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I've Felt Calm Through COVID-19, but Had a Panic Attack Out of the Blue

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Since getting on medication long term, I stopped having panic attacks. However, when I got a new boss, who actually caused a co-worker of mine who had never had panic attacks before to have them, I had them again. They stopped again when I left that job. I had not had one in at least over six months until I had one recently, and I still have no idea what caused it. I have been surprisingly calm during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the new viral strain in the coronavirus family that affects the lungs and respiratory system.

I am one of the luckier ones. My husband is still working. He is a restaurant manager and they are doing curbside orders. They closed the preschool I work at for a while, but are paying us for most of the time we are out. We are also expecting a stimulus check from the government. I have been babysitting for essential employees during this time, so I am actually making more money than before the pandemic. The people I babysit for have a pool, which is great since our neighborhood one might not open this year.

I actually used some of our extra money to have my book professionally edited. It should be done in a couple of weeks! Before I started babysitting, I had some extra time at home to catch up on all my shows, and to get some blogging and work done on my book. The day I had the panic attack was at the end of a somewhat rough day. It was one of my first days babysitting. I was just finding out one of the children had special needs I was unaware of. This was making homeschooling both of them very challenging. Since then, I have gotten to know the children better, and things are still challenging at times, but much easier. I did not think babysitting stressed me out that much that day. Maybe it did, though, or maybe it was a combination of that and the pandemic.

Although I have mainly looked at the bright side of things, I do miss my work children and co-workers so much! I also miss going to my favorite restaurants and the movies. I feel like maybe my medicine has made me feel so calm that I do not even realize when I am anxious anymore, but I still am sometimes. I instantly knew I was having a panic attack when it happened because of having them before. It was not like the first time I had one, or the first few where I thought there might be something wrong with my heart. Despite knowing what it was, it still hurt and still scared and surprised me, and I cried. My chest hurt so bad, but I quickly tried to lie down and do some breathing exercises I know to help calm down and stop it. I was able to stop it pretty quickly and was fine.

If you don’t know what a panic attack feels like, for me personally, it usually feels like my heart might beat out of chest and I have trouble breathing. I feel like I might pass out if I do not lie down. There are many times I had them that made sense. Once, I was on a scary ride, another time I had to see my husband for the first time after we separated off and on for a little while many years ago. Other times, I have been working out and started to have one. This was so strange to me because working out usually relaxes me. I think maybe sometimes you have them when your body slows down enough to finally panic. I think the same thing happened the day I got home from babysitting and finally relaxed, and it just totally caught me off guard. I have not had one since, so unless they become frequent again, I don’t plan any extra visits to the doctor or changes in my medication or career anytime soon.

Struggling with anxiety due to COVID-19? Check out the following articles from our community:

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Originally published: April 28, 2020
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