Sunday, June 30, 2002 will be a day to remember for the rest of my life. Our day started out wonderful... homemade pancakes (my family's favorite breakfast) and some bonding time at the breakfast table. My husband, my son, and I then went to the movies. About 3/4 of the way through the movie, I had what I refer to as an "out of body" experience. Suddenly, without warning, I had the sensation that someone injected Icy Hot into the bottom of my feet and the hot/cold feeling rushed through my body all the way to the top of my head. My heart began to race and I felt like I needed to escape. I jumped out of my seat and literally ran out of the theater into the lobby. My husband was right behind me, obviously perplexed. He said he could see my heart beating in my temples! I had this unbelievable urge to flee... my husband got the car and rushed me to the closest medical facility. Because my heart was racing so fast and I was out-of-breath, the immediately did an EKG. It was normal, but my blood pressure and heart rate were high. These "rushes" kept coming and would show up on the monitors.
The Dr.'s were perplexed. They were huddled around a little handbook trying to figure out what was wrong with me and the rushes just kept happening. They decided to give me an injection of medication that would momentarily stop my heart. They thought that would make the "rushes" go away. This medication is designed to get your heart back in a regular rhythm... but my heart was never OUT of rhythm, just fast! They tried it the first time and the rushes were coming more frequently, so they decided to do it again! I don't need to tell you that it's VERY uncomfortable to have your heart stop momentarily! They kept asking me if I had a feeling of impending doom...
WHAT is that supposed to mean??? I finally started having my husband and son answer their questions! After the 2 injections, they said they didn't know what was wrong with me and were going to call an ambulance to transport me to the Emergency Room. At the ER, they repeated the EKG... getting the same results. They did blood work and X-Rays... everything came back normal. I spent approximately 2 hours in the ER and NO ONE was giving me any information. The nurse (not the Dr.) finally came in and said, "All your tests have come back normal... the Dr. suggests you get some books on stress control and make sure you book a follow-up appointment with your regular Dr. Tomorrow." The next month is kind of a blur... I had tests on my heart, thyroid and adrenal gland. Everything came back normal! So... my Dr. said I was suffering from Panic Attacks and prescribed depression medication and anti-anxiety medication and told me to see a therapist. I did what she told me and started reading lots of books about Panic Attacks. I went to a therapist, but couldn't gain any understanding about the dreaded PA's - I know the reason is because SHE had never experienced one, so how could she really understand what I was going through???? She wanted to find some skeletons in my closet... that would explain my anxiety. Much to her dismay, I didn't have any skeletons! So, she thought maybe it could be my diet or that my sensitivity to light was triggering the rushes! Oh my! I started avoiding going anywhere because I feared the dreaded PA! They happened at church, in the car, at the grocery store... everywhere I went! My heart would palpitate to the point where I felt like it was going to jump out of my chest! My entire body would tremble. My hands and feet were cold. My vision was blurry. My stomach was always churning and I had no appetite. I panicked when my husband would leave for work! I didn't want to be alone in case "it" happened! If we traveled anywhere in the car, I would panic if we got too far away from my Dr. or a hospital. You can be sure that I avoided the movie theater the most! I had a car accident 3 months prior to June 30th and had been visiting my chiropractor quite frequently. On one of my visits after all the medical tests, my DC said the words that changed EVERYTHING for me! "You should talk to my father-in-law... he went through the same thing." In fact, he told Jim Neidert about my PA's and Jim called ME! What a blessing! I admit I was skeptical at first, sharing my experiences with a stranger & also, Jim not being a doctor made me a little leery, but I soon felt very comfortable with him. I learned from Jim how COMMON this nervous illness is and how I could come through it by acceptance and not fighting! I shared my story with some of my friends and am astounded by how many people have suffered through this and I had never heard of it!
My hope and prayer is that sharing my "story" will encourage you to listen to Jim's recordings. I KNOW I would not be recovered if it wasn't for him sharing his personal experiences. I admit I have had "twinges" of the dreaded PA, but I know it will NEVER be like it was on June 30, 2002. I'm equipped with the understanding and am fully aware that my thoughts are the cause. Practice Jim's relaxation techniques... they REALLY DO work! And PLEASE... share YOUR story with others so we can help EVERYONE who is suffering from nervous illness.