For the last few years, I've experienced what I thought were panic attacks. They had all the classic symptoms of a panic attack. Pressure in my chest, shortness of breath, etc. It always kind of bothered me as I'm not a particularly anxious person, but I really didn't think there was any other explanation.
Well, yesterday I went to the doctor for a completely unrelated matter and casually mentioned my 'panic attacks'. The doctor was interested and asked me to describe them. So I told her how painful they were and how it felt like my ribs were being squeezed together in a vise and how whenever they hit me I would be curled on the floor in pain for at least a half an hour. She then calmly told me that, no, those weren't panic attacks, they are what is called 'Esophageal Spasms'. Which is exactly what it sounds like- when your esophagus seizes up.
Now there really isn't a lot they can do about these spasms, but that's okay cause I walked out of that office with this huge weight off of my shoulders. It changes my view of myself and how I handle life and I really wish I'd asked a doctor 4 years ago rather than self-diagnosing!