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Any of you out there have Panic or Anxiety attacks/disorder

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  • Any of you out there have Panic or Anxiety attacks/disorder

    I have had panic attacks for years (15+) and am on daily meds for it but I have really had a bad last couple of days and I'm exhausted but can't sleep....thus the reason I'm still up and writing this after having almost no sleep from the night before. I am a constant worrier but I can have several weeks where things are not to bad then out of no where serveral days where I am sure I will not live to see the next day. My attacks can range anywhere from full blown freaking out with my heart racing and feeling like I can breath and wanting to go to the hospital to just simply having a nervous stomach and chest tightness and feeling kind of shakey. I manage to hide it pretty well from the general outside public and only two to three times in 13 years of grooming have I ever let it get to me so bad that I couldn't work the next day after being up all night. Anxiety runs my life and I am so tired, literally, constantly worried that I am having a heart attack and am going to leave my family and little girl behind. Love my husband but he is not nearly as supportive as I would like...he is an EMT/Fireman and just looks at it from a medical point of view and tells me that physically nothing is wrong with me and to just relax and go to sleep, he just totally does not understand. The nights are so much harder for me because we live out in the country and when it gets dark I feel incredibally isolated. So bad that we have actually put our house up for sale so that we can move closer in to my mother and the embarrased to admit that but this is my reality and just wondering if any of you are dealing with any anxiety issues and have any words of advice as to how to get a better handle on this when I have a really bad day. Thanks for listening to this crazy

  • #2
    I had one

    I had an anxiety attack once. I am not a high stressed person and actually am more of the "everything rolls off the ducks back" but I had to confront someone once over something that really stressed me out. I didn't realize how much until I was sitting at a table at a coffee shop and all the sudden thought I was going to black out and literally had to hold onto the table. I could only think ... oh no, I don't have insurance right now and if I faint they will take my in an ambulance and I won't be able to afford the bill. Seems funny now but I really thought I was dying. I have never had it happen again but it was truly horrible. I cannot even imagine having that go on continually. It was a nurse friend that explained to me that I was having an anxiety attack. The lady I was with said I was moaning something. How weird is that. Anyway, I totally feel for you.

    My girlfriend thought she was having asthma attacks and kept going to the ER. After 6 mos they diagnosed her with panic attacks. She had been taking meds and then they finally realized that her hormones were whacked out. She had plenty of testosterone and estrogen... but no progesterone. They finally got her leveled out and she claims no more anxiety attacks. Took 2 years and lots of doctors to figure it out.

    Good luck and I pray that there is an answer for you.


    • #3
      I had them for years as a pre-teen. My parents didn't look into it as a disorder, they just got mad at me and would tell me to 'chill out'. It went from mild concern to thinking I was acting out for attention. Occasionally, as I was bawling my eyes out and hyperventilating in the wee hours of the morning, my mom would get out of bed and sit with me on the couch and just talk to me to calm me down. I remember curling up on the floor at their bedroom door begging for one of them to come out and just sit with me, it was really sad.

      For me it all started in the 8th grade after watching Schindler's List in class. It disturbed me to the core and for the first time I really sat and thought about life and, I didn't think about it, I OBSESSED over it. It would happen during the day or at night, but worse at night. I had low blood pressure coupled with iron deficiency and would occasionally faint in school and that made it worse. Any time I felt the slightest bit lightheaded I would rush to the nurses' office thinking I was going to die and it was embarrassing to endure. I eventually somehow forced myself to deal with it in my head and managed to lower my pulse and slow my breathing until I was calm again.

      To this day, I still have an occasional attack and it only ever occurs out of deep sleep. My hubby understands and on those nights I wake up making a pathetic hopeless 'moan' or 'cry', he wakes right up and just holds me close and says sweet things to me and it calms me right down. I think it disturbs him to see me have the attacks, because I am normally extremely mellow at all times.

      I have no explanaition for this issue. I have never seen a professional about it, but if it were as bad as it was when I was a kid, I sure would. I have calmed down so much so, that situations that would make an average person freak out make me automatically calm and clear headed. I have avoided accidents and dealt with emergencies in amazing ways.

      I guess I just chimed in to let you know you are not alone and maybe you can find a way to be strong and train your mind the way I did. I must say that if it weren't for my husband next to me at night, those lingering attacks would possibly take me over, he is a blessing.


      • #4
        I'm 35 and had panic attacks from the age of 13 until about 24. I was really bad at points in my life. I use to think I was dying as well, always going to the doctor and ER. Finally I went to counseling as well as read so many books on the subject. I have not had an anxiety attack in over 10 years and when I feel a little funny I can now blow it off as I'm fine, nothing is wrong with me, deep breaths etc. I feel for you as I understand what you are dealing with on a daily basis. PM me would be glad to help you as much as I can. I went to college for Social Work and have experience in counseling as well.


        • #5
          I Would Like To Respond ...

          by suggesting that you consult with your doctor regarding your medication(s). Sometimes dosage adjustments and/or prescription changes may be needed to help you feel better. What may work for some, may not be right for you. You can also look up stress management/reduction techniques on the internet that could be useful or perhaps engage in social networking in your community, albeit church activities, volunteering, talking with a counselor or attending group meetings that connects you with other people. Avoid alcohol, isolation and do positive things for yourself. I would encourage you to exercise like walking, swimming and relaxing in a heated jacuzzie afterwards which would a great place to start. I wish you all the best and good luck.


          • #6
            I started getting them after I turned 18.
            I always saw my mom have them and I thought it was so silly, now its the worst thing in the world to me. I start to get them while I drive, in result, I don't drive anywhere except to work and back. I also wake up in the middle of the night having them to the point where I can't breath and I'm just panicking. I usually call my boyfriend until I calm back down, but at that point I'm awake for hours worried to go back to sleep and have one again.
            Well, I haven't been diagnosed, but I've talked to people in my family who have them and have compared. I'm going to talk to my doctor about it soon.
            It's not a fun feeling, in fact I hate it. It's the worst feeling.


            • #7
              Have you tried counseling as well as the meds? So many MD's are willing to prescribe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds w/out doing proper follow-ups or having the patient seek proper council. It used to be that people were hospitalized in order to get stabilized on the proper meds used for depression and anxiety and would usually get counseling as well.

              I used to have REALLY REALLYREALLY bad, life altering panic attacks. They were either brought on by depression or led to it (I really never figured out the cycle of it as those years were a blur) and me trying to "medicate" myself by drinking.......a lot. This of course made things worse and I ended up having a really bad break down (i.e a half-assed suicide attempt) and spending a week in the psych ward.

              It was the best thing that could have happened to me, though it sure didn't seem like it at the time. I have never mentioned this here because it is so very personal and never seemed appropriate till now. It sounds like you need really need help and understanding and I believe I was in the same scary place that you are in now (though it doesn't sound like you are drinking).

              Please please please see about getting some good psychiatric help so you can talk about your issues to a non-judgmental professional who can help you find a solution and who can make sure you are on the right meds. The first medication they tried me on in the hospital (Paxil I think) made me feel horrible. I ended up w/Zoloft and Ambien and two years of follow up council which helped immeasurably. Exactly a year after I got out of the hospital I made an appt to see about weaning myself off the meds. My stepson was killed on that very day so I continued w/my therapy and meds for another year to ensure I was truly stable.

              I have not used or needed meds or counciling in over 4 yrs now. I learned how to recognise an incipient panic attack and talk myself down from them. I very rarely get them any more.

              Feel free to PM me if you want to. I hope my "story" helps you a little. It was really brave to come forward like this and ask for help.
              SheilaB from SC


              • #8
                Hi-de-ho (waving)

                Yep..panic and anxiety suck. My first (and worst) panic attack hit me in my sleep. I woke up seeing red, a deep red that lasted for quite some time, my heart was absolutly racing and I did go to the hospital. When they checked my pulse and pressure the Dr said.."Oh my word"...that didn't help. I had full blown heart attack symptoms. Left arm numbness, shortness of know the ones. These lasted for months. My whole well being was gone, and it stayed gone for quite some time. I didn't go on meds, and still don't use any, but I do use education. It's rare when I have a true panic attack, but when I do my first symptom is I can hear it's like a train in the distance. That prepares me to start my fight...reassuring myself that this is just a test..I'm not dying...walk and breath. I have some books that I keep handy that I can pick up to reaffirm to myself that this is not the end. I highly recommend you don't fall into the trap of giving your panic/anxiety any will take over your life. Don't will be living at the hospital if you give in one inch. Panic/anxiety, if not put under control, can lead to other phobia's...mine started to morph into driving fear. It's one of the reasons I became a mobile groomer. I felt if I didn't, I would soon be home bound rubbing my hands together looking out the window.

                There are some great websites that will give you tons of information and support. Also, don't get dehydrated..that brings it on..and take Magnesium.

                Panic/anxiety also run in brother has it too. We joke about feeling like we are going to "flop on the floor like a fish out of water" makes it easier to get thru knowing you can talk about it to someone who is dealing with the same thing. We also share our "worst of the worst" stories, that make us laugh.

                Oh..this may be hard to do, but when you are starting to "go there", think of something that makes you physically laugh..totally fake a laugh if you have out loud belly REALLY helps stop the attack from happening.

                Don't be to hard on your husband, people who have never experienced this have nothing to compare it too...I have yet to be able to describe the feeling, the fear or the after affects and have anyone understand....except my bro. Take care


                • #9
                  I had them in my early 20s and I can tell you, you CAN get better. When you are in the midst of a panic attack it feels as though the world is coming to an end and you are dying. It is so hard to see beyond the attack at this point, but believe me, there is a life without panic waiting for you. Just take one day at a time and when an attack hits, instead of living in the moment, you need to force yourself to think about the fact that this will soon pass.

                  I had one particularly bad attack that sent me out in an ambulance to the ER, my body reacted as though I was having an actual heart attack - it was not pretty and I was hospitalized for 2 weeks. It hit me while I was sound asleep. Panic disorder is real. It produces chemical changes in your body during an attack and people who never experienced this will never understand.

                  I would recommend getting into an outpatient support grp - this helped me immensely and got me out of the house where I could focus my energy into getting better and learn from others going through the same thing. Drs put me on various meds over a 5 year period and honestly I can say that they did nothing other than cause various bad side effects. I will say that xanax DID help, but I only used it as a last resort if the anxiety started to spiral out of control.

                  There are some good books out there to help you with the catastrophic thought process' that an anxiety disorder can send you into. The biggest thing that helped me was "linking" my thoughts when I felt myself going down a bad path. Instead of focusing on the anxiety, think about something productive you will be doing soon. Example: I need to go buy groceries, I will go to this store, make a list of what you need to buy, etc etc. Then get out and do it. In the midst of an attack, instead of wearing blinders and getting lost in the moment of panic and fear, I would force myself to think about the fact that this attack would end shortly.

                  Excercise and getting out of the house is also probably the best thing you can do. This causes a real positive affect on your body and is a VERY good outlet that burns the adrenaline overload in your body.

                  You also need an outlet for your thoughts and emotions as bottling them up and fearing that people will judge you will only make it worse. This is another reason why a support grp will help in an immense way.

                  I have not taken any meds for over 10 years and now feel like I have no fear that this disorder will ever be allowed back in my life. Granted it takes work; namely learning to control your catastrophic thinking, and learning to snap yourself out the "what if" thought process when you feel anxiety coming on.

                  Good luck!


                  • #10
                    I had them

                    Yes, I suddenly started to experience them years ago on SUNDAYS. It was really startling to me, as well as scary. For me, I finally guessed that Sunday was my only day without a real schedule, as I was building my business and going full out grooming/organizing, etc. So I tried scheduling ONE thing on a Sunday - ANYthing, as long as it was for certain time (like, 11 am get groceries, or 1 pm visit sister). Just one thing specifically scheduled helped me regain my composure. Weird, but I think the "down time" was just so abnormal at that time that my adrenalin was kicking at me to "go-go-go", and resulted in the panic attacks.

                    One person here commented on the hormone imbalance, so that sounds like a great thing to check out. Also, yes, if the meds aren't working properly - and they aren't - they need to be adjusted or changed.

                    Counselling is great, especially since hubby doesn't "get it". It's so nice to vent to someone without holding back! PLUS a good counsellor will know some strategies and be able to deal with many of your fears.

                    And yoga, for peace and centering. But if you are not up to that, do SOMETHING to lower the adrenaline - walk, treadmill, jumping jacks, running on the spot a couple of minutes. Lowering that adrenaline once the panic attack is happening will help, at least somewhat. The adrenaline is our "fight or flight" system, so if you are just sitting around, your mind is working on "What's wrong? Why do I feel weird?" It's because your body is all charged up, so let it release that energy! A pretty big adrenaline "hit" can take an hour to simmer down, so even if you do 10-20 jumping jacks every few minutes, your body will feel like it let some of that adrenaline kick out, and you will likely feel better.

                    Good luck.


                    • #11
                      I used to suffer terribly from panic attacks. Please go and see your doctor. There are many different drugs to treat this and you may have to find a new one or adjust your current one.

                      Good luck and let us know how you make out.
                      The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson


                      • #12
                        I have been dealing with these since I was 12. The first real one hit that I recognized then after watching "Stand By Me". I ended up blacking out. I am dealing with them now in fact, but mine hit me in the morings. The ones I have been having are extremely mild thankfully.
                        I know what works for me may not work for you, but I'll share anyway. First, I found a doctor who would listen to me and not just throw a bunch of meds my way. I am on meds, but she also did blood work and found I had Vit D deficiency. It wasn't until I started taking the Vit D along with the Cymbalta that I really started to feel better.
                        When I am having an attack, everything seems overwhelming and impossible. Just taking a shower or getting my kids dressed. I have found whatever my mind is telling me I "can't" do, if I make myself do it I feel better.
                        When they hit I have to move, I can't sleep, I feel nauseous sometimes to the point of throwing up. After I had my daughter and my PPD hit I went 5 days without sleep because of the anxiety. The fear that if I took my eyes off my daughter for a second something bad would happen to her.
                        I went about 7 years without a single incident of anxiety or depression. I will share with you what I rarely talk about in a public forum, but I am ok with it. In my early twenties I hit bottom and checked into a rehad type hospital. They mostly dealt with addictions but handled depression as well. I was there 2 1/2 weeks. It was some of the hardest days of my life but I look back and it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I found my root fears and dealt with them. It wasn't until I had my first child that they came back. That was hormonal. Then I had my son and had never gotten completely back to myself after having my daughter. The PPD hit again, differently, but still. Then when I was just starting to feel like myself again, my mom passed, and I am just now starting to feel like I am finding my way. What I have learned about myself is no matter how many times I get knocked down I refuse not to get back up. I'm too dang stubborn.
                        I hate it, I hate feeling out of control of my own feelings, I hate that I can't just "make it stop" right when I want it to. My husband has no understanding and it's really a waste of time talking to him about it. Unless you've had them, it can be hard to empathize.
                        I share this with everyone for one reason. After I got out of that hospital I had a college professor I was close to make me promise one thing. That I would use my pain and experience to try to help someone else, and I have always tried to do that. I am hoping that I have not passed this on to my daughter or son, but if I have at least I will have some tools to give them. My mom tried to help me but she didn't udnerstand what was going on with me as a kid. She started having them later in life and I remember her calling me and apologizing for not knowing how hard they were or what to do for me.
                        I know that some people have shared personal information and have felt it was a poor choice because of the responses they may have gotten. I have thought this through and figure if someone wants to think less of me or badly of me because of this, that is there problem and not mine. I would rather share and hopefully help someone else know that they are not alone and there is help and people who care.
                        We're here for you!!!
                        What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


                        • #13
                          I also suffer from panic attacks, and OCD. And while I know you don't want to hear this, your husband is partially right. There is nothing physically wrong that's going to kill you, although you may have a brain chemistery or hormonal issue. And you do need to relax. Where hubby is missing the boat is this; to relax you need to learn methods for coping that will help you focus on something else, because meds are probably not enough.

                          Please see a therapist. There are so many coping strategies that will bring you much needed relief. Deep breathing, for example. There's a right way and a wrong way to do that, though, so let a therapist talk you through it.

                          For sleeping, there is one trick that sleep therapists use a lot. Count backwards from 300 by 3s. It's a complex mental process that requires you to focus on the math, not your anxieties. It's been shown to be pretty successful.


                          • #14
                            Without getting too personal, I have generalized anxiety and social anxiety and have had panic attacks. I used to be on medication but have not been on anything in the past few years.

                            What I can suggest from my own experience is that what you eat and drink can really affect your anxiety. I never used to believe that, but now I swear by it. Mine gets way worse if I have too much sugar or caffeine especially. I try to stick to a healthy, low glycemic diet and have given up coffee (used to drink a LOT) for tea, and try to drink mostly herbal (naturally caffeine free) tea. If I eat too much sugar I get very anxious too.

                            This is not to say that I don't believe in medications either, but I am very careful about them and prefer natural approaches when possible, and it is amazing how much you can cure through diet alone. You may want to adjust your medications and also fix your diet and see if that helps. There are a lot of actual, scientific studies that confirm caffeine and a high glycemic diet are terrible for people with anxiety problems.

                            Basically, avoid caffeine, highly processed foods, and high fructose corn syrup and eat more whole foods, in addition to what your doctor prescribes. This is something that so many people could benefit from but most people won't do it because it's hard to change eating habits, especially when our society makes it so easy (and inexpensive) to eat junk.
                            Last edited by Alice; 01-24-10, 10:27 AM.


                            • #15
                              In the last year a family member with a long history anxiety attacks and racing heart finally got off white sugar. He went through the blues for 2 weeks, cranky, panicky and then got much better. He still has anxieties, emotional issues, but nowhere near like before, certainly no "attacks" and racing heart. No longer are we getting telephone calls based on panic etc.

                              My science teacher long ago told us that white sugar was never tested by the FDA, it was grandfathered in and almost certainly would not be allowed because of the many side effects.
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