It was shortly after my 21st birthday and into the wee hours of the morning when it first happened.
Shooting to sit up straight in the center of my bed, suddenly I found myself overwhelmed with the sense of immense pressure pain that took over the left side of my chest and arm. The more I tried to figure out what was happening under the light of the red glow from my alarm clock that read 3:02AM, the harder it was for me to catch my breath.
Jesus, am I dying?? Falling under demon possession? It is technically “The Witching Hour“.
This is why you shouldn’t watch Horror films before bed, kids.
The only thing in that moment that made sense was to get up and begin pacing the room harder than James Brown at the Boston Garden. BIG mistake.
The feeling only intensified and left me running in blind panic to my grandfather’s room and announce that I was having a heart attack. Known to be
slightly overdramatic a little quick to conclusions at that age, my gramps decided to give me the benefit of the doubt. And a Bayer, because “that’s what people his age do” in moments of this crisis. Nothing. After ugly crying through describing more symptoms, I was then rushed to the hospital where after countless questions, breathing techniques and medication I learned I had a full-blown anxiety attack.
While majority of anxiety issues can be situational, the cause of my abrupt attack was similar and a slow build. I was coming up on the one year death anniversary of my grandmother who raised me, working in a toxic environment with even more toxic friends to match outside the workplace, under financial pressure to help with extended family and eating and drinking like garbage to cope with it all. Roll it up into one, big, ugly ball of panic and SURPRISE!