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Panic Attacks?


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  • Panic Attacks?

    This is kind of an odd question, but since this is by far the largest forum community I've ever been a part of, I figured it couldn't hurt to ask here.

    Honestly, I attribute it to working in the cadaver lab and taking that biology class - I think it made me feel morbid after the fact -, but - for the past few months, I've occasionally had what I can only describe as attacks. It usually happens when I'm trying to go to sleep, and it's always the same thing - I'll feel like I'm about to stop breathing. Or if I don't think about breathing, I'll stop. I don't have sleep apnea, and there's nothing else the matter with me, it's just all in my head. And I found out this summer that it's also made me more afraid of water - or, more accurately of swimming in water deep enough that I can't touch bottom. I feel like, if any water even gets in my mouth, I won't be able to breath. I'm more worried I'll get myself drowned in six feet of water because I freak out.

    So far, I've always been able to calm myself down in a few seconds just by reminding myself that my lungs have worked without my help for twenty years and they're not likely to stop. But any other suggestions about how to prevent this from happening, or does this happen to anyone else?
    You don't need me or my ham, cheese, cheese, cheese, tomato, cheese, ham and tomato sandwiches. And cheese.

  • #2
    Re: Panic Attacks?

    I have experienced panic attacks, and the first time I had one I got more panicked because I didn't know what was going on. Besides what you are doing now to get out of that panic attack mode, if you see a doctor they will recommend some meds to stabilize/help your moods and mentality.

    I was on these for a while, but I would recommend going that route only as a last resort when these attacks start inhibiting your way of life. These drugs have some pretty strong side effects. For instance when I was taking Paxil it felt like there was a constant haze around me, plus the sensation of dizziness/vertigo that stayed with me all day.

    At this moment I'd recommend just checking out different relaxation methods online you can do at home, take up yoga or something similar ... or maybe really analyze what is going on in your life that you are really stressing out about.


    • #3
      Re: Panic Attacks?

      Oh my goodness. You definitely have my sympathy. :ghug:

      I used to have panic attacks, really bad ones. Though it's not about anything related to what you are dealing with. A little back story. I am legally blind. Loud noises frighten me, especially when they are sudden and come from unexpected places. Thus you may find it understandable that the noise from fireworks frighten me. When I was much younger they frightened me so much that I used to have panic attacks on the 4th of July and New Years. I have grown past that stage now.

      Don't get me wrong. Fireworks are beautiful. I love to watch them on TV because I can control the volume and they are usually accompanied by music. I love to watch the fireworks synchronized to the music. Honestly it's probably the music I am more interested in anyways. But I will not go and see a display and I will not go outside on the evenings of the 4th and New Years (and surrounding days) if I can help it.

      I am so very sorry to hear that you are going through panic attacks. I know exactly how it feels. I really hope you get better soon.
      Originally posted by aashee
      We are 100% grade A Disney Dorks.


      • #4
        Re: Panic Attacks?

        If this keeps up, please don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about some medications; there are a number out there whivh are truly helpful in this regard.


        • #5
          Re: Panic Attacks?

          I have had panic disorder for about 25 yrs. I have had immobilizing panic attacks and small ones such as you described. There are so many techniques for breathing and exercise to help and if they really are getting in the way of your life, as mine did, (I was a radio announcer and right in the middle of a newscast I would have a major panic attack!) then very low doses of Xanax or Clonaxepam work wonders. These are just two of the meds available and I take such a minuscule amount on a maintenance level that I have not had, but maybe 2-3 attacks in the past 3 yrs! It is heaven! When I was at the height of my attacks, I would have them up to 5 times a day. I could not function. I did not like going anywhere in the car, or where large crowds were. I can do all that and more and I am not in a haze. I have taken Paxil as well and that is just a nasty drug and very hard to get off of. It is anti-depressant that they use for Anxiety and Panic as well as OCD and of course, depression. I got off Paxil many years ago and I hated that medication, because of the side effects and the trouble weaning from it. Talk to your doctor and explain what is happening to you. He/She may recommend some cognitive therapy and yoga, as well as breathing exercises and meditation, all of which have helped me tremendously. There are some great books out there as well, check Barnes and Noble or Amazon, do a book search for Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder.
          They are cyclical, the more you fight them, the more they come, the more they come at particular places, you relate them to those places and then develop them there, and then it starts again. Panic attacks can cause more attacks. Just what you did by breathing and telling yourself about your breathing is VERY good! But I would nip it in the bud, before they worsen. Find out where the "dis"stress is coming from and deal with it accordingly. Some stress is good, it spurs us to accomplish things, it is "Dis"stress that causes us the problems. When stress turns into distress, we develop these anxiety disorders, it is just our mind's way of channeling what it cannot cycle fast enough and it comes out in these physical symptoms due to the high levels of adrenaline from too much stress. That is what is happening biologically, Adrenaline makes your heart beat faster, makes you breathe faster and hyperventilate which causes the O2 balance to change in your body and cause all sorts of weird sensations and physical anomalies. Methods that calm our breathing and heart rate bring the metabolic rate back down and help to get the O2 levels back to a normal level.
          You can tell I have studied it a great deal. When something takes over your life as Panic Disorder did mine, I had to become very acquainted with it.
          Look at the books out there and talk to your doc! It won't last forever and if you need meds temporarily to get the symptoms under control, they will help. Many people do not have to stay on meds for very long, just until the physical symptoms abate and they learn the techniques to ward off an impending attack. It CAN be done! Lotsa hope!
          Take care,


          • #6
            Re: Panic Attacks?

            I feel for you! I got to work in a cadaver lab while I went to BYU - I found it truly fascinating. But, the fermaldehyde smell really gave me headaches and it was just awful - do you think that it could have caused some lung problems for you?

            I do agree that the lab is a little creepy and can mess some people up (especially when they finally unwrapped the faces - it bothered me too).

            I hope you can find something to help you out - maybe just going and talking to your biology teacher could help - I'm sure he or she has seen this kind of thing before.
            Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!


            • #7
              Re: Panic Attacks?

              Thank you, everybody, I really appreciate your suggestions!

              I actually feel like this is happening less frequently and less strongly than it was right after the class - which was last semester, before the summer break - but since no one else in my family has experienced something like this, I wanted to ask anyway. I'll definitely see a doctor about it if they get worse or last more than a few seconds.

              BFJen - I loved working in cadaver lab, too, it was one of the most interesting things I've ever done! I was never grossed out or scared, but it does make one realize human mortality. Honestly though, I blame circulation and respiration study rather than the lab. It's like when you become aware of your own pattern of blinking, and then you can't stop blinking all the time - I just got fixated on it, for some reason.
              You don't need me or my ham, cheese, cheese, cheese, tomato, cheese, ham and tomato sandwiches. And cheese.


              • #8
                Re: Panic Attacks?

                Originally posted by PleaseRemainSeated View Post
                I'll definitely see a doctor about it if they get worse or last more than a few seconds.

                With all due respect, what do you think is going to magically change for you? Why not go to student health, and make an appointment to speak with a doc? I would recommend you see a psychiatrist, not a general practitioner. There is good help out there, so you don't need to suffer any more.

                Best of luck, and I also wanted to say that you got some awesome advice from the MC family


                • #9
                  Re: Panic Attacks?

                  I experience similar panic attacks myself and I even went to counseling.

                  The doctor told me it is a natural instinctive fight or flight reaction to something usually within us. Find what it is that is causing this, either counseling spiritual guidance, but then again maybe it is a phase and will just go away.

                  In the meantime, as he said to me, if you feel panicked to go with it.

                  Go with the impulse to fight or flight. Get out of bed do jumping jacks, sit ups, if you have a treadmill go for a few miles. Step out for some fresh air. Call someone and talk to them about something else (if it isn't too late). Don't worry, you will get better but some people it takes time due to deeper issues, but for others it is just a passing thing that needs only be dealt with for a short time.

                  All the Best!


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