I think I may have just had a panic attack

EDIT: I hope this is the right forum. I'm not really seeking advice, although if anyone has any comments on the numbness they'd be welcome.

This has been a strange afternoon. I'm normally a ridiculously laid back person, possibly to the point that it's a bad thing. When other people get really stressed about exams, I never really understand what the fuss is, for example.

I'm not in my final year of university, and have a dissertation due in February. I'm supposed to be pretty far through this, but if I'm honest I've done nothing. I barely think about this, but I've noticed when I do it stresses me out a fair bit. I usually just push it to the back of my mind and go back to being chilled out though. I had one of these stressful thoughts in the shower today, but just pushed it to the back of my mind and carried on as usual.

After arriving at my girlfriend's dad's house today so she can see him for Christmas, I started getting a strange feeling in my cheek. It felt a little numb, like I'd been anesthetized at a dentist and it had mostly worn off. Obviously this panicked me that I could be having a stroke or something, but after looking it up online it didn't seem that way, as I retained full movement and had no other symptoms. I did note that it's a symptom of anxiety or stress, but this didn't stand out to me because like I said, I'm usually a pretty chilled out person.

Naturally I spent the next couple of hours worrying about it, it didn't seem to get worse and actually seemed to dissipate a little whilst eating lunch. After a trip to tesco, I felt pretty tired and more generally ill, so decided to go up to bed. I found I couldn't sleep however, so asked my girlfriend to come upstairs. After spending a while looking at symptoms and things, she asked if there was anything I'm worried about. I remembered how I'd felt in the shower this morning about my dissertation, so started to bring that up. Suddenly I found I could barely talk, and just uncontrollably burst into tears (I'm not someone that usually cries) and explained how I felt about it. We then looked at other symptoms of panic attacks/anxiety and found I had several of them, shortness of breath, shivering/shaking, sweating, the numbness etc.

So yeah, I think that's what it was. I hope at least. Either way, it was an unusual feeling seeing as how I'm normally so chilled out and don't feel stressed. Has anyone experienced a numb or tingling sensation anywhere as a result of stress or anxiety, or any other reason?

TL;DR - just read the last sentence.

Possibly a panic attack. I'm no doctor, but it looks like you coupled the stress you tucked away with the stress you put on yourself by worrying about symptoms. You can tuck away things like stress as much as you like, but if you don't find a way to somehow vent that built up tension, it's going to come out some day.

Chances are, yes, it's a panic attack.

Maybe the best thing to avoid it from happening again is to make a list of the things you need to do for your dissertation. Make a step-by-step list of everything you need to do and cross thigns off as you go. It could even be "create word file and save it" "add page numbers and date" "add header/footer space" "set up table of contents to add titles to" ad such, and cross those off. That could relieve a lot of the stress if you have a visual guide to how far you've come.

As for me - I've had a few. My worst one was just after I bought my first car - brand new. I was ill during the whole process (I hate spending money), but a few days after I brought it home my neck got sore. A day later, worse. As the day (and the night) wore on, my neck and back seized so much that my chin was touching my shoulder and my ear was doing it's best to as well. I was in immense pain and had my dad take me to the hospital. We sat for hours without me being seen, so at about 4am, just after my dad had gone to get me food, I tried to stand up and say "let's go home", but as I stood I passed out and woke up to nurses and a security guard picking me up off the floor. They laid me on a gurney... and I found I could move. I still hurt and was tense, but my muscles had relaxed when I fainted (first time in my life doing so), so that relieved the stress.

These things happen, you just have to learn how to handle them. They manifest differently, even to the same person, so you just have to realise it and try and work it out. I de-stress by sitting down and rationalizing everything. I get really stressed about money, so I'm often running through figures in my head and always re-calculating my budgets. I'm not a type A by any stretch, though, but it's how I remind myself things will be okay.

I suffer from pretty bad panic attacks, they get even worse when I'm stressed, depressed or sleep deprived.

First off, get some of your work done. Don't push it to one side because you'll know about it when it comes to the crunch.
Do as much as you can and give yourself a little reward after if it helps. All this suppressed stress is probably worse for you than letting yourself get stressed out about stuff sometimes.
I can't explain the cheek thing because it's never happened to me.

My panic attacks usually come at me during the night and wake me up or as I'm about to go to sleep and sometimes after a bad dream.
They're really hard to deal with but it's much better if you have someone with you. If you have a partner with you, ask them to hold you and reassure you everything is fine. Just feeling their warmth and presence is good enough sometimes.

I read something online that says your brain is getting messages to panic and be afraid so shouting STOP inside your own head stops these messages being sent. It's helped me a little bit, along with telling myself to get a grip and that nothing is wrong.

The most important thing is you stop pushing things to the back of your mind and do some work, it's always going to be hanging over you sometimes.

 

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