My bipolar panic attacks are short lived but crippling. In the middle of one I feel fear, anxiety and helplessness. My heart pounds, my breathing goes shallow and sweat builds on my forehead, back and armpits, soon to soak my shirt. My self-image plummets.
“Hi, I’m Dave Mowry and I am here for Bp Magazine for Bipolar Vlog. I want to talk today about panic attacks with bipolar disorder.
When I was young, I had my first panic attack when I was a sophomore in high school. I was in algebra class and the teacher called me up to the board to solve a simple equation. I think it was 3x + 2=8 and I had to solve for x. I knew the answer but I froze. I started to sweat and I started to shake. My face went slack and it was awful. I knew everybody was staring at me and laughing at me. It was so humiliating and so embarrassing the teacher finally told me to go ahead and sit down, and I did. It took forever to get over that.
And then as I got older I started having more panic attacks. If I was at a gathering and a family member or stranger would come up to talk to me and I couldn’t hide in the shadows, I would have a panic attack. I would start to sweat and soak my collar and my armpits, and I would be barely able to speak. It was awful. After this happened I was so embarrassed and it took sometimes hours to get over. But usually it took me days to get over a panic attack.
One of the common experiences I had that caused me trouble is when I was in a group or class setting. Or somewhere where we went around the room and just said our names, who we were, and where we were from. I would panic. And when it got closer to me for my time I would begin to sweat. Beads of sweat would run down my forehead and I would be shaking. My mind would be blank and my face would be slack and my voice would be monotone. I knew everyone was staring at me. I was so embarrassed and humiliated that I just had to get up and leave the room.
One of the hardest things was going to the mailbox. I wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to go get the mail. But if anybody was out on the street that may see me or want to talk to me, I couldn’t handle it. So I would look out and see and if there was someone out there, I would go back in the house.
And then I realized that if I go after dark, nobody is going to see me. They won’t be able to talk to me and they won’t see through me or see my anxiety. They won’t see the fear and they won’t see the panic.
So those are some of my experiences and I’m sure you have your own with bipolar and panic attacks. I wanted to talk about it today so other people know it is not just them.
This is Dave Mowry for Bp Magazine for Bipolar vlog.
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