Anxiety/Panic Attacks

Laurelin

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#1
So I hesitate to even bring it up but I tried talking to RL people and they don't get it so much. I've been starting to have panic attacks again. 3 this week alone... It probably started about a month ago. I have not had them in over 4 years prior to this last month.

It's the same as it was...things I forgot to do or thought I did wrong are suddenly the end of the world. I'll make myself hyperventilate and puke. I can't sleep, I'm shaking too bad.

It really took till last night when I realized how bad it is right now. In the last week I've gone from worrying about 1 thing being the end of my life as I know it to another thing to another thing. All doom and gloom. Once the thing passes I realize I was worrying about NOTHING but at the time I can't shake it and it is all consuming.

I hate it and I don't know what the best plan is. I am trying to logically tell myself it is OK. I am making up all the things to worry about. The only person noticing these things is me. I am really really hard on myself and all my perceived 'failures'. In actuality those failures are typically nothing or very minor or just plain mistakes. I should be ok with making mistakes but I'm not for some reason.

I know some of you have anxiety as well and was wondering how you deal with it? My sister does too, we are a lot alike. I just was so happy being out of this kind of a place and feeling trapped and anxious at every turn. I don't know how to snap myself out of it again.
 
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#2
In the middle of an attack, I do a couple things. First, I try to keep two cloazepam in my wallet. I try to slow my breathing, in on a 7 count, out on an 11 count. I count powers of 2 because I read it in Ender's Game years ago and it makes me feel like a math genius and I can do it partly by memory and partly by figuring.

I don't get panic attacks very often, and I can usually feel them coming on. I try to focus on "Is there anything I can do about it NOW?"

A therapist I once had told me I needed to 'sit in my emotions" and it was honestly the most helpful advice I've ever gotten. For me its been really important to acknowledge I'm feeling a certain way about something and that's okay, even if it doesn't make sense or seems like an overreaction.
 

Red.Apricot

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#3
I recently joined a group for anxiety, and we're working out of the book Thoughts and Feelings (4th edition) and I'm finding it really, really helpful. The thought journaling exercise in particular is really making a difference for me.
 

Beanie

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#4
Funny enough Friday night I woke up in the middle of the night and started having a panic attack. I don't get them much anymore but with everything going on (or not going on) at work, I think it's just too much and it's triggered stuff again. I don't know if I also drank too much or maybe I didn't drink enough but I think the alcohol had something to do with it.

So here's my do as I say, not as I do suggestions. A good therapist is really nice to help you learn some different coping techniques. It also doesn't hurt to have the possibility of somebody to give you prescription meds if it turns out you need some. Also, sometimes your coping technique is really just to have somebody to talk it out with. This doesn't have to be a therapist, it can just be... you know... somebody. which is really what my problem is because I am supposed to solve everybody's problems, not have any of my own, so it's incredibly inconvenient for my friends to see me struggling and their coping technique is to just bail on me, which is awesome. But a therapist, you know, you PAY that person, so they can't really bail on you. Not exactly anyway.

there are also some OTC herbal things you can take, but their effectiveness is just going to vary depending. But it might be worth looking into.
 

joce

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#5
Definitely go talk to someone. There may be some little coping skill that really helps or for a bit you may need some meds to get over the hump and let the coping skills start to help. Deep breathing, counting, walking, talking. Breathe in and think in good and breathe out and think out bad until you relax. I know people have told me showers help.

Journaling is always a good one. I think listing things in general can help people manage. Do a list of things you need to do and then check them off. If money is an issue itemize and keep track of it. Always end it at night with a list of positive things. May be small ones like you saw the sun or showered that day but as long as some are there! I say list three positive things, something you learned and a small obtainable goal for the next day.

I really love the aa mantra of change the things I can and accept those I can't and wisdom to know the difference.
When I get anxious I count and add in my head. My anxiety comes out more as OCD sx.
 

GipsyQueen

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#6
I usually get panic attacks and anxiety when I'm super stressed (Exams etc.) this semester it was extrem, because the day after my last exam I got the keys to my new apartment, and moved in 3 days later. I ended up needing to take (homeopathic) remedies to be able to sleep (the helped so much though). I'm slowing decreasing my intake right now, so when I feel panic coming on, I take deep breaths and count the seconds of my breathing. I take a while to decompress, so the smallest things can set me off when I have nothing else to worry about, but they seem like the end of the world as we know it.

I've also banished all technology from my room. I used to use my cellphone as an alarm clock, and my laptop - because I used it just before bed, would be beside me. So, when I woke up, I'd look at my cellphone, look on FB, check emails. And that REALLY stressed me. I have one professor, who would send emails in the middle of the night. He once sent one, that sent me into a full on panic attack at 3am. When I couldn't sleep at all, I'd even open up my
laptop because it was within arms reach.
So I went out and bought an alarm clock, my cellphone now charges in the living room at night, and my laptop spends the night there as well. I also try and shut off my laptop an hour before bed. Take a shower and read a good book.
This didn't take away all my anxiety, but it did help so so so much.
 

milos_mommy

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#7
First, cut caffeine out of your diet. Caffeine is a MAJOR trigger for anxiety. Also try to eat regularly to keep stable blood sugar, get enough sleep, make sure you're treating any physical illness (and it's not a side effect of prescription meds).

Then, practice mindfulness, and google DBT skills for anxiety. These things include distracting by using your 5 senses (count ceiling tiles, listen for different instruments in a piece of music, focus on the texture of a piece of candy, etc), breathing exercises (counting breaths) learning to think logically (stating facts about the situation and separating emotional thoughts (I'm panicking about this - is a fact. Forgetting to call my dad back MIGHT upset him - is a fact. OMG I FORGOT TO CALL DAD AND NOW OUR RELATIONSHIP IS DESTROYED FOREVER - not a fact, an emotional thought).

Anxiety sucks so much. Learning to get through it unmedicated takes a lot of practice, but it will slowly get better :) personally I'd try to avoid meds as typical prescribed anxiety meds have very high dependancy rates, side effects, etc...try rescue remedy if you need to get through it or benedryl if it's keeping you up at night
 
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#8
Definitely talk to your doctor. But in the meantime a couple of strategies I use:

1. I don't try to talk myself out of it. They aren't logical: That is, I'm not having a panic attack over a legitimate concern. I'm having a panic attack because my brain isn't working correctly right then. If I try to talk myself out of it, I find that it makes me get anxious ABOUT the anxiety and makes it worse.

2. In the early days, I would medicate pretty freely. I find I uncommonly have to take anything anymore but it did allow my brain and body to be able to learn to take advantage of the coping strategies until they developed some "muscle memory" (so to speak) for and trust in those strategies. So don't be afraid to use medication or think you'll always be dependent on it.

3. Deep breathing exercises. Don't think, just breathe. If you've ever practiced yoga (which I highly recommend, btw) it is the same kind of focus on breath.

4. What helps me the most is just to acknowledge that it's happening and that it will pass. I try to think of it as any other temporary ailment like a headache that won't last forever, and that the time to deal with whatever situation I'm worrying about will be when the panic is gone. Sometimes I actually just repeat to myself stuff like "this isn't going to last forever, this will end" over and over like a mantra.

Your doctor should be able to give you more strategies based on your own situation and personality, too. Good luck, they're awful. Just awful.
 

Stingr69

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#9
Definitely talk to your doctor. But in the meantime a couple of strategies I use:

1. I don't try to talk myself out of it. They aren't logical: That is, I'm not having a panic attack over a legitimate concern. I'm having a panic attack because my brain isn't working correctly right then. If I try to talk myself out of it, I find that it makes me get anxious ABOUT the anxiety and makes it worse.

2. In the early days, I would medicate pretty freely. I find I uncommonly have to take anything anymore but it did allow my brain and body to be able to learn to take advantage of the coping strategies until they developed some "muscle memory" (so to speak) for and trust in those strategies. So don't be afraid to use medication or think you'll always be dependent on it.

3. Deep breathing exercises. Don't think, just breathe. If you've ever practiced yoga (which I highly recommend, btw) it is the same kind of focus on breath.

4. What helps me the most is just to acknowledge that it's happening and that it will pass. I try to think of it as any other temporary ailment like a headache that won't last forever, and that the time to deal with whatever situation I'm worrying about will be when the panic is gone. Sometimes I actually just repeat to myself stuff like "this isn't going to last forever, this will end" over and over like a mantra.

Your doctor should be able to give you more strategies based on your own situation and personality, too. Good luck, they're awful. Just awful.
I think #4 is the best advice. It takes practice. You have to tell yourself that "my friend is back" and embrace it. Keep busy with something you realy like and it can take your mind off of it.

Hope you find some peace soon! :)

-Mark.
 

Fran101

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#10
Cutting out caffeine and getting meds honestly.... I thought anti-anxiety stuff would make me drowsy but it just really makes me able to function in high stress situations without total panic

For some reason sleeping with a fan on helps? or classical music? ...don't know why, think maybe it stops my inner monologue
 

Laurelin

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#11
Things have been goin better on the anxiety front this last week. I know a lot is stress from the 17364749498 things goin on in my life right now.

I just wanted to thank everyone for the advice. I've incorporated a lot o it as well as cutting cokes and eating cleaner and I think it is helping.
 

Laurelin

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#12
Andddd another panic attack.

Night time is definitely the trigger or one of the major ones. I am fine all day but get to night and I get the feeling of 'oh no, it's all wrong, I'm terrible, I've made all these mistakes and yada yada.' Ensue panic and feeling helpless and trapped.

I hear that night time is often worse for people with anxiety. Do y'all find that to be true? It almost always night when it gets bad for me.
 

Brattina88

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#13
I've heard that a lot, too. For me, especially lately, it's been like 4-6 o clock in the morning. Dark out, not enough hours to sleep it off but too early to start my day (especially if I don't work until 9 or 10).... sense of impending doom. Bad, too. :( ugh

(((((Hugs)))) I'm sorry you're going through this
 

Red.Apricot

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#14
I have way way more problems at night too, I'm sorry. :[ I've found journalling to be very helpful; writing down the situation that upset me, what emotion I feel, what thoughts I had that made me feel that way, and then alternative thoughts that would be healthier and how I feel about the issue now.
 
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#15
I tend to get the most anxiety when I am trying to fall asleep. I think of one thing which triggers a whole barrage of "what ifs" or things I did "wrong" or people all hate me etc. Then I get overtired which make the anxiety worse. Such a vicious cycle
 

Laurelin

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#16
Yeah I think that's what is going on with me. I find one thing that I did wrong then somehow it ends up in my life being terrible and worthless and people hating me and I'm a failure and everything...

It's frustrating because I've been great all day. Then suddenly it comes along and starts creeping in.

I keep thinking once ____ passes then I won't be anxious but what happens is I find something else to be anxious about instead.
 
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#17
For me, I do find it gets a BIT better if I actually get enough sleep to start (yeah, easier said then done), take the supplements I am supposed to, and I do take melatonin most nights. It does not knock my out or anything but helps me fall asleep much quicker than usual and I usually STAY asleep instead of waking up off and on (which is sometimes when I would start thinking to much as well)
 

JazzyTheSibe

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#18
((((Hugs)))) I'm so sorry your feeling like this.

Journaling.If you can, try to write down what's causing it, or just simply write what has/is happening.It really can be helpful in curbing some anxiety.

Melatonin has helped me go to sleep quicker,& sleep better. It's nothing wonderful, but it has helped. Going to sleep earlier, has helped, just because there's less thinking about it.

I know this might not help right now, but, your definitely not a failure. You've created two awesome dogs,& I'm jealous of your skill level with dogs.Your not worthless either, actually far from it.
 

Beanie

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#19
Yes, night for me as well. For me it is basically that is when my brain ceases to be preoccupied with other things. Also since I am no longer at work or out in public I can drop the LA LA LA EVERYTHING IS FINE facade, so...

Many people (even those without anxiety disorders and stuff) have anxiety before they sleep because they are actively trying to quiet their mind and do nothing but fall asleep, which basically gives an empty playground for everything else to run wild. My dad has recently told me "I couldn't sleep because I kept thinking about this thing." Since he is retired and doesn't have to wake up to go to work anymore, he usually gets up and gets online and starts researching whatever problem he's thinking about. Sometimes it takes him a few hours to reach a conclusion and then he falls asleep. This is obviously different than having an actual panic attack or what have you, but it's not unusual for anybody, really.

I do take sleep meds - I've actually always had issues sleeping, my natural sleep pattern is just not really conducive to a 9-5 - and eventually the chemicals trump everything else. But it doesn't KEEP me asleep so waking up in the middle of the night panicking happens. Different meds might do the job but that would take going to the doctor and trying something new and trying something else if those didn't work which all means $$$$$.
 

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