I hate panic attacks

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I've been suffering from panic attacks for about 20 years. I found a good therapist fairly early on, and talk therapy and Prozac helped getting my racing thoughts under control. After about 10 years I stopped taking Prozac and only used Xanax whenever I needed - some years I didn't need any and sometimes I needed a few a day. Usually 1/2 a Xanax even helps.

But now last Sunday I had a full blown panic attack outside. It always seems to start the same way: I start feeling dizzy while gardening (which I love to do) and then I have brain buzzes and short blackouts. When I stop working and go inside I'm usually fine within a short period of time. But last Sunday I desperately wanted to finish the work I had started and ended up lying on the ground twitching. I was able to crawl into the house and take medications and call my son, but the panic didn't seem to go away. I felt like I had to answer the question of whether I want to live or die - and it went on for about 3 hours. I feel asleep but every time I woke up I had this panicky feeling. Finally after 5 hours total I felt better.

I know next time not to push myself when I start feeling dizzy. But I'm really scared now. I would like to be able to tell my son or whoever is there what they can do to help.

Does anybody have the same problems and have some advice on how to deal with situations like this? And any advice for others to help?

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Hi, I have panic disorder for some time (I am taking meds) , but today a very weird thing happened to me. I was very stressed, because I was supposed to work at shopping mall  (yeah I know, uncommon places, crowds of people.. my bad). And I have those same symptoms before panic attack as always - I was sweating, I felt dizzy and so on, but then something very strange happened - my arms started burning, it was like someone gave me hot coal on my top back. I was literally burning, I just wanted to know I had same symptom of anxiety as you. I was glad, when I read your post, because i know, that I am not alone. Is there anyone else who has feeling like there is a flame on their body parts? (before or during panic attack)

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Hi. Karolina. Welcome to AC. :)'

The answer is yes, but it doesn't matter! Now before you think I have flipped let me explain. Panic is caused by a rush of adrenaline to the brain. This in turn triggers the emotion fear/danger so the body goes into that mode. Our ancient ancestors either ran or fought the Tiger. Mostly ran because they had more sense than we have. We tend to fight. Try to fight 'IT' off.  It's a battle you will never win.

As you have been medically checked out then it's anxiety. Now why is it that when you panic in the shopping mall and maybe dash outside, (not saying you do but many do), you feel better outside? The danger has been removed.  The thought of collapsing and being 'taken away' somewhere is gone, so you calm down.

When you feel panic coming STOP! Take a deep breath and let it come. The lot, all of it. let it sweep over you like a wave. Never mind symptoms, just experience it without panicking because you are panicking. Doing so adds fear to fear and so prolongs the panic. Panic is always limited. It has to be. Once the adrenaline is used up you calm down. But you have turned your mind into a battleground. Like a big bell that has been rung, you go on vibrating long after the attack. Take it easy. Panic never killed anyone, but it has made many lives miserable.  

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