I’ve never had a panic attack. Never even come close but I’ve experienced them from the outside looking.
February 10, 2011 – my son had his first panic attack. It was late, about 1 am. He had been trying to fall asleep and couldn’t. He became really anxious because he needed sleep and couldn’t get it. He came upstairs and thought he was going to die. His heart was racing, he couldn’t think right and he wanted us to call 911 because he was so freaked out and thought he needed to go to the hospital. Honestly I was freaked out too because I didn’t know what was wrong with him. I was ready to call 911 but my husband was more aware of what might be going on. As he explained what he was experiencing we came to realize what was happening… a panic or anxiety attack. We talked him through it and assured him he would be ok. We woke up our neighbor who came over to help give him a blessing. I remember sitting by him trying to soothe him and reassure him he would be ok. It was a long night. After what seemed like forever he finally settled down and fell asleep on the couch.
The next morning I let him skip school so he could sleep in. I called a sleep specialist, the next available appointment was several weeks away. The thought of calling a psychiatrist never crossed my mind. He couldn’t sleep, nothing more.
This night stands out in my memory as the beginning of the downhill slide. It was just a couple days later that I started to realize we were dealing with something other than insomnia. In hindsight there were signs of issues before that night but I wasn’t looking for a problem so I didn’t recognize them. Prior to that night all I had noticed was insomnia. The signs of something deeper were there but I was oblivious to them.