Learning to Recognize My Panic Attacks

It's been twenty years of being aware that I have panic attacks. It was the summer I turned 16 that I first put a name to it, that horrible feeling where my whole body gets hot and my mind rapidly alternates between racing and being empty. All my worst and most self defeating thoughts come to mind at once and I can't communicate any way besides lashing out at people or crying. I rarely get short of breath or think I'm having a heart attack, but that happens sometimes.
Last night I was watching tv, playing on my phone, feeling a little sad, when a panic attack started. My sadness went from a 4 to a 10 instantly. I started hating every aspect of my body and berating myself for not being healthier. Suddenly the living room was 200 degrees. Just
I'm not sure what was different about last night, but I realized what was happening. Instead of piling hatred on myself, I was able to recognize what was going on. It wasn't quite bed time, but I knew if I made it through this panic attack, I'd be exhausted soon enough. So I went upstairs, took one of my anti-anxiety pills, and took a shower as the tears started to flow. "It's just the panic attack talking," I kept telling myself. I took the rest of my night time medication (anti depressants and anxiety) and another fast acting anti-anxiety pill. I'm allowed to take up to four a day, but almost never go over two.
Feeling like I was getting my brain under control, I went to my boyfriend. "I'm freaking out a little, but I think it's going to be okay." Then I outlined the steps I'd taken, and that I was heading to bed. He made an exaggerated growing face, hugged me close, and then started talking to make me laugh. By that point, I was ready for the distraction from the thoughts.
I fell asleep within seconds of turning my light off. Many a time a panic attack has kept me awake for hours, turning over the same horrible thoughts over and over again. I'm not saying that will never happen again, but it didn't happen last night.

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