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Curing a panic attack?

Sci-Fi WasabiSci-Fi Wasabi Registered User regular
edited March 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
So I have had an eventful few weeks.

I was living in california with my girlfriend's parents, and things were nice, but ultimately we decided to make it a short stay and lived there maybe a year and a half.

We moved back to my hometown into a friend's house with his wife. Suffice to say, that didn't work out very well. They were not entirely accomidating to us and ultimately we did not get along and decided to move in with my parents.

I then applied for the same line of work that I had in california, gamestop, at a local mall and got the job within a week of moving in here at my parents house. However, I hated it. The work was the same but the people were terrible, and the mall was infested with crime and gang members. I put in my weeks notice at the end of the second day and began.

During this time, my anxiety was escalating. I remember my hands shaking on my fourth day there. I would feel much better after I went home.

This started the day after I quit. I was sitting in my computer chair, and then all of a sudden, I panicked. I dont know why. I started worrying that I was uncontrollable somehow. This worry ballooned slowly over the next few days until I started feeling numb emotionally. I could feel fear, worry, and sadness, but not happiness. My girlfriend would say something to me that would make me smile and feel joy, but instead all I could do is smile.

When I went to my dad for help, he joked that I had schitzophrenia. I freaked out. I started wiki'ing all day trying to find out if I had schitzophrenia or not.

Last night was the worst though. We took a shower and were about to go to bed. The world kind of felt like silent hill: it was like it was the evil version of itself. Things looked kind of sinister, and i felt trapped or boxed in. I got dizzy and decided to get in bed. I spent the next 2 agonizing hours trying to get to sleep, but instead read a book and listened to my ipod.

Today my thoughts feel disorganized. I have to concentrate harder to get things done. The world doesnt feel as ominous as it did last night.

I have felt this way before, when I was 15, and it was tough but I got through it. What I'm asking of this thread, is any way for this week long panic/anxiety episode to clear up. Any advice is good. Also, any advice to prevent these kind of episodes from occouring. I really dont like the idea of medication for this. Probably the best thing I could do right now is to have some identification with what I'm feeling from the good people here on the forums.

Thank you guys. Sorry for the long post.

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Sci-Fi Wasabi on

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    MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    One non medication technique you can use is making a list of the things that worry you in a list from most important to least immportant, and detailing steps to fix them. Get organized, make a plan, and be proactive. If you can figure out exactly what triggered this attack then try to avoid putting yourself in that type of situation. If it's about the job, start redoing your resume and trying other work. What did you do when you were 15?

    Malkor on
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    NimaNima Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    All these symptoms are very typical of panic attacks as I have experienced them - I particularly identify with the 'evil world' feeling, thats really scary when it hits.

    It sounds like your panic attacks are rather bad at the moment, I'm sure you have lots of different reasons for why this might be.

    The most effective treatment for anxiety issues is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - CBT. If you can afford that, I would reccomend it as it sounds like anxiety might be a reccuring issue for you, you need tools to deal with it.

    I would say for now, familiarise yourself with the symptoms of panic attacks, all of them, so you don't get it into your head that you are having a heart attack or dying (I've thought both these things in the heat of the moment!), and though its unpleasant, that this is anxiety and WILL subside.

    Also, learn some breathing techniques. I can't advise you on that, but breathing right will help to bring your anxiety levels down.

    Good luck.

    Nima on
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    Sci-Fi WasabiSci-Fi Wasabi Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    To clear that up, when I was fifteen I dabbled in weed. My friends came over and I was about to smoke up for the third time in my life, and as soon as I took a hit, I had a bad trip and thought I was dead. I couldnt see or hear, I couldnt feel, I was suspended in fear. I begged my friends to drag me out to the garage so my poor mom wouldnt have to see me like that. They didn't. I came to the next morning and they were apathetic. I guess they laced the weed with LSD and never told me.

    The following months after that were hellish like this is, with fear and anxiety, and the 'evil world' sensation.

    Sci-Fi Wasabi on
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    NimaNima Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    How horrible for you. I took shrooms (voluntarily) - single worst decision of my life. NEVER take drugs if you're prone to anxiety.
    I think you really need help for this, Sci-Fi, you can't expect to battle on by yourself and have it work. Anxiety is an illness, like any other you need help to get over it, though it does have stigma associated with it as with all mental health issues.
    I left it and left it, and ended up having a mini breakdown, I wouldn't encourage that.

    Nima on
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    MalkorMalkor Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    WTF! Some fucking friends... Nima's right about the CBT, if it becomes even a semi-regular thing, and it stops you from enjoying your life, then you definitely need to seek professional help.

    Malkor on
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    SudsSuds Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I can vouch for CBT. It really works, but it's more of a long term solution and probably won't help you much in the immediate if it's really bad. CBT takes work and dedication.

    If you're looking for a quick fix then Ativan is a great drug for anxiety. It makes you relax, instantly. It's hella addictive though if not used properly and you'll need a doctor's prescription to get it.

    I suggest you see you doctor and get referred for some CBT, but in the mean time Ativan could help if your doctor is willing to prescribe it.

    Suds on
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    Pants ManPants Man Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    a while ago i used to get a panic attack nearly every day, and it took me a long time to get over them. thankfully with therapy and medication, i was able to tone all of that down, and now i don't use either. i still get panic attacks from time to time, but now it's maybe one or two a year.

    if this keeps up, the first thing i'd do is to go see a shrink and talk it out. i found that one of the best ways to control panic attacks is to have someone to talk about it; that feeling of "holy shit everything is going to go wrong all at once" is pretty bad by itself, but if you're alone it's even worse. he also may be able to perscribe some medication for you if it's being caused by a chemical imbalance.

    i'd also try and learn to control your breathing. keeping a good, steady pace will help the attacks end sooner.

    also, keep in mind that all thouse terrible thoughts running through your head are just exaggerations. your body is screwing with you, and it's causing you to think differently, so just keep reminding yourself that whatever you're thinking, it's not nearly as bad in reality.

    good luck duder, panic attacks suck ass.

    Pants Man on
    "okay byron, my grandma has a right to be happy, so i give you my blessing. just... don't get her pregnant. i don't need another mom."
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