Your heart or your head? How do you know which one is broken?

“Don’t listen to your head… Follow your heart!” It’s a cliche oft used to point out it’s good to listen when something feels right or wrong, good or bad. I’m being a little more literal with today’s post.

Your head or your heart?

I am sitting in my office at work and suddenly I have pain in my chest. What was going on?  I start to get a little concerned. First I check my pulse. Is my heart racing? It’s a little high. “Maybe I just need a drink,” I think to myself so I get up and grab some water. Dizziness. “Oh crap”, I think to myself. Tingling in my fingers. “It’s just anxiety,” I try to tell myself as I sit down, and hope it all passes.

A couple of minutes passes and I still feel like something isn’t right. I check in with Dr Google who tells me it’s probably my heart. “But what if it’s just anxiety?” my brain helpfully tells me. “You’ll feel like a bit of a dick making a fuss!” I decide to relent and ask someone to call an ambulance.

Finally after spending a night in hospital and having a bunch of tests I now know I was having an anxiety attack. It wasn’t my heart. It was my head. But how was I to know at the time?

While I am lucky that I took things seriously it’s worrying to think of the people who don’t know and don’t get checked. People think they are wasting the time of the doctor but because of their inaction they could end up in the ground. Dead.

My mental illness results in me worrying what other people think, so I am prone to ignoring my concerns in case people think I’m being a ‘drama queen.’ What would I do if it happened again now that I know this time wasn’t actually a life threatening situation? I would ask for an ambulance and maybe cop some crap, but I would know I’d get the help if I needed it.

What would you do if you were confronted with this situation? Have you had to make the call for yourself or someone else?