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I didn't know I had panic attacks for 20 years

stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

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Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
771
I used to get these "things" whenever I would get migraines in my late teens and early 20s. I assumed they were a part of the migraine aura, which really scared me. Numb hands, visual blind spots, tense headache, inability to read, write or remember more than 3 words at a time as I was speaking, and...my whole body would shake. Like I was shivering so intensely I was jerking, except I wasn't cold. I couldn't stay still and I'd hyperventilate. My whole body was stiff and so tense that the next day, all my muscles ached as if I'd been to the gym. I could talk but it was hard as my jaw was so clenched and my tongue kept "shivering" too.

So this sounds pretty unpleasant, right? I had these "episodes" maybe 3-8 times a year for 20 years, before I finally had one WITHOUT the presence of a migraine. I just woke up shaking. I thought I must have had a migraine in my sleep or something, but no.

I finally realised one night (after having one following noticing my eye was all bloodshot and I didn't notice I was freaked out again, and having another one after noticing I felt nauseous and I was worried I might have food poisoning) that these were, and always had been, panic attacks. And yet not ONE of them ever caused me to feel actual panic or fear! They were just all physical symptoms, with a slightly more extreme feeling than I usually feel of anxiety deep down.

How can one have a panic attack but feel no panic??

(edit - since I realised what they were, I no longer fear having one. I just think "ho hum!" and wait the 20-30 minutes of shaking out.)
 
Bhonest

Bhonest

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I don’t know how that could happen to you. Breathing exercises is a good method to stop panic.
 
stevie_sloth

stevie_sloth

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2015
Messages
771
Thanks! I'm not overly concerned about it now, as I know what it is, but I'm just baffled that I never felt any of the typical panic feelings during the attacks.

I think my baseline anxiety must be so high, and because it's been so high for 40 years, it's become "normal" for my mind and it (my mind) didn't notice I was in a state of panic and instead shut down and my body just experienced it.
 
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