Panic attacks may be scary to experience especially if a person does not know what is happening to them. I had my first panic attack while riding in the passenger seat of a car on a highway while it was snowing. I get pretty anxious to begin with while driving or riding in the car while it is snowing and slippery on the ground.
The person driving had followed the wrong directions and got lost, so that brought on even more anxiety. I could hear trucks rumbling by us and the sounds were making my heart race. It was dark, as it was night time, the road was slick and we were lost on a highway, not knowing which exit to get off of.
At one point, I could feel my heart racing, which is a normal reaction to an anxiety provoking situation, but then I felt something completely different, that I had never experienced before. My entire body felt numb and weightless. It felt as if I wasn’t even sitting there in the car. I could not feel my body.
The numbness I experienced throughout my body had scared me even more, I felt as though I were having an out of body experience or that I was dying. The numbness only lasted for a couple minutes and then I was able to feel my body again. However, it felt like a lot longer than that, because it was so uncomfortable.
When I was able to feel my body again, I felt kind of sore and achy. It felt as if my hands and legs had stiffened up during the attack. My hands were sweaty, my heart was racing and I felt lightheaded.
The whole body numbness feeling is something that I had experienced only a few times in my life and it happens mostly when I am riding in a car, particularly when driving over a bridge or some place that provokes a panic attack for me. When I mentioned the situation that I had experienced along with feelings of being lightheaded, numbness throughout my body, sweaty hands and a racing heart to my doctor, he diagnosed me as having suffered from a panic attack.
I have spoken with a few other people who had experienced panic attacks before with whole body numbness. We have all agreed that this is the scariest part of the panic attack. It feels as if you can not control the attack, you feel weak and numb, from head to toe.
Another scary part of experiencing a panic attack with whole body numbness is the feeling of dying. The feeling of not knowing what is going on in your body and the variety of symptoms make it seem like something really bad is happening. Some people may experience panic attacks during stressful or anxiety provoking situations, while other people may experience them without a known cause.
The feeling of being numb from head to toe was very frightening for me. The second and third time I experienced the panic attacks, I at least knew why I was experiencing the body numbness, however, it did not lessen the severity of the experience. It only gave me a peace of mind to know that something else serious is not happening in my body.
I have not experienced a panic attack with whole body numbness in awhile, and I think it is because I have practiced certain anxiety relieving techniques as well as some exposure therapy. If you have experienced whole body numbness as part of a panic attack and it is interfering with your life, you may want to talk to a doctor or therapist about it. Some people may avoid certain situations that may cause panic attacks or even avoid leaving their home altogether due to a fear of experiencing a panic attack.