anxiety attacks

I can’t sleep tonight. -.-

While drifting off–I went into a sudden fit of anxiety. I used to have them more when I was younger–but it’s been awhile since I last had one.

It’s about a fear of death, mostly. I mean…none of us -wants- to have to die…but it’s so…-inescapable-. So -inevitable-. And so -irreversable-.

In a world where we try so hard to live–and to continue to live–where there are so many beautiful things and nice people–it just seems so unfair, doesn’t it?

My right hand is dinged up pretty badly. Not having any way to dispense of the energy the anxiety brought on–I worked some of it out physically by literally pounding the floor with my bare knuckles. I’m actually amazed I didn’t break anything in there.

How do I deal with the anxiety? How do any of you actually get around to -living- comfortably when we are all doomed to share the same fate whether good or evil?

-Ashley

Ashley, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I suffer from anxiety attacks as well. When I was quite a bit younger, I suffered in exactly the same way as you.
Shortly after my first real experience with death, I would stay up all night worrying about my family. Then I would worry about the house catching on fire.
Now it’s a little different for me. I still have the attacks, but they’re for many different reasons. One being dying without leaving anything. I want to make films, but will I ever make anything to touch people? To go beyond myself? That kind of thing.
A few years back my anxiety about death came back. I remembered when I was younger (something I hadn’t done for years). How did I deal with it? Well, it became the basis for the script that I want to make above all else.
That’s how I deal with the anxiety. I create; music, art, writing, photography, film. I kind of feel like…if I contribute to other people’s lives, help them see life in a new way…I then feel better about my life.
I know this probably doesn’t help much, but know you’re not alone. I hope you can get to sleep. And maybe try a pillow instead of the floor next time. I know, not the same resistance (tables can be the same way), but don’t hurt yourself.

Ashtar,

I usually have panic attacks, really they are similar but different in the same breath.

My attacks usually involve a situation that is very uncomfortable, something I would rather not be doing because I am afraid of making an ass out of myself but the feelings are similar.

This may not be a great help to you but I have found that Kava Kava helps stave of those attacks. It helps relax and helps me when my feelings of dread are hightened.

As for when they appear without the help of my Kava Kava (I only usually take it on the days I know I will be in a high stress situation) I am usually able to tell the people around me that I am having my panic attack, I have learned not to shy away from that. You should do research on Kava Kava before embarking on it, it can do some weird stuff if taken too much too often.

I have had feelings of dread while my brain is settled and trying to relax. Usually I find something else to do. I have created a room in my house where I can decompress and get out the feelings. Also, I have found (don’t laugh) that since I am an internet junky, finding a chat room where I am totally annonymous helps. I am talking a chat room where mental health or panic/anxiety attacks are discussed. Ignoring the obvious buttheads, if I can find a few that can relate, in real time, really can ease my mind.

Anyhow, those are a few of my coping mechanisms and I hope they can help you a little. I don’t have the luxury of health insurance so I have to be ultra aware of what is happening in my life. If you have health insurance you might consider professional therapies. Honestly, I would attempt to stay away from the prescription meds but that’s just my 15+ years of therapy and medication experience that it talking…very little helped. I have pretty much had to buck the standard medications and therapies and work through the crap on my own even if it’s very hard at times.

If nothing else though, see your family practioner and see if he or she can recommend the right treatment for you.

I don’t really get anxiety attacks… just oddly erratic manic-depression. I occasionally “deal” with it (if I deal with it at all) by writing or drawing, something I like to do which requires me to direct my attention at one specific thing.

They happen to me too… my head starts to spin, my heart starts racing, I feel weak and unsteady, I have trouble breathing. It scares me almost as much as the thing that was scaring me in the first place. I’ve only had them about three or four times. But the last time, it came up out of a clear blue sky with nothing at all the matter… weird… :frowning:

I have an anxiety disorder and have had it for most of my life. It didn’t really seem to have a major affect on me until my teens (heavy academic courseload in highschool.) It usually affects my stomach more than anything else. I’ve tried all sorts of things to help with it, but find that taking an anti-depressant regularly keeps me on a more even keel, and I have Xanax for when I am under particular stress.

My form of anxiety is more a free-form constant feeling of anxiety, rather than related to a specific fear, like death. I get worse when worried about something like final exams when I was in school, relationship problems, paying my taxes, etc. It can make me throw up and keeps me tied up in knots all the time when I am under the effects of the anxiety. Most of the time, though, the anti-depressants keep me from getting too upset.

Best of luck to you in handling your own anxiety problems. I suggest you look for some sort of help, though, if htis is a regular problem for you, because it is not necessary to live your life like that.

I have panic attacks too, and I’ve experienced them more when I am falling asleep too. I think it’s because you are relaxing and letting your guard down as you drift off. Your attention isn’t focused on everyday details so larger issues will flood in. I am on a low dosage of an SSRI (Celexa, and I used to be on Paxil) for this and it really helps take the edge off overall anxiety. I also have Ativan (sedative) if it gets really bad and I need to relax and sleep. I used to be in therapy but insurance won’t pay for more than a year without a new issue so I am on medication only.

I also find that breathing exercises help when you are hit by an attack when trying to fall asleep. Start by concentrating on breathing steadily and relaxing your feet, your calves, etc., and pay attention to your body as each part relaxes. It’s frustrating that emotional issues can have such devastating effects on physical feelings (at the worst I can’t sleep or eat, think clearly or see things without a weird edge to them).

As far as really trying to puzzle out the answers to the questions which hit you, they are often too big to really address. I will obsess over how hard it will be when my parents die (how will I live with that??) or what will the next years bring, but these are unanswerable and the reality is never as bad as what your mind can dream up. Just try to concentrate on small steps, the immediate future and how you will handle that. Just because a situation unnerves you now doesn’t mean it always will or that it will in the same way. You can drive yourself crazy trying to answer all those big questions and the truth is, you can’t answer them. It’s easy to say, but try not to worry about the big picture, and concentrate on shorter-term issues you have some control over.

I was once such a naif to believe that only I had such evil panic attacks…but reading your posts has made me feel slightly comforted–not because I feel ‘even’, but because it makes me realize that I’m not such a big weirdo for having them.

Most of your suggestions concentrated around putting your thoughts into something else–a hobby, like art, or writing, or somesuch. I’ll try to do that next time. I’m a lousy artist–but bad pictures are better than a broken fist. :slight_smile:

It’s hard to concentrate on being creative when you have a panic attack late at night because my body is too exhausted to remain focused on something intricate like a drawing or writing. I think you’ll all be slightly comforted by the fact, though, that I began reading for a few moments, and then literally just fell asleep from fatigue. :smiley:

I feel better now that there’s daylight out. Even though I hardly get to see the sun. I can’t even see it right now. It just feels oddly nice knowing that it’s there. Rising and setting like absolutely nothing is wrong.

-Ashley

Thanks all, for your responses, suggestions, and support.

Ashtar, this thread is quite apropos (how’s that, Phil?) in that I’ve been doing some serious self-examination in this regard recently. Since I was a kid I’ve tended to obsess unnecessarily (and unhealthily, IMO) about possible, albeit unlikely, worst-case scenarios for any given situation. Like TroubleAgain, my anxieties are more free-form as well. Mostly, they involve situations unfamiliar to me although that’s not exclusively the case. I rarely have outright “attacks” although I frequently experience insomnia, jitters, or what I would describe as a physical “rush of dread,” depending on the situation. It’s not extreme–definitely not phobic–but it goes well beyond the level of anxiety I see in “normal” people. For years, I’ve tried to fight it with the logical part of my brain and, although I hate to admit it, beer. However, despite my best efforts to keep it under wraps, I realize that it gets in my way enough, both socially and professionally, that I should talk to a counselor about it. And the beer thing really isn’t a healthy option; it just makes things worse in the long run.

And you can bet your ass I’ll be doing lots of crossword puzzles and listening to lots of CDs on my flights to and from Washington, D.C. next week.

I have the general, free-floating type of anxiety, with the (very) occasional panic attack thrown in, and it is difficult to live with. People really don’t understand what makes it so bad. Well, imagine the way you feel before you do something you are afraid of or hate to do, then imagine feeling that way 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I used to take feeling normal for granted; I don’t anymore.

From what I understand, anxiety and panic disorders are a result of the brain producing too much or too little of some neurotransmitters like serotonin. Knowing this doesn’t help my brain much, because the results of the neurotransmitter imbalances cause changes in my thinking patterns, and that is what experiencing the world is all about, after all. I know people are definitely split on the issue of treating anxiety with medicine or psychological counselling or both, but for me, the SRRI medicine works like a charm.

I, personally, do not suffer from anxiety attacks. In fact, maybe the opposite. I’m excited and amused easily, and am usually very carefree.

However, my finacee worries enough for the both of us. She’s just a little worry-wort like her mom.

Well, she started having some rough panic attacks about every other day for a few months straight, out of nowhere. Her heart would race, she’d get sweats, and she just couldn’t relax. She’d remedy the situation immediately by lying on her back with her feet up in the air against the wall.

Then we started to think about why they happened to her all of a sudden. It all started when she started to work at the coffee shop.

I asked her, “Well, how much coffee are you drinking?”.

“I have a 4 or 5 cups, but they’re spread out during the day.” was her reply.

“Anything to eat for breakfast?” I asked.

“Not really…” she said.

So, I told her to ease up on the coffee. Have one cup in the morning with something to eat…a bagel, a donut, a croissant, a freakin’ cookie…something. Then switch to decaf for the rest of the day.

And like magic, they seemed to disappear. She still has them, at a much lesser level, in really stressful situations, but usually I can just calm her down by talking to her and changing the subject to something more relaxing and less stressful.

However, with our wedding coming up in just 4 months, she’s beginning to worry alot more…minor tremors have popped up in the past few nights, along with some really bad nightmares (apparently I left her for a guy and then a tornado came out of nowhere and sucked her family away). I’m looking into the Kava Kava…maybe it’ll help alleviate the anxiety.

I suspect there is a link between caffiene and anxiety disorders. Unfortunately, I cut my caffiene intake to zero 10 years ago, but the anxiety remained. To this day, I have absolutely no tolerance for caffiend (made a typo, seemed so appropriate that I left it in). :slight_smile:

Oh, just thought of something else (I wish my brain did “thinking” as well as it does “worrying”); I read somewhere that anxiety has been linked to hypoglycemia. Maybe if you’re feeling more anxiety than usual, you might want to try a protein snack like a glass of milk to get your blood sugar up and keep it steady for awhile.

Interesting. I’m also hypoglycemic. I’ll try the protein thing.