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Author Topic: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic  (Read 561 times)

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Offline wanderlust2386

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Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« on: May 03, 2014, 08:50:26 PM »
A little background info, I've always delt with anxiety my whole life but after treatments, etc... it seemed to disappear for the most part for my early twenties. 2 years ago my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I had to watch him die for a year before he finally passed (which I was present for). It's been a year since his death and all of a sudden my panic is out of control. The last month it seems to have come out of nowhere.

It first happened when I went to the grocery store, all of a sudden I felt really hot and delirious and my heart started pounding, engulfed in complete fear for my life, I jetted out of the store as quickly as possible. Ever since then I live in constant fear of having another attack. My chest always feels tights, I have horrible knots/muscle pains in my back (which I've always had but now it is unbearable). I often lack concentration and feel as though I am going to faint, especially in places with people.

 Every time I feel anything like the above symptoms I spend hours on the internet making sure I'm not dying. I can't live like this anymore. I'm so scared that this isn't anxiety but something more serious. I've been to urgent care twice in which they gave me xanax, which helps temporarily. I finally went to a GP and have been taking zoloft now for a week. I find myself sweating all the times now and sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night like I can't breathe. The doctor told me basically that I should be over my dad by now which upset me, but didn't offer to do any tests to make sure everything else health wise is ok. I'm at my wits end. The zoloft is making me feel worse so far (more anxiety) and I hate to keep taking xanax, especially because they only give me a few pills. I'm either a complete zombie or I feel like I'm dying. Is this what panic attacks are like? I'm so scared. I couldn't even spend time with my mom today because she wanted to go get haircuts together and I feared I would have an attack in the chair. I'm just NEVER at ease, never comfortable. I just want my life back. I'm only 28 years old.
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Online Rob783

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 10:15:42 PM »
Hello....with zoloft and other SSRIs it takes a few weeks to reach a therapeutic level. Meds alone usually wont stop anxiety.  If you have access to a psycologist they can teach you techniques to minimize the anxiety.
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Offline Breathless

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 10:30:50 PM »
What helps me is educating myself on what is happening with panic attacks. Also connecting with other sufferers helps a bunch.
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"Cowards die many times before their deaths;the valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear; Seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come." Julius Caesar

Offline Chrestomanci

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2014, 01:04:31 AM »
Hello,

First of all, I am very sorry that you are going through such a hard time. May you soon find relief.

What you are going through right now definitely sounds like you are struggling with feedback loop - the anticipatory anxiety about having another panic attacks is only feeding into the constant state of fear. The constant stress and trouble sleeping tends to take a toll on the body, which is why you're feeling physical symptoms a lot these days. You will find that these will start to lessen and disappear as you learn to manage your anxiety.

Like what Breathless said, learning the most you can about panic attacks is the first step in helping deal with them so you can acknowledge what is going on with your body and lessen the anxiety when the attacks happen. What has also helped me is doing some deep breathing exercises, which can help trigger a relaxation response (anxiety suffers tend to breathe shallow, which affects the body). I tend to do a 4-7-8 count (breathe in for four, hold for seven count, release breath with 8 count) because focusing on the counting also helps me, though there are tons of other breathing exercises that can help.

Nothing beats a therapist though to help you talk through your issues and come up with targeted plans to help manage your stress. So if you are able, I would definitely make an appointment.
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Offline Ringil

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2014, 03:03:52 AM »
A little background info, I've always delt with anxiety my whole life but after treatments, etc... it seemed to disappear for the most part for my early twenties. 2 years ago my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I had to watch him die for a year before he finally passed (which I was present for). It's been a year since his death and all of a sudden my panic is out of control. The last month it seems to have come out of nowhere.

It first happened when I went to the grocery store, all of a sudden I felt really hot and delirious and my heart started pounding, engulfed in complete fear for my life, I jetted out of the store as quickly as possible. Ever since then I live in constant fear of having another attack. My chest always feels tights, I have horrible knots/muscle pains in my back (which I've always had but now it is unbearable). I often lack concentration and feel as though I am going to faint, especially in places with people.


I hope you will see a specialist and discuss trying Alprazolam instead of Zoloft. My family experienced that Zoloft (SSRIs in general) made the attacks worse and then withdrawal from Zoloft is worse yet. Those SSRIs are for depression, not anxiety, (obviously this in an opinion© not a fact)

Also, be very careful of other medications. There are certain medications that can stimulate attacks if you take too much or too little.

Some other things that helped me (my reactions were similar to yours) were drinking more water. Dehydration is a trigger. Also, communicating with someone can be very helpful. I'm here to see if this can replace the hotlines I've used because they get calls from people even worse off so I don't like to stay more than a few minutes. But here...well...we can ramble a bit and distract ourselves.

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Anything I post is an opinion© and not necessarily a fact™. I've often benefitted from anecdotal guidance. Your mileage may vary.

Offline wanderlust2386

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 04:17:31 AM »
Thank you all for your replies. It helps knowing that others are going through the same thing. I'm scheduled to start seeing a therapist so I'm hoping that will help more than my GP. So far Zoloft has been hard on me. Besides stomach issues, it has made my anxiety 5x worse and I'm only on 25mg a day. About an hour ago I had to call 911 because my heart was literally beating out of my chest and I actually work up from it and fell out of bed unable to catch my breathe. It lasted about 10 minutes and then the paramedics arrived and checked me out, told me it was a panic attack. I feel so silly. I do have xanax but I treat it like gold because it's the only thing that really helps doctors generally don't like to prescribe
It much. I'm thinking of quitting zoloft already after 5 days, I can't handle it. I've checked out a few self help techniques and stuff for anxiety. Hoping something eases my mind soon. I'm so glad I found these boards.
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Offline Julie A. Cook

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 08:36:31 AM »
Wander, you will befine. Many of us are and have suffered the way you are right now.  It takes time, patience courage, the right medication and unerstanding therapist.  Ziloft is a wonderful drug.  Don't be discouraged that it isn't workingright away.  It takes several weeks.  In the meantime, you should have an anxiolytic drug like xanax or klonopin to help you through.

I will bethinking about you and wishing you a speedy ecovery.  Peace will return.  You have suffered apsychic wound from your father's passing and it has caught up with you.

Best regards,

Julie A. Cook
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Offline t-panic

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2014, 10:28:45 AM »
Hello Wanderlust,

I'm 27 years old and going through the same thing you are. I just joined this forum this past week. My first post here describes one of my worst attacks which happened just over a month ago. I also called 911 but it was from my car on the shoulder of a highway. I was taken away in a stretcher only to be told at the hospital that I was physically fine it is just anxiety.

Mental Health has always been a big issue but has only recently hit the spotlight with the World Health Organization and many Countries Health Care Systems. Many General Practitioners may not fully understand that anxiety manifests real and sometimes terrifying physical effects that can put your everyday life on hold. Please be patient, be informative to your GP and Therapist, express the urgency of your needs to resolve your issue with anxiety. It sounds like you are taking the right steps. I am working to do the same for myself. It's hard.

This forum also seems to be a great outlet and community as we are able to understand that we are not alone and no we are not going crazy. One thing that helps me cope with my constant symptoms is the mindfulness technique. Sounds cheesy but live in the moment. Try to slow down your thoughts and take in the everything around you. Last year I took a long road trip from Toronto, Canada to Los Angeles, CA with my fiance. There were many points driving where I thought I wasn't going to make it. My panic attacks were becoming more frequent but were still manageable then. I found that taking in all of the scenery we drove by totally took my mind off any physical symptoms I was having. The symptoms just disappear.

I have started using this technique more now. Even just on short walks from my apartment I focus on the architecture of buildings, clouds drifting in the sky, the smell of the grass. Conversing with friends, family and even writing and reading on this forum help. Keeping your mind occupied is tough to do because it is easy to get distracted or let your mind drift to the thoughts that cause panic.

You are not alone.
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Online Rob783

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2014, 10:42:38 AM »
Yeah wander we've all been were you are.  Its not silly, the systoms are real and scary.  The "can't catch your breath feeling" is usually hyperventilation. Your actually getting TOO MUCH oxygen. When we panic we take short shallow breaths dropping CO2 in our blood. Wiki hyperventilation syndrome. There's a free smartphone app called Breathe2relax that can help control your breathing.
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Offline Aaron Davis

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2014, 12:58:56 PM »
You are certainly not alone. This sounds a LOT like what I've felt and gone through (aside from a loved one passing away).
Anxiety, particularly panic attacks are what have led us all here. Proof of my own anxiety is by just reading your post I began to empathize with you and actually started feeling anxiety myself.
Don't underestimate the affect that your father's passing had. Something like that really can set off some emotional disturbances. I think it is very wrong, and irresponsible, that a doctor would not empathize. But then again, many doctors are not psychologically driven...they are very logical and practical. Emotions, in this case anxiety are far from being practical and logical.
I agree with what Breathless said earlier - it was simple yet spot on. Research "panic attacks" and become familiar with what is going on. That is what many of us have done. You will find that they are in no way dangerous. They are, however, detrimental in ruining our days be making us feel this way. Look deep into CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) that tends to help.
You've got us rooting for you!
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Offline Ringil

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2014, 01:07:24 PM »
Wander, you will befine. Many of us are and have suffered the way you are right now.  It takes time, patience courage, the right medication and unerstanding therapist.  Ziloft is a wonderful drug.  Don't be discouraged that it isn't workingright away.  It takes several weeks.  In the meantime, you should have an anxiolytic drug like xanax or klonopin to help you through.

Of course, I find Zoloft to be a nightmare drug so I can't support your position.

Xanax is a street value drug and some Doctors are reluctant if they are suspicious of you. But I've had no trouble getting them. My PAs are VERY real and I am very clear about that when addressing Doctors. Some Doctors feel the way I do about Xanax. It's cheap and it works. If you are a GENUINE Panic disorder sufferer, you can't abuse Xanax. If you are not, then you can get "high" from them. So, a good Doctor knows if you are a GENUINE PA sufferer, you should be on them instead of that SSRI class.

Doctor shopping for Opiates will bring the law down on you. But shopping for Xanax - as long as you are legit about your needs - is something you SHOULD do.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion I feel strongly about but I am not a Doctor. I'm sure the Zoloft advocates will not agree - but IMHO, Zoloft is possible effective for depression but NOT for Panic Attacks.)

The deep breathing, in thru the nose, out through the mouth until you EMPTY your lungs is a recommended strategy. Sometimes I need someone to demand I do this or I panic in the process of emptying my lungs. So come here or a hotline and have yourself pressured into doing it.

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Anything I post is an opinion© and not necessarily a fact™. I've often benefitted from anecdotal guidance. Your mileage may vary.

Offline melissas080

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2014, 05:29:09 PM »
We have a similar story besides i have had anxiety all my life, I had a really good 5 years with minimal anxiety that I could handle with self talk and deep breathing. My father passed away suddenly in November and now I am housebound. I have multiple attacks a day, and feel just defeated. I am constantly monitoring my breathing, I bought a blood pressure cuff and a pulse ox. Its just out of control. I went to my PCP and they gave me zoloft. I hate it. I stopped taking it because my head felt so strange. He will not give me Xanax, so instead I have been taking benadryl or Meclizine to calm me. I am CONVINCED I am in heart failure and really upset my PCP did not do an EKG or something, he says its all anxiety...and you know what? It is. Its just that. I know it is...and I know I will be ok, and so will you. Just wanted to share my story since we both lost our fathers. I am so sorry. Take care.
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2014, 09:37:55 PM »
Hi, I just wanted to say that you're not alone.  A lot of the symptoms you describe are the same symptoms I have suffered with.  I also know how it feels to be so overcome with anxiety/panic that I've left a shopping cart full of things and ran out of the store.  I have been in the middle of grocery shopping and felt as though I was going to drop to the floor (faint).  Another time my heart began to beat so fast that I felt faint, and had to run to the restroom to compose myself. I know exactly what you are talking about and how you are feeling, so please know you are not alone.

My Mom passed away in 2012....after a long 5 year struggle with COPD.  I was her caretaker, I also was the one who found her after she had passed away, laying on the kitchen floor.  The 4 days following that my heat rate was so elevated I did not sleep (for 4 days). I lost a few pounds that I could not afford to lose.  I found myself back at square one with my anxiety battle. 

I look around at other people out and about---no one seems to suffer the way I do.....I have never known anyone who has anxiety like this, so it is a very isolating experience to say the least.

I recently started taking Celexa, but I have started on a very low dose, trying to work my way up.  When I go back to my doctor for my follow-up I'm going to ask for a referral to a psychologist.

I don't know what advise to offer, but I can say, it does and can get better, because I am more than 50% better than I was.  I no longer panic when I'm out or driving, and my heart rate is normal most of the time.  So don't worry, it doesn't have to be as bad as it is now.  Keep working at it and you'll find what helps you---don't give up!

Take care :)
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Offline Myocdragon

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2014, 10:20:43 PM »
Wander,
I am also sorry to hear you are going through this. And I'm sorry for the loss of your father.

SSRIs do take weeks to reach effective levels. And while I believe in meds, broadly speaking, GPs don't know squat about mental health issues. I would find a psychiatrist and get an initial consultation. This consult should not be 15 minutes. My first visit to a pdoc took nearly three hours. He went through my entire history, both medical and mental, he asked dozens of questions, and only then did he offer a diagnosis and treatment. And he would never, ever have said that should be over anything by now. That is hacky.

I didn't see him for panic, though. I saw him for bad OCD and depression. Several year ago I did have daily panic attacks for like three months or so. I too was at my wits end. I started working with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and it's been years since I had a panic attack.

Someone once told me that after you have one panic, every panic attack after that is from fear of having another panic attack. I buy that. You can, and will get your life back. Whether it's through CBT or meds, or a combination of the two, it will absolutely happen. But it won't be through your gp. Ask around, find a professional who specializes in this. Seeing your GP for a mental health issue is like seeing your GP for cancer. Frankly, your GP shouldn't have even treated you. Can you imagine your GP saying, "well, I think you have heart disease, so I'm going to open up a vein in your leg, and with an orthoscope I'm going to wind my way up to your heart to put in a stent." No way! He'd send you to a cardiologist! But because it's mental health, he thinks, "oh, I'll just shove whatever old med I've heard of and tell her to get over it." It's BS and it's upsetting. Find a specialist who knows all meds and treatments available.

Hang in there. You'll pull through.
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I'm not crazy, I've just lost my mind

Offline wanderlust2386

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Re: Can't live like this anymore - Constant panic
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2014, 01:06:07 AM »
Thanks everyone for your kind words. It certainly helps to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way. It's very hard on those around me, especially my significant other, who has a hard time understanding what I'm going through.

I think the fact the I had to basically watch my father die for a year before he actually passed has caused me more trauma then I initially realized.  I'm more afraid of death than I used to be and it gets to my head. I wish that I could find a way to just shut my brain off. Night time is the worst, I seem to think of five million things at once right before bed, hence why most of my panic attacks happen at night.

My GP did give me Xanax to help while the Zoloft kicks in. I'm still unsure about taking it, without the opinion of a psychiatrist, but I've already been on it for 6 days, so I'm not sure if it's safe to quit so I keep taking it? I'm going to a psychiatrist next week, so possibly I will just stick it out til then. I seem to be doing okay today after my stint with 911 last night, but I also have taken .5mg of Xanax at breakfast and .5mg this evening. It's the only thing that makes me feel normal at the moment.
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