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Old 09-14-2012, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
15,443 posts, read 22,696,546 times
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I have suffered from anxiety attacks for years. Finally I was able to get them under control. I weaned myself off medication and was fine for years. I went back on medication again.

These last two years have probably been the worst of my life, job loss, parents on deaths door, sister diagnosed with terminal disease, the list goes on. I was at a point I couldn't manage. Finally I improved for several months. The stress caused me to put on significant weight so I weaned myself from my meds.

I had been doing great for months, lots of energy, no anxiety until this week. I thought I was having a heart attack. Since I am familiar with anxiety attacks I thought this could be what is happening. I put on my heart rate monitor, everything was fine. But my heart felt like it was racing, pounding out of my body.

I have taken some xanax, but it has lasted three days. I have never had attacks like this before, it is awful.

Anyway...just asking others what they have done. Usually an attack would cause me not be able to breathe or physically move. I would take a pill and be fine. This is uncontrollable.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:10 PM
 
Location: ATL with a side of Chicago
3,622 posts, read 5,216,229 times
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If it feels like an actual panic attack going on for 3 days, I'd definitely see a doctor to make sure that's really what is happening. Panic attacks tend to come on suddenly, and last several minutes (sometimes longer), before subsiding, as I'm sure you're already aware of. They don't go on for days, non-stop. Not to my knowledge, anyway...

I'm not a professional, but have had generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder for years, so I'm just writing what I learned through my own experience, and from my doctors. Panic attacks are biophysical in nature, but there can be a psychological, psychosomatic component as well. The physical symptoms of the panic attack, especially when you are having multiple attacks a day, can cause "anticipatory anxiety", where you are constantly fearing the next attack. This in itself can bring on symptoms very similar to a panic attack, and possibly lead to another actual panic attack. The more you focus on your anxiety of either having another attack or the attack, itself, the worse it gets. Very vicious cycle and hard to get out of.

Breathing exercises help for me. There's actually an app for this that I have on my iPad that works wonders. You breathe into the microphone, it analyzes and gauges your breathing rate, sets a "goal" (calm) breathing rate, and you inhale and exhale along with a visual, gradually getting to that goal breathing rate. It takes your focus off your symptoms, as well, so it breaks that cycle. Helps me relax at night to sleep, as well (I turn the voice off and switch the sound to ocean waves and let that run all night). My son uses this, too, when he's feeling anxious. Calms him down in minutes.

Before this app (before iPads and iPhones were even a "thing"), I used a white noise machine to play sounds of the ocean or rain, which tend to calm me. Or music. One summer I had George Winston's album "December" playing on a continuous loop all night, every night.

Last edited by Neemy; 09-14-2012 at 06:39 PM.. Reason: "microphone", not "speaker" :p
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:56 PM
 
Location: southern born and southern bred
12,478 posts, read 15,462,813 times
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check your inbox!
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
15,443 posts, read 22,696,546 times
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Thank you both very much for the feedback. The last few days have been very stressful which may have been causing this. I need to find a new doctor in my area. I have been to two. The first one basically said "what prescriptions do you want?" The other one kept adding medication when I had stress in my life! Crazy. I need to find a doctor who knows how to balance.
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Old 09-14-2012, 09:41 PM
 
Location: southern born and southern bred
12,478 posts, read 15,462,813 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veuvegirl View Post
Thank you both very much for the feedback. The last few days have been very stressful which may have been causing this. I need to find a new doctor in my area. I have been to two. The first one basically said "what prescriptions do you want?" The other one kept adding medication when I had stress in my life! Crazy. I need to find a doctor who knows how to balance.

try--try to destress. Let go of things you can't control and to hell with the things you can control. Just have a me,me,me,me few days. Let me know how you are doing. Hugs!
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:16 AM
 
4,761 posts, read 11,694,379 times
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A panic attack is basically a simple thing. You are receiving "too much" information in your "inbox". There is no room for anymore information or problems, you "shut down"!

And the solution is simple as well. Just cut yourself off from ANY more information / stimulation to your mind.

That is lay down or sit in a very dark room, total quiet - no sounds, don't move - no touch stimulation.

So you don't see any light (cut off that information "inbox").
Don't hear any sounds (cut off that information "inbox"). [Wear ear plugs if necessary.]
Don't feel anything touching you because you are not moving (cut off that information "inbox").
(Turn off the cell phone or take the phone off the hook.)

This allows the mind to take a break...
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:22 AM
 
676 posts, read 1,096,216 times
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If you're not already in talk therapy, that may be helpful to cope with the extra stress you're dealing with. I have anxiety and I find it's a lot more manageable when my stress levels are low. We may not be able to control the stress, but sometimes we can lessen it a bit.

It sounds like you're doing a lot of caregiving with your parents and possibly now and/or in the future, with your sister. Are there other people who can help? Check with social services. Hospices can be a big help. My dad and stepmom arranged to get help from a hospice when my dad was terminally ill. Having someone come in so my stepmom could get some time for herself and/or do errands was a huge relief for her. Caregiving is extremely stressful even for people who don't have a history of anxiety.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:00 AM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,242,755 times
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I'm not saying this will fix everything, but I've developed a way to chop up the huge wave of panic and worry into little pieces. You have to achieve calm, but if your stressed your stressed over something. Lying down quietely is a very good suggestion. My trick is to count evenly, one to a hundred and back. then to 98. If anything trys to get your attention don't let it and keep counting. I even used this in early labor when I was pregnant.

But say now, your calm. take your favorite pen and a notebook. Don't use the computer. You want to see your actual handwriting and how it changes. Write down what is stressing you, but briefly. Make a list. It actually helps to look at a list of things in a very concrete way.

Then look at each thing. Start a new page for each. Look at what it is about it thats stressing you. list them. If one is too big a catagory, keep going on a secondary list. Break down the monster into little nibbles, one at a time.

And this is the important part. Ask right that minute if there is anything you can do about it. Your boss is pressing and pushing and your tense all the time. But your at home and its the weekend and none of them are there. Let it go for now. Go onto the next thing.

When you find something you can deal with then, right then, ask yourself what. Maybe most of the panic is things which are not under your control. But some are. Push away the panic and look for solutions. Even if all it does is help you live with the situation, its helping keep you more calm.

And find one thing you can do then which will help. Your tense, can't get anything done, worried about the job, haven't washed the dishes in a couple of days.... go wash the dishes. When you see them all put away and the sink empty its a physical thing you took command of. Its a step forward. Find others, even very small things. You'd be amazed at the power of having finished a task which seemed impossible before. It resets your point of view.

And when stress is building, read over your notebook. Remind yourself its not a huge hairy monster but a bunch of small things, and tackle something, or at least plan how you will. Take a victory.

What I find comes out of this as the brain takes in all the parts and starts rejuggline, is that the monster is reduced to a problem, and the problem to parts and the parts to small victories.

Doesn't always work easily, but usually does in time. Essencially know your enemy and see what its really made of and feel the positive energy of chosing to work towards solutions.

In your case, if your caregiving, isolate your limits, and where you need the most answers. Define the problems. When you talk to someone for help, then you can ask for the right kind.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:18 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
15,443 posts, read 22,696,546 times
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Thanks all. I have done much of what you are talking about. I was just very freaked out because my attack lasted three days. It was scary feeling like a major heart attack, very different from anything I have ever felt before.

I am going to have to leave my job I think. I cannot work in a stressful environment with so much going on. I admire people who can. I am not built that way.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:24 AM
 
16,482 posts, read 21,715,310 times
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Anxiety attacks are the worse. You feel like you are going to die. They are just awful and I am sorry that you had one that lasted so long. If you are not already in therapy you probably should be. If your job is really stressful like you said, then it would be good to leave it if you can afford to do so.
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