Goddamn anxiety attacks. Could someone please shut me the fuck up?

I fucking hate meaningless anxiety. My heart’s beating ten to the fucking dozen and I can’t do a thing about it. I know all the tricks, all the breathing techniques and whatnot. It doesn’t fucking work - I deep breathe, I reason with myself, and I still can’t shut myself the fuck up. I’m tired of feeling like I want to run away all the time. Life’s not brilliant, but it’s not a disaster area, and there’s really no reason to be feeling like this. The worst part? I thought I was over all this. Before this week, I hadn’t had an attack for a year. I was alright. What the fuck is going on? I haven’t taken any medication for over a year and I’ve been fine. But now, I can actually see my heart racing in my chest. I’m not going back, this is just not going to fucking happen again.

Christ, I sound insane. I’m not a crazy lady, this just does my head in.


If this would be better off in another forum, I apologise.

Fran, have some chocolate. It cures everything


:wink: Hang in there, it’s bound to get better…

I suffer anxiety attacks all the time. I try to flow with them, cause I’ve tried everything else that I could think of and nothing worked for me. I just let my heart race and it eventually changed my perception and understanding of the world around me on a pretty grand scale.

Of course there have been times when it was way too much and I had to leave, but It hasn’t gotten that far in a while.

I wish I could help you so bad cause I know exactly how you feel.

OK, Fran… relax. Breath with me: inhale… count to ten, exhaleinhale… count to ten, exhale… repeat…]

Flow with it, and know that it’s not real! Your brain is smarter than your body, and all you have to do is outlast the anxiety… easy!

IT’S NOT REAL!! You can outlast it, and laugh at it later.

Better? If not, continue until you feel better!:smiley:

I’ll second the chocolate idea…

Anything I say is likely to sound condescending, mostly because I don’t really know what I’m talking about. My sister had anxiety attacks when she was younger (she called them ‘panic’ attacks - same thing?). I wasn’t as close to her then as I am know, but I know she ended up on medication for a short spell. In part, her panics were caused by trying to care for 2 youngsters in a marriage with bloody huge cracks in it.

What relaxes you? Music? Walking? Talking to the schmucks on the boards? Do whatever it is, in spades.

And good luck…

Yup, anxiety attacks here too. I had almost the same situation last year; I had been feeling great for about three years, almost completely off medication, then whammo, my brain decides that getting stuck in traffic makes me panic, and I’m back on medication again. One thing I find that helps me control my breathing (my stomach scrunches right up when the anxiety comes on) is singing, real loud. It kinda forces you to take proper deep breaths and expel them slowly.
Astroboy is completely right; it’s not real (although in my case, I can convince myself about almost anything except that the anxiety is false; it feels awfully real when my hands are shaking and my heart is pounding and I want to just get away from whatever situation I’m in). And you’re not crazy, either. You have a simple neurotransmitter imbalance (in other words, it really is all in your head :)).

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that putting cold cloths on your wrists works for some people, too.

If the medication you were on worked well, and didn’t have any serious side effects, you might do well to consider going back on it for a bit. When I was in a similar situation, I initially didn’t want to go back on my medication, despite the fact that it worked fine… I think I was afraid to admit that I really was sick again, or perhaps a bit ashamed that my apparent recovery had not been complete. The medicene reminded me of the worse period of my adult life, and I never wanted to go back there. My hesitation to visit a doctor allowed my disease to get worse, until eventually I realized how stubborn I was being and went back on the pills.

Of course, if your medication didn’t work well or had bad side effects, you may do well to avoid it. I don’t know much about anxiety attacks; will episodes of anxiety-attack-having typically last a short while and then go away? If so, you may be able to last out this episode without medication. On the other hand, if this condition seems likely to last a long time unless treated, I’d consult a doctor soon.

Don’t worry that you are sliding back to the place you were a year ago. You’re not. You know much more about yourself and about this condition than you did back then. Don’t worry that you’re having a few symptoms… as I said, I don’t know much about anxiety attacks, but it seems to me that needless worrying couldn’t possibly help the problem. At the very least, the fact that you’ve had attacks recently doesn’t mean that your condition is going to come back in full force. The anxiety could be a one time thing, or perhaps it’s your body’s way of reacting to some recent change in your life. It doesn’t mean that this condition is going to be with you forever.

If you have lingering doubts or questions you want answered, I would suggest that you schedule an appointment with a doctor you trust. Tell the doctor any concerns you have about going back on medication. They will probably be able to tell you whether or not this is likely to clear up on its own, or if some type of intervention is needed.

Also, the chocolate thing sounds good. As does the doing relaxing stuff thing.

Please keep us informed as to how you’re doing. And don’t worry, you don’t sound crazy. Although I think that I might… I’ve been baking my head in a kindergarden all day. I hope that at least some of what I’ve written has been good advice.
Astroboy- I have to say that you were dead wrong when you said that this problem isn’t “real”. Neurochemical disorders are real diseases. Many of them can’t be adequately treated without medicene. Saying that they aren’t real tends to either put blame on the patient (i.e., she’s faking it, or the classically Freudian she wants to be sick), or to put undue pressure on the patient (i.e., she might think that she’s failed, or that she’s on a downward spiral, if she cannot control this disorder through thought alone). None of these things are true, and more importantly none of them are helpful.

ummm… Now that I reread your post, I think my brain may be more baked than I thought it was. You were talking about her panic, not her condition… The panic that she’s feeling isn’t real. It’s a physiological reaction. Got your point. That’s true… good thing to remember in the middle of an attack…

Good advice, Astroboy. I’m gonna go soak my head now. It was 35C in Ulsan today! My rabbit’s breath smells like rabbit food.

Fran, the relaxation techniques don’t always work for me either. I take meds and am glad to have them. If you wanna talk about it some time, my email is in my profile.

You mentioned you were on meds - Paxil has worked wonders for me. I’ve been able to get the full effect from a fairly low dose, so side effects are minor. May be worth a try.

I went through a period of time where I experienced anxiety attacks on a grand scale… and I still run into mild attacks every now and again.

Distraction seems to be the only cure for me. I ended up in the ER during the worst of them… Because I was convinced there was really something wrong… an allergic reaction to something or other… But what I noticed was… while I was filling out paperwork at the ER, there was an old man next to me, coughing and wheezing and fighting for every labored breath he took. And I started to worry about him… and all of the sudden, my heart beat was normal, my breathing was fine, and I didnt feel like I was going to swallow my tongue anymore.

The worst thing you can do is think about it.
It’s like any other sort of fear… its the assumption that its real that makes it real.

So do whatever you need to do to keep yourself distracted… and get some sunshine… Im told that helps. shrug

I’m not a medical doctor, but I’ve known more about panic attacks than any doctor I’ve gone to, due to firsthand experience and motivation to learn about them.

The biggest thing that helps me deflect a panic attack is to realize the mechanism: inappropriate mental reaction to normal variations in bodily sensations. For instance, you notice your heart skip a beat, or beat faster, or your palms get a little sweaty. Because of past experience, you jump to the conclusion that a panic attack is inevitable. Learn to recognize and confront this erroneous pattern of thinking as soon as it starts. Recall the times you thought an attack was coming, but never materialized. It’s not an inevitability.

Other helpful hints:

  1. Distract yourself. It’s got to be something with physical and mental components that demand your attention, like playing a musical instrument.

  2. Get some exercise. Not necessarily during the attack, but in general. Helps burn off that free-floating nervous energy that anxiety feeds on.

  3. Avoid caffeine until you achieve some control over your panic. This means no chocolate!

  4. Keep in mind that there are medications available. Knowing that there is a fairly effective treatment should all else fail sometimes takes the edge off.

  5. Don’t make any major decisions when you’re having a panic attack.

  6. Don’t get into a pattern of significantly accommodating your panics. It will put you into a death spiral of avoidance.

  7. There’s an off chance that something physiological is underlying your anxiety, like a thyroid condition. If you haven’t already done so, get a checkup. Probably won’t turn anything up, but you’ve got nothing to lose.

  8. Remind yourself that a panic attack is self-limiting - you won’t have a heart attack, suffocate, or go crazy, and it will subside after a while.

Oh, and one more thing. If you are prone to panics when you’re in your car, a meeting, giving a speech, etc., don’t forget that you can always just say “I gotta go to the bathroom” and walk away. Remebering that you can leave if you want is often enough to make the panic die down, and you won’t actually have to leave.

Excellent advice, City Gent. I try to practice most of those myself, as well as taking medication. Another thing I’ve noticed (and this is no big surprise) is that stress is very often a trigger for a bad patch for me. Like other people have said, this is a treatable condition, one way or another, and you don’t have to live each day in fear, trying desperately just to feel normal again.

(The medicine that’s been working for me is called Serzone, and I’m having virtually no side effects with it {no sexual side effects and virtually no grogginess}).

Another person who used to end up in hospital checking in.

How can you get your “flight or fight” physiology under better control? In the short-term, Xanax worked for me. It didn’t stop my panic attacks entirely, but it stopped the escalation of them.

Strangely, having lived through enough of them also helps - you still feel all the horrible physical stuff which comes with panic attacks, but you don’t escalate them by adding the “fear of fear” to them.

Your blood chemistry actually changes during a panic attack - IIRC, your blood becomes alkaline - and you have a heap of hormones floating around in your blood for hours afterwards which make you feel like crap because they haven’t been used up; the sooner you do something physical to use them up, the sooner you’ll feel “normal” again.

A wise friend of mine once suggested swimming as the best physical activity to undertake when having a panic attack - you have to focus on your breathing in a totally different way in order not to drown. I couldn’t always get to a pool, but I found controlled breathing helpful if I used it before the panic attack got to the stage of my arms extremities going tingly.

I can hunt up some online resources if you’d like me to Fran - just pop into chat and let me know.

Isn’t Kava Kava good for helping deal with anxiety? I asked my doctor about it for depression, and he said he didn’t think it would address all my symptoms because I was more on the “dragging hind titty” end of things instead of anxious, and he thought it was better for anxiety.

um, dragging hind titty wasn’t his term, of course.

Thanks very much for all your replies. I’m sorry I don’t have time enough now to thank y’all individually, but I’m on a tight schedule atm. Your advice is appreciated.


I have an anxiety disorder, too.

What works for me is basically alcohol and drugs like valium and pot. Without at least one of them, I would go nuts :frowning:

— G. Raven

I have a little more time now…

Again, thanks for all for you advice. As I said I’ve been here before and much worse, so I’ve already done all the research (but thanks for the offer rep). You’re right - it does get easier to deal with because I know it’ll pass - in fact that’s what works best for me - to repeat to myself “This will pass”. I’ve tried many meds, with side effects ranging from shakiness to massive halucinations (that was an interesting night), and I’ve found that nothing I’ve tried so far has had any real effect, so I prefer to manage it myself. City Gent, your advice was very sound and I do try to do all those things - no caffiene, gym 2/3 times a week, etc. Sometimes though, as you no doubt know, it just all gets on top you. The OP was more of a GAH! post than anything.

Oh and Morrisons? The drugs don’t work, they just make it worse.


Um, Fran? The meds that gave you the massive hallucinations… what was the name, and are they available over-the-counter in Korea? (I ask merely for information, of course!:D)

Take care of yourself, and I hope you feel better!!