My First Panic Attack (Navy, Mental Illness and Music Pt. 2)
I spent my 28th birthday in the hospital.
In May 2016 I started classes at Temple University – Japan Campus as an International Business Studies major.
I was with a group of some new friends I had made at my university and we were all going out to eat Yakiniku – which is a popular Japanese meal that consists of choosing various meats and cooking over a small gas grill – which was pretty frustrating for me considering the fact that I had just started on a vegetarian diet and wouldn’t have been able to eat the majority of the food.
Prior to this day, I noticed that I was having a lot of trouble focusing in my classes and felt lightheaded when I was talking in large groups of people. I had also been drinking very heavily and opting to go on long solitary walks from the university back to my apartment which would last from 4 to 5 hours long.
During these walks I would have long crying spells, then during the days leading up to my birthday, I started screaming out loud and was having very delusional thoughts.
On the day of my birthday, the birthday plans began with a complaint when I expressed interest in going to Karaoke. Then it was decided without my input that we would go to Yakiniku. I didn’t want to go to a Yakiniku, nor did I want to hang out with a large group of people. I wanted to go drinking in Yokosuka with my old friends, but I was trying to break away from my old lifestyle and try new things.
While we were on the train, I read an e-mail from my mom and my heart started racing.
As we were going through the train station I went into my “dream world”, which is a sensation I had been experiencing since I was a child where I’ll start feeling like I’m dreaming. I now know this to be derealization/depersonalization. I always assumed it was because I felt tired. A unique sensation began to occur as an adult wherein I would get the “startled” sensation repeatedly and feel like I was choking. These were my first symptoms.
I tried to hide this sensation from the group, but I started feeling scared and my friend asked me if I was okay because he saw me rubbing my temples. He asked me if I had eaten that day and bought I might be experiencing hypoglycemia. I ate a small bag of cheese crackers and we exited out of the station.
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