If you've never had a panic attack before I'll do my best to describe the symptoms. One moment, everything is fine, then the next you start to feel tired. That is followed by dizziness and your heart suddenly requires your brain's FULL attention as it beats harder and sometimes faster. If it's the first time for you, buckle up, it's one of the scariest moments you'll ever experience.

Imagine everything in your life that terrifies you happening all at once. This is what happened to me today at work. I was speaking with my boss about upcoming events that I am very excited about and then I started to feel symptomatic. While my boss was confused at first, I calmly explained what was happening and took comfort knowing that if I needed it, a free ride to the hospital was standing right next to me.

What carried me through this ordeal was experience. I've felt these symptoms multiple times in the past which helped me to identify what was happening and my instinct is to sit down, concentrate on my breathing and just relax. Unfortunately it's the only way I have ever been able to calm myself down and prevent potential permanent harm to my body.

The first panic attack I ever experienced was about 8 years ago and I was alone. There is nothing more terrifying than thinking you are having a heart attack which only increases the magnitude of anxiety symptoms. I experienced a similar episode 4 years ago while hosting a public event which led to my first trip to the hospital. As a precaution I spent the night under their care. After a cardiologist performed a stress test I was medically cleared to leave.

There are many ways to treat anxiety but I recommend talking to your doctor if you are prone to panic attacks. Self diagnosing is not safe. While I believe my body is fine I'm still making an appointment with my primary care provider to have a physical and possibly an EKG just to be safe. We only get one body and one mind, it's up to us to take care of them both.