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A Typical Panic Attack Sufferer

Judy seemingly had it all. At 31, she had a hardworking, successful husband who adored her, two beautiful children and a large circle of friends who admired her and turned to her for support. She was very well liked and was the “rock” in her relationships. Generous and thoughtful, Judy was always doing favors for her friends and rarely asked them for help. Judy would do anything to avoid a conflict; she was the ultimate people pleaser. After the recent birth of her second child, Judy had decided to become a “stay at home Mom”…a dream come true. What more could anyone ask for?

Out of the Blue…The First Attack
Judy describes her first panic attack: “It was a Monday morning. Everything was just fine. I was driving on the highway to the supermarket. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I felt my heart thumping wildly, like it was beating out of my chest, and a wave of lightheaded feelings swept over me. I felt so woozy, I was sure I would faint at the wheel. My chest tightened, and nausea and heat waves flashed through my body. All I could picture was THIS IS IT! I will never see my children grow up. Who will take care of my children? As these thoughts raced through my mind, my heart began to pound harder in my chest, and I felt numb all over. I thought… I am NOT going to make it. I’d better pull over and call 911 on my cell phone.”

The Emergency Room Visit
Judy waited anxiously in the emergency room for hours with her husband by her side. She was convinced she had a serious medical diagnosis. After a complete battery of tests had been completed, the ER doctor walked calmly through the door and said, “I have good news! After reviewing the results of all the tests, we can’t find anything! It’s probably just stress. What going on in your life?”

Judy knew it wasn’t “just stress.” But what was it? Judy thought, “The doctor couldn’t find anything. Maybe they didn’t look hard enough. If nothing is wrong, why do I feel so awful? There has to be something wrong!” Doubt, uncertainty and worry about “what if it happens again?” began to build.  Judy was developing a case of doctor doubt.

The next day, when Judy began to approach the same spot on the highway where she felt that overwhelming terror, it started happening again. She thought, “I have to get to the bottom of this. Why am I feeling this way?”

The Family Doctor
Judy immediately scheduled a visit with her family doctor and brought in a written list of her complaints.

The doctor wanted to be very thorough and give her peace of mind. He referred her to a number of different specialists including a cardiologist, neurologist, ear nose and throat specialist, and a gastroenterologist. When Judy returned to her family doctor, he was very warm and supportive. But, he said, “Nothing is wrong medically”. He offered her several prescriptions for medication and gave her the name of a psychotherapist. Judy thought “Oh, no! They think it’s all in my head. Why would I take medication when no one has told me why I am feeling this way? I don’t even like taking aspirin.”

The Shrink
In their first visit, the psychotherapist began to delve into her past. He stirred up old emotions, and Judy felt even worse after she left the therapist’s office.

She even tried self-help books written by former anxiety sufferers, which promised quick fix solutions, but Judy still could not find the answer.

A New Doctor
Judy got the name of a new family doctor from one of her friends.  On her first visit, the doctor gave her a thorough physical examination.  He came back and reassured her that she was in good physical health.  He then asked her to complete The Panic Checklist.  When Judy completed the checklist, she said “I can’t believe it. I checked everything off.” The new doctor said, “You may have an anxiety disorder called panic disorder. I want you to schedule an appointment with Doctor Blumberg. He is an expert.”

Finally, Some Answers to Judy’s Fears
Using the comprehensive approach of the panicLINK program, Judy was finally able to begin taking control of her panic. Understanding her triggers and having a strategy for what to do when an attack started gave her peace of mind and eased the anxiety of a relapse. Going through all the steps of the program, Judy eventually understood the key to living a panic-free life: her Missing Link.

Is panicLINK right for you? To find out, start by completing the Panic Checklist.