A little over two weeks ago on a Friday afternoon, I was playing with my son wrestling around and having a really good time. I thought to myself, wow maybe this new protocol is starting to work. I can see a little of the “fog lifting.” He was wanting to be with me instead of the computer or off playing alone. My son was connecting with me, he had more awareness then I had ever seen, and his expressive language was coming through. He was so much more social with me, he was coming up to me every night and asking me to come play with him. He was doing so well, and I thought life is good right now. I had never felt better, in fact earlier that week I had even commented to my husband how great I was feeling. Though my son still had all the same stims that drive me insane, I was really liking what was happening. I thought to myself this is it, this is the year we are going to kick Autism’s butt and I will have all of my son.

On this Friday while I was so excited that my son and I were having so much fun together, talking and joking around, all of a sudden something came over me and I started to feel very strange. I was feeling chest pains and cramps really bad to the point where I could not even stand. I went into our arsenal of supplements and homeopathic remedies and took something and the pains seemed to lessen a great deal. However I still felt very strange, it was a feeling I had never felt. I laid down on our couch and closed my eyes and that’s when the dizziness started and I felt very light headed. I called for my husband, he walked into the room and looked at me and very calmly said, “wow you look really pale, is something wrong?” I thought of course something is wrong you just noticed I am pale and when do you ever see me laying on the couch. I asked him to take my blood pressure and I watched the numbers slowly going up, my blood pressure was high. I was feeling even worse now and I said, ‘take me to the hospital now, I am not right, something is really wrong with me.”

As we got into our vehicle, I could feel myself getting more light headed and my husbands driving like a turtle I swear was making me feel worse. In his defense there was a string of cars in front of us and there was nowhere to pass. As we were driving around the curvy road at 35mph I started to breath very fast and heavy, pains started shooting in my chest and my abdomen area. I started yelling at my husband something weird is happening, do something get me to the hospital. Then my arms and hands started tingling and then I had no feeling they were numb. At that moment, I seriously thought I am going to die. I kept feeling myself fading in and out, and I started praying, please God you can’t take me, I can’t die, I need to help my son, nobody can take care of him like me and nobody can help him but me. I was now in tears and the fear of not being there for my son was horrific. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably, I thought this is it, I am going to die, I probably only have minutes left. I then had a vision of myself up in heaven, (funny how I assumed I was going to heaven) and I was thinking, ok I can heal my son from there, I can talk to god and he will heal him. After my conversation with God, my breathing was even faster, but I managed to get the words out to my husband, “ I have a binder with all of A’s information, all the protocols, his doctors, his diet, and a list of mom’s (The Thinking Mom’s) who can guide you if you need help. Looking back on what was the longest car ride of my life, I have NEVER had so many crazy things cross my mind. My mind was literally racing out of control.

When we arrived at the hospital, I literally stepped from our vehicle and fell into the wheelchair, my breathing was fast and my entire body was still shaking, I kept telling the hospital nurse, I can’t breath and I am going to pass out. I thought why aren’t they rushing me somewhere on a stretcher to an OR, for sure I am having a stroke or a heart attack. The nurse knelt down by me and kept repeating “you need to slow down your breathing”, I snapped at him, but I can’t stop shaking and my arms and hands are numb, you need to help me. He continued to repeat over and over, S-L-O-W Y-O-U-R B-R-E-A-T-H-I-N-G D-O-W-N and then put an oxygen mask over my mouth. By now my husband and my son walked in. I could tell my little boy was scared, in my head I knew I had to calm down and I figured no one here seems to think I am dying, so I focused on my son’s face, we locked eyes and I started to think how much I love him. I told my son I was going to be ok, and within 15 minutes I was much better. All the pain, tingly, and numbness was gone. However I was still light headed and scared.

After my blood work, ekg, and ultra sound test came back normal, the doctors “think” I had a panic attack. Panic attack? I thought you must be kidding, no way did I just have a panic attack. I battle autism everyday, but I stay strong, think positive, I am tough as nails, and even the people who look at me like I am crazy, and I should probably accept autism…NEVER. Some may think this should be a wake up call for me, I would say YES a wake up call that I should double check my manual on how to continue with my son’s recovery.

The next day I woke up feeling good. I had no pains, fears, or anxiety. I was in shock and a little embarrassed at what had happened. However it did make me think about my life since my son was diagnosed with Autism 8 years ago. In the beginning his diagnosis was like a death. For years, everyday I felt like I was kneeling over him administering CPR, trying to revive him. I always had that feeling of not being able to breath enough air into him to save him. But, through the years with all the treatment and therapy we have done he is getting better. My son is coming back to me. I am not in this state of panic anymore. So why now the panic attack? I really don’t know. My guess is it is from all those years of being scared to death of not being able to revive my son.

~ Snap

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15 Responses to PANIC ATTACK!

  1. Pingback: March 10, 2012: Panic Attack | The Thinking Moms' Revolution Starts Here

  2. Heather says:

    I had a VERY similar experience after my son had fully recovered!!! I experienced dissociation and derealism–everything felt unreal like I was in a dream. I was taking my son to his daycare (mixed typical and non-typical kids) for one of the last times and it hit me hard. At one point, I thought I might be having a seizure. I had to return something to Penney’s after dropping him off and I thought I might faint when I was talking to the saleslady, but I tried to calm down and just go on with my day. It lasted longer than a typical panic attack but now I’m fairly certain that’s what it was.

    I think it was all the stress and worry of the previous three years just erupting and tumbling out. Like you, I sure didn’t expect it AFTER the fact.

    I think your son must be getting very close!

    By the way, my son DOUBLED his IQ points in the process of recovery and is now considered to be socially skilled…. BUT he still has his own way of “stimming” (more or less appropriatley) but it is truly not a problem at all. It’s only when he is not otherwise engaged or bored. I used to worry about it but not anymore… (of course, I know stims can vary tremendously)

  3. marie says:

    Panic attack is unconscious material coming to the conscious. I can relate, I have suffered the same unexpectedly and went through hell and back to find out the reason why as my conscious mind was absolutely fearless. The answers I found by exploring the unconscious mind are the key to unlocking health for my own children as well, even though their expressions of imbalance manifests differently. One cannot simply think a panic attack away. THe more we bury in unconcious, sooner or later it will bubble up and spill over depending on the trigger which can be a word or a toxin or a situation… Thank you for this post and for being such an incredible mom.

  4. Thinker says:

    Snap, you did a beautiful job of describing the panic attack and the intense love and dedication we have for our children.
    I have had panic attacs since I was about 12 years old. They rarely ever happen during the stress. It’s usually after the threat is past that they hit. And, boy! Do they yank the rug out from under you! Like the commenter above, I have learned to “breathe” my way out of them.
    Thanks for your beautiful story and, as LuvBug said, thanks for the reminder to get my binder in order!

  5. Yes, such attacks are very scary… VERY real! I am glad you came out of it quickly and there is NO need to ever worry about embarrassment. On the evening of June 10, 2010 when my son left for the Peace Corps/Peru, I had a massive panic attack around 10pm… I was *literally* climbing the walls, sobbing hysterically and nearly fainted. My husband was able to calm me down enough… to stop pacing, etc. There was no way I could contact my son as his phone would not work internationally and he would soon be issued an official phone by the PC, once he settled in Lima for the first week. That was the day he left for a 27-month service and I didn’t know if I would see him until he finished his term or not, which ends this July. Luckily, he called me around 1am on the 11th and I settled down to sleep. Then, he came back for a visit a year and a half later for Christmas. When he went back to Peru this January, I no longer felt that panic, whatsoever. I NEVVVVVVER want to feel that EVVVVER again… omg… the feelings we have for our beloved children!! The strange part is that he left me to tour places like California, Italy and British Columbia with his international choir between the ages of 11-14 and it didn’t bother me so much. He lived in Nicaragua for nine months in 2009 and that didn’t bother me. He’s hopped on jets, Amtraks and even Greyhounds, to cross the USA for various reasons since he was in high school and it didn’t phase me, as he is a well traveled guy. I guess I felt like those were more temporary or something? I will never quite understand that *bad* 2010 experience, but it makes me think about all of the parents out there who have adult kids in the armed forces, or have young children who face surgeries or various treatments, etc… and it puts my situation into perspective a bit more. I cannot imagine the magnitude of worries that other parents might face in their lives… for whatever reasons…

  6. Katie Livingood says:

    Thanks for being brave. I was ashamed to tell people about my panic attacks at first.

  7. Brian Ellis says:

    I’m VERY HAPPY that you woke up the next day without anxiety! I remember my first panic attack and walking through my front door at the age of 23 and thinking: “is this my LAST moment???” I then continued to have them for 19 years. My personal belief is that the #1 cause of panic attacks, is logical, rational fear, as yet unidentified. Once you find the fear and let it go, panic attacks vanish. Sometimes forever like they did with me. Blessings to you! Brian

  8. Blaze says:

    I had one, once, too, Snap. It came from nowhere, no particular extra stresses that day, just another day in A-Land. One second I was saying call and ambulance, the next, I thought it was too late, I was dead, the next second I might gain clarity and think it was going to be ok…repeat. I have TRIED to start having one twice since…both times while driving!!! But since I knew the feeling, both times I “breathed” myself out of it. There’s a doctor who has done SPECT scans on autism moms and says we all have brain patterns like war veterans. PTSD. Makes sense to me.

  9. Sunshine says:

    “so I focused on my son’s face, we locked eyes and I started to think how much I love him.” WOW…just beautiful, Snap. This really moved me. Love you!

  10. Brave post. I wouldn’t know either what a panic attack is. I would think I was having a stroke or something. I think emotions have a weird way of manifesting themselves in our bodies. We bottle stress, anxiety, worry, and they creep around in there, waiting to rear their nasty heads.
    Glad you are okay.

  11. kelly says:

    hi honey! this just brought tears to my eyes. whew! ha. you probably just had the very first glimmer of relief in years – YEARS – and your body saw a tiny, open door through which to unleash the years of built-up stress, anxiety, etc etc etc, and boy did it unleash. I have experienced something similar. my kids aren’t autistic but i have 2 friends’ whose are and i admire your strength and unwielding commitment and focus. you have to keep yourself healthy for him, though. please keep a door cracked for yourself to air out once in a while 🙂

    • LuvBug says:

      That is usually how it works for me ~ a little relief leads to illness or emotional breakdown. But thanks for reminding me to get my binder in shape…!

    • Professor says:

      Yep. I agree with these guys, Snap. When the pressure lets up a little, that’s when I break down. Sometimes it’s just a cold, but it can be a lot worse. That nurse was right, breathing is key. Then you can let it out s-l-o-w-l-y instead of letting it build up to that level of panic.

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