3 Oct 2012
Helloo. hope you’re well!
Argh!!!! these panic attacks are wiley things indeed. I was just driving home from work, had a good day. I then approached some traffic lights and thought to myself “remember what it was like when you used to feel anxious being stuck at traffic lights” and sort of laughed to myself.
Then literally 5 mins later (still driving) I felt very warm (Think some of it may have been due to heating..lol) and got a sudden feeling of impending doom. I just ‘felt’ like my heart was going to stop. So of course, I got a shot of adrenaline. My breathing went shaky, and I just felt like I was going to start choking at the wheel.
I then managed to rationalise to myself that it was a panic attack, and also I’d been having thoughts that may have triggered it (the traffic lights, also worrying about getting something signed at work). But the whole sudden, ‘realness’ of the feeling is what scared me.
It then came in waves till I got home, where it’s now settled but I did wonder if I was going to be sick when I got in my room!!!
Meh. I am quite pleased because I’ve managed to rationalise it to myself; but there is still a part of me that screams OH GOD THIS IS REALLY IT!!
I just still cant quite get to grips that this stems from a psychological thing!! the whole impending doom/choking thing is SOOOO unbelievably scary it feels like nothing can do it justice when describing!! I guess that is most people’s problem, the fact they don’t believe anyone else has quite felt like they do.
So I don’t know what I’m trying to say lol. I suppose, that I’m doing ok but……it’s hard!!!!!
I just don’t like the fact they still have the power to terrify me and make me question my health so much..
hey – that’s great
you needed the extra practice 🙂
fact is that you overcame panic quite quickly – you studied well and put the work in
for me it was slower and even then I had many setbacks – sometimes long after feeling ‘clear’ but eventually after many such moments I kind of knew that I had it more or less mastered
and after that point I was able to reverse the attacks very fast until I knew deep down that it was sorted
you WILL get to that point
but you MAY still get these minor setbacks because there is still a certain amount of fear
each attack is like a barometer
the amount you misinterpret or catastrophise is the amount you still need practice
so I would say you are 80% there – but still 20% to work on
and what other way than with actual attacks
this is why CBT therapists recommend interoceptive exposure that deliberately exposes you to the symptoms every single day in a controlled way
then you get to do all the practice in one go
you have kind of practiced haphazardly when anxiety arose – you have done well but that is the long way home because part of you is glad you didn’t panic each time so a wee bit of anxiety remains
have a look at book 3 and consider the interoceptive exposure – although most people don’t want to because they’d rather ‘leave well alone’
but anyway – you are doing fine
13 Oct 2012
Im so frustrated at the minute though!! I woke up about an hour ago, I feel achey, nervous on immediate wakening. Recently I’ve been quite sensitised to panic/high anxiety so I’m able to ‘summon’ panic quite easily – so this will obviously contribute!!
I just feel though that despite understanding panic, I’m not getting any better at handling it!! I know I don’t freak out and leave places anymore, but it really dampens my enjoyment of things.
I’ve got 5 weeks off until I start my job on 12th November, and crazily I feel more anxious than when I was working. I suppose this is because I have time to dwell on things, and I’m putting pressure on myself to feel better, because “uni is gone now!” but sometimes, being at home makes me uneasy!
I am beginning to notice/recognise familiar patterns with anxiety/panic which has built my confidence a little, however I still struggle with the obsessional thoughts that anxiety is going to put me in an early grave and I’ll never escape it.
I know I’m improving at things, but at the same time I’m disheartened that its still got such power over me despite all my knowledge!
You just have to get back to uncovering the subtle resistances
Like when you wake up – you are probably very very subtly ‘expecting’ or waiting for nervous feelings
and the slightest twinge will escalate
nip it in the bud by observing that then just going WITH the flow of it
just give up fighting or trying to feel ok or relaxed
just go ‘right to heck with it – go ahead do your worst – it’s all a big mix up and clearly it aint going anywhere fast – so at least I can stop fighting’ – then let go all over – and just let yourself fall apart – explode – burst into flames – feel achey – whatever
a good equation in Mindfulness study
Suffering = pain x resistance
or you could say
Suffering = symptom x resistance
a symptom is just that – a symptom – it has a shape, a feeling, a centre, a flavour – it’s shitty sometimes
if we add resistance – “why is this happening – this should be gone by now – why me – will I be like this forever – etc etc etc – then we ‘SUFFER’
yes being at home is less distracting
you WILL get there
I went through EXACTLY what you are going through
it’s not easy
but it WILL pass – eventually
sorry I can’t give an exact time 🙂
14 Oct 2012
Just cancelled my shift (i cancelled yesterdays as well) because I couldn’t face work.
Heart attack fear is running very high right now!! to the point I feel sick..
Its because the shifts were on labour ward, I remember how stressed
I feel sometimes on there anyway despite good days. I just didn’t want to add extra stress to myself.
AAARRGGHHHHHH I can’t believe I’m still doing stuff like this!!!
Clearly you have the added problem of Health Anxiety
so it would be very important for you to study that area in greater depth
I also had HA – not as bad as some on the forum but there were many different times when I would go into long periods of worry thinking I had cancer or MS or heart problems etc
I know it’s tough to deal with
Get some books on Health Anxiety and CBT from amazon
You do have the ability to figure it out now
and can I make one very very important suggestion
I recently read a great book called Self Compassion and found it very helpful
basically everyone in the west is super self critical
we feel we aren’t good enough – smart enough – healthy enough – brave enough etc etc
and we try to improve ourselves through criticism – which we learned from our parents “If you don’t try harder you will never amount to anything..”
we then take over where they left off
try this – and see how effective it is
next time you feel pissed off because you cant seem to shake this off – you feel frustration, irritation, self reproach, you are basically annoyed at your self
See that you are being hard on yourself
then imagine you were sitting with a friend (or young child) who was going through all this – the anxiety the fear and the self criticism
Imagine what you would say to HER
would you get frustrated at her – would you be hard on her – would you tell her she should be over this by now
No – you would probably be COMPASSIONATE
you would console her – tell her she has been through a hard time – it;s not easy – she has tried her very best – she has been very brave – and all her hard work will pay off eventually
You might give her a hug
you would FEEL compassion
So – now direct this towards YOURSELF – every time you feel like crap
Stop – and be compassionate to yourself – even hug yourself if no one is around – or pat your arm or something like you might do with a friend
FEEL kindness and compassion – aim it inwards to your heart – ease up – be gentle -smile inwardly
tell yourself – this is NOT easy – anyone would find this hard – why am I being hard on you and you are suffering and struggling like this
It’s not fair – you are a human being – you didnt mean this to happen
– its not your fault – and its not your fault its not fixed yet you are doing well
console yourself and relax all over
keep doing that every time u feel bad
and you will be amazed at the result
self criticism is SO SO draining
18 Oct 2012
so sorry to keep miethering you. But I’m SURE I’m dying 🙁 🙁
I just got the results of a blood test I had last week – they said all my platelets had clotted so they couldnt do that test, and also my haemoglobin (iron level) was very high (16.4 – max for woman is 16.5)
I know this might sound like nothing but to me its terrifying – i know that most likely the platelets clotted because i was extremely anxious prior to the test, and adrenaline etc causes platelets to clot. So to me, this is proof that I am at high risk for a blood clot 🙁 🙁
and also, high hb is worrying – rationally it may be due to chronic hyperventiliation, but there are also several other diseases that cause high hb. I am worrying that it is a pulmonary disease as I am usually pretty short of breath!!!!!!!!!!
am absolutely terrified. doesnt help that all this weekend i have felt ill with anxiety, breathing etc. Yesterday, on the coach home from Edinburgh (went to visit family) I had a big panic attack – tbh i think i was building up to it – my breathing went jerky, sped up, heart began palpitating etc and I was CERTAIN that I was about to start choking/gagging aka pre-cardiac arrest.
Did you get that with your panic attacks? really feeling like you were going to choke/gag? I suppose you’ve said you’ve vomited before which probably involves the same muscles. Reading this back, it does look like a typical panic attack but for me each time I feel SO SO sure I’m about to cark it, worried my heart cant take the stress like a terrified animal
I’ve just phoned my mum who rationalised to me that a high HB is good and shows i have a good diet, i dont drink tea etc which wont deplete my iron levels. She also said that platelets clot depending on how long it takes to get the sample to the lab. I do feel better now but still….
I finally have an opportunity to start reading the health anxiety books now so i think i need to!!
I’m a bit confused as to what the doctor told you
it sounds like you are trying to make a diagnosis yourself?
What did they tell you? Was it just a secretary over the phone telling you the results or what?
surely they didn’t just give you the blood test and leave it at that
and yes – you def had a panic attack
feeling like choking or gagging is a top ten symptom
the obvious thing to say is – DID you choke / gag / have pre cardiac arrest??
I guess not since you wrote the email 🙂
Please please please start right away and keep a diary of all the symptoms and fears and results
that way you can look back over time to see how many fears and symptoms your mind came up with
and then you will see the reality that the feared consequence didnt happen
otherwise you will feel like it’s all happening for the every first time EVERY time – like that film Groundhog day
28 Oct 2012
hello 🙂 hope you’re well!
just a bit of update on my progress.
It’s strange really!! I am confused about where I am. One minute, I feel pretty clued up and the next… I am despairing that I will have this condition “forever”.
Pretty sure that’s the main problem at the minute.
I’m getting pretty good at handling “attacks”, though they seem to be quite frequent lately..but I imagine thats due to sensitization and high anticipatory anxiety.
It’s just when I have them, even if I handle one well, I tend to think “sigh here we go again… I may be able to handle these but they suck!! when will they disappear!”
writing it down actually helps me to realise exactly why they aren’t going, lol… my impatience. But like you say, it just all feels so groundhog day. Even though I DO know that panic attacks feel certain ways etc (so I can rationalise its a panic attack) theyre still horrible and make me worry my body is being or signalling damage.
I guess its just repeated experience isn’t it. I’ve really begun to notice my stomach/diaphragm when I panic, they go SO tight and jerky!! so I concentrate on relaxing them.
I decided not to go for the repeat blood test, my doc said they were fine so I am just focusing on eating right and exercising which is what I would have done anyway.
see how you mention your ‘fine’ blood test last like an afterthought 🙂
before blood test – absolute conviction of catastrophe
after blood test – forgetfulness of above mentioned catastrophe
outcome – next time the same story will play itself out
PLEASE try to really really make it very very clear in your brain what happened
write it down – print out your emails – make a time line of what happened – how you felt – how what you were almost 100% CONVINCED about just wasn’t true even ONE percent
you need to get this into your subconscious
with regards the continued panic – sorry but par for the course – same happened to me – felt like it would never ever come to and end
yet now I can barely remember what panic was like – it’s all relative
eventually what I used to tell myself was this
“I now know that I know the answer – I know WHY – I know WHAT and I know HOW to recover – and there isn’t ANYTHING I can do to speed it up except practice every time”
in other words ‘accept’ that you ARE ‘stuck;’ with a difficulty that is notoriously slow at resolving – but you have been told it WILL so you will just have to wait
YOU HAVE NO CHOICE
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY
THERE IS NO FASTER WAY
relax towards this knowledge 🙂
one day you will forget that you have anxiety
then you will remember and bring it back lol
but that day will be the start of the end