2019. Life was going on great with work, dating, and workout life! Out of a sudden I was afraid to do anything in life – even to go out of my room. Everything felt weird. Heart constantly beats fast. The fear of something going to happen.
I thought my life was going to end anytime soon…
Few Weeks Before
The first attack (or the first one I realised) was back in 2019, when I was in the gym working out. Suddenly I started sweating, the whole gym was spinning, my heart was beating super fast. Looked down to find my legs shaking terribly as well. I assumed it was due to work heavy lifting – my sugar level would have dropped. Quickly grabbed a thick sugar drink. However, it didn’t help much. I really thought I was about to collapse.
This was my first SEVERE panic attack.
After 30 minutes resting in the gym, it doesn’t make me feel any better. I thought maybe it was because of that loud techno music they were playing. So I left the gym immediately. Had to drive from the gym to my house which is about 30-45mins away. The longest and scariest drive in my life.
I had double vision; the road seemed like 5 lanes when it was just 3. The whole 30–45mins I was just trying to get my eyesight right by squeezing eyes. The fact that I got back home without getting in an accident is still shocking to me.
Straight went to bed. Hoping to get back normal the next. I was okay in the morning, until I reached the office lift. The whole symptoms came back again. I start to realise it has got nothing to do with my workouts or weight lifting, but something else is not right.
I start to notice when/how/and what are the symptoms. And noticed, I only get the attack, when I go to a mall or any crowded areas; where there are large groups of people. In addition to earlier symptoms, I start to get severe headache and nausea.
I thought I was just getting this attack for no reason, and it can be managed by myself – being a bit more mindful and proper breathing techniques – it’ll go away. To be honest, it worked to a certain extent (for some time).
Over the next several weeks I dealt with extremely uncomfortable and terrifying sensations when driving or walking into malls.
One day I followed KN to KLCC to collect her race kit. We thought of taking the train since it was a working day and the traffic will be bad. Crowded train, and the whole journey was very overwhelming. I got a mild attack on the train but it was still manageable.
However, the moment I stepped in KLCC, I just couldn’t breath at all. Suddenly my chest felt so heavy, vision was haywire, started to shiver, and nothing felt right. KN rushed to collect her race kit, while I was sitting on one of the benches.
Fear of death – I felt it on that day.
Wanted to go to the toilet to throw up. The toilet was just 20 steps away, but it took me 20 mins to get there. Took small steps while towards walls. With her help I managed to go through it and back home safely. It was just scary to recall back that memory.
As it got worse day by day, I began to think I had a serious illness – something got to do with my brain. So, I got admitted twice in two different hospitals. After all the scans and check ups, both hospitals told me, everything seemed okay. Then checked my eye sight – said it was okay. Checked with ENT specialists – also no issues.
I went through so many doctors and medications – but nothing works. It is just so depressing.
Never Lose Hope
Slowly, I start educating myself on these symptoms, on what goes on in the brain during these times of misinterpreted fear. I determined my triggers. It’s always due to crowded places or big buildings such as malls & halls etc. Stop going to places that trigger attack. Even if I go there, the first thing I tell myself is, “everything is alright, nothing to be scared about”. Things have been underway since then.
Now, things are good. Not perfect but good! I still experience anxiety and panic attacks here and there but now they are less frequent and manageable.
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