I was taken to the ER for having my first ever genuine and prolonged panic attack. I figure that the best way to tackle an issue is to try to take it head on instead of avoiding thinking about it with the hopes that it won't happen again. I believe avoiding an issue is generally a mistake. Making decisions with fear as your motivation often ends badly.
I've had minor occurrences of panic attack'esque episodes in the past but this time it was distinctly different and a whole new kind of beast. It occurred at 1:25am. I got up for a bathroom break like numerous times before. When I came back to bed and threw the sheets over me, I realized something was very very wrong. I felt a fear so primal and unrecognizable that I had no idea what was happening to me. The incredibly foreign nature of what I was feeling added to the panic and made the whole situation that much more terrifying. I started trembling uncontrollably even though it was not cold. My heart rate skyrocketed and I could feel my heart fiercely beating against my chest. I turned on the lights and sat on my bed in a complete daze. My father got alarmed and woke up from the light. He came into my room and repeatedly asked what was wrong. I kept trembling and staring in random directions. I finally managed to mutter "emergency room... now..."
After the symptoms finally subsided and the nurses could find nothing physically wrong with me, I thought about why I couldn't answer my father when he kept asking what was wrong with me. I realized that the answer I wanted to give him would make me sound insane and that made me very afraid. A quick web.md search yielded the symptom I was too scared to even attempt to describe:
"Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings."
Besides the physical symptoms such as trembling and an increased heart rate, this was the mental symptom I was utterly terrified of. I quite literally felt like I was viewing my body from somewhere high above and outside of it. I felt my "essence" fading from me. I couldn't stop myself from thinking about what actually makes me "Vahagn." I didn't think of myself as a unified whole. I thought of myself as a massive collection of cells. I saw myself as groups of organs surrounded by flesh. I viewed my brain as a collection of neurons and I could not stop thinking about how all those neurons work together to form who I am. I could not understand how they formed my consciousness and stored my memories. I asked myself "why are these neurons working together to store my memories and who I am? What's stopping them from erasing me completely?" I believe I was having an existential crisis in the most literal way I could possibly experience it and the ordeal was immensely terrifying and it caused me to question the very essence of reality and what ultimately makes me, "me."
I never want to go through this experience again but if it does decide to show up again. .. bring it the fuck on. I'm ready for you.