Nighttime panic attacks


A few nights ago, I had a nighttime panic attack.

It was one of the most terrifying things I have ever experienced.  I had a very vivid, intensely scary dream.  I woke up in the middle of the night, literally gasping for air.  I was only slightly relieved to realize it was all a dream, because I also found myself in the middle of the worst panic attack I have ever had.  The dream was so real, my body had responded as if it was.

Feeling like I couldn’t breathe, I immediately got out of bed.  I grabbed a glass of water and took one of my panic pills, but I felt the most awful sense of unreality and doom.  My vision was swimming, my balance felt completely off, and my arms and legs were trembling uncontrollably.  Not just a little bit, but completely convulsing.  It felt like my body was being controlled.  I understand now why people have believed in everything from nighttime demons to alien abductions.  It sounds ridiculous but when you’re going through it, it doesn’t.

My husband had told me to wake him up if I ever had a panic attack at night.  I debated a bit whether I should – I knew he was exhausted after a long week and had to get up early the next morning, but in the end I decided I couldn’t be alone.  Being a complete prince, he rubbed my back until the pill started to work and then sat with me while I took a bath to help relax.  We even made a few jokes about the whole situation which really helped dispel a lot of the scariness.  After that I was able to go back to sleep without any more attacks.

I think in the future I’ll have to be careful about what I do before I go to bed.  No watching anything disturbing – or thinking about it if I can help it.  No going to bed on an empty stomach either, which is something I did that night and probably didn’t help.  Once again I am amazed at the crazy things anxiety can do to your body.


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