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ANyone else have panic attacks?

1639 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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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.
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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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!
:yeah:

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:
Oh, I'm very glad to hear that you are going to seek a second opinion. Good for you!!! :D :hugz:
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