Glad you are OK 🙂

  94. I don’t know where you get the strength to share these posts. You are just amazing. I am so sorry you have so much pain. Life shouldn’t be so F’N hard. Love to you!

  95. I’m so glad you explained the difference between anxiety attacks and panic attacks. I’ve only had a couple of full-on panic attacks in my life with the not being able to breathe and feeling like you’re going to die. I have smaller attacks all the time but I never have the usual panic symptoms so I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but now I can call them anxiety attacks and that will help calm my brain down and give me a frame of reference. You and this community are such a blessing and make such a difference. Love you Jenny <3

  96. I hope you are feeling better! Something similar happened to me last year, and after getting violently ill, I ended up being wheeled out the bathroom of the restaurant on a gurney, barely conscious. It turned out I had been slipped something, likely in my drink, and it interacted with the daily medications I am on. It wasn’t a roofie or anything that sinister; they suspected some sort of prescription drug. Thankfully no lasting effects, other than I have never been back to that place again-partly because I was so embarrassed, and partly for fear of being drugged again!

  97. Hmmm. My first thought was seizure. But I’m glad they found nothing ominous.

  98. I had this exact scenario. Passed out in restaurant bathroom—which was down a flight of stairs. Turned out I had the flu. I hope you’re feeling better. Anxiety about anxiety is not fun. Brains are weird creatures that share our bodies. Or maybe they’re parasites from another world.

  99. As a teenager I was rushed to the hospital several times with strange symptoms that were never really diagnosed. Until the year Jurassic Park came out. I went with my family and was not feeling well. As we walked through the parking lot I passed out. My dad took me, again, to the emergency room. This time, though, they took one look at me and said I was having a panic attack. Thus began my long journey dealing with anxiety and panic disorder. I’m so glad Victor was there to get you help. I’m so sorry that you experienced this at all. You are not alone. Hugs.

  100. I had something similar happen and it was serotonin syndrome caused by the addition of none other
    Than your run of the mill blood pressure drug. Check out the symptoms. Even meds that you wouldn’t think of can drive your levels up! Good luck and keep posting! Love you!

  101. It hurts my heart that you have to pay such an obscene amount of money to be treated for something like that…in Canada, where I live, I wouldn’t even see a bill for my visit. Hell, a bill like that would CAUSE a panic attack for me.

    I’m sorry you had that experience Jenny, and I hope you’re feeling better now. Sending my love to you and your broken body. I love you, just the way you are. oxoxoxox

  102. That’s scary. I hope your brain stops trying to murder you at some point :/.

    As someone with Crohns, this made me laugh a bit too much: “which was thankfully empty because I can’t imagine how horrifying it would be to see an unconscious stranger wriggle under your stall door while you’re pooping.”

  103. That’s scary. I hope your brain stops trying to murder you at some point :/.

    As someone with Crohns, this made me laugh a bit too much: “Which was thankfully empty because I can’t imagine how horrifying it would be to see an unconscious stranger wriggle under your stall door while you’re pooping.”

  104. I started reading it and thought, “Hey me, this sounds an awful lot like a panic attack.” Me can be pretty smart. I’m sorry you got run over by the anxiety train. Maybe time for a Med fix?

  105. So sorry, Jenny! You did the right thing. You needed to be seen in the ER. Your family understands. Panic attacks are the worst. Just rest and take care of yourself. Let all the pets help. We all love you. And we get it. ❤️

  106. Holy CRAP! I thought I was going to die from an anxiety attack in the middle of the night when I couldn’t breathe and eventually got up and drank booze until I could breathe again. How can I feel sorry for myself when you’re out there raising the bar all the time? This is exactly why I don’t let The Viking read your blog. I have enough trouble getting sympathy as it is because he usually raises my sick with an even bigger sick.
    I realize this isn’t about me and that I’m probably not helping but if we’re all being honest, there’s nothing I can really do to help you anyway. I can only send good thoughts and hope you feel better soon. 🙄

  107. I had what I think was my second anxiety attack a few weeks ago. I didn’t know they are different from panic attacks and more mild. Since the last one I had was about twenty years ago, I didn’t recognize what it was. Which of course added to my anxiety.

    I am so sorry for what you went through. It sounds completely intolerable, painful, scary, and more that words cannot describe. Both of my attacks had clear triggers. Do you have any idea what triggered you or do these come on without clear triggers?

    Thank you as always for publically sharing. Not just so that I can understand that I am not alone but also to show that it’s okay to share this publicly and we shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about these things or that they happen to us. Someday I’ll gather enough of my own own gather enough of my own courage based on the strength of people like you and finally be myself publically.

  108. Jenny, you have been through it. I wish I could take away your pain. I just finished the book, “Misdiagnosed,” by Jody Berger. It made me wary of Western medicine. They probably wrote you a prescription for Xanax. Go ED! Keep searching, the answer is out there.

  109. Have you had your gallbladder checked??? I was misdiagnosed with panic attacks for a few years before I had mine checked and it was most certainly the problem. Symptoms can be very similar. Hope you are feeling better.

  110. Surprising, maybe, how many of the commenters have also had panic attacks. I remember mine quite well – I texted people to say goodbye (voice-to-text) while I drove to the hospital. Nasty.

  111. That sounds truly awful! Though I suffer from depression, I’m fortunate not to suffer these type attacks. Tell me, was the attack brought on because you felt panicked at the restaurant for some reason? Just trying to understand what would bring this on in the situation you were in. That was mean of your brain to do that! Hope you are feeling much better.

  112. i have all sorts of medical pictures of my insides, like an mri of my brain. i am going to figure out how to put it on my blog, since it’s a sciencey blog anyway. because i found out the way to understand my panic attacks (which are often as severe as the one you just had) and calm them was to understand the science. i get all sorts of nerded out when my doctors give me my “inside” pictures. explaining the science in layman’s terms, so it’s not so scary, is a way i hope helps other people like us.

  113. Wow, in public too, that sucks extra.
    There was a brief (few months) period where I would randomly wake up at night with the anxiety attack and not know what it was. But because I didn’t understand, my heart kept getting worse and worse, and then I started throwing up, and then my arms started to tingle and my hands went completely numb. I really thought I was having a heart attack! but after vomiting I felt better, probably because I’m afraid of vomiting in general which probably snowballed the whole thing in the first place. Turns out, it was a coffee I’d had 12 hours prior. Suddenly I can’t have caffeine.

    You’re right, once you know the trigger and recognize the feeling, it doesn’t go beyond a minor anxiety attack anymore. Though I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that it doesn’t seem to matter what I believe is happening, I won’t ever think to call for help??

  114. You are not the only one, I am not the only one.

    I’m guessing anyone with panic attacks has had similar things happen.

    Other than the didn’t die part, how would anyone know if it was panic or a heart attack.

  115. I have a panic disorder and some of what you described is what my life can be like for months at a time until the drugs kick in and I don’t feel like knives are repeatedly stabbing me in the chest 24 hrs a day. In addition to the horrifying chest pains my heart races seemingly out of control sometimes for more than an hour. This is accompanied by profuse sweating and just generally feeling like the end is nigh. Once that huge adrenaline dump of the panic attack is over I shake uncontrollably and can’t seem to warm up no matter how many blankets I bury myself under. During the worst episode I was having 8 panic attacks a night (more during the day), wasn’t sleeping or eating, was too frightened to go outside, weighed 90 pounds (I was in my 30s) and everyone around me thought I was going to die. But, I didn’t (ha, I showed them!). Panic attacks are absolutely horrible and I’m so sorry for what you went through last night. You’ve been through a lot of family stress lately and this could be a latent reaction. Also, our brains can be real assholes sometimes. Tonight, surround yourself with as many things that bring you comfort as you can. Soothe yourself. Soothe your nervous system. Be kind to yourself. I’ll be thinking of you.

  116. Jenny, I know EXACTLY what you mean. If I had a buck for every time I ended up in the ER, positive I was having a heart attack, I’d be a rich woman. What makes me the angriest is that once I get in the ER and discern that it isn’t a heart attack, they treat me like I’m a child who just needs to calm down and take a little time out! Thank god my husband was there with me, because he diesn’t put up woth any crap from them. We have an illness, just like eveyone they’re treating and we deserve to be treated with the same damn respect!

  117. I’m sorry I laughed at this entire story. I always feel terrible laughing at your misadventures, but I can’t help it. The image of the potential eye contact upon rolling into someone’s stall almost murdered me. I keep replaying it in my mind and die again.

  118. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a true panic attack like you’re describing. hugs
    My worst anxiety attacks will sneak up on me after forcing myself through too much stress for too many days in a row. And instead of feeling classic anxiety, I feel an absolutely crushing sense of complete failure and acute misery. Sometimes my head will feel like it’s full of constant screaming and I’m just so over pressured I’m going to explode. This can be followed by hysterical crying and hyperventilating.
    Luckily ativan helps. It’s the only thing that does.

  119. I’m betting you had a vaso vagal response. If you pass out a few times a year that’s the same thing I get. I passed out in the shower a few weeks ago. The steam just overhwememer me and made me dizzy in an immediate nauseous I’m going to throw up -I’m so dizzy- and the next thing I know I’m on the floor of the shower with water pouring on my chin. I didn’t even realize I knocked my head or fell on the shower seat (tile) and I have a huge bruise down my entire side and a bit of bump on my temple. I think it’s a momentary low blood pressure response and I also notice it if I get dehydrated.

    WordPress.com / Gravatar.com credentials can be used.

  120. Well shit.
    I’m so sorry this happened. I’ve had 2 panic attacks in my life and I was 100% sure I was dying of a heart attack the 2nd time. Zero stars, do not recommend! I hope you can take a bit of down time and do some healing. It’s ok to need some sick time, even if people don’t understand that you’re sick. 😘

  121. Thank you for sharing <3 I also find it s easy to find empathy for others and to support them and care for them when they are distressed but I can’t do that for myself because I don’t believe it. I believe it when I tell others but not myself. Lately I’ve made a new friend (a rarity for me) and we share lots of similarities and I am often noticing myself telling her things that my therapist has told me and it’s actually helping me to take note of this more and to tell myself as well…and work on believing it. Keep working on believing for yourself all the nice things you tell others. <3

  122. “You did the right thing.” You did. Victor & Hailey would be really upset if you ever decided to skip the ER trip and the outcome was bad.

    Also, perfect timing on the post – I rushed out of a restaurant tonight and am home having a massive allergic-type reaction. I’ll spare you the details, but it isn’t pretty. #DinnerWithaBenadrylChaser

  123. Thank you for sharing this story. When I have a set back (terrifying experience with panic and anxiety) I always try to congratulate myself dealing with it. It’s really hard and it really sucks. You got through it and here you are. You are important and valued and I am glad that you are safe and supported.

  124. IMO, doctor’s in ERs need much more training in recognizing the symptoms of panic attacks and other mental health-related conditions. Sending you away with a “no idea” diagnosis was not ok given the severity of what you experienced. Then again, we could all use more education on this issue. My son had very similar symptoms as we were driving home one night. I had NO IDEA what was happening or how to help. I do now, but shame on me then.

  125. I had a similar experience – involved a CT scan because I fell over on my head – and the ER couldn’t figure it out either. For me, we concluded that it was straight-up food poisoning. No one else at my table got sick, but that stupid restaurant did go out of business not long after.

  126. Panic attacks are so awful. That one sounds terrifying. Been there with the docs going ???? at me. Am so glad you have caring family, and so glad Victor realized and was quick. 💜

  127. LORDY, LORDY, How can so much happen to you………a Normal Sensible Loveable Person!!!
    NOT fair. Glad you went to the ER anyway……..Hugs to you.

  128. You did the right thing going to the hospital! Even if it’s “only” a panic attack you still deserve to be cared for and to feel like you’re in a safe place. It’s not like you had a mild twinge in one temple and rushed yourself to hospital screaming and crying over it; you had some very horrible symptoms.

    And it so easily could’ve been something worse. I feel for you.

  129. This kind of thing has happened to me a few times. 4/5 were panic attacks and 1/5 was fast-acting food poisoning. (Denny’s at 1 am…sober.) It’s amazing how out of the blue it seems. People always ask what I was thinking about right before it happened and I almost never know. The only have one clear recollection from right before the one that nearly stopped me from driving. “This root beer is delicious.” That’s it. That’s what I was thinking about. Delicious root beer.

  130. Glad you’re not actually dying, despite the deathly feel. Hugs, sympathies, empathies, and many ginger ale are being sent to you via vibratory carrier pigeons. (As in good vibes, not vibrator, though both are technically good vibes.)

    Panic attacks can eat all of the dicks. Though they’d probably enjoy the experience of chomping through a bloody muscley flopsickle. It’s like your brain and body are going “why’re you hitting yourself?” and you’re like “uhh, technically you’re hitting yourself too, fucktruck.” and it’s like “…maybe so.gif.” Nobody wins, everyone loses, we could all go home and avoid this fuckery if only it wouldn’t follow (kicking the afflicted the entire way, naturally) on the crawl home. Been there myself, it’s all manner of awful. Take care as best you can, recovering from this level of bullshit in the aftermath is often rough.

    Brains are goddamn bizarre jello-like beasts. But you’re not at all alone in having bizarre brain-jello. Let us all jiggle united in a vaguely menacing way, staring the not-fun bits of brain jello in their glaring red eyes and flip ’em off through interpretive dance. (And also with phalanges.)

  131. I got to spend a wonderful night in the hospital after my first attack. Going to the ER was so important and nothing for you to feel bad about. It could easily have been a heart attack. I am so sorry you had to go through it. Hugs.

  132. Thank you for sharing and I hope you are feeling better today. I too have experienced panic attacks and words really can’t get across what happens in my body, but I feel for you. It’s unexplainable and terrifying. The good news is at the end of it we know, pretty much, what it was –although probably not they why–and can try to “deal” with it, maybe even prepare for the next one. You are not alone. Hang in there. Get some rest. Hugs. ~ Juliet

  133. So glad you aren’t actually dying!! Thank you for sharing this and I am so there with you!! Only add that you’re in Disney World and you’ve got my major panic attack. Nothing like creating a scene in the middle of the restaurant in EPCOT. Ambulance ride tot the ER, throwing up in the ER entrance, anti nausea meds, and finding out you also have premature ventricular contractions. That fear that it will happen again still follows me. I definitely felt like I was dying. As you said, you will be okay. Say it again just in case, you will be okay. I will be okay.

  134. Oh Honey,
    I am so sorry! Remember, you are going to be okay and you did what you should have. It’s not your fault. Everyone deals with medical bullshit.

    Upthread someone mentioned menopause. Let me second that. While in perimenopause, I went through a phase where it felt like I was being stalked by a panther. Random, heart pounding, throat constricting fear. Got checked out, resulting in the medical equivalent of a shrug. Ultimately the panther moved on to stalk someone else. The point is that I initially felt foolish and weak. After seeing a naturopath who validated that what was going on was a real thing, I got through the hormonal U-turn. It is possible that what you experienced will pass never to return. My fingers are crossed.

    We are so critical of ourselves that it takes a concerned third party (all of us) to remind a suffering soul (we love you) that everyone is deserving of care and comfort. I’m not a doctor, just a concerned electronic friend. So, I am sending love and lifting you up in my heart. ❤️

    Cyndi in Seattle

  135. Honey, I have had panic attacks and also ended up in the hospital cause we thought it was a heart attack….You did do everything right and you are gonna be okay. I promise. There is so much love for you floating around, I hope you can feel it. Hang in there. You have got this and we are all cheering/praying/loving you. <3

  136. Glad you keep your phone close and charged up. That is excellent self-care.
    Glad you have people who’ll respond to a text that says “Help.” That is where you are blessed.

  137. I am a nurse, I had a patient coming straight out of surgery that had PTSD in her history. I planned ahead and “scripted” what I was going to say and do, put a mint in my mouth just as she came into the room, etc. She told me after she was so appreciative that I was able to distract her while calming her by touching in certain places and making her just focus on my breath/smell. I felt like I was a true partner, she kept apologizing for what she needed or wanted but I kept always having the next solution for the next problem. I credit you, I have learned how it all interacts because of you. And I thank you so much for that.

  138. There is a type of Australian jellyfish whose sting produces exactly these symptoms, including the existential dread. But it’s sting is usually fatal, and you are not dead, so we can rule that out. Also the jellyfish is only found in Australia so it was kind of a long shot as a diagnosis. But it does make you think that this could have been so much worse.

    Seriously, sorry you had such a scary episode. Sending light and love for your healing. Thank you for sharing your experience so the rest of us don’t feel so alone in our craziness.

  139. Jenni, I admire your courage for posting this. I also suffer from anxiety attacks. I don’t know if I have ever had a panic attack. At least not on the same level as you have. I know the feeling of going to the ER thinking something is terribly wrong and turns out to not be on the level you thought. With my condition, I never know what each day is gonna bring and I’ll feel so guilty when I have ER visits like you described. I am so glad you went though! It is always the one time you don’t that it turns out to be something. Glad you are okay!

  140. Whoa! That’s a hell of a panic attack. I’m sorry you have to deal with them. My teenage son’s panic attacks usually leave him shaking and twitching, with his brain telling him he’s going to die. And his brain melts. I’m glad you weren’t having a heart attack, or worse.

  141. Woah, that sounds super-scary! I’m really glad you are okay and it didn’t turn out to be anything life-threatening but goodness. sends tons and tons of hugs

  142. I’ve had panic attacks for years. I’ve finally learned that if I just stop fighting it and puke it seems to short circuit the whole process. But getting to that rational point of giving in is a horrible journey. I’m glad you have people to take care of you.

  143. How terrifying Jenny 🙁 so very sorry you suffered through that. Medical stuff is SUPER scary-whether it’s happening to you or someone you love. I hope you’re feeling better now and that you stay well. Hope your docs figure this out. Please don’t feel guilty regarding taking care of yourself. Going to the hospital was the absolute right thing to do. Sending healing thoughts and hugs!

  144. I’m so sorry you went thru this, Jenny. I’ve had so many weird symptoms that have landed me in the ER that I SO totally empathize!! I noticed one comment suggested a migraine and that’s what I thought your symptoms sounded like too. A migraine can make you nauseous, headache, temporary blindness, unconsciousness, and it doesn’t have to hurt on one side of your head. A panic attack could have even caused a migraine! Anyway, just a thought. I hope you’re feeling better today! Saying a prayer for you. Hugs! ❤️❤️❤️

  145. I have lived with Anxiety and panic attacks for my whole life. Panic attacks for one person can be totally different to someone else. It sucks. You almost wished they would tell you or find something wrong so that it wasn’t your anxiety or panic . Let’s be honest though, do I really want something to be wrong? NO! I just don’t want it to be my anxiety, I just want to be normal. I go down this path of negative self talk that takes me a little while to come out of! Thank you for sharing your story! I share my stories in hopes that it will bring more empathy and understanding!

  146. Going to the ER was ABSOLUTELY the right thing to do!I went to the ER one morning after work for chest pain that I was 90% sure was stress related (I’m a nurse) because I didn’t want to die from denial. It was stress.
    Just think how embarrassed you would be if you woke up dead! I would be mortified. “But I thought it was a panic attack!”. Yeah, but I bet a heart attack feels pretty much like a panic attack.
    Wonky brains with their crazy chemistry suck. I have a medicine cabinet full of crazy-brain meds to prove it, too.

    My favorite quote for us wonks:
    “It’s the cracked ones that let the light into the world.”
    You are a very bright light!

  147. From the first two paragraphs I suspected you might have sepsis (lots of similar symptoms) so that trip to ER was most definitely merited.
    I suffered from debilitating panic attacks for decades and eventually an intensive course of CBT helped enormously. Wish I’d done it earlier!
    Hope you’re feeling much better now.

  148. From the initial paragraphs I suspected that you might have sepsis (many shared symptoms) so that trip to ER was most definitely merited!
    I suffered from debilitating panic attacks for decades until I belatedly had an intensive course of CBT which helped immeasurably.
    Hope you feel much better.

  149. I have had panic attacks xthough never as severe as yours. I had one in what is supposed to be the one of the happiest places on earth. Disney world.Due to things from my childhood too numerous to mention I am claustrophobic. This being The “Holiday season” the park was of course at maximum capacity,ie wall to wall people,to the point in certain areas you couldn’t move without touching someone. As you said this affects everyone differently. I had to go off by myself at our hotel to work myself out of it. Thankfully my last one was not as severe or as recent,but none the less still scary to say the least I send you a HUGE hug and I’m glad that you are feeling better!

  150. Jenny, you don’t need to pay people $2000 to tell you there is nothing wrong with you.
    We all know it. It’s the rest of the world that’s crazy.

  151. The stomach flu is going around here in Iowa. Maybe you did have something which caused you to be nauseous and pass out and THEN you had a panic attack. Perfectly understandable.

  152. I live in fear that when I’m not feeling well, the docs will tell me there is nothing wrong. It’s expensive and embarrass me. But when I went to the ER with symptoms like yours, I found out my appendix was ruptured. So don’t be embarrassed, be cautious.

  153. Hi Jenny-
    I’m sorry you went through that. Do you have any clue as to what triggered the attack? Was it something you all were discussing at the table, or something you saw or heard in the restaurant?
    Glad to hear it was “only” a panic attack and nothing serious 😉

  154. I loathe panic attacks. Had one send me to the ER 2 years ago. I had just had sex and thought I was having a heart attack. Not cool body. I give you the feel goods and you give me the feel bads. Not cool at all. Glad you are ok. Don’t feel bad about the hospital bills. It’s a small price to pay to know you are ok.

  155. That is so scary and I am so sorry you had to go through that! The 3 of us here all have some level of anxiety- what a family lol- but I would have totally done exactly what you did. Never worth taking a chance. Sending you virtual hugs – and lots of healing thoughts.

  156. I have had panic attacks AND anxiety for years. I am a slave to Xanax. God Bless you and may we all have peace. Love you.

  157. This happens to my husband about once a year. It’s horrible and scary and I’m sorry it happened to you. Take care of yourself!

  158. Jenny. You are good. You are beyond good. You know too much and your brain is messin with you. I’m sorry. Believe yourself. Believe me. You did right. It’s crazy how much you mean to me, how much I love you. It’s weird how well I feel I know you, it must be very strange to you to have so many feel like I do, and we’re strangers.

    Sorry, diarrhea of the mouth.

  159. Do any drs tell people that deficiencies in vitamins and minerals cause anxiety and even panic attacks? I’m so sorry so many people don’t know that gut health along with Vit and mineral deficiencies are a cause. Please contact a good naturopathic doctor and let them determine how deficient you are so they can recommend something to help you. That has to be one of the most devastating experiences for you and your family. Be well lovely lady.

  160. Please make that picture. So many of us need to frame that. lol

    People ask me all the time: “What’s wrong with you?” or “Why are you like this?”. Usually while smiling though. So, I embrace it.

    I think I would be sadly normal if I didn’t deal with the insanity my brain deals out. It makes me oddly grateful at times. Other times, not so much.

    I am grateful for your brain’s insanity too, Jenny! Brainsanity! High five!

  161. I’ve been following you for so long. (Please read this. It’s a goodbye letter.)

    Many years ago we even chatted at length in a nice conversation online together. I started my panic disorder website in 1996 and for several years was #1 in results when someone went to Google and typed in Panic Attacks. I helped a LOT of people. Tens of thousands. I helped babies to not be aborted because their mother’s were afraid that the panic attacks would kill both of them. I gave 100% of myself to the world 100% of the time, and I got not really all that much better.

    I took the site down in 2005’ish.

    It was wonderful to give it all up except for the occasional email to an old site user. Putting that suitcase down was the biggest relief for me! It was like I was looking up for the first time and could see so much going on around me that I wasn’t involved with, but wanted to be.

    Maybe you are holding too many suitcases considering all the other shit your body is putting you through? And then menopause – I don’t know if you’re eligible to receive this lovely life’s lottery, but if so, you might want to cut back on the commitments until you’re through it because even though you will, unfortunately, (<–sarcasm, ppl) be sane throughout it, people won’t believe you and you’ll cry at them for no reason and think you have nobody left in the world that can possibly know your pain.

    It hurts, it sucks, it’s hot, it’s cold, it’s shaky and sleepy and the worst thing? Words won’t come out properly when you speak.

    It will be like someone else is in control of your body.

    Then yay! You will wake up one day and it’ll be over and you just have to hope you DID actually attend your daughters college graduation and didn’t drive a good man far far away, Donkey.

    But, beyond all that, passing out in a bathroom anytime is considered poor manners 😉 but it sounds like you did it with panache, which is so you 😉 and I’m very glad to hear that you did not hurt yourself worse, although I imagine your ego was a bit sore 🙁 I can’t say that I wouldn’t be freaking out, too, with no answer on the “yeah, but WHY’D I pass out thing, but thankfully it sounds like you had/have excellent doctors, so please trust them. <3

    I once went to the ER for a panic attack and during the EKG they showed me that every third beat was skipping. It’s called Trigeminy and not dangerous, but it had a NAME so thank God I had SOMETHING I could cling to. (I won’t tell you how that EKG led to a ridiculous, stupid, expensive, “come on, seriously, Lisa???” year of cardiologists testing me repeatedly until I believed them that my heart was healthy. I still don’t believe them, thus the “c’mon, Lisa!!)

    I also once called 911 for a panic attack as there was no doubt that I’d be dead without intervention (panic lies, too, heh) and now it’s 2019 and people STILL cannot grasp that there’s a definite difference between an anxiety attack and a panic attack. It’s as if we need an entirely new word for a panic attack that people WON’T want to use; as if it were as bad as the “c” word.

    But, sometimes don’t you feel like you did a helluva lot to get the ball rolling and how about someone else figure some shit out for once so YOU don’t have to educate the entirety of humankind that people with panic attacks aren’t crazy, and that they really need to make “Grand Mal Adrenal Misfire” a thing so it sounds so much BIGGER than ‘anxiety attack’?

    (I’ve had medicinal marijuana, and it’s probably the last comment I’ll make on your blog as this is embarrassing AF, so what the hell….) But to come away from something from like passing out in a bathroom (when prior to that you were completely fine) with nothing to show for it other than a $2k receipt and all new questions and fears for you and your family?

    Maybe it’s just time for a new job?

    You know how, oddly enough, many dog owners and their dogs mirror each other in appearance? Or when a couple has been together so long you can’t tell where Joe ends and Joyce begins?

    Maybe your body doesn’t want you to be the panic attack Jenny anymore?

    Hell, go into consulting – you never even have to leave your house, and you already know Wil Wheaton so he can collate for you. Just consult on anything NOT having to do with panic disorder, anxiety, RA, PTSD/mental health and maybe allow yourself to be the one without the answers for the next 10 or 15 years.

    I mean,you wrote all these experiences and thoughts down over the years and made money off of them, and nobody else managed to actually accomplish that – so why not stop and actually enjoy what you’ve built with so much hard work and your own actual panic?

    It’s not like Hailey’s going to go to college next door, either, but when she does if she has a panic attack EVERYONE will know what’s going on, most likely, due in large part to your efforts in educating the masses while maintaining their interest because you’re funny as hell. The world is a better place because of you.

    Now go back to college or something, and NO, not the same one as Hailey goes to someday soon! 😀 <3

  162. I am so happy to hear that you are ok – what a scary thing to go through. I admire your strength to share your stories and I relish in the way you tell them. I know your community appreciates you as much as I do! You are doing the right things – taking care of yourself and recognizing when your body is talking to you. 🙂

  163. So glad to hear that you’re okay.

    You’re so brave to continue to share your struggles and life with us. I’m grateful you can be honest with us. I hope you know how many people you help daily/hourly.

    I think we find it easier to soothe other people and empathize with them because we don’t have to fight our ego and pride. Those stupid things always get in the way of progress. Of course, they sometimes push us to make progress so it’s maybe a catch-22 thing.

    You’ll be okay and you are never alone.

  164. You’re going to be okay and you did what you should have and it’s not your fault and everyone deals with medical bullshit.

    Plus kudos to Victor for dealing with food, and love and support to all three of you.

  165. I can’t believe the doctor just sent you home in that condition, because she couldn’t figure out what was wrong herself.

  166. Your experience sounded an awfully lot like the prodromal phase of my migraines. It’s called Spreading Depolarization. The neurons of the cortex go into suspended animation when they aren’t getting enough glucose or oxygen, so they don’t die. You mentioned needing food; and, how is your anemia? Your depressive episode a couple of posts ago sounded like a classic Channelopathy episode. There is not much research in the US but Germany is turning out some great stuff. It is thought that an inherited channelopathy might have caused Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s unexplained health episodes.
    Love your blog so much.

  167. This jury of your peers has voted you Not Guilty on all counts. You are free to go forward with your life in peace and much loved.

  168. Oh wow… I’m so sorry! Anxiety and panic attacks truly truly suck. My daughter has anxiety attacks and I’m now thankful they are as horrific as your panic attacks! Ugh. She’s the reason I started reading your books so that’s a positive. 🙂 but if I could eradicate them, I’d do it in a heartbeat. No one should have to go through that particular hell. 🙁 praying you never have another one Jenny.

  169. I totally sympathize with the ouchy tongue thing. I’m epileptic and during every grand mal seizure, I violently chew my tongue and inside of my mouth. When I wake up, IT HURTS. Usually for days. It’s often hard to eat because of this. I once bit off the tip of my tongue (totally not kidding, though I wish I were) and it was EXCRUCIATING. When people hear about this, they usually shrug it off as no big deal, but it is AGONIZING. I’m so sorry, Jenny, and I hope it doesn’t happen to you again.

  170. My worse one so far I think was when my heart beat so fast, they put me in a wheelchair in a&e so I didn’t keel over on the floor. Or maybe when a security guard had to take me to the employee breakroom in a shopping centre and call me a cab. Or maybe just everytime my bowels evacuate. I don’t know. Panic is crazy.

  171. How scary! So sorry. I hope you feel better soon. Our bodies betray us in such terrible ways on the daily.

  172. Oh Jenny! I’m so glad you’re better. And yes, ER bills SUPER SUCK, but I’m so glad you went. I’ve had a panic attack before and I [also] was sure I was dying of a heart attack… it’s super scary and I’m glad you sought medical help even if they couldn’t help you in the end. Annoying, but better helped than ignored. Sending love <3

  173. Several years ago, I had a panic attack whilst hiking with my dog. I was on my knees in the dirt, gasping for breath, huge painful knot in my chest, thinking I was going to die out there. Dog was not concerned. Sat there for some time, not sure how long, until I could breath fairly normally again, cried a big cry, then got up and walked back home. Thankful that no one chanced upon me. Got on Wellbutrin not long after. It’s a lifesaver.

  174. So sorry you had to go through that. But thank you for defining my attack for me. I’m pleased to learn that mine was anxiety and not panic caused by a severe case of tinnitus that I couldn’t turn off or escape. That was super scary enough. I cannot imagine a panic event. Best wishes, Jenny ❤️

  175. That is horrifyingly scary and I’m so sorry it happened. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. You DID do the right thing. What if it had been something more “physical” and you hadn’t been checked out? Your family, and those of us who consider you a part of ours, would suffer a great loss. It totally sucks but I am grateful you shared.

  176. I’m so sorry you were so ill, it’s very odd but I know the brain can do powerful things. However, some of your description sounds a lot like what patient’s tell me they experience before and after a seizure. But I’m sure that you’ve heard this before so I won’t keep going.
    Be well, take care. S.

  177. There is a lot of confused info in the comments with regard to syncope, whether you call it vasovagal syncope, or something else, or just syncope. All syncope is of the same type and for the same reason – a drop in blood pressure that causes a person to pass out. Think of it as rebooting a computer: The body forces you to shut down and then reboots, in order to try to force your blood pressure back to normal ranges. That mechanism is always the same. Only the trigger is different. In the case of panic or anxiety, the body has usually identified a danger trigger. The body then engages in “fight or flight” response. This includes, among other things, increased heart rate, decreased digestion, increased blood flow to muscles, increased clotting factors, an adrenaline dump, a increase of certain neurotransmitters, dialation of the pupils,etc. This is all meant to prepare the body to flee, or encounter deadly dangers. If this state persists for long enough, or severely enough, the body will start to try to counteract the effects of your increased heart rate, and other issues by lowering your blood pressure. If you get a big enough systemic dump, or have it for long enough, your body will end up overly compensating by lowering your blood pressure enough that it will cause you to black out. This is ultimately a good thing as your body cannot withstand the wear and tear of the “fight or flight” state indefinitely.
    There are is only one problem that Jenny’s body actually had. Her body identified a danger factor that was apparently not there, at least in any sense she consciously observed. Therefore she neither fled, nor fought, and the dump continued until the system had to shut down and reboot. To one degree or another, this is what is happening with all panic or anxiety attacks. The difference in degree is possibly due to how much conscious recognition the body has of what is happening to it, as it happens, in any given such scenario. Ironically, during real danger, the less conscious thought you have to engage in, the better usually. Therefore, the fact that the body would not be consciously examining and tampering with its own responses would be a benefit. Those of you with panic and anxiety attacks are having to force an unusual level of awareness and control on your own bodily responses.

  178. I had a panic attack that lasted weeks once. It wasn’t as bad as yours, but it was severe chest pain, gastric issues, and absolute terror that I was having a heart attack in spite of already having been cleared for that. Eventually I just woke up tired but not dying one day, but I still sometimes think I had a heart attack

  179. That’s incredibly scary. I’m glad you are ok. Well, as ok as any of us battling mental health issues can be.
    I audibly snorted at the mental image of you wriggling under the bathroom stall while I’m taking a dump. What a unique way to make new friends! Seriously though, I’m glad that you were able to text Victor & get help. Hang in there!

  180. I suppose that you are aware of this. Don’t know how to DM or reply to twitter. Hope you get this
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  181. I am so sorry you went through that. This damn disorder is so unfair. And to top it off there are those who don’t believe panic attacks are a physical thing. The last time I went to the eye doctor the dilation drops caused a sort of numbing in my throat and set off an anxiety attack. Told the nurse so she and the doctor would understand my behavior. I made the comment that I would never be able to actually know when I was having a heart attack due to the fact that I had panic attacks too. She informed me with an oh so superior air that I would definitely know the difference because they were NOTHING alike. I wanted to vault from my chair and wrestle her to the ground. Really? Did she think she was helping?

  182. Ms Ro
    I wish medical professionals were better at recognizing the communication gap that they are possibly fostering due to their medical training. From a purely physiological standpoint the nurse was right, there is nothing alike between a heart attack and a panic attack. They involve very different mechanisms and must be treated very differently from a medical standpoint and also a pharmacological standpoint. However, the symptomology of both have some similarities and there is nothing to say that they might not end up feeling similar, which is what matters to you and was what you were talking about. Possibly she was trying to say that your experience of a panic attack and a heart attack could be very different, which is true. However, if she thinks she knows for sure what you will experience if you have do have a heart attack, then the mind boggles.

    Everyone should take care of themselves if they think there is any possible chance they are having a heart attack. Timing can be critical in terms of outcome. Quicker care is directly correlated to more positive outcomes. It isn’t ever something to mess around with, and Jenny did exactly right.

  183. I’m so glad you’re alright! This might sound a little weird but have you checked your hormone levels to see if you’re in perimenopause? I’ve read that it can make anxiety and panic attacks worse. I’ve woken up with a hot flash so severe that I was disoriented, dizzy, had a sense of dread, and then I threw up, and I still felt sick. Even though I had had hot flashes before, I had no idea what was going on. I can’t imagine that coupled with a panic attack. I would have gone to the ER, too. (Plus, my husband had a stroke and he didn’t know it so always go to the ER!) Hugs hon. You did the right thing.

  184. I’ve been to the doctor and the ER too, certain I was about to die, and been told that I was “only” having a panic attack. And every time I have been told that I did the right thing to come in, and also that I should come back if it happened again because there would be no way for me to know whether I was have a panic or heart attack. The problem with that advice was that sometimes the attacks would repeat for days and I simply could not afford to go to the ER every few hours over the course of a week or a fortnight.

    Like others, I figure I’ll die of a heart attack because I’ll assume it’s a panic attack and so will stay away from the ER. Mostly I don’t believe there’s an afterlife, but if there is one, it will be because the universe couldn’t pass the opportunity of letting me feel stupid for eternity.

  185. You just described the flu symptoms I had… including the passing out. Hope you feel better soon!

  186. sorry, i am from/born in/live in London, I still cannot believe that when you feel like you are dying (whether you are or not) in the throws of discovering you are ok you are still faced with ridiculous costs for basic medicine. For Fuck’s Sake!!!!

  187. I had to go to the ER on Monday for lower right quadrant pain, nausea, weakness, BP of 148/105. I had the pain from Friday on, but like you couldn’t accept that I needed to go in. Anyone else I would have told them to go, I would drive them, whatever but they needed to be seen. Me? I kept putting it off. To add insult to injury, it’s a large ovarian cyst, and my appendix looks “great” (stupid little thing). I haven’t seen the ER bill yet but I had a CT so it’s going to be insane. I understand your thoughts here, and I’m going to tell you what I should be telling myself, if it helps: You’re going to be okay. You did the right thing. It’s not your fault (it’s not like the ER is a fun place to hang out), and you can let go of the guilt for scaring your family. They were scared because they love you, and now they’re probably relieved that you’re alright. You are loved. We do all go through this. And you are absolutely not alone in your feelings or in this experience. You’re amazing. (Also I’m still on pain drugs so, sorry if this is pretty rambly.)

  188. Holy cow–you have so many commenters! Well I just want to say thank you for sharing this experience because it helps so many of us feel like we’re not alone with our anxiety. I had to share with my sister because she gets random panic attacks that come out of nowhere. We’re big fans of your books! I’m now at the ripe old age of 41 and have realized that I’ve been using the #BodyFallingApart hashtag a lot lately. You’re in good company, my friend.

  189. Similar thing happened to my son a couple of years ago. He somehow made it to the campus clinic/first aid place and they freaked out. He was dehydrated and one of his eyes wasn’t working. Nausea etc. They called an ambulance – he thinks they thought he was having an aneurysm or was dying. My son is incredibly calm and formal in times of duress so he was very apologetic. They did the CT scans etc and found nothing. The conclusion for him was that he was having some kind of migraine that had ALL of the symptoms at the same time. Every weird migraine symptom ever. He is not prone to headaches at all and had never had a migraine. To test the hypothesis out, they gave him some kind of shot “that was going to feel like getting hit by a 2×4” and it did hurt that much and it did stop most of his symptoms. We all found it interesting. Just offering a different dx. Panic attacks are horrible and they also have these same symptoms. Hope you are feeling better.

  190. So sorry Jenny, medical crap just sucks. Allow me to share what I’ve learned through my daughter’s recent experience: She has been to urgent care and the ER so many times since the beginning of the year that we have now fulfilled our family deductible! ($18K, it’s gonna hurt, but so worth it) So,Yay?!? She was at school/at home/at activity and would have pretty much the exact same episode you had (minus the tongue bite). Not gonna kid here, it’s frightening, and she thought she was gonna die, like – every time. You absolutely did the right thing, and I promise you your family does not begrudge the hospital bill at all, because we all love you and any reasonable person would have sought immediate medical care with those symptoms. Anyway, here we are in March and she has a diagnosis of POTS. (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome: https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/9597/postural-orthostatic-tachycardia-syndrome). All of her tests came back normal too, until one insightful doctor did a postural orthostatic test. Bob’s your uncle, it appears we may be on a path to help now! Give it a look, as so many of the nice doctors were saying “Oh, she’s having a panic attack”. and my daughter would just melt and tell us privately “these things I’m experiencing are real physical symptoms, please believe me”. And we do. She also suffers from depression and anxiety, she’s had both panic attacks and anxiety attacks – we’ve been at this a long time – both are horrible. What’s worse is being ignored or overlooked because of those awful things. Keep on keeping on, you are wonderful Jenny and we all believe you and are here for you. Again, just hoping this may help. Sending you giant fuzzy internet hugs.

  191. Jenny, I know others have said this but you’re going to be okay and you did what they should have and that it’s not your fault and everyone deals with medical bullshit.

    My Mom had what she thought was a heat-related incident last summer but when she describes it, it sounds a LOT like you describe the panic attack. I have anxiety attacks quite a bit but I’ve had two panic attacks and I was SURE I was going to die. But, well, I’m writing this, so I guess I didn’t die (or you have a ghost commenting on your blog… which sounds a lot like what I’d do if I was a ghost so…hmmm…)

    Anyhow, I am glad you went and got things checked and I am sorry your brain is being a douchecanoe.

    Much love to you.

  192. OMG! As I was laying on the bathroom floor two nights ago, convinced that my bowels were going to burst forth from my belly and wonder why the heck no one else in my house was suffering from the obviously horrible food poisoning that I was… I realized “oh, it must just be anxiety!” And then it went away and it went back to bed like nothing happened. Really? Really. Anyhow, It’s great to know that I’m not the only one (and obviously not by far, given how many commenters you have here!

  193. Yeesh. Just so you know, I’ve passed out and had a seizure from food poisoning before. I’ve passed out twice but only once did I also have a seizure.

  194. Dear Jenny,

    If you are still reading these. I’m sending you love, and hope you are feeling better. My own two cents is just to remember that things that happen in the body and then mind are related. Your mind can change your heart rate, and your breathing and all kinds of other things. Your body can bring on feelings, and attitudes (I’ve had steriods cause me to snap at everyone in my family, and another medication cause deep depressions, and anxiety.) F all the people who want to put you are on side or another of the divide. “Body” column is real. “Mind” column isn’t. Fuck that all to hell. You had alarming things happening in your body. You didn’t choose them. They were real. They were not a heart attack, thank goodness, but they were real.

  195. A friend frequently says “your body is trying to kill you again.” Yup, well aware, not sure why that keeps happening. So sorry your body has the dumbs too, hope they wise up soon. Keep being awesome, love you!

  196. A panic attack is a response to things that you have no control of, just like most chronic illnesses. The chemicals go into overdrive and send out all sorts of ridiculous signals. You can accept the rheumatoid arthritis, but it is so much more difficult to accept that your body suddenly goes into panic. Panic attacks aren’t a sign of weakness, they’re a sign that your body has been through a lot of trauma and you need to be kind to yourself. You’ve had a huge amount of trauma already this year and maybe you thought about that in the restaurant, maybe you felt relief to be in a place of calm, or wondered ‘what if’.

    Don’t blame yourself because your body objects to the stress you’ve experienced and over-reacts at some trigger. It’s like an avalanche, one tiny pebble can cause it to start, but it only can do that because so much snow has fallen already. It’s a reminder to take care, to protect, to rest. Be kind to yourself, you deserve it and you need it. After all, you’ve manage to hold a lot of snow in place for a long time. (And thank you for sharing that, in writing these words to you, I heard them too.)

  197. I have never had one that intense and I’m sorry you had to experience that alone……Have you ever considered hemp oil ? Amazon has a larger variety – I find it helps

  198. I wouldn’t wish panic attacks on my worst enemy (well, maybe I would) because I’ve been there. Luckily I was sitting down. Broke out in a bad, cold sweat and didn’t dare to move or talk and was glad to see a waste basket near my chair just in case. Please be kind to yourself and keep an eye on that body. Especially if you seem to hear the theme of “Jaws” come from out of nowhere.

  199. That sounds awful! I hope your body learns to panic a bit less in the future. 🙂 I have plenty of experience with my own panic attacks. They hit at the strangest times, usually when I’m relaxing in a shower or bath tub. I can’t figure out the trigger, since I have no shower/bath/relaxation-related trauma in my life. I become short-of-breath and start to hyperventilate. When they first started happening, I thought I’d developed asthma. Knowing what they are has definitely helped me recognize them and deal with them, but it’s never fun to feel like you’re literally suffocating for no reason.

  200. Seriously you need to move to Canada or any of the tons of other countries with socialized medicine. And we all complain because the parking is expensive, but that the only thing you’re paying for. That, and snacks.
    My daughter suffers from anxiety attacks and panic attacks. One time she was convinced that she was having a heart attack, at age 14, and her heart was racing so fast I took her to ER because even I was freaked out. It’s hard when your body screws around with your mind.

  201. The issue is that though it may have been a panic attack this time, next time, it may not be. When your physiological symptoms are frighteningly similar to a heart attack or a pulmonary embolism, you can’t afford to just ride it out and assume it is “just” a panic attack. That’s how people leave us too young because they can’t believe they could possibly be having a heart attack. Go to the hospital. It’s worth it to your husband and daughter, I am sure.

  202. Thank you for writing this, I didn’t realize panic attacks physically attacked. My husband called me from work a few weeks ago because he was feeling weak, nauseous, had shortness of breath, and a feeling of dread. He said it felt like a panic attack. I rushed him to the ER and they did an EKG and bloodwork. They couldn’t find anything wrong with him and recommended he see a cardiologist. A week prior to the ER visit we put our dog down. (“The smartest dog ever” according to my husband. ) Reading your post today helped connect the dots. I value your posts and I appreciate that even in your darkest moments you help us see light.

  203. Not sayin’ this may be your issue but this is what happened…
    Daughter (20)…life long history of frequent horrific panic attacks and then sick for a day after.
    No doctor could find any help any way,

    Last summer she worked at camp for kids with lifelong troubles like cancer or hemophilia or diabetes and many other things.
    Awesome camp with terrific specialist medical staff there all the time rotating in from local University of Virginia.

    On her way to work daughter had “panic attack” and drove off the road and lost several seconds and was aware that she could no longer communicate with her body…hands, feet etc. First panic attack where that sort of thing really mattered as usually she had to “been able” to do the whole bathroom thing as you did in the restaurant.
    She soon after arrived at camp in tears and on phone with me, and they examined her. She was then rushed in their on site ambulance to ER.
    The neurosurgeon at the camp diagnosed her with Epilepsy,
    She has been hooked up to wires and had multi-day tests and a seizure has never happened during any of the exams.
    Now in the Neurology clinic and after much study and discussion it is believed that she has had E all of her life, and her previous dr’s all said ‘panic attack.’

    She has been on anti seizure meds since last summer, and as it slowly increased in dosage her “panic attacks” went from several weekly to once a month in December. Since December she has had one on the current level of medication.

    Next appointment is in May to discuss progress.

    Side effects of anti seizure med have been less depression, less fear to nearly none, and less cold sensitivity. She has welcomed these. She also takes an ssri.
    The relief from knowing what’s wrong, whether the seizures will perform for the doctor or not, is enormous.
    The proof is in the reduction of seizures and the way everything fits.

    I have thought about this when reading you a few times and may have written before. If so oops! and I’m sorry.

  204. All of the above and if not already mentioned… could be autoimmune bullshit that is real but diagnosed the time it’s not that bad and you aren’t expecting it. I’m always fine when I think I’m not and then get dx with random “zebra” BS when I don’t see it coming!

  205. Reading this made me realize I’m not alone. I’ve lived through anxious and stressful times for the past year and a half and it was almost all due to trying to help my dog with congestive heart failure to live. My live was planned around when to give him his medicine and every cough made me tense. I put my dog to sleep on 2/14/19, Valentine’s Day, but I KNOW I did the right thing. I don’t understand the abdominal pain hitting me now because the reason for my stress and anxiety is gone now. I’ll miss Cooper forever but I know he’s in a lot better place, his death was very peaceful.
    I feel very alone but really identified with you. I, too, went to the hospital a little over a week ago and had the CT scans, x-rays, blood tests, etc. The conclusion was anxiety. I don’t want this anxiety. The hospital sent me to a GI doc and even he said he wouldn’t do an endoscopy because I was reacting to my dog’s death. DAMN, when does this stop? I am at peace with my decision on Cooper but apparently by body wants to keep messing with me.
    Thanks for writing this. I just got introduced to you today by a friend on Twitter.

  206. I just have to say, if you’re vomiting and passing out, it’s not all ‘in your head’. There has GOT to be a medical reason that things like this happen to you. I had an anxiety attack ONCE. I realized later that the place I had the attack at (I know, bad grammer) had a large macrame’ wall decor thingy that emitted a vaguely moldy odor. I think it was mold, in my case anyway, that caused me to freak out for no apparent reason whatsoever. Needless to say, it sucks to be you sometimes, but people, like me, LOVE what you say and write. So, there’s that. I hope you’re feeling better…

  207. As I read this, I looked down and saw my IV bruises one now yellow from 2 weeks ago – one fresh from Friday night. I was certain I was going to die. Blood tests all perfect, no heart condition… I was sure I was dying. Depression sucks and so do panic attacks. Thanks for sharing because it feels better knowing I am not alone. <3

  208. I’m so glad I found this blog and just today I started listening to the audio book of “let’s pretend this never happened”. Thank you for sharing your scary story of what happened during your panic attack. I never had them till recently…they started because about 2 years ago the right side of my body was paralyzed for about an 1 hour (happened one month apart from each other) drs aren’t sure if it was a hemiplegic migraine or a mini stroke…the 2nd one happened at my sons football game and they had to carry me out on a stretcher in front of everyone. Now anytime I feel off I’m afraid it’s going to happen again and my body goes into panic mode…cold flashes, heart racing, and definitely an impending feeling of doom. I usually cry and freak out but have been able to calm myself down. Thank you so very much for sharing your story, makes me feel I am not alone in this. Jen

  209. I’ve experienced a few panic attacks and they are terrifying. They always happened after a major emotional event (a big move and my husband’s sudden mysterious illness years ago.). While I have hope that you are going to continue to feel better, by sharing your story you are helping so many feel less alone in their struggles. And just some fan mail– absolutely adore your blog/Instagram and hold out to do a big catch up a few times a month–always just before I go to bed when I know its been a struggle of a day and when everyone one and thing is hating on me. I then go to sleep thinking of all the mystery and wonder that comes your way and that makes everything a littler lighter, a little better, a little less alone. Sending wishes you get through this and you start feeling back to having the potential you desire in every day.

  210. I just had my second panic attack last friday, with the chest pain, headache, tight throat, panic. AT least I knew it wasn’t a heart attack because after (what I now know to be) the first one a few months ago, I had all the cardiac tests and they came out a-okay. Still, terrifying and a wakeup call that I need to see my doc because my depression/anxiety have clearly been escalating, but I’ve been telling myself all along, “Well, what can you expect during a pandemic?” So I’ve got a doc appt on Friday, and meantime I’m googling “Bloggess panic attack” because I know that reading about your experiences will make me feel not so crazy and alone. So KNOCK KNOCK MUTHERFUCKER!

    Love, one of your 25

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