It was May 16, 2006, when I experienced a panic attack so severe I didn’t know who I was when looking into a mirror. I had been depressed, but this event came out of the blue. I was so out of touch with reality that I could have committed suicide and not even have known I was doing it…but I didn’t have the energy.
The attack lasted four hours, much longer than the time frame given in my previous blog. I thought I was going to die, but gradually the effects of the panic dissipated. Immediately I called my doctor because I never wanted that to happen again. He prescribed a milligram of Xanax to ward off any future attacks. It was like a miracle drug. No more panics, no more depression; I was back to normal. Severe panic attacks were gone forever, but the depression returned, and with it a physical dependence on a medication that is highly addictive. It took me almost five years to come off benzodiazapenes completely.
The medication controlled the symptoms, but I wasn’t about to rest there. To not know why something has happened is not in my nature. I purchased a book called The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Dr. Edmund Bourne, and read several other books and on-line essays on anxiety and panic. They all encouraged me that a panic attack was not going to kill me and suggested ways to deal with such extreme manifestations of anxiety and anxiety itself.
In my usual pattern of body, soul, and spirit, I took medication for my body, self-help for my soul, and eventually took the best physical and mental health medication of all – a trust in my God that He would either keep me free from anxiety and panic in the future or would be with me as I went through them. With that kind of a friend, I lost my fear of panic and became less anxious as I depended more on Him and less on myself.