Approximately a year ago at an outdoor music festival, I was waiting in line to order a slice of delicious pizza when I inhaled a smell I’ll never forget. Somehow, the overpowering smell of my favorite food induced an unbelievable fear within me, which then caused my body to suddenly collapse. The next thing I remember is lying on the ground surrounded by people shaking me and yelling for me to wake up. Once I woke up, I was told my body went into epileptic like convulsions and knocked me unconscious for a few seconds. Ever since this episode I’ve spent an undesirable amount of time speaking to doctors trying to find a reasonable explanation for what happened; the only conclusion made was that I had an anxiety attack. Before this, I had never had anxiety and was taken aback to hear that this was the cause.
Now, nearly everyday I find myself fighting battles against myself. Sporadically throughout any given day I can suddenly acquire an overwhelming sense of fear, dread, and anticipation. The back of my neck will begin to feel heavy and throb with a dull pain. Sometimes, if the suddenness of these symptoms overwhelms me, my heart will begin to race that then leads to lightheadedness; my breathing will become shallow, my body will even begin to tremble, and occasionally I will begin to cry and hyperventilate. The cause for the anxiety, I cannot understand, and many doctors cannot explain either. It comes randomly, whether in the morning, afternoon, or even midnight. Some events, however, I have noticed will trigger the fear; such as, being surrounded by a large crowd, being exposed to too much heat, and especially being in the presence of drugs and alcohol.
Anxiety has taken a heavy burden on my life, but each day I’ve learned to manage it better than the last. My anxiety today is no where near what it was 4 years ago; but when it strikes, it still strikes with a vengeance.