Daisymae

Can you describe your panic attacks

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Mine usually starts out feeling really anxious. Then it slowly escalates till I feel like my whole body is pins and needles like a burning sensation. Then I feel like something horrible is about to happen. Next I have a hard time breathing & desperately look for something to calm me down, like magnesium. By the time it’s pass I feel shaky and weak. 

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Mine start off with my legs tensing up and noticing pains in my chest/back. Then my heart rate speeds up and I feel like I can’t catch my breath. Usually I’ll get really dizzy or disoriented and feel like I can hardly move my arm or leg on the left side. Eventually my whole body will start trembling and I can hardly walk. I always feel I’m about to die and want to run to the nearest ER. They last for about 30mins to an hour and I feel exhausted with lingering pains afterwards. I get them just about every day so my body never has a chance to relax 😩

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On 3/6/2019 at 3:32 PM, Nat1996 said:

Mine start off with my legs tensing up and noticing pains in my chest/back. Then my heart rate speeds up and I feel like I can’t catch my breath. Usually I’ll get really dizzy or disoriented and feel like I can hardly move my arm or leg on the left side. Eventually my whole body will start trembling and I can hardly walk. I always feel I’m about to die and want to run to the nearest ER. They last for about 30mins to an hour and I feel exhausted with lingering pains afterwards. I get them just about every day so my body never has a chance to relax 😩

Do you work nat? I hate getting them at work.

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2 hours ago, Daisymae said:

Do you work nat? I hate getting them at work.

I do work yes and some days are definitely worse than others. There’s been days where I’ve sat in the washroom for an hour and other days where I just felt like I needed to run so Ive had to excuse myself multiple times. Things have been very out of hand for me lately. 

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@Nat1996and @Daisymae my anxiety has been back since july. I started lexapro which helped until December when holiday stress came along. It's been escalating ever since with constant heart worry and checking my pulse. Mine present like daisymae described. I feel a tingle and flush starting from feet to scalp then increased heart rate. When it's over I feel cold and am shaking for about 30min. I feel like I've run a marathon just sitting still. I do get lightheaded and have hard time breathing and just want to run for help but yet feel paralyzed from fear at the same time. I guess that's why it's called fight or flight response. I'm tired of feeling in a constant state of fight. I do work full time and work very hard to keep it hidden from others, which is exhausting in itself. I'm 52, my first panic attack was at 25. I had my ovaries removed due to family history of ovarian cancer and definitely feel my anxiety has been worse since then. 

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I am not saying this applies to everyone, but the mistake most of us make is thinking that attacks are not normal,  THEY ARE A NORMAL REACTION TO FEAR! Your body is responding to signals of danger in a perfectly normal way. It's not at all pleasant, but it is normal. Oh Yeah, I hear you say!! It works like this. You FEAR a panic attack which lays the foundation for one. The mind then communicates with the brain and sends signals of 'danger'. The brain obeys it's master, the mind, and responds by telling the adrenal glands to prepare for the old fight/flight syndrome. Now all the systems are working perfectly normally when danger threatens. But it's the fear of the fear that begins it all. We have got lumbered with caveman's fight/flight mechanism, but in modern society it doesn't work. We can't run or fight so the feelings turn in on us and we feel panic. We panic because we can't get away from the danger because we can't fight or run. Imagine being chased by a Sabre Toothed Tiger, as caveman was. What do you do? You run like hell if you have any sense. Do you run when you feel panic? HE dissipated his nervous energy, we don't or can't!

 I feel like I've run a marathon just sitting still.

Well you have, in you mind. Is it surprising you feel exhausted?  You can't get rid of all that nervous energy by just sitting still, but you can if you just let it come. OK, so it sounds silly, but it's not. Panic always has a limited time span because there is just so much adrenaline in the body. The longer it takes is because you are afraid of the feelings and, once again, fear comes into it and perpetuates the emotions. It last longer because instead of letting it come and not fighting and struggling with 'IT' or trying to get rid of 'IT', you allow it to happen without comment. But most of us when we panic add 'second fear'.That's the OMG's and the 'what ifs'. Second fear reinforces the first wave of panic and so it goes on until it wears off. So when you feel panic coming STOP, if you can. Let it sweep over you with total ACCEPTANCE. No adding more fear by being afraid of it. It can't harm you and will always pass. Acceptance takes time, and eventually you may well panic but it won't matter. You will not add fuel to the fire so it will die down quicker. It's all a matter of time and perseverance.

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My attacks are so horrible to me that I've sacrificed a great deal of my life to completely avoiding them. They are few and relatively far between, but I'm almost always dealing with "high anxiety", which in this case feels like I'm hanging by a thread and about to have a full-blown attack. But I can certainly talk you through how they happen when they actually do. They are *very* physical in nature. My arms and legs feel like all the blood in them has been replaced with pure adrenaline, all jittery and electric. This is also the case in my upper chest and lower neck. It's not a heart or lungs thing, it feels pretty skin deep, like that part of me is alive independent of the rest of me. My stomach gets that classic, deep, sinking feeling, and sorry to be crass, but my guts feel like they're about to fall out of my butt. My breathing fluctuates with whatever battle I'm fighting in my head - it slows when I feel like I'm gaining a little control and quickens when I let go a little (this back and forth process happens for the duration of the full-blown attack). I also become hypersensitive to my body and all that it does. I notice my breathing and think about suffocating. I notice my stomach and think about vomiting or defecating. I notice my legs and think of being paralyzed and on and on. Its basically a mental checklist that tells me "Imagine what the worst case for all of these", making me feel out of control of my body and trapped inside of it. This makes focusing on breathing very difficult in particular. Most people tell you to focus your breathing rhythm to regain control. Unfortunately, this just makes me more aware of how essential it is to my being alive and how its something I don't pay attention to 99% of the time, causing me to panic even more. And once it's all over with, I'm miserable for the foreseeable future. Completely dejected and existentially paranoid. Its like someone distilled that feeling of pure doom of the worst depression and shot it straight into my brain. This can lead to more and more panic attacks and a pretty vicious cycle. These periods of depression afterwards never feel like something I've pulled myself out of once they fade. More like something I've somehow survived through, leaving me feeling just as helpless whenever it happens again.

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