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Panic attack


#1

Hi guys,

I had what I can only describe as a horrible panic attack this afternoon. I met a friend in town and was sitting in McDonald’s with him. Suddenly I felt this overwhelming sensation of impending doom like something was going to kill me, and I felt a massive urge to run away, to escape to somewhere. I then felt extremely hot and sweaty all over and pins and needles all over my body.

I couldn’t concentrate on what my friend was saying and somehow just kept agreeing and saying the odd word. Since that has happened I feel like I am in alert mode looking for when it’s going to come again.

Looks like no matter how positive I try to be with this condition it’s always going to byte back in some way. I honestly just feel like crying sometimes. It’s just not fair


#2

I completely agree. It’s not fair. I’ve had so many panic attacks since this began and there is no talking yourself down. They do always pass though. I think all you can do is take deep breaths, reassure yourself that nothing is going to happen, ride them out. I’m so sorry richy. I know so many people here who’ve had this condition longer than us are improving. Chin up. Xx


#3

Agh Richy, (insert hug!) lizzie has said it all but you must try and keep as strong as possible , we all WILL get better, it takes time but we will. Poor you having a panic attack :frowning: how scary for you xx


#4

Hey. I’m sorry you had a panic attack. They suck, no matter how many times you have them. It sounds like you did what you have to do - just sit with it, let it work it’s way through.

Wishing you well,
Molly


#5

Ahh, so sorry you had this.

I’ve only had one before at the start of this, and I was in my house, so can’t imagine how awful you must feel to be out of the home when you have one.

Don’t forget though, there is no real danger- the part of your brain that controls anxiety is close to the balance centre so it figures that if one is messed up, the other will be too.

I’m starting meditation tomorrow- have you thought about yoga or meditation or anything like that?

Lou x


#6

I know the feeling. You constantly scan your body for sensations that tell you when the next panic attack is coming so that you can prepare yourself and hopefully stop it from happening. One of the things I’m trying to learn, as it’s the best way to overcome these attacks, is let them happen. Even try to welcome them if you can. Give in to all the sensations and say to yourself well I know what this is it is just a burst of adrenalin and it wont hurt me. Take interest in the sensations like you are an objective scientist. Say “ah ha I’m starting to sweat and feel shaky that makes sense because of the adrenalin.” And know that it will pass.

What keeps the anxiety going is the fear of the fear. There is nothing to fear really it’s just an overresposive, inapproporiate response by your body trying to look after you. You will not die, go crazy, faint. Total acceptance is the key and breathe from the abdomen in small, slow breaths so you don’t breathe out to much CO2. This is what makes you feel dizzy. I’m still working on this approach and Claire Weekes an Australian author writes about this in her famous books on pnaic and anxiety. It makes sense to me. We are just feeding the panic by trying to fight it. Let it wash over you in waves and try to enjoy the feeling. Some people seek out adrenalin thrills! All the best.


#7

You’ve gotten some real good advice there from some real good, caring people.

Two other things that might help:
One, sometimes it can help to stand outside yourself, metaphorically, and watch all the fuss with maybe a hint of amusement or chagrin or even pity, rather than wholeheartedly buying in to the drama.
Two, small belly breaths may not be what you’ll find most helpful. Slowing down your breathing is the ultimate goal. Might be belly, might be full-body. (Upper chest by itself is likely to drive hysteria.)


#8

Hi Richy,

Sorry to hear it. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a really bad one. I did CBT for a couple of years back then and what that teaches u is numerous ways to help u deal with these kinds of attacks. It was very important to me to find out that I couldn’t die from one. I used to think I was having a heart attack but had an ECG and was found to have extreme stress (no surprise there). It is very important to practice breathing and relaxation exercises, as others have suggested, and it is also important to analyse your thought processes before during and after an attack. You may find that there is some unhelpful self-talk perpetuating the process. There are many, different techniques to counter these attacks but if u are suffering and don’t have access to CBT perhaps talk to ur Doc to discuss using some valium temporarily until u can get on top of the psychological issues. Just having it as a backstop can really help especially if are having them out in public places.

Pom xo


#9

Yes I agree that slowing down the breathing is important but I have looked into the deep breathing thing and it seems that it can cause hyperventilation which is something you want to avoid. This is just my personal opinion of course but I have done a bit of research on the topic.

Don’t breathe from the chest but just small slow breaths from the abdomen. The reason I don’t go in for deep breathing is that you lose to much CO2 and that means you will feel dizzy. If you look at a child breathing when they are sleeping in a fully relaxed state they take very few breaths and they are not deep breathes. Byteko breathing dsecribes this better than me. They even run courses on breathing techniques that they claim can help bring panic under control. (Promise I’m not trying to sell anything here). Panic people have traditonally been told to take deep breaths but there is another school of thought you should be aware of. That is not to say that deep breathing may work for you. I have found the opposite works better for me as I often feel lightheaded and deep breaths make me worse…


#10

dizzyloopy,
The abdomen breathing is what my psychologist taught me first! When I saw him I was very anxious & panicky because of all the balance issues & breathing rapidly from my chest. He explained that the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen & therefore everything goes into a spiral. If you sit in a comfortable chair & hold your hand over your stomach (just under the rib cage) it is easy to regulate the depth & rate of each breath which then calms the brain & body. It’s a great way to prepare for meditation or just calm down in a tense situation.
Barb


#11

Hi Richy,

Sorry to hear you got hit with that. I had hundreds of them in late 2003 to early 2004. They really do suck.

The only thing I can offer is to say that you must know they will never hurt you even though you feel like dying, that it’s not going to keep happening forever, and to grab a book out there by Claire Weekes about it. Really helped me back then:

(NB from admin: these images link to products members have found helpful and at the same time help fund the site: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. More recommended products here. Thanks for your support!)

“Self-help for Your Nerves”
More recommended books here

S :slight_smile:


#12

That’s exactly what I was going to recommend - the Claire Weekes books are the best - she just totally gets it and has a way with words.

Some years ago, I had such a dark period, with so many panic attacks that they basically just joined together as one - my entire waking days were one long panic attack. Then I could feel myself becoming agoraphobic - I would only feel ‘safe’ at home, or work. Travelling somewhere became a nightmare, and I would get worse as the mid-point of the journey approached - because at this midpoint I was effectively the furthest I could be from the ‘safe’ points (where I had set-off, and the destination). Sounds crazy now, but I know now that that’s what prolonged stress can do…

I tried all sorts of things - group therapy, etc - and still the Claire Weekes books were pretty much the most comforting thing I had…
Tony.