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Panic attack led to amnesia

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Panic attack led to amnesia

Postby DianaL60 » Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:15 pm

After a lifetime of trauma, ( childhood sexual abuse by family, frequent moves, five rapes, had sex with men I didn't like to keep a roof over my head, poor school performance, extreme bullying, heavy use of alcohol and drugs, sexual dysfunction, inability to earn enough to pay rent, never could afford healthcare, binge eating and purging ), a series of events led me to have a severe panic attack with full amnesia.

I took a job at a bookmaking parlor (illegal, but 4x minimum wage). After several years of stable living and making close friends, this happened:

My social hangout closed and all my close friends left the city. One night about a month later, I got a knock at my door from UPS. It was a bevy of cops in flak jackets, guns drawn. The trauma of having my lovely home torn to shreds by these sadists was wretched.
No more job, no more home and in fear of the legal consequences, I fled to the West coast with an acquaintance's help.

My plan was to get job and housing. I temporarily moved in with a man (had to pay my keep with sex). I got pregnant. Neither of us wanted a child - he already had two and I had no means to support a child on my own.
I went to the clinic. All was going well until some random nurse walked in and started yelling at me, telling me I was a sinner for seeking an abortion. This at an abortion clinic!

I drove to a grocery store and bought smoked salmon, etc.- items that I couldn't afford. When I walked back into the man's house, I looked around and couldn't see any of my furniture (that I had to abandon in NY).

I walked in to the kitchen and saw their small dog.
Quite casually, the thought of cutting him into many pieces crossed my mind ( I love animals and have always protected them ).
Then , I lost it completely. I was terrified. I didn't know who I was. I grabbed my phone book to call for help - fortunately I was able to recognize one name: a woman who had been my therapist.

She got me to the mental health hospital.

I could remember nothing. I couldn't read or understand what TV programs were. The terror of knowing that I might never recover was horrendous.
After being coddled by the most wonderful nurse, my paranoia lessened.

In the hospital was a piano. I started to play and realized that I could read music, but still couldn't read words. After what felt like months, but was only a week, the doctor suggested that it was time for me to go home.

What followed was three years of extreme agoraphobia. I needed a friend to go with me if I had to go out. Panic would overwhelm me if I entered a store.

Thankfully, this has never recurred, but the fear of it mobilized me to find higher paying jobs and live alone in affordable hotels (flophouses).

I'd love to hear from anyone who has experienced such extreme panic attacks.
DianaL60
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Re: Panic attack led to amnesia

Postby DianaL60 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:56 pm

I thought of a few other things leading to my collapse:

Dissociating has been my way of handling difficult situations. After the nurse started yelling at me, I started to dissociate, leading to spending my case $$ on luxuries.
I continued in a haze until I got "home". The panic set in when I couldn't see anything familiar. It became full blown when I had the crazy thought about the dog.

In the months leading up to this, I had studied hard for a real estate license. Unfortunately, when I looked at the licensing test, all the words turned to hieroglyphics. I failed getting my license by one point.
Next, I applied for a good job that I was qualified for. So did 100 other people. I made it to the final interview with only one other person. She got the job.

Then, my lovely bicycle was stolen. This was horrible, as it was my only means of independent transportation. It had given me freedom, joy and exercise.
DianaL60
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