I posed a question to my friends on Facebook:

“Did you ever have a panic attack?”

I received more responses to that post than any other question I ever asked on social media.

A few didn’t know what a panic attack is and said they were often anxious or sad to the point of being nervous.

Those are not panic attacks. Panic attacks are much worse than anxiety or “nerves.”

Many years ago, I had three panic attacks. I was merely sitting in The Herald-Dispatch newsroom when my heart started thumping out of my chest and I felt like I was dying.

I ran to my photographer friend John Klein and told him to pull his car around.

“I need to go to the emergency room before I die. NOW,” I said.

He suggested an ambulance might be better.

I replied I didn’t have time to wait for an ambulance.

While he was getting his car, I ran downstairs to meet him. I got in and told him to “punch it.” Whenever we got to a red light, I begged him to “run it.” Death was near, I told him.

Getting to the door of the emergency room at St. Mary’s Medical Center, I ran into the full waiting room and up to the receptionist.

“If you don’t let me in to see a doctor right now, I am going to have a heart attack and die in front of all these people,” I screamed.

In 30 seconds, I was in a room with a doctor and a couple of nurses. He listened to my heart and mumbled something to a nurse.

“You aren’t having a heart attack. You’re having a panic attack,” he said as the nurse handed him a syringe full of something, ”and you’ll feel OK in about three minutes.”

He shot me in the arm and three minutes later, I felt normal again.

I had two more panic attacks after that, both of them while lying on a couch at home. I went to the Cabell Huntington emergency room both times.

During one of my visits, a doctor admitted that panic attacks were an epidemic.

“Many nights every patient who comes in here is having a panic attack,” he said. This was before the drug overdose epidemic.

Sometimes panic attack victims know exactly what sets them off — bad marriages, loss of jobs, sights they have seen, situations they are exposed to. Recurring attacks are often treated with drugs. One of my Facebook friends, a hypnotist, says she treats victims with hypnotism.

Why has this suddenly come back to me like a nightmare?

Because I believe President Trump had a panic attack more than a week ago when he was seen hustling to his car with his personal physician for a ride to Johns Hopkins Hospital for a very brief stay before returning to the White House.

Were he having a panic attack, nothing short of a hospital visit would satisfy him. And after he got something to calm him down, he would have wanted to go home.

And, of course, he wouldn’t want voters to know he had a panic attack since few know what such attacks are all about and those in the throes of an attack are little more than babbling idiots.

It would be easy for Trump to lie about such an attack. He lies about things a whole lot worse.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.

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