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Old 06-09-2005, 12:54 PM   #1
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portage HB User
is this a seizure? TIA? panic?

I don't know if these are panic attack s--I don't know if it's dissociation, some kind of seizure...The term "cognitive slippage" seems like the best way to describe it. It doesn't start with a conscious thought...and there are no external cues I'm aware of that precipitate it. It starts with a vague feeling of a slowing of time. I'm not scared at this point, I just feel...dreamy. Things seem to move in slow motion. Within moments my throte tightens and my arms tingle. I just feel strange. Within about another minute, I become terribly confused- my thoughts, my senses seem all out of sync. Only THEN do I become terrified. For example, this happened this afternoon, I was driving, and when I started to feel confused I pulled over. I stuck three xanax under my tongue. I watched the cars passing me, but didn't hear the "vroooom" they made as they passed until they were out of sight. Does this make sense? it was soo surreal. My leg and arm muscles were spasming, and all my limbs felt numb and tingly. I had a weird rash across my chest and neck, I felt nauseous. I couldn't stop holding my breath- it was awful just trying to take a breath, it was like i had to concentrate soo intensely just to do that. I had to concentrate SO MUCH just to will my hand to move to turn off my engine, my body felt like it wasnt mine, I knew how absurd that was but it felt so real. I curled up in my seat and closed my eyes, but that was worse, because then I got paranoid, thinking, this is what psychosis feels like. I felt so DUMB, i couldnt put together a string of thoughts, and all my senses were meshed- I'd move my hand and see it move, but didn't FEEL it move for a few seconds later, after it was resting on my leg again. I sat paralized with fear for i dont know how long, and then, still not any less confused, drove home at 10 miles per hour, i ran into my house and curled up on the floor beside my front door.
this has happened before, once when i smoked pot, once after i missed two nights of sleep, and maybe 5 other times with no trigger at all. Is this a panic attack!? My doctor says probably, hence the xanax, but the xanax doesnt help! it helps with general anxiety , which i have occassionally, usually in social situations. But these suppossed panic attacks never happen when I feel even mildly anxious, always completely out of the blue, and I dont panick untill after my thoughts slow and my muscles twitch and my body numbs...
BUT, i think i'm really skilled at suppressing dread, to the point of where im not even conscious of it, and perhaps thats why it seems to start with my body?
Are these symptoms i described common in panic attacks? they last much longer than normal panic attacks- usually an hour or longer.
im unnerved, afraid itll happen again
This was more than just feeling "foggy", it felt closer to an out - of-body experience, but not quite...
I want to put a label on this, "Panic Disorder " doesn't do it for me. It's too bizzarre- how i cant feel my body, how all my senses feel so jumbled, the fact that xanax doesnt help.
I've heard that "uncued" panic attacks always occur at least once for a diagnosis of panic disorder, but to my understanding, usually only the first panic attack one experiences is uncued.
But I've also heard that a full-fledged panic attack can begin with one single fleeting thought, even so brief that it isn't registered consiously.
ALTHOUGH, I am wondering if the panic I experience is a response to the "cognitive slippage"- because I always feel confused and disoriented, dissociated BEFORE i become scared.
Does anyone know anything about Trasient Ischemic Attacks?
Whatever this is, I'm convinced its completely biological, I don't ruminate on paranoid thoughts even when it's happening, its more of a vague but overpowering FEELING of terror.
I wonder if beta-blockers are something I should try? I havent asked my doctor, and dont know how often they are prescribed or are effective in anxiety. Because it seems to me that my fear begins AFTER my bodily symptoms- and possibly this is an adrenalin rush?

Is there such thing as an "adrenaline disorder"?
Or could this be a partial seizure?
Or a TIA?
Because I really dont think this is only "anxiety".

I am taking zoloft also, which helps with my chronic depression, but has not lessened these "attacks".

anyone knowladgable with panic disorders, dissociation....or trippy out-of-body feelings, can you tell me anything?
I'm sorry this is long, but I'm so lost, and anything you can share would be helpful.
thanks.
portage

 
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Old 06-09-2005, 01:04 PM   #2
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Re: is this a seizure? TIA? panic?

Some more symptoms, when panic isn't invovled- sometimes I become terribly confused and can't recall obvious things and have trouble understanding speech. this is always fleeting. I often feel "spacy", I can stare at a wall for hours sometimes.
When there is panic, often things look too far away, and have trouble feeling how my body is positioned- I'll end up sitting in an abnormal position for a long time and not realize it, to later find that I'm sore. Everything in my feild of vision is out of perspective- the horizen seems to go onnn and onn and onn..things seem crooked.

 
Old 06-09-2005, 05:08 PM   #3
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Re: is this a seizure? TIA? panic?

Hey portage.
It sounds like it could be a temporal lobe seizure. Do you ever smell anything strange prior to one of these attacks? Do you ever find yourself losing track of blocks of time, like you suddenly find yourself in a new location and have no idea how you got there?

How long have you been having these episodes?

It could also be a form of a panic attack, but I agree it really does not seem typical for panic/anxiety esp. since Xanax had no effect. Do you have a history of anxiety problems? Beta blockers are often used for acute anxiety situations, like stage fright. Don't know if it would work in your situation but you could discuss it with your doctor.

I think you can rule out TIA; doesn't sound at all like that to me.

As for "adrenalin disorder," there are certain types of adrenal tumors that can cause panic-attack-like symptoms, but again it isn't really like what you're describing. (Usually that kind of thing causes racing pulse, high blood pressure, etc.) I'd scratch that off the list too.

Maybe you should first try to look at it as a panic/anxiety thing, and see if you can alleviate it with visualization techniques, breathing exercises, or maybe other types anti-anxiety drugs. If this doesn't work, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a neurologist. Temporal lobe seizures are definitely a possibility.

 
Old 06-09-2005, 05:36 PM   #4
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Re: is this a seizure? TIA? panic?

Hi Sorrel. Thanks, that was helpful.

>Do you ever smell anything strange prior to one of these attacks?

No, but the coppery taste is very strong and unpleasant.

>Do you ever find yourself losing track of blocks of time, like you suddenly find yourself in a new location and have no idea how you got there?

Well, sort of. When I get spacy and disoriented like that, I usually have a vague sense of where I am, or don't at first, but after some intense thinking will remember. I lose track of time and space, but not in a dramatic way. What I mean is, there have never been any absolute "black outs".

Could these be "sub-syndromal symptoms", if that's an actual term used in epilepsy?

>How long have you been having these episodes?

For about six months...there have been weeks without symptoms, and there have been weeks packed with symptoms. I havent noticed yet that there is any kind of a pattern or a worsening of severity- its just very sporatic.

>It could also be a form of a panic attack, but I agree it really does not seem typical for panic/anxiety esp. since Xanax had no effect. Do you have a history of anxiety problems?

Yes, I do have a history of generalized anxiety problems and depression- I am on Zoloft for that. It has dramatically improved my anxiety, but has had no effect on these "attacks". I am very much wondering if I am having a panic response the dissociation or seizure activity...or whatever it is, and they are two distinct problems.

>Maybe you should first try to look at it as a panic/anxiety thing...if this doesn't work, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a neurologist.

I think you are right. thanks.
portage

 
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