Okay, so I do feel a bit guilty about coming on here before introducing myself or something like that, but it's such a pressing question for me and I want to at least attempt to have it answered before doing anything else.
I'm worried that what I think are panic attacks are something completely different, and may not even be related to GAD or any other panic/anxiety disorder.
I started having what I consider to be panic attacks recently, within the last two months. I don't have them often--only about four full-fledged ones so far--and most of them lasted under half an hour.
What normally happens is I might be alone in the house, in my room, really late at night, doing homework or something else important, and I'll suddenly start to feel really shaky and terrible and then just start sobbing. I won't even know why or have any reason to be that upset, which makes it worse because I'll be very confused and not understand why I'm freaking out so much.
It'll feel like I have no control over my body or my feelings--I'll know it's all irrational and that I'm not really upset about any one thing, but it'll be like I physically can't stop myself. Normally when you're crying and sobbing and freaking out, you can calm down if you realize everything's all right, or if you just take a few breaths, but with me I just can't do anything. It feels like my body and my feelings aren't mine anymore, my head is just going for a ride, going along with whatever crazy thing my body decides to do. It feels like nothing I do will change anything or have any effect.
Also, my hormones (maybe? I don't know) will just be completely wacked out. I'll feel like I'm at absolute rock bottom, like there's no hope whatsoever of ever being happy or normal again. Near the end I'll start to really freak out, maybe hyperventilate, and one time it even felt like there was TV static in my head. Here normally is where I start to calm down, take some deep breaths, and get back to normal. Well, kind of. I'll still be a bit shaky and scared, but I'll feel like I'll be better later and then I just take a nap and wake up like nothing happened.
I also stopped one, one time, I think? Like, I could feel something coming on, and just distracted myself with talking to my friends and some music and took a few breaths and then it stopped. The next day, though , I felt absolutely terrible, and, while I did not have a panic attacks, cried at even the slightest of things--like a teacher just telling me to speak up.
Alright, this seems like it has to be SOMETHING to me, but whenever I look up a list of symptoms of panic attack or panic disorder, I have barely any of the symptoms. I don't have chest pain or a racing heart. I might hyperventilate a little bit near the end, but I can still breathe perfectly fine the rest of it. I don't feel faint or dizzy, sweat or have chills, feel nauseous, get a headache, have trouble swallowing, have tingling in my hands and feet, or even really feel a sense of doom or death--just that nothing good will happen again, not that anything bad will.
And none of the symptoms ever mention crying or sobbing, which I do a lot of. I've also noticed that most of them occurred when I was really busy and couldn't get to sleep until late--so maybe they're caused by sleep deprivation? Which also doesn't seem to be listed anywhere when I look up panic attacks.
No one really knows about it yet and I haven't gone to any doctor and been diagnosed with anything (nor do I want to because I a) don't want anyone to know that I have to go to a doctor, and b) and am almost certainly not going to be able to pay for it). So . . . I don't know. I feel like there are some signs that it might be panic attacks, but there are so many symptoms that I don't have, and I've had so few of these episodes and so recently that I don't know if it's just some temporary thing. I don't know, guys, does anybody who's been diagnosed with panic attacks or a panic disorder experience any of these things? Does anybody have some advice to know if I'm truly having panic attacks without going to a doctor? Thanks!