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ANyone else have panic attacks?

1648 Views 27 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  pkellyc
I never used to have panic attacks but since we moved and just the stress of life I find myself having what I call mini panic attakcs I just become overwelmed and feel like my heart is going to pop out of my chest and just feel paniced. I did talk to my doctor about it and basically was told unless it gets really bad to just more or less deal with it, but it feels like it is getting worse. Just wondering if anyone else ever feels like this?
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I'm so sorry you're having trouble. Did your dr give you techniques for dealing with the attacks or just dismiss them? Is there someone else you could talk with? Do you know any RNs or nurse practitioners? Moving is extremely stressful and if you have young children and are home each day with them and working hard but not seeing the tangible results of that at the end of the day it will set you up for depression and severe anxiety. We moved a year ago when our dks were 6,5,2, and 8 months. It was hard! If you are suffering from depression, there are treatments available for that and many with very low side-effects. Can you talk with your dh about it? I don't have any answers but I think you are wise to address the attacks early and not wait till they get worse. I've said a prayer for you. P.S. Getting enough sleep is really important. Take care of yourself.
I started having panic attacks right after high school graduation, many, many years ago. At their worst I couldn't even leave my house.. I went to a great therapy class and eventually worked past them to the point where I almost completely got rid of them.
The only time I have them now is when I eat something before bed, and wake up in the middle of the night with I don't eat before bed! But I would definitely try every de-stressing technique you can find, and find a good counselor (there are many low-cost ones).. medication should ALWAYS be a last resort, it doesn't solve the root problem, it just masks the symptoms.. and there is a difference between what we think of as "depression" (psychological) and true physical clinical depression.
((BIG HUGS)) mommy2many...I have had panic attacks since I was 13 years old...I'm now 46...I have learned to live and deal with them...One thing, if you haven't already, is cut out the caffeine!!! makes them worse....I was taught by a psychologist to do alot of self-talk, tell your self, this is only a PA and it will pass...also keeping as busy as possible thing I have always said to myself to talk myself down is this, "is this something that I would need to go to the emergency room for? Am I bleeding? Am I having real chest pains?"....If you need to go on a medication for awhile, DO IT!!!!...don't feel weak or be afraid of the meds, they are very helpful...And above all, don't let ANYONE tell you or make you feel like you are crazy, you aren' have a condition that deserves treatment just as much as any other....Much love to you, hang in there, Jayne
One of my co-workers was having panic attacks last spring. She finally went to the doctor and he prescribed something, she's been o.k ever since.
6 years and counting....

I am going to have to respectfully disagree with Goodi2shooz about medication- I never really like to take meds for anything, but when I first started having panic attacks, I needed to take medication so that I could get myself to the therapist. I never would have made it there without the medication, since my panic attacks were (and still are) brought on by the car.

I am having a fun new symptom of anxiety disorder called a cricopharyngeal spasm which feels like a lump in your throat all the time. It is annoying, but as with most panic/anxiety symptoms, it can usually be controlled if I can relax.

Anxiety and depression run in my family, by which I mean every single one of my mother's 8 siblings has problems, my grandmother had problems, her mother had problems, and so on and so on. There were also problems with the other side of my family, too. For a long time I thought I was not going to have problems, then I got into an argument with our landlady when we were preparing to move, and started having panic attacks soon after.

I have learned to do things to prevent them from happening in the first place- I travel at night, which helps, since I don't want to have to take a sedative. I DO take them when I need to though, so that my life isn't unduly hampered by panic attacks. I got a script for 10 sedatives last September, and I still have 4 left, so I don't take them often. I was in therapy for a while to learn relaxation techniques, but it didn't help a whole lot. I am just a type-A perfectionist, so real relaxation is very hard for me.

Also, I was attack free for about 4 years, and started having them again when dd was about a year old. Mine are different than what most people experience- I never have chest pain or feel like I am going to die or anything- I have very visceral panic attacks- I become physically ill and need to use the restroom. All panic attacks are different.

I'd be happy to talk to you about this privately any time. I found that talking about it and tlling people about it really helped this first time I had them. Another thing that really helps me is facing them- I basically put myself in situations I know will bring on a panic attack, because he more often I have one and make it through unscathed, the better I can handle the next one, or the less likely it is to happen in the first place. As I said, though, when it is crucial I go in tthe car with someone, I take my meds. I had a cousin who wouldn't seek help and ended up confined to her house for a very long time because she ended up aving panic attacks every time she left.

:hugz: Yes, there are others of us out here. Hang in there- you will get through them.
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PS- I think your doctor stinks when it comes to this, BTW. You shouldn't have to just deal with it, because it you keep having them without any help from someone, they may just get worse.... I'd seek another opinion.
You also might want to visit your health food store, see if they have a homeopathic remedy for panic attacks. That would be a good things to carry with you when your not at home.
I also have panic attacks. So does my SO. He has many different meds (for OCD, Panic attacks, depression, and bipolar disorder), but I do not take any. I'm sorry to hear you share the disorder.

It helped me when I saw a therapist, and she taught me a bit of how to calm myself quicker. It doesn't mean they don't happen, but it's easier to break out of it. Though I have also come to cope with it, since it's been happening for a long time.

I get them when I'm outside alone and I feel like everyone is looking at me, and then I feel like I want to bolt to my car. I also get them when I get embarrassed and I freak out. Also with anger.

I do a lot of times try to ask myself "Is this something that really matters in the grand scheme of things?". I try to look at the future of the thing I'm panicking over/caused the panic attack, and sometimes when I see that it's not going to be anything major really, I can calm down a bit.

Sometimes they just come on for no reason, though, and that's the hardest thing.

I also have a family history of mental disorders (depression and anxiety, mostly). And, like Kimberline, I am also a HUGE perfectionist. If everything in my life isn't planned out completely, I get nervous. I get nervous if I can't see a clock. I always have to know the time. I get nervous/panicky over so many things, it's hard to count.

Hang in there, and good luck finding a competent doctor to help you handle this.
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Years ago I was hit in my car on the interstate by a tractor trailer truck (decided he wanted in my lane and didn't care that I was already there). It was a very bad accident and I am very blessed to have survived. Driving on the interstate in heavy traffic and especially when I'm surrounded by lots of tractor trailers zooming along causes me to have panic attacks. My heart races, I sweat, get very shaky and start getting lightheaded/dizzy.

I have not sought medical help because I know my dr. here would just brush it off and prescribe something (would love to be able to change dr.'s, but that's a whole other HMO related rant). I do avoid drving on the interstate as much as possible, especially if it's something that requires a long distance of driving since I know I will most likely freak out (2 lanes of interstate here and plenty of heavy tractor trailer traffic). I have difficulty even when dh is driving and the big trucks are zooming along, changing lanes too closely, etc. and try to deal with it by closing my eyes and breathing deeply.
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I got better and better with therapy, not a single med. So do many if they are willing to make the effort and work at it.. we are a quick fix society, everyone wants a pill for something because it's easier to take a pill than do the work. I can't advocate medication for panic attacks when they can be cured without it. And today's psychotropic drugs can cause MAJOR physical and mental problems down the road.
Well, it was completely impossible for me to get to the doctor, let alone the therapist, without my medication. At the time, I was new to the area I lived in and new to my job, so no close friends, my family lived 3 hours away, and my DH had to work, so he couldn't take me to my appointments. IF if tried to drive there on my own, I would start to pass out, becoming a very serious danger to myself as well as those around me. Which is why I needed the medication. I still have to respectfully disagree- not all anxiety disorders can be cured with therapy, for one, and two, I do think there is a place for medication. Diabetics aren't told they shouldn't take their medications, and I don't think anyone should be. I was in therapy with two different therapists for well over a year and a half and don't believe it had much of an impact on my panic attacks- it just doesn't work for everybody, and in my case, it may never work since there is such a physical thing going on in my family, and if you called my therapist, she would be the first one to tell you hat.

I do understand your point- my grandmother, who lived in a time when nobody knew what depression or anxiety was really all about, was addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol, and that is what eventually killed her, years after she stopped using them. Even so, I do VERY STRONGLY believe that there is a place for drugs in te treatment of some anxiety disorders. They need to be used carefully and people really need to understand what they are, what they can do, and their limitations. I firmly believe, though, that without mine, I never would have gotten better, and worse yet, I may have died- or killed someone else- in a car accident trying to get to my therapist.

I'm truly glad that the therapy alone helped you, but please try to understand than sometimes therapy needs to be used in conjunction with medication to truly help some people- we are all different and have differing severities of anxiety disorders. It should not be considered laziness or weakness on the part of the person taking medication- I have a friend who feels this way because of the way society responds to mental illness, and she is out of work and on th verge of being hospitalized again because she won't sek help for fear people will think she is weak.

:soapbox: Okay, I'm hopping off my soapbox now. You'll have to forgive me, but this is a special pet peeve of mine. There is such a stigma with any kind of mental illness as it is, it bugs me when people think it is a weakness to seek ANY form of help. My family has dealt with this so much that I am profoundly intimate with the issue.

We're all just trying to live our lives, KWIM? :D
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hi i thought i would join here too. Im sorry you are having panic attacks they are just awful.I have had them as well, and i have been suffering from bipolar disorder and anxiety since i was 14, so i can understand.I must take medicine or i have manic episodes where i am out of control, but i can understand why others feel medicine is not always an answer,but for me it has saved my life.I have found that i cannot work for more than six months at a job before the anxiety is so bad that i have to quit.I am trying to get disability.I really feel for you,i know that when there is stress anxiety can really take over.Yoga has helped me and meditation,and a technique called bridging where i focus on my hands and close my eyes and listen to the sounds around me and slow my breathing.that helps me the most i have found but eache person is different.but i wish you the best of luck and warm thoughts your way-

My husband is like you . Plus he has the chest pains and hives. Without meds he would be dead! He tried therapy for 2 years . With no help.
Thank you for all your help. I have noticed that my attacks basically all come around the same time of day and last about the same. I also sometimes have them when I am out and that's when it scares me. If I have all my kids withme and I feel like I can't stand wherever I am KWIM?

While my doctor did say more or less to deal with it he did offer me some valium.....I refuused it because I thought to myself yeah that's just what i need to go from paniced to sleeping.....does that make sense?

Thanks again for all your help. I do want to try talking to someone but with three kids and a DH who works it makes it pretty hard to get anywhere to talk :( :bang:
I don't know that I have full fledged panic attacks, but I am also taking Effexor for depression and it has a anti-anxiety component, so that may have lessened the symptoms some. I find that I have them when my minds starts wandering into areas that cause me stress - like driving to our local Walmart. We drive across the area lake, and if I don't consciously watch it I start freaking out about "what if" we wreck into the lake? How would I get the girls out of the van and save them. My chest gets tight and I can hardly breathe.

So, now I try to go the back roads even though it takes longer. Traveling messes with me too, worrying about the tractor trailers and traffic on the roads. So, I take something to keep my mind busy - I can read in the car so a good book or crocheting, or I put in ear plugs and close my eyes!

My Mother had panic attacks terribly during menoapuse. She didn't go to church for 2 or 3 years and had a hard time leaving the house at all. I suspect that my attacks would be worse if not for my current medication. Also, I suspect mine are exacerbated by going through menopause.

I also feel that medication should not be discounted out of hand. Some of us just have a chemical imbalance that must be dealt with. It is a disease. My Father suffered from depression as did his father and mother, several of my aunts and uncles. Unfortunately both of Dad's sisters and one of my Mom's brothers were treated with electroshock therapy.

If I was diabetic I would do all I could, diet and exercise, but I would take my insulin! I know for a fact that I need this medication. I have been to therapy, and dealt with any issues, but the chemical imbalance will not go away with therapy.

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I'm surprised your dr suggested valium. I suggest talking with a different dr if you can. As you can tell from the other posts, you are not alone!
psjkmom said:
I'm surprised your dr suggested valium. I suggest talking with a different dr if you can. As you can tell from the other posts, you are not alone!

Valium isn't usually the first option, and it IS weird that the doc says basically, "well, you can do nothing and deal with it, or, hey, how 'bout some valium?"

It is pretty darn strong stuff, and I'm surprised he didn't offer you some other options. (Therapy and/or other NON-addictive meds first.) It sounds to me like he doesn't have a whole lot of experience with panic disorders/GAD.

Even now, after having been diagnosed some years ago, and having tried lots of other meds, I don't think I could find a doc who would just give me valium. I do have a sedative, but it is not as dangerous as valium can be, and I get only 10 for the year.

How have you been? You might look for some books at your library about panic/anxiety. :hugz:
I used to, but I haven't had a panic attack in five years. Losing the panic attacks was a "side effect" of treatment for injuries sustained in an auto accident. A very nice, but totally unexpected side effect.

My doc was an MD but his practice was holistic or alternative. He used energy work and was very effective in treating physical pain. One day I showed up for my appointment in the middle of a panic attack. I couldn't even talk enough to tell him what was wrong. When I got off his treatment table the attack was over and I haven't had one since.

If alternative treatment is available in your area I would definitely look into it. There are many different alternative practitioners, but many have effective techniques for dealing with this type of thing. Drugs, conventional pyschotherapy, or just living with it ARE NOT your only options.
Well after reading all your thoughts on it I think I will try a new doctor and see what that one says. I just want to feel normal again :)
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