Panic Attacks And Panic Disorder

I was always an extremely anxious person, always sensitive, always a worrier.  Looking back now, I can see that I had panic attacks as far back as grade school.  Of course, as a child, I only thought that I was constantly sick.  I was constantly needing to go to the nurses office, with things that felt like simple flus or stomach aches or things and symptoms I couldn't even explain.  I can now see clearly that these were my first panic attacks.

As I got older, panic attacks became more and more frequent.  I would become extremely nervous and have attacks over things that seemed very small, or over certain things I was phobic of.  That would only be how it started.  Over time, I would start to get these feelings and symptoms of panic from out of the blue, from nowhere.  I would be in the middle of a calming activity and panic would still set in -- I wouldn't be able to breathe, or my limbs would go tingly & numb, or my heart would start to race.  It would feel like I was racing a marathon even if I hadn't moved.  Then I would always feel completely exhausted afterward, as if I really did run that marathon!

For a very long time I truly did believe I was only physically sick, that there was any number of horrible physical symptoms wrong.  Others in my life must have had an idea as to what was going on, as they were giving me suggestions on different natural remedies.  I tried various vitamins and herbal supplements, but nothing truly worked.

Thanks to the Internet and meeting more people who I could relate to, I realized that what I was experiencing was panic disorder.  To know this alone was an amazing relief and help.  Knowing others needing to deal with the same things you are is truly number one in my way to recovering.

Since all the vitamins and herbal choices would not work for me, I also tried lifestyle changes.  I dropped caffeine completely for a year, I tried diet and exercise.  Yet the panic attacks still came, and I felt inferior to those who seemed to keep it under control using these methods.  I persisted and began to spend hundreds of dollars on self help books and programs and such.  While this helped me feel much less alone, the panic attacks kept coming.

I did eventually see my GP and my psychiatrist, where the diagnosis of panic disorder was confirmed.  Having this diagnosis also helped me accept my situation, as hard as it was to go through the appointments.  It reminded me that there was something valid going on with me, something that deserved attention and help.

I went through several medications that did not work for me.  Anti depressants only gave me side effects and made things much worse.  It took a lot of trial and error.  Eventually I found that benzodiazepenes were the answer for me.  I began taking Klonopin as needed.  This was a great help, and kept the panic attacks from taking over my life in the same way.

One thing I will always remember and fear was the worst panic attack in my life.  It was a couple years after I thought I had it all under control.  Yet every symptom came at me one night while on vacation, and it was amplified to a degree I did not know even existed.  Thinking that there truly was something physically wrong, that I was dying, or going crazy... I ended up in the emergency room.  This was the lowest point in my panic disorder.  Thinking about the levels my heart rate went up still scares me.

After several hours it was confirmed that it was all simply a panic attack.  This caused a trigger however, and I slowly fell farther and farther into my panic disorder.  I could not function.  I constantly had panic attack symptoms, and it felt like after shocks of panic.  I was always either having panic symptoms or feeling exhausted from the last bout of panic symptoms.  Each day became very heard to deal with.

I eventually went back for professional help, where this time I was put on a small dose of Xanax daily.  This truly saved me and gave me my life back.  I know the risks involved with such medications, but I experienced no side effects and it was the first thing to truly help.  I was slowly able to live again, and then one day I realized I was truly living again, truly feeling better, getting back to a better me.

I also continued with therapy and continued with building a support group among those I knew that could understand what I was going through.  It was very hard at first for me to be open with my loved ones about these things that I had to work around.  I was afraid to go anywhere with anyone for fear of having a panic attack in front of them, or for fear of asking them to leave.

One thing that helped me so much was to finally be open and to let people in, to let people know what I was going through.  This was a very hard thing for me to do and I am sure that at times it has been very hard for those that had to help me through.  But sharing when I needed help and sharing my experiences with others truly helped me.

Learning to know that people were on my side was a great help.  Learning to distract myself when panic attack symptoms came was a great help.  I also make sure I have things on me at all times to distract me, or reminders of how things are OK, kind of like a survival bag.

Learning about the experiences that others with this disorder have gone through has always been a great help.  In turn, I hope to always be open in my experiences and hopefully help others.  This is also a very healing gift for me.

suzanneontheriver suzanneontheriver
26-30, F
16 Responses Jul 12, 2006

I am struggling with the same thing. I felt as if I was reading my own life story. However I am on medication and it not helping me get my life back. I have gone to several different type of therapy and they work but after a while it stops. <br />
I just started taking zolof and klonopin but I am still struggling I wonder if I should stop taking the zoloft maybe it making me worst? The last time I went to the dr he didn't know what to do. So I am searching for answers my self. <br />
My major issue is driving alone being alone. I to was independent raising two children on my own then all of sudden I started having these panic attacks while driving alone in the car ? I have tried many distractions but I find they are only temporary they eventually stop working <br />
Any advise as to what I can do ?

I too suffer with panic disorder-every symptom-except heart attck and death! My worst point I had a panic attack of all panic attacks-can't breathe, I get digestive issues immedialey-first a hot sweatover my body then immedialy I have diarreah, dry heaves, vomitting is rare, skaking-no deep trembling, and on and on-24 hours!! I really thought-'this is why so many people committ suicide!! I never would but I knew I didn't want to live this way either-and I hate doctors and refuse to ever take pharmacveuticals. I HAD to get to the root of why-why am I having these attacks. I know that for the most part stress was not THE factor..I thrive on stress after all. I have 4 children and was a single mom for 13 years...I know stress. I feel that stress is always gonna be there so deal with it rationally, calmly and know that it will pass too. The panic attack that lasted 24 hours plus sputtered out over a 3 month period-kept slightly reoccuring but not quite as long as the mother panic attack. In this time I noted when I had the attacks...and here in lies the truth everyone...I am a high strung physical person. small, wirey, firey always 'putting' around not hyper or any other 'disorders' like hyperactive or OCD just a putter. I was just a fun, busy girl. I LOVE LIFE.
From my own experience I knew that my panic attacks were not caused by and 'mental disorder' and it was not a psycotic episode. After the reoccuring panic attacks that lasted 3 months I realized that I was starving my body of water and nutrients. Esspecially Omega 3, 6, 9 and on and on. Sometimes I get to busy to eat properly-truley properly. A quick snack here a quick snack there. I never eat breakfast. Sometimes I don't eat anything substantial until 3or later. Not enough water. Too much coffee, I drank alot when I was younger. And years of improper diet. I will tell you it is this simple for most of us suffering with this. Admitt it. None of us are eating healthful.
I eat now...not alot-I eat regularly. I never skip meals....well almost never. I am not panic free. I am just not prone to them. Yes, if I let myself go and miss a few too many meals here and there I will get a panic attack. But if I eat healthful food and take a reliable B vitamin complex, Calcium, Magnesium, zinc and boron mix (one pill) and my precious Omega oils. I am taking a high potency fish oil because it is most effictive and quick acting. I will never allow myself to run out of these life sustaining supplements. I feel the calm come over me when I take these in the face of an attack.
I have no fear, I have no anxiety, I have no depression I have no innsomnia-all these symptoms/warnings are gone. I am taking no drugs and I have no side effect. I am happy. I breathe deep-do this you need to breathe deep into your stomache-like fill your lower lobes of your lungs and eat and drink and be merry! There is nothing you can't deal with and win! I did. And at the height of my panic attacks I was so depressed and couldn't eat-because stress starts in the gut-when you are at the point where you can't eat-it's ok. This drink will save you- get one half lemon, sqeeze juice into tall cup add same amount or less or a wee bit more pure real maple syrop-not just any sirop-it has to be maple syrop. drink as much a you need, glasses and glasses of it until you are ready to eat. When you finally can eat take a bite of melon of some kind if you can. A nice melon can save a life! Nothing heavy. slowly eat away at the melon until you can eat something more. Listen to your body and think-really tink about what you are doing to it. Love, laugh, live and let others in to share joy. I know we want to avoid people for this reson or that but you don't need to worry about thaT-YOU ARE NOT MENTAL!! If you have a panic attack in public, sit down some where and breathe deep into your lungs and share what you are going through with someone...people are good ya know. We all want to love and live in harmony. Someone will be there for you when you need it-YOU KNOW THIS!! you are not alone and you are not mental.gwt your vitamins and buy the ones from a good health food store-not the grocry store-these are old and full of buffer. I LOVE YOU.

And by the way I have more energy now. I do still drink many amny coffees a day but the are not brewed-they are esspresso mixed with water. When you drink coffee made this way there is substantially less caffine than regular brewed. Stay away from Pharmacuetical if you have a choice. Please. You are a person not a lab rat. And sorry for the rambling sentences and poor spelling and grammer.I really wanted to get my story to you all because this changed my life! And without drugs and without side effects-well one side effect- I have more energy and I think clearly! I AM SO HAPPPPPY! I WANT THIS FOR YOU.

i can relate to ur story ive been on xanax for about a year because i started having panic attacks couldnt eat stressed out xanax does help alot but i found out you cant just sit and stress about things just say everythin will be alright and it will work out and not stress because so many people are in worst situations and isent it crazy how antisocial we can get worrying about what people will think of us or if they think we are weird and they dont mind saying mean stuff but you just gotta brush if off and think of all the people who are scared to go out and just push yourself, try and love yourself and try to stay positive and say positive stuff

thank you so much for sharring your panic story, wow i can relate to what you go threw<br />
you have helped me thank you so mmuch for sharring .

good for u..

I have a panic disorder. My first one when I was 10 years old. I recently just had one. Afterward a lot of my hair falls out from the stress I was in.

Learn how this method might really make it easier to overcome your panic attacks ( . And how does it actually work.

This story helped me. My panic attacks are severe. Well i was diagnose with gad but recently ive been having attacks ever since i atarted prozac. Bad enough where i beg my mom to bring me to the hospital. That was last nigjt. I have an appt today we'll see what happens. Thank youxx

Lately, I have been experiencing some health issues, particularly a low white cell count and frequent infections. I had to take a leave of absence from work while the doctors try to find a diagnosis. Prior to my being ill, I had distanced myself from God and I am just now working on rebuilding my relationship with God. I am very scared about what the diagnoses could be and sometimes I do feel very anxious and have panic attacks. I am hoping that it is nothing serious, but in the meantime I try to continue praying. I have to trust that God allows certain things to happen for a reason. Perhaps my illness is His way of calling me back, but there are times where I feel a little despondent and sad.

Wow. I can relate to so much of this. I too was an overly sensitive child. I always thought something was physically wrong with me. I know it is awful when you are in the middle of doing something relaxing, and you get an attack, this has happened to me recently. That can throw you for a double loop. It does make such a difference when you can reach out to others who have the same issues and to let friends and family know you have panic, it can be exhausting to have to hide it. You have done really well! Hugs to you...

Thankyou for your excellent story and for the help that this will give fellow sufferers. My son suffers from panic attacks too, but his look just like seizures except he doesn't pass out. They are also of long duration. And just so you self righteous Christians get the total picture, he is a 100% bible believing Christian. Fr Walter Cizek said that prayer and faith don't stop you from having these experiences, but they help you handle them better. He is on lexipro and clonezepam, and they have helped, but he also has catatonic stupors, so it is tricky. He is one of the best people I know, and I can only hope that his terrible sufferings somehow do some good. I know yours have.

I have them to and had a severe one of all places Churchill Downs in Ky,tons of ppl around and very hot,the worse sympton to me is the heart racing out of control which as to led me to the er several times. I am on 1mg of xanax and it helps so much,ppl say yes it is addictive,but do we really want to live a life that is secluded from friends family and just plain going out the door. I keep mine with me at all times b/c you never know when they will pop up and take you down. Some ppl who have never had them never understand. It was so bad at one time I would not even stay home by myself when my husband worked nights and days and I went to my mom's and he picked me up there ,it was hard on him. I thank God,we have this med to help those who truly need it. I just loved your story bc it was like hearing myself.

Be it caused by evil spirit or not, spiritual deliverance exists. Mine wasn't an instant total healing, God still put me in a situation when I still need medication over time, & I thank Him for His many provisions & my condition now is under control.<br />
<br />
There ARE instances whereby patients get healed after prayer, go back to the doctor, and shock the doctor that their sickness are totally gone suddenly. <br />
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There ARE also patients who receive prayers for many years and some still pass away, others having to put up with their illness over time. <br />
<br />
I used to have a kind of anxiety in my previous skill-demanding job, under a boss with a psychopathic temper (in my opinion, she really needs help). Then I went through irrational fear that weighed me down, I went back to my doctor and cried. I was prescribed Xanax & Faverin. <br />
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Then I started having panic attacks and Xanax helped. My condition improved over a few months, I quit my horrible job, and I believe I have no irrational fear now.

Oh....Nice, MaggieMye, of you to put one more lovely thought into our friend's head....that it might be an evil spirit 'doing its dirty work through (their) body without their knowledge..."<br />
<br />
Uh. Not helpful!<br />
<br />
This is a thing about Christianity that can be so tiresome. The boogey-man aspect of it. Let's focus on the light, people, can we?

am so glad u found support and accepted ur supporting help ! :D

Suzanne: I am a Christian. I am a certified deliverance minister. (Just FYI). Although I do not know you personally, these types of conditions...frequent panic attacks throughout your life, are usually the cause of generational curses of fear. Evil spirit usually attach themselves to these curses and do their dirty work in and through a person's body without their knowledge of what it actually is.<br />
I am suggesting that you find a Bible teaching church to attend...not Mormon or Jehovah's Witnesses, but a Christian, Bible teaching church and you should be able to seek the spiritual cleansing (deliverance) that you desparately seek.<br />
Blessings,<br />

well i will knock it up one then.

To what or whom are you responding to?

You are phenomenal! I have no doubt that your story has helped, and is helping, many folks who are wondering why they are experiencing such symptioms. My highest accolades to you for your coping skills!