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No anxiety, no fear, no insomnia, feel your calm

Self-Help Journey of Panic Attacks

Self-Help Journey of Panic Attacks

Medically reviewed by Jeevika Yu, written by Carl Lee, facts provided by Frank Xu. Reading Time: 8 minutes

I am grateful to Frank for sharing his experience, and I am sure this article will benefit you greatly. Let's follow the main character to understand his experience of anxiety disorder.

 

For me, the most painful part of the process was that I didn't know it was anxiety. Before I talk about how to treat it, let me tell you about my experience. I hope my experience can help those who are still in the abyss of unknowing anxiety disorder.


First Experience

One night at the end of 2017, I had a cold but still went to play badminton. When I got back to the dorm not long after, my heart started pounding wildly, and I felt fragile and feeble. 


I went to the university hospital and had an EKG done. The doctor said I had no significant problems. But I still felt very uncomfortable. The next day I went to the city hospital and had an EKG done. The doctor said it could be myocarditis


He told me to get cardiac enzymes checked. I did the test with many apprehensions, and the waiting process was very torturous. But the results came back normal. 


The doctor told me to rest more after reading the results. But the palpitations and insomnia have been with me ever since. I started to have frequent diarrhea, and every morning when I ate something, I had diarrhea.


I thought the cold weather in Shanghai caused diarrhea, so I didn't pay much attention. When I came home for New Year's Eve, I had another EKG done, and the results showed sinus tachycardia


So my mom took me to get a prescription for Chinese medicine. But I didn't think the effect was evident, and I gradually got used to the palpitations, gastrointestinal discomfort, and poor sleep quality. 


For the next six months, I felt I was still weak but gradually got better. I just muddled through for over a year.


Second Experience

At the end of June 19, I went to another company for an internship. The company gave me a free medical checkup. The results showed that there was nothing wrong with me except for a high uric acid level. On July 21, my girlfriend and I went on a trip to Hong Kong.


By evening, probably because I had walked too much, I suddenly felt like I had trouble breathing, and my heart was palpitating weakly. For a moment, I thought I was having a heart attack and was about to die suddenly, but later I realized it was a panic attack. 


I couldn't walk at all at that time. Hong Kong was in a riot, and I was unfamiliar with Hong Kong hospitals, so I didn't dare go to the hospital. Then I lay down in a flower bed and rested for a while, but I had no strength to walk at all, and my body was weak. I went to eat something with the help of my girlfriend. 


Then I suddenly regained my strength on the subway and felt better. It was amazing. The next day, I went to the hospital and had an EKG done, which showed an irregular heart rate. I still thought I was weak, so I went to the Chinese medicine department and took Chinese herbs for a month, but I didn't feel better.


Third Experience

Then I went back to school on September 19, and I stopped taking medicine, but the discomfort was often there. When I searched for similar symptoms on Google, words like anxiety disorder and cardiac neurosis came up in my view. 


But I thought to myself, "I'm not anxious all day, so how can I have anxiety? So I didn't think about it. Then on October 1, I went on a trip to another city with my girlfriend. As a result, I felt a little uncomfortable during the journey, so I went straight to the hotel to rest. 


At night, that suffocating feeling came back. It felt hard to breathe, and I couldn't catch my breath. For a moment, it felt like I was going to die suddenly, and I immediately went to the hospital. I had an EKG done, and the results showed nothing wrong.


When I returned to school, I was determined to find out what was wrong, so I went to the hospital for a cardiac ultrasound, cardiac enzymes, and an electrocardiogram. The results were pleasing except for an irregular heart rate. 


I was puzzled. The complete physical examination was acceptable. The heart test was OK. What was wrong with me? I searched for information and found that Google search results were all about anxiety disorders. 


The cardiac neurosis symptoms were very similar to the ones I was experiencing. So I registered with a neurologist. The doctor asked me to take an anxiety and depression test first, and the result was mild anxiety. 


She received me with great impatience and said that it was very mild. There was no need for me to take western medicine, just take herbal medicine to regulate it. Then I never thought about anxiety again. I took herbal medicine for two months and found that it didn't have much effect.


Later on, my diarrhea got worse and worse, and I wanted to go to the toilet as soon as I ate something. I couldn't stand it anymore, so I got up the courage to go for a colonoscopy


The result was that there was no problem at all. Since then, I've been getting more and more confused. What's wrong with me? I went back to the nephrologist, and the doctor gave me an electrolyte test, which showed low potassium



The doctor gave me potassium chloride medicine. After I took it the first day, I felt immediately strong. I thought I had hypokalemia and took potassium tablets as soon as I was weak. However, gradually I felt it didn't work.


By the beginning of January 20, due to the epidemic, I could not go to the hospital either, and I stayed at home for six months. By the end of June 20, I went for a physical examination at induction. I had no problems except for high uric acid and an irregular heart rate.


Treatment Process

During my stay at home, I searched Google for information when I was having a hard time. Gradually, I realized that I might have anxiety. So I registered with anxiety and depression specialist, and the doctor thought I needed to take medication. 


So I took Chinese medicine for 2 months, but it didn't work at all. And it seriously affected my everyday work. Finally, on October 20, I started to get up the courage to go to the psychiatry department and take western medicine.


Causes of Anxiety Disorder

I believe that the following factors cause my anxiety disorder:

  • Personality factors. Like my mother, I have a very active brain. I usually think very much, and I am sensitive and easily anxious.
  • Lifestyle habits. Usually, I like to stay up late.
  • Stress from life and studying.
  • Family Factors. My mother was very strict with me when I was a child. My sister didn't like me either. Over time, I built up a lot of negative emotions, which I had to suppress.
  • Psychological factors. I am prone to overthink, so I often have false mental cues. Simply put, it's paranoia. I always worry that there are various problems with my body.

Symptoms of My Anxiety Disorder

  • Palpitations: including arrhythmia, tachycardia
  • Sore Throat
  • Weak stomach and intestines
  • Cold and sweaty hands and feet
  • Insomnia, drowsiness, sleepiness, early awakening
  • Chest tightness and shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea and regurgitation
  • Panic attacks

Treatment Experiences

Cognition

I think this point is the root of recovery. I suspected I had leukemia, lymphoma, and other terminal illnesses without my knowledge. Therefore, put yourself in the right frame of mind and go to the hospital promptly when you get sick.


If everything is okay with your tests, you can go to the psychology department. You can fill out the anxiety-depression form. The only way to set your mind right is to set your perceptions right.


Medication

Severe anxiety disorders require medication. I didn't know it was anxiety before, and I hadn’t taken any medication, which worsened the condition. Medication is divided into Chinese medicine and Western medicine. 


I didn't know I had anxiety at first and took Chinese herbs for a few months, which had minimal effect. After I knew I had anxiety, my doctor told me to take western medicine. However, I saw the side effects of western medicine and didn't want to take it. 


On October 20, I finally got up the courage to take western medicine. The point here is, don't be afraid to take western medicine. Listen to your doctor.


Daily Life

People with anxiety are not suited to work in high-pressure environments, so I gave up my high-paying job because I knew I couldn't handle it. Make sure to eat a light diet, eat fruit and eggs every day, get a good routine, go to bed early and get up early, and exercise more.


Mindset

Keep an optimistic mind and adjust your emotions. Adjust your emotions in life and at work. Cultivate your body and mind.


Finally, I hope my experience can help you.

P.S. There are more stories worth reading.

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