It turns out they're usually caused by major transitional life changes, stress (perhaps a shit load of summer classes and preparing for pharmacy school..?), and are maintained by a person with a temperament "more susceptible to stress." So naturally, I guess who I am makes me more vulnerable to panic attacks then, if those episodes are really what they are.
And if you've never had a panic attack before, consider it a blessing. They're really awful... You sound awful and irrational, even to yourself, and then you feel like there's absolutely no hope for whatever it is that triggered the reaction, and your chest hurts and you can't breathe properly and you can't get away because gosh, how do you escape your own body?
Anyway, I looked up other solutions, and here's what I plan to do now:
- Take in less caffeine. Apparently, substances with a lot of caffeine can trigger panic attacks, so I should probably lay off the coffee.
- Avoid alcohol. I've been drinking a little more recently (not outside my house, of course), just because it's so accessible now. But it makes me even more depressed now, so I'll stop.
- Get more sleep. I think I'd be a lot more productive if I maybe slept for more than five hours. I used to be really good about sleeping, but now it's all out of whack and I feel so unmotivated.
- Exercise. I'm thinking of taking up running again, since it used to always cheer me up. I'll clear up some time over the weekend.
I'm so glad that panic attacks are more common than I thought they were... I really thought I was just composed of little bits of crazy, you know? Because wow, it's not really a big deal, so what, I'm taking on a little more stress than I usually do, and my thoracic cavity goes into full-on freak out mode.
But I think it's just a temporary thing due to some minor lifestyle changes, and maybe I can get it fixed. Until next time!