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Need help with Anxiety Attacks

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have had these in the past, but they always fit a particular pattern. Emotionally something was going on, triggered physical anxiety response, with breathing and working through what I was worried about, physical symptoms would dissipate. This week though has been a week of new. Monday night I went to bed, convinced I was having a heart attack, or dealing with some sort of heart failure. Went to the doc on Tuesday, and he ran a battery of tests, manual checks and feeling chest, listening to heart and lungs, EKG, think he checked my urine (left a sample that he said he would dip). He was very concerned. But everything came back looking just fine. No issues with my heart. Started talking about anxiety attacks, and I explained that it felt very similar to an anxiety attack, but without the emotional and other components that usually come along with one. Gave me a prescription that I can take as needed. After 2 days of feeling like I was having a heart attack, I just wanted the sensation to go away. Medication works to take away the having a heart attack feeling, but left me feeling drunk. And as soon as the medication wears off, the heart attack feeling is back full force. Took the medication a little over 4 hours ago, and am starting to feel the heart attack feeling just a little again already. I don't have anything I can think of that should be causing me this kind of stress. But it is possible that there is something there that my conscious mind is just not aware of. So please help. I cannot keep taking this medication. Walking around an office building (I do IT work for a large bank) feeling drunk just does not cut it. Completely inappropriate. If I had know the affect was going to be so strong, I would have called in sick. But I am here now, and need the medication to wear off before I can drive home. The folks here are so so good at suggesting alternatives to big pharma, so hit me with what you have for anxiety. Homeopathic, auyervedic, whatever you have. I need to be able to function at work, but cannot have this feeling like my heart may stop beating at any second. Please, I don't know where else to turn. I do not know any local poeple who can help with this kind of thing (in Pasadena,CA if you know someone). Thank you so much!
post #2 of 13

hi just wanted to say i am sorry you are feeling this way. it sounds like it really sucks and i feel for you. you are from my home town....and i did not know this until i read your full post. pasadena is very diverse and i am sure there are people to talk to or see to seek advice and help.  i can ask around if you'd like because i still have strong roots/ties in pasadena. please take care of yourself . anyone else have ideas??????

i'll make a few calls thursday!!!!

post #3 of 13

Panic attacks can feel like that, a heart attack.  Racing heart, trouble breathing, chest pain, nausea, general feeling that you are going to die or something is going to pop out and hurt you and you need to be on the lookout for it.  Constant vigilance.  What are you taking?  My guess is xanax.  That's usually the first line of defense.  If your doctor was cautious, you are taking .25 to .50mg and you feel relief in 45minutes or so.  And it wears off pretty quick in 2-4hours.  You will feel drunk and sleepy when it's in it's full effect but the effects of the panic attack are blunted.  You are right.  It's no way to live.  I never got past my 30 day supply.  It was prescribed to me over 18months ago and I still have many pills because I hated that feeling.  And it made me feel so sleepy that I wasn't able to function safely.  I almost dozed off at the wheel once going to pick up one of my children from school. That was when I stopped taking it to control my panic attacks.  Benzodiazepines are a godsend for some people with panic disorder but for others, they just aren't a viable option.  Another benzo might do the trick for you but they all sorta have that "drunk" effect that may not work for you well.  I didn't find that xanax controlled my anxiety well enough at low doses but the higher doses made me sleepy.  There was no middle ground for me so I stopped taking it and my psychiatrist agreed it was a wise choice.  The good news is that some people have panic attacks randomly and they never come back.  You might be one of those lucky few.  BUT you may also be one of the ones with Panic Disorder who deal with this on a near daily basis for the rest of your life.eyesroll.gif http://psychcentral.com/disorders/anxiety/panic.html  And it sucks.  But fortunately a lot of people can see good results in controlling their anxiety with therapy(cognitive behavior therapy specifically instead of y our typical talk therapy that people always think when they hear the word).  It takes a long time to learn to control your thoughts and your body but a good therapist can give you tips in your very first session that will help you hit the ground running.


In the meantime, here's a phrase that I picked up from one of my psychiatrists that really struck a chord with me.  "Perception does not always equal reality."  Simple.  To the point.  But if you sit there and think about it, you can really challenge the things in your life that cause you anxiety by challenging your own perception of it.  What you perceive to be the truth is not always reality. If you are in a high-anxiety situation at work that you cannot control, sit back and ask yourself, "Is my behavior in this situation really in line with the reality of the situation?  Am I overreacting?  Will this impact my life in an hour, or two, or next week even?  Is this worth all the importance I'm placing on it??"  Sometimes challenging your own perceptions and trying to look at it from outside the situation is all you need to detach and bring down your anxiety.  It's easier said than done I know.  but try to distance yourself from whatever is causing you so much anxiety in order to control your response.

post #4 of 13

 i sent you a personal message.

hope you are feeing better.

post #5 of 13
I would suggest that you rule out any medical conditions that could cause this like thyroid or adrenal issues. You can get lab work for these. If you are experiencing panic attacks, there is help! First, you are not powerless and doomed to suffer these for the rest of your life. There are a lot of good books that can help. I found From Panic to Power very helpful. Also, cognitive behavioral therapy can help. Other things you can do is try to work on stress in your life and take good care of yourself (adequate sleep, good nutrition and exercise). There are also lots of natural supplements that can help - herbs (I like Gaia Herbs products), magnesium, omega-3, and amino acids. For lots of good info, check out The Mood Cure.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all the advice so far. Very much appreciated. And many thanks for the personal contact info for a Pasadena therapist. Hoping I won't need to use it, but will if I have to. The advice to look at possible other underlying issues is also helpful. I just wish I knew why the anxiety was there. Emotionally I am fine. Frustrated at the ongoing "I am having a heart attack" feeling, but fine otherwise. I had real and severe anxiety last April when I had to let a longtime nanny go and hire a new person. So so stressful. But as soon as I got through letting her go, all the stress and weight were gone. I went through the process again in November, but it was must less stressful, as my nanny left me because she needed more hours. It was an amicable parting, and the new girl I found has been fabulous in every way possible. And now when all is good, we just took a trip to Mammoth, have a camping trip planned, I got a bonus and was able to buy a few 'luxury' items from my wish list (knitting supplies and a new kitchen light), and I love my kids and hubby. Whammo. Worst anxiety physical symptoms I have ever experienced. But no conscious emotional trigger. In terms of supplements, I would like to try adding things one at a time. Any suggestions on the first thing you would add? Magnesium? Vitamin D? Omegas? A B complex vitamin? Determined to get this under control.
post #7 of 13
I would probably start with magnesium. Mag citrate is well absorbed and is known to help with anxiety and heart palps.I like Thorne because they have fewer fillers than other brands. Their mag citramate is very good. It's good to optimize you D levels as most people are deficient, but I doubt it will have a drastic impact on the heart palps (just something to work on long-term). A good B supplement would be a good choice too. For me, amino acids are very helpful, especially l-tryptophan. I use the Now Foods brand capsules or pure powder.
post #8 of 13
I forgot to say that anxiety and palps can also be symptoms of hypoglycemia.
post #9 of 13

good luck figuring out a good combination to bring your symptoms under control. i have had anxiety issues for the past 10 or so years and only within the past year have been able to get off of SSRIs for keeping it at bay.  here's what's worked for me: dha supplement (x-tra dha by nordic naturals, 2 per day), L-theanine (100 mg per day, or sometimes 200 if it's a tough day), 50 mg 5-htp at night, and my ND prepares a nerve tonic and homeopathics (undas).  i also recommend the mood cure which started my exploration into amino acids, seeing a therapist, making sure you are getting daily exercise (even if it's just walking 20 min), and making sure you are not consuming any caffeine.  other things that I mean to take more consistently but have not are: increased b-vitamins (get a b-complex), magnesium, vitamin d and vitamin c (but my regimen seems to be working without those every day).   


i agree with the other suggestions to rule out hypoglycemia, thyroid, adrenal, etc.  

hope you feel better soon!!

post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by justmama View Post
"Perception does not always equal reality."



If you know what is going on, you can decide to cope with it.


"Allow now" was said to me during an interview with a Buddhist nun. I turn to that frequently. A panic attack is not the time to "do something." Allow it. Then when you are feeling better, make plans for changing your life (this can include changing perceptions, beliefs, behaviors, habits, etc.)


If you love yourself, you accept yourself - not for who who think you are or could/should be, that is not acceptance. "this is happening for me now and I am a beautiful person; whatever the consequences, I accept them." That is love.


A tip that may help you is to talk to yourself as you would in prayer or to another person whom you respect: "Yesterday when X happened I felt completely Y." This distances the response somewhat so that in the heat of another attack you can imagine relating it in the future.


Also remember that you are not alone and that this is a neuro-endocrine response to a situation, not a moral failing or existential punishment.


Take good care of yourself BECAUSE of this; don't exacerbate the problem by punishing yourself with shame. Ask the archetypal Parents to help you.


Blessings and peace


post #11 of 13

hugs! i always had only the emotional attacks until this one summer. My grandfather almost died, one of my best friends mixed pills with alcohol and ended up in the ICU after her heart stopped, and my nephew had two failed transplants, all in one summer. Weeks later, after everyone turned out ok and everything had been calm for weeks, I started getting chest pains, heart flutters, breathlessness, I was scared to death to leave the house and even at home it was bad. I thought I was dying, my heart was blocking itself and I was going to die. I finally went to the doctor (which was the first time in years). I could barely speak, I kept crying, it was so embarassing. She even asked if my husband hurt me! She ended up discussing anxiety, but wanting also to do testing with the cardiologist. It hit me...anxiety attacks. what a relief to KNOW. after that, i no longer was terrified that i was dying, but i still had them. what helped tremendously was if i ran around doing something, i mopped and cleaned like a fool to get through the attacks. all my tests turned out ok, and for me personally, once i realized what was going on i could handle it without meds. it came back bad a few years later after i had my youngest baby but was targeted towards her...her temperature, her diapers, her soft spot, i was constantly freaking worried but it was worse than worry, it was obsession. i feel bad for my family.


for a long time i felt stupid, and weak, i was embarassed that i had made such a big deal about anxiety(having all the cardio tests) there are people with REAL problems! and there i was being all weak. but, whatever...i can't change it. and i shouldn't think of myself that way, and i don't now, but i did at first. the best i can do is get through them. i don't know anything about medications for this stuff...if there was a pill to take right when an attack hit that would instantly stop it, that would be awesome and i'd try it. i need to learn when something stressful is happening, to process it in a way that doesn't case anxiety attacks later. i just work through it, and talk about it in between to people who love me...people who have been there though, because if you haven't experienced it, you won't understand. i didn't understand, i sure didn't understand, and boy do i understand now.

post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by PumaBearclan View Post



If you love yourself, you accept yourself - not for who who think you are or could/should be, that is not acceptance. "this is happening for me now and I am a beautiful person; whatever the consequences, I accept them." That is love.



THIS!  My therapist calls it removing the expectations.  Expectations are all the should's in your life.  I SHOULD be able to handle this.  I SHOULD be more patient with my kids.  I SHOULD be done with these feelings of panic.  There's no reason for them.  Expectations are the ways we knock ourselves down in life.  Try to work on removing the "should" from your vocabulary.  It's harder than you think because it becomes second nature after a while.  But you can do it if you really pay attention.  All that negative self-talk only heaps on the anxiety when you don't live up to your own expectations.  

post #13 of 13

I'm sorry, Mama, that sounds terrible. How are you now?

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