Out of the Blue?

The panic attacks seemed to come out of the blue for me.  But when I look back with the knowledge that I have now maybe that isn’t quite the truth.   As I look back into my early childhood even though I don’t remember much of it, I realize that I had moments of anxiety.

There was a period in my life when I would stay awake all night, night after night watching out for fire.  I became concerned that our house would burn down.  I guess it was bad enough for me to be taken to the doctor.  I ended up being put on some kind of tranquilizers for awhile.  I would also freak out if someone was sick in my class room at school.  I could not be around sick people.  I could not even handle it when I was sick.  And I am still like that with myself when I’m sick.

As I got older I learned how to ignore any anxious moments until I didn’t even recognize them anymore.

As I became a young adult I started having the rare mild panic like attack.  I would have no idea what had just happened so as usual I would just ignore it and carry on.  Then came my first major panic attack that I couldn’t ignore.  I was up in front of a large group of people playing my guitar when it hit.  Of course I was trapped and had to continue what I was doing.  It took all my will power just to do that.  Looking back I believe that’s when the fear set in that would eventually turn into agoraphobia.

I think for me that was the start of when my tightly controlled behaviour started to unravel.  As I told my therapist, my container started leaking.  When the major panic attacks/agoraphobia became unmanageable I just couldn’t ignore them anymore.  My life was hugely affected.

I just find it strange that this kind of stuff can go on and I didn’t even have a clue until about two years ago.  I’m not sure what I was thinking.

So I guess the question is, even though it seemed to happen suddenly out of the blue, did it really?

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6 Responses to Out of the Blue?

  1. I had the same questions, and the same confusion. I really thought for a long while that it was ‘out of the blue’. It wasn’t till I really sat down and thought about it that I realised even from age 10 I was experiencing mild panic attacks without knowing what they were – just thinking I was sick. In fact, I think I had a major one whilst away once time which I put down to a bug (but looking back, it was definitely panic). It brings up questions doesn’t it!

  2. Harriet says:

    I started having panic attacks when I was 11 years old. I went to doctors all during my life trying to figure out what was wrong with me, and none every suggested I see a psychiatrist or therapist. It wasn’t until I was 40 years old that I figured out what was wrong with me, and started meds and therapy.

    Looking back I know was an anxious child even before I was 11. I guess it’s genetic and you’re born with it.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I agree that the anxiety could be genetic. After I found out what was going on I started asking some family members questions. It turns out numerous people in the family have suffered from some form of anxiety.

      • That’s an interesting perspective. Do you think that means genetic, or could it be that some families cultivate an anxiety-friendly environment?

        One thought I had was that families that have high expectations for each other, and are more critical are more likely to have an anxiety-trend. I know this is a theme not only in my immediate family but also my parents parents – and my aunts/uncles are all fairly highly strung/anxious as a result.

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