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Mental / Panic Problem?

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Old 11-17-2004, 03:45 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4
ch787 HB User
Mental / Panic Problem?

A little background. I'm a seventeen year old male in great physical shape. I've never had any sort of medical condition or problems (other than your minor cold, chicken pox, flu, and strep throat) in the past.

Last year I was sitting in class watching a movie on seizures and heart attacks during PE class (we were doing first aid at the time). We watched the segment, and began writing the quiz on what we had just watched. I began to feel sort of flustered and started sweating. At the time I was also dizzy. I approached the teacher and asked to go get a drink. I managed to walk over to the door, however, when I reached for the handle, I missed the first time - due to being dizzy. I walked outside and walked into three girls across the hall. I remember doing this, but then it went black. I was told I walked 30 feet down the hall dragging my head across the lockers and walked into a couple doors (I do remember the noise of the doors closing). The next thing I know, here I am down the hall bending over the fountain. I went to the bathroom and vomitted, however only a very slight amount.

Today I was sitting in Biology class and we watched a 25 minute segment on heart attacks. I felt the panic come on almost right away, so I did everything I could to calm myself down. I didn't pay attention to the screen, and tried to occupy myself with other things. I began sweating and turned really white, just like last year. I vomitted a little bit, but it wasn't a lot. This wasn't as 'serious' as last time, however, you'll see that it isn't very pleasing.

Next September I will be going off to University / College. I will be taking courses to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach, a Certified first responder, and get a Bachelor of Exercise, etc. Now, my aforementioned stories will pose some trouble in this area.

It's probably just panic, but I'd like to hear what others have to say.

Sorry for the novel, but I figured I'd include the details. Thanks for any help/direction on this matter.

Best regards,
- Coach

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Old 11-18-2004, 07:48 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Ealisaid HB User
Re: Mental / Panic Problem?

I'm so sorry this happened to you, Coach. It must have been embarrassing! It may be that you were having a panic attack, but to me it sounds like you were faint. Did you pass out at all? I have a relative who suffers from anxiety/panic attacks, and he describes it as more of heart-pounding, can't-get-his-breath and hyperventilates, feels that the wall are "closing in" sort of feeling. I have a son and a nephew about your age, and both of them have fainted at school during health discussions. My son fainted during a field trip to the local hospital when he was shown an especially large, curved needle and my nephew passed out while watching a film on self-mutilation.

I know you're worried about this, so you might want to check with your family doctor. Did you visit the school nurse when the either of these episodes happened? Since heart-attacks seem to be the trigger, I'm wondering if there is anything about heart-attacks in particular that worries you. Has anyone close to you had one, or does heart disease tend to run in your family?

I used to work in a fitness center, so I know that cardiac problems were a real concern there, and all employees were required to know CPR and to recognize the signs for what we called a "cardiac situation". Because of your chosen profession, you'll have to have some knowledge of this, so it's a good thing that you're aware of the problem now. Best of luck to you!

Old 11-19-2004, 07:14 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4
ch787 HB User
Re: Mental / Panic Problem?

Thanks for your reply.

Not only is it physically draining, but as you mentioned, emotionally draining as well. I hear it from both fellow students and teachers ... it's like it never goes away. I experienced all but one of the symptoms you listed, unfortunately. Even when my teacher was speaking on the topic of blood and the lymphatic system today, I began to feel a little queasy - which never usually happens. That's the last thing I need.

I think I have concluded the trigger to be 'watching a video of heart-attacks/seizures (educational videos) in a classrom setting'. I can sit through ER type of shows at home with no problem. Now I'm just worried about having to watch more videos in a classroom setting and having another 'attack' or problem.

I'm wondering if this is something I'll outgrow (which would need to be within 9-10 months) or something I need to ease into a little bit at a time. Since I can guarantee I will have to watch these types of videos in my post-secondary education, it really worries me. We'll have to see if this is something I can correct, or else I'll have to change my choice of profession.

Thanks for the help thus far.
- Coach

Old 11-20-2004, 01:14 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 314
junglemonkey HB User
Re: Mental / Panic Problem?

Hi coach,

As a sufferer of panic attacks, I must say that your first description didn't sound terribly much like it to me. It's rare (but possible) to pass out in a panic attack and the most I've ever felt is extremely dizzy, losing power in my legs and going weak, and "blacking out" as in the world disappears and I can't see.

Your other symptoms could however fit (sweating, vomiting and going pale), and the mental pattern you are following - afraid of having another attack - fits with panic attacks and that is normally what perpetuates the situation. Pleeeease don't change your choice of profession, that would be such a big mistake. You should see your doctor first to rule out physical problems and then get yourself some therapy to help you through this. I have a disruptive fear of people and myself vomiting but I'm going to study dentistry... I'm not going to give up because of some fear, we'll get over it You can nip this in the bud because you've caught it so early. I was 6 years down the line before I got treatment!
I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell.

Old 11-20-2004, 11:40 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Silver Spring, Maryland
Posts: 100
missmokay HB User
Re: Mental / Panic Problem?

I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks as well and I know that watching medical programs can cause me to be very anxious. Whenever I watch those Discovery Health shows on EMTs and the trauma unit, I get very antsy and worried. I think it's because anxious types generally have a fear of death and losing control and watching people have seizures and heart attacks and strokes reminds us of our own mortality and the fact that we could just lose control of our bodies and even our minds without being able to stop it. I also know that my anxiety became alot worse and I had my first panic attack in about 2 years shortly after one of my best friends had a grand mal seizure at work. I wasn't there to witness it, but I think it scared me that one moment he said he was just sitting there and the next, he was on the floor and didn't know what happened.

At any rate, it's probably anxiety because it comes on when you watch such programs, but a trip to the doctor is a good idea. They can check you out and possibly refer you to a therapist.

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