In 1989, during her sophomore year in college, writer Andrea Petersen had her first panic attack. She was standing in the basement of an academic building at the University of Michigan waiting to sign up for classes.
“It was an ordinary day … and I was fine … and then in an instant I wasn’t,” says Petersen.
Her heart was racing. She was short of breath, and her vision was blurred.
“I just became gripped by this absolute terror and this conviction that I was dying,” she says.
The panic attacks came and went. Doctors tested for multiple sclerosis, a brain tumor and chronic fatigue syndrome. It took a year before she was diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
Petersen writes about health for The Wall Street Journal, and she’s just come out with her first book. It’s called On Edge: A Journey through Anxiety. The book is part personal narrative, part deep dive into anxiety treatments and research.
Petersen will be in Traverse City this Friday, May 26th for a National Writers Series event. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the City Opera House.
By Morgan Springer, Interlochen Public Radio