Laid Off from Job
I first experienced panic attacks when I was laid off 2.5 years ago. At first I thought I was having a heart attack, but after googling and reading, I understood what happened to me. I eventually found another job, and the frequency and intensity of the panic attacks greatly decreased, although they never entirely went away.
I just got laid off again, and because I am now 60, I know it is unlikely I will ever work in my field again. I have prepared financially as best I can in the last two years, though I don't have enough to retire. I know I ought to be able to figure out some kind of income to supplement my savings, even if it's part-time minimum wage. I should be able to survive just fine. But I'm experiencing major panic attacks on almost a daily basis. I feel very trapped. I've lost my appetite (not necessarily a bad thing for now). I think it's worse this time than it was after the first lay off, because I know the career is gone and there's no going back.
I feel as though my heart will give out if I don't get a handle on this - that it will pound so hard that it will burst. I'm bit by bit increasing my daily exercise (I'm not in very good shape), and cut out expensive junk foods. At least one of the other posters mentioned that exercise helps. I've been immersing myself in escapist entertainment through books and TV, which I don't think is a very good long term solution. It may be time to give meditation a try.
It is interesting to read about the underlying unsettledness, because I do believe I have been living in that state since the recession, and the lay-off was the trigger. I know other people who never lost their jobs, but still started experiencing panic attacks. I think it is a consequence of a brutal corporate culture that discards people as easily as a used kleenex, and the recession really woke up many of us (those of us who were apparently oblivious) to the realization that there is no job security.