I'm having a panic attack and I'm all alone

I moved to a new city and got a new job that I started this week and now my anxiety disorder has kicked in. I barely got through work yesterday with some leftover lorazepam I had. Yesterday I called intake and they said they’d get back to me but they didn’t. After work I went to a walk-in clinic and they said they couldn’t help me and to go to the emergency room. I went there and all they could tell me was that they’d have an psych nurse call me in the morning, but no one’s called yet. I tried going to work today but as soon as I got there I just about burst into tears. I had to tell my boss I was going home.

I’m so scared, I can’t afford to lose this job. I just want a psychiatrist to see me, I’ve had breakdowns like this before and they helped me. But this damn health system is working against me, they can’t get anyone to see me. At this point, if the psych nurse won’t call me by lunch, my choices are to call my old psychiatrist and hope he can fit me in today and I’ll drive 3.5 hours down there, or try and admit myself to the psych ward, which is a whole 'nother can of worms.

I’m scared because there’s no one I can talk to, everyone I know is working right now.

Do you know what your trigger is or is it random? Are you panicing because of the new job and the move or something unrelated?

Close your eyes and take a few long, deep breaths. You will get through this and be ok. Lie down on your bed and try to relax your body if you can’t do it sitting up. You need to focus on observing your panic but not allowing it to swallow you. You’ve been through this before and you know you can pull through. Everything is going to be all right.

(I had a panic attack last week and also posted here on SDMB, others will be in shortly to help you cope)

Ok I’m not working. What’s happening? Email if you like.

I think the trigger is the move plus the new job (I’ve been having second thoughts about my career). The big panic attacks come from anything relating to the job, which just spirals into ‘but I can’t lose this job!’.

It’s just one big everlasting sort of thing. I mean, I can remove myself from the trigger (work) but only temporarily.

Hey Kushiel, I’m really sorry you’re not feeling well. I hope that I can give some suggestions to help.

If the ER nurse does not call you back within the hour, I would suggest that you go back to the ER. I don’t know where you live, but I would think they would have a psych doctor, or at least someone with enough training in psych that they would be able to help you. At the very leasy they should be able to administer a benzo to you in the ER so that you can get some relief. Another alternative would be to call your former psychiatrist to see if he/she can call in a prescription for you to hold you over for a few days. I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to try to drive any distance in your current condition.

I need to find a professional that will listen to me saying that if I don’t get some sort of medication, I’m going to lose my job and I can’t do that. The problem is finding that person. I don’t know how to speed up the system, I mean, I was already at the emergency room.

My thought about the ER was that if you were there when the psych nurse was not available yesterday, you might get better care today if you were there during regular business hours.

I think calling you former psychiatrist is a good idea, regardless of what else you may decide to do. He/she may be willing to call in a prescription without seeing you, or able to help you find some help locally on an emergency basis, e.g., a referral to a psychiatrist in the area.

If you are considering going inpatient, do you know what facility you would go to? Depending on the rules in the state where you live, they might put you on a hold for 72 hours (a hold could be shorter in other states, I don’t know).

Where are you? Somebody here might be able to recommend someplace for you to go, if we knew where you were.

I know this feeling. Way better than I’d like to. It truly sucks.

Same here, and I’m so sorry you’re going through this pain.

So the psych nurse never called back. Intake has a waiting list of 8 months. My old psychiatrist needs a referral. I guess it’s back to my last ditch resort - back to the emergency room.

Went to the hospital. The best they could do for me was trying to get someone from mental health to call me today or Monday and set up an appointment for me this coming week. Still don’t know if I can cope with work. Was considering coming clean to my boss and asking if I could telecommute next week, but my mom seems to dislike that idea - afraid he might just let me go instead.

Is there any trigger that could actually get me to see a psychiatrist that doesn’t involve slitting my wrists? Gah, it’s so hard to get in to see someone. I should have told them that I would have slit my wrists if it got me to see a psychiatrist that day.

kushiel - I’m sorry you are having such a complicated day. I don’t know what routines you already have in place for coping with panic attacks without medication, so I will suggest some things that have helped me. I am not a doctor and you are not my patient, but the hardest thing about a panic attack is to break the spiral.

Breathe slowly and deeply. Speak to yourself in a low, soothing voice, and say things like “I am safe where I am.” “This is a false alarm.” “Above all, I will remain calm.” If you have access to music at the moment, put on the most calming, soft, soothing music you can stand. Warm chamomile tea is highly recommended. An elastic around the wrist can be useful - when you have an anxious thought, tug gently on the elastic and let the thought go. Be gentle with yourself. The more you can do to relax and calm yourself, the easier things will be. There are those of us here who have been through some very anxious times, and we are here to listen.

Sending you warmest wishes and calming vibes,

{{{{kushiel}}}}

If you are interested in drug-free coping with anxiety, I can help you. Please feel free to PM or email me.

ETA: Forgot my credentials - 13 years on drugs, 5 years drug-free now. I am currently a co-leader of a local anxiety support group.

Slow your brain down and take deep breaths. *You are safe. *

As a person who suffered from panic attacks in the past, you have to realize a few things. A panic attack occurs when there is no good reason to have anxiety. You just moved to a new city and just started a new job, those are GOOD reasons to have anxiety. That IS normal.

Keep telling yourself, “This is distressing but not dangerous”

You will not go crazy, you will not die and you won’t do anything that will 'cause you to lose your job.

You’re not alone, millions of Americans are now worried they too will lose their job. Of course that does you no good right now, but you’re not alone so remember that.

What you have to do is first of all solve the panic part. That is done with Xanax or Valium or other short term med. Then try something like Paxil or Imiprimine for the panic, for long term.

I’m certain once you settle in thing will improve and you can wean yourself off the medications.

In the short term, remember eat well, avoid caffeine and exercise. You want to wear out your body to help with the anxiety, since your apartment is new, start cleaning it from top to bottom.

Remember panic attacks happen for no reason but you have GOOD reason for the anxiety. So it didn’t come out of no where. Don’t get into a thinking pattern that you’ll be stuck with them forever. This time the panic came due to the stess of moving and a new job. This is a normal reaction. Nothing strange. Once you realize you are SUPPOSE to feel nervous that will help you cope till you get stragedies to end the anxiety

Good luck

Markxxx is right. As my doc described it, it’s ok to have anxiety when there’s a freight train bearing down on you.

Short term, you need meds to keep on hand for times like these. A single Xanax can be enough to bring you down out of the crisis state of mind. There are meditation and relaxation techniques that you can learn to help you cope. You may also learn deep breathing and/or belly breathing.

You’re doing everything you can, I guess. I don’t understand a medical facility that tells you on Thursday that “someone will get back with you” and now you’ll be waiting until Monday…for an appointment sometime later in the week?..Something just doesn’t sound right about that? They obviously aren’t seeing the same crisis you are. I went to the Behavioral Health facility and was admitted the same day with no wrist-slitting whatsoever.

The most important…you are not alone. Many of us here have had anxiety issues, panic attacks, depression, you name it.

Good luck to you. We’re here if you need us.

When all else would fail for me, I would put my face in a big bowl of water and ice cubes. I have resorted to that several times and it has helped break the anxiety “connection.” When I returned to work, I kept a spray bottle of water in the frig and would go and spritz my face now and then if I got to feeling a little bit edgy.

Believe it or not, I got the idea from watching Paul Newman do this in a couple of movies to wakeup or clear his head. I believe I’ve read that he did this in real life.

Is your biggest goal at this point to get access to a physician to get some medications to help you control the anxiety?

Do you need a psychiatrist to prescribe them, or can a GP give them to you (I’m guessing you need a psych, I don’t know).

Also, something that might help is visualizing yourself still loving, liking and having compassion for yourself even if the worst does happen (even if you lose your job) and all the people around you who will still love, like and have compassion for you. If you keep building up a giant black hole of pain and misery in your own mind if you do XYZ wrong, then every time you feel you are at risk of doing XYZ wrong your anxiety will be far worse. So try to think of still being safe and loved even if you do lose the job. Maybe that’ll help with the anxiety.

OTC supplements like valerian have been shown to be just as effective as benzodiazepines in double blind studies for anxiety.

Any health food store will likely carry Valerian. You could try that until you get access to a psych doctor.

This is one flaw I don’t like in the Canadian medical system. If I had to shell out $500 bucks to see someone today, I would, but I don’t have that option.

I don’t have a GP here, just back home. He managed to get me in same day to someone back when I lived there, but he wasn’t in the office on Friday. Maybe if intake doesn’t call me back on Monday I’ll call my doctor back.

I’ve had good luck with valarian in shutting down my mind to get to sleep. Might be worth a try. It does put me (and my kids) to sleep though.