I sometimes get episodes of what i feel are anxiety attacks, however they are never brought on by anything irrational. Only triggered by extreme confrontation or sadness when recalling an event. When i get these “anxiety attacks” i feel like i cant contain what i am feeling anymore and it manifests in things like me forgetting to breath and shaking my body and griping at y scalp while crying, or feeling like i cant do anything at all but just stare into nothing and listen. In day to day life i don’t feel like i ever have mood swings, some days i wake up happy and some days sad. However, my mood will not spontaneously change without a reason. I feel like in day to day life i am one of the more calm people in my career and i am able to handle work stress extremely well with very little repercussions to the large amount of stress. I do have a hard time making and maintaining friendships and feel like i am craving them at the same time, just something within me doesn’t let me be able to have bonds with people. There are acceptations to this like my partner who i am extremely happy with and who i believe i have a healthy relationship with. I just don’t feel like what i am experiencing fit into the typical depression or anxiety symptoms as i feel i am much more rational and composed than the symptoms suggest. I just want to know if there is a better term for what i am feeling and where to find help to deal with what i feel.

A. I would need more information to know what might be wrong but you could be describing anxiety/panic attacks. You mention them being triggered by “extreme confrontation” but it is not clear what you mean by that phrase. Sadness is also a trigger. I know what those words and phrases mean generally. What is missing is what they mean to you, in the context of your life.

Meeting with a mental health professional (in person) should be your next step. They would be in the best position to assess what might be wrong. You might also consider consulting a primary care physician to rule out a physical health problem. Ideally, you should consult both a mental health professional and a primary care physician. Having a thorough assessment will help to determine what’s wrong.

You should also document these attacks. Include the following information: how often they occur; what precisely happens prior to them occurring; how you are feeling as they happen; how long they last; and describe the nature of the aftermath (i.e., how long did it take you to calm down, etc.). Having a detailed record of these attacks might help you to better understand them. It would also be useful information for professionals attempting to diagnose the problem. Thank you for your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle