I Thought I Was Having A Heart Attack At Fourteen
(Beaverton, Ontario, Canada)
I was 14 years old. Just laying in my bed, slowly getting sleepier. Then I noticed my heart rhythm getting faster, which scared me. Then I started thinking that maybe heart attacks start like that. Ridiculous, a 14 year-old girl thinking that maybe her heart rate speeding up was a sign of a heart attack.
Then, because I was scared, my breathing became more shallow and faster. I was terrified. I didn't know what to think. Then the sharp chest pain started, and soon after that I felt another pain in my left arm, which then made me remember hearing that having pain in your left arm can also be a sign of a heart attack.
I was petrified, too scared to even move. My body became so tense and I was convinced that I was going to die that night. I don't think I've ever experienced anything so painful before. I started crying because of the pain, but I tried to be quiet because I didn't want to wake anyone.
It seemed like it lasted for an hour, but I know it was only about 20 minutes. I kept talking to myself in my head saying I needed to calm down and maybe it was just in my head. I started forcing myself to take deeper breaths. It took so much effort to actually calm down. Still though, I had absolutely no idea was going on.
No one had ever mentioned to me what a panic attack was, so for months after I legitimately thought that I had suffered a minor heart attack, but I never told my family or anyone else about that night because I thought that it would seem silly of me and that they would just tell me to get over it and ignore it. Then I suffered 3 more that year afterward. I'm 19 now, and I don't have many panic attacks anymore. I've only had 2 major ones this past year, which is really good.
Still though, I often wonder what started that first one when I was 14. I can't remember anything stressful that had happened around the time before my panic attack, and it definitely was the worst one I've had.
I really hope that if there are any young teens reading this, please let someone know if you've experienced something like this. Don't feel like how I did when I had my first panic attacks. Let someone know; they'll help you. I went 2 years before telling anyone about mine. They were a hard 2 years to go not knowing what's going on with your body. So please, don't be scared to tell someone about them. Your family and friends are there to help you so don't be afraid to take advantage in getting help when you need it.