I never thought I would have panic attacks. I was happy with my job, working at IBM, I was being recognized once a month through the communication emails that were sent to the entire company. Actually, I was doing interesting things and my manager and team leader were giving me hints to encourage me by saying that I could go take courses in Rochester, Minnesota or Boulder, Colorado, or even get a transfer to one of those locations in the future.
It seemed like a dream to me, and I worked hard to show that I deserved it. But working long nights, staying up to 36 hours without sleep to change a bank server, or allowing thousands of workers to go back to manufacturing food, was not good for my body. My head was about to explode. And one day it exploded! It was my birthday, midnight, and the PM and team members were singing “Happy Birthday” to me over the phone while I was in a data center troubleshooting a RAID disk failure. The next day I was late so my team leader and team members criticized me for not going on time, and it was like that every day. I had 3 phones for different issues and my job was to fix things and implement new solutions. My new team leader didn’t get it.
One day I came home early, at 2 in the morning, I went to bed and my body started shaking, having trouble breathing, my heart was beating very fast and I was crying non-stop. I had a panic attack. Fortunately, weeks later I was fired for poor performance. Incredible! Then a former colleague called me and told me that there was a misunderstanding. Apparently someone else deserved “the blame” and not me. But I do not care anymore. Maybe that firing saved my life.
Panic attacks become common
Undoubtedly, panic attacks have become more and more widespread in recent times. We can also add to this, or put it in the same bag, anxiety crises. This is something that happens to people of all characters and under diverse circumstances. Even if we have not experienced any of these crises, quite possibly we have often felt that nerves or shyness played a trick on us.
Feelings of a crisis
- DIZZINESS: They are produced by cervical tension. This causes the supply of well-oxygenated blood to the brain to decrease.
- THE SENSATION OF LACK OF AIR: This is caused by increasing oxygen in the blood due to hyperventilation.
- PERCEIVE WHAT WE SEE IN A STRANGE WAY: By having less oxygen in some sectors of the brain due to hyperventilation.
- PALPITATIONS, TACHYCARDIA: When we feel that we are in a strange situation, be it real or imaginary, the heart can respond in this way.
- TINGLES IN THE HANDS, PALENESS: The mechanisms of our physiology that are prepared to improve the body’s response to a risk situation, makes the influx of blood greater in the places where it is most needed. This leaves the rest of the body with insufficient blood supply.
- PINCHING IN THE CHEST, PAIN IN THE LEFT ARM: This is caused by tension in the intercostal muscles. This happens when the lungs are too full or suffer from tension in the intercostal muscles. Or it can even be something caused by cervical or dorsal contractures that transmit pain to these areas.
- TREMOR, PARESTHESIAS: This comes from excessive muscle tension.
Fear of fear
This happens when the person observes himself and notices minimal changes in his physiological activity. That is interpreted as something dangerous. It can be a heart attack, doing something crazy or just losing control. That triggers a cycle of panic. On the other hand, agoraphobia, the fear of fear causes people to avoid situations or take actions that make the person feel exposed.
Anxiety does not appear only when one is exposed to avoided or feared situations, but, and above all, when anticipating this type of unpleasant events. Just by imagining that we should go or do something in particular that we feel will not do us good, the first thing we are going to do is fear the worst and decide to prevent things from happening. The problem is that these types of situations to avoid will most likely increase over time and that will generate a vicious circle that destroys us from within.