Many years ago I had my first panic attack…I was nineteen. I remember it as if it was yesterday.
It felt as if I was dying and no one could convince me otherwise. It was the summer after my first year in college.
Panic took over as I was driving….very scary…then again on the subway on my way to a doctor’s appointment. No one even the dermatologist knew what to do for me.
Fortunately, my French internist was able to calm me. He prescribed a small dose of a new drug, Valium. ….which I may add was soon labeled a wonder drug after its arrival on the pharmaceutical market.
I took a “nibble” of a 2mg Valium and felt better. I just did not know why this little pill was so effective.
After having my thyroid scanned and spending a few days in the hospital…I was given a clean bill of health.
I was cured…all I needed was a little “nibble” of Valium when I felt particularly panicky.
Thankfully, for me those terrible ‘panic’ attacks never returned to that degree and even more thankfully one prescription of Valium was all that I needed because several years afterward Valium addiction became the talk show fodder for the Phil Donahue Show.
There was even a book published about the horror of Valium addiction “I’m Dancing as Fast As I Can”.
After my first of several summer panic attacks, I returned to college in the fall and took my first course in psychology…it became my minor in college to learn about anxiety and conquer it.
Many years have passed and I now meditate and am a yoga enthusiast.
When I read about others who experience ‘panic’ attacks my wish for them is that they find a wonderful, understanding doctor, a good yoga instructor and skip the Xanax…(today’s Valium replacement).
“My little bit of a nervous breakdown started 10 years ago, when my daughter — then five — was diagnosed with epilepsy. After six weeks of smiling through neurologist appointments, EEGs, blood tests and boatloads of worry, I started having panic attacks, which are aptly named. They feel like total, uncontrollable panic….
But this time I could draw upon tools, and that helped. More important, I realized that I needed to change. I couldn’t be a constant yo-yo mirroring everyone else’s health. I needed to be strong in myself.
So I did the smartest thing I ever did: I started meditating. I’ve been doing Vipassana meditation for about three years now.