Sorry to keep bothering you.. but I’m SURE I’m DYING!

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 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!!!   


Hi Nat

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




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

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