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Old 12-01-2005, 05:39 PM   #1
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Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

Hey everyone. I just wanted to ask a question here about Panic Attacks, Agoraphobia, and Clautrophobia to the most experienced among us here and see if anyone can relate to what I'm talking about.

I've been suffering from what I think are panic attacks off and on for nearly 2 years now. What happens in my case is that the panic is directly related to having to enter public buildings. It isn't about leaving the home or even being alone necessarily. I can go the park or to outdoor events by myself and feel almost completely at ease most of the time. I can go for long drives away from home and not think twice about it either. However, if I know that I have to go to a place like a restaurant or store, I'll get a lot of anticipatory anxiety about it. I'll feel almost sick if I have to go these places and its worse when I'm alone because I have no one to talk to and help distract me from it...even if I have someone with me, it still doesn't help much.

Sometimes, if I go to the store, I may feel completely fine until I get there and then as soon as I enter the building, a wave of panic overtakes me. It feels like I need to get out of there or I'll pass out or something even though I never have. Even if I know I could easily get out of there, I still feel embarrased about it which makes it worse.

My question is can anyone relate to this phenomenom? What's weird about it is I don't even know what it is that I even feel panic or anxiety about! Is it is the fear of being trapped, embarrased in front of others, scared to pass out? I just don't know exactly! Any clues?

 
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Old 12-01-2005, 07:39 PM   #2
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Re: Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

First of all, i like the name. I dont know if thats your last name or you took it from the old time boxer Jake Lamotta, who was a great fighter and could have been better if he didnt have such mental issues (As portrayed in the movie "Raging Bull"). But he's my all time favorate athlete.
My own personal experience with panic attacks and panic disorder is that when i don't have restrictions on how long i have to be at a particular place i'm fine. I can go to a store, exercise in the gym, go for walks, even take long drives and things like that because i know i can run home whenever i please. That's the agoraphobia I have. It's when i go to work, where i know i have to be there for about 8 hours a day is when the trouble starts. Even trying to take college courses is a burden for me cuz i know i have to stay there for the duration. So as you can see for me, it's a control issue. This is horrible because when family members and friends see that i'm not working, they think i'm lazy even if i educate them about panic disorder.
Now if you are able to work and take care of yourself, you're doing fine. Going back to work and school is what im trying to achieve.
If your problem is just going into restaurants and buildings and stores, it's like you said. The anticipitory anxiety is kicking in and you might feel as if you're going to be embarrassed if you have an attack in front of people. The good news is, is that you probably know that you cannot die from a panic attack (Although it sure as hell feels like it is at times). I think even when you go into a store and you say you feel fine and then extreme anxiety kicks in, it was always in the back of your mind from the second you got into your car until you walked into the store (What if i have a panic attack thinking)?
I have these irrational fears. I cannot concentrate on the job because i'm constantly worried if i'll go crazy or embarrass myself with a panic attack. Without concentration, i'm not appreciated by my employers too much, obviously.
I dont know if you're on any medications, but drugs from the benzodiazepine family can certainly decrease panic attacks as well as anticipitory anxiety. Be careful, because sometimes these meds work a little too well and some people will take even more than prescribed figuring this will really kill the anxiety. I think that's where the problem of addiction comes in. Most panic sufferers do not become addicted but ofcourse there are a few out there who spiral out of control with these meds and doctors become allarmed. Also drug addicts may take, along with other drugs, enormous amounts of valium or xanax and addiction specialists warn psychiatrists of the dangers.
Then there are the antidepressants. The selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors will most likely be prescribed to you if you see a pdoc. These drugs take many weeks to decrease panic and anticipitory anxiety, if they even work at all. For some they do and some they don't. Anxiety is usually worse during the first couple of weeks with these meds. Iv'e been on these things on and off for the past 5 years, with some success (just now was put back on zoloft).
Antipsychotic drugs are even being advocated for panic. I don't have a clue how they work for people. I don't think many panic sufferers are prescribed these meds. I know that they too, may take some weeks to achieve maximum benefit.
The biggest key is to not be anxious about the anxiety. I dont know exactly how to do that or else i wouldnt even be on the boards. Fighting and running from panic makes the condition worse. If panic strikes, you have to accept any kind of strange bodily symtoms caused by anxiety that you feel. Walk in the store and say, i'm gonna accept and float along past any heart palpitations, choking sensations, shallow breathing, etc. Just bringing some xanax or other benzo with you can make you feel reassured that you have something that will help rapidly if the panic gets out of hand. Let your arms dangle, do not tense up at all. Let your body do whatever. It's tricking you, and you wont die. My opinion is that you probably get anxious over being petrified if you have a panic attack like your first one. I think the first panic attack was the worst one a panic disorder sufferer ever had. It's like nothing a healthy individual has ever fealt or could even imagine. Then that's when the anticipitory anxiety and the "what if" thinking takes over. That's panic disorder. It's like an obsession. No matter how you feel when you wake up in the morning, get up and go. Even with medications, that's the only way panic sufferers can overcome this potentially debilitating disorder. Is to "go" and "accept". Once you truly accept the symtoms and let the time pass, fear subsides. Once fear is gone, panic disorder is gone.
Once again easier said then done. I'm trying to take my own advice. Accept the symtoms and let time pass. If the symtoms are still there, keep letting time pass. Once you have 100% acceptance, goodbye panic attacks.
good luck

Last edited by nuttyprof.; 12-01-2005 at 09:26 PM.

 
Old 12-02-2005, 04:40 PM   #3
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Re: Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

Nuttyprof, thank you for the reply. What you say makes a lot of sense...if only we could get ourselves to do it, right? LOL! You are right in saying that we have to eliminate our fear of experiencing anxiety. It is, pretty much, why we suffer the way we do. I'm more and more convinced that a good psychologist could show me how to retrain my thoughts and get rid of all the negative feelings I experience when confronted with them. In the past, I've attempted medications with horrible side effects I couldn't tolerate and had to stop them. I was always the 'there is a pill for everything' kind of thinker when it came to mental disorders, but now I'm seeing and believing that it isn't necessarily true. Therapy can help, so I've decided to see a psychologist on Monday. I'll let you know how it goes...Thanks again!

 
Old 12-02-2005, 06:21 PM   #4
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Re: Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

Yes, definately let me know how it goes. Hopefully he's a good psychologist with knowledge of panic attacks and panic disorder. The therapist i had thought panic disorder was nonsense and dismissed it as that. I dont think he even ever heard of it before he saw me. Thats when i gave up on therapy and went back to the meds. He ticked me off pretty good. I would love to find someone who could also train me to stop all the negative thinking that occurs when i experience intense anxiety which comes from anticipation. Many psychiatrists believe and i think panic disorder is even described in the DSM IV as spontaneous attacks coming out of the blue for no reason.
I don't believe this to be true. I believe people with panic disorder always have that anticipatory anxiety going. Again, being fearful of the panic attacks. And once again, with the fear there, you're keeping the panic disorder alive and well.

keep me posted and good luck

 
Old 12-03-2005, 08:19 AM   #5
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Re: Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

I almost didnt read this thread because it said something about experienced members, but I am glad I did, I am very new to the panice/anxiety thing, so new I really dont even know what I am supposed to call it or what the difference is, but anyways, I am soooo happy that i read this thread becuase this EXACT thing happened to me yesterday when I walked into this large electronic store, I knew me and my fiance where going to go there, I got out of the car, and then he said I want to stay here a look around for awhile and WHAM,the secone we entered the store, the panic/anxiety started, at that time I honestly did not know what had started,but after reading this thread, I now know exactly what was happening, I am so grateful that you started this thread,this happened to me once before when I went into the grocery store, my legs went shaky, I got this flush of I dont know what go thru my body, I got so nervous, all I knew what to do was keep holding onto the cart and get the few things i needed and get home, but i was terrified to go thru the checkout,but I made meslf do all these things, I came home, sat on the couch, took an Ativan and in about 20 min it was all gone, I have been sp scared to tell anyone about this, thank you guys so much for this thread, I am sorry to but in on your thread, I guess i should start my own ,but I am just so grateful there are 2 people in this world tht this has happened to and are here to write about it, please keep this thread going, is what i am having anxiety or panic, it is so scary and so EMBARSSING, I have an appt next week, {REMOVED} i used to think this panic stuff was all a big scam just so people could get meds, but now i know that is the FARTHEST thing from the truth, thanks again you guys for sharing this, with it being the holidays and all this is a really bad time for this to start...thanks agian.please share and and all the things you guys do to help..........CHRISTINE

Last edited by ms_mod; 12-03-2005 at 09:37 AM. Reason: Read and follow the posting rules. Ms_Mod

 
Old 12-06-2005, 01:18 AM   #6
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Re: Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuttyprof.
Yes, definately let me know how it goes. Hopefully he's a good psychologist with knowledge of panic attacks and panic disorder. The therapist i had thought panic disorder was nonsense and dismissed it as that. I dont think he even ever heard of it before he saw me. Thats when i gave up on therapy and went back to the meds. He ticked me off pretty good. I would love to find someone who could also train me to stop all the negative thinking that occurs when i experience intense anxiety which comes from anticipation. Many psychiatrists believe and i think panic disorder is even described in the DSM IV as spontaneous attacks coming out of the blue for no reason.
I don't believe this to be true. I believe people with panic disorder always have that anticipatory anxiety going. Again, being fearful of the panic attacks. And once again, with the fear there, you're keeping the panic disorder alive and well.

keep me posted and good luck
Hey, how are you. Well, I saw my therapist today for the very first time. This is actually the first therapist I had ever seen and I must admit I was highly skeptical and really nervous about it. When I first arrived, I actually stood outside the building for 10 mintues wondering if I should even go inside. I actually considered turning around and going home. However, that was by far the hardest part of the whole thing...once I got in there, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

I fully expected to walk into a very typical doctor's office type of environment with a room full of waiting people, an rude receptionist, a know-it-all doctor in white coat, etc. It couldn't have been further from the truth!

I had no idea just how private and comfortable this was all going to be. I could literally hear a pin drop as I walked in the door...nobody around...calm, peaceful, and alone. I walked up to a door and there was the therapist waiting for me in a room that looked like a room of your house...couches, sofa chair, a desk, and a window...very comfortable and very relaxed.

My therapist, who is a young lady, happens to be an intern for the psychologist...I agreed to see her as this gave me an opportunity to get an appointment right away rather than wait the standard 3-4 months that it usually takes. At first I thought I might have doubts about seeing an intern, but she was as professional and intelligent as could be...she was very nice and extremely easygoing.

The appointment went very well. We talked about the symptoms I've been having, like I described earlier about anxiety and panic attacks, and discussed the origins of my problems and the events surrounding them. This was more like a 'getting to know you' kind of visit where there was little pressure and nothing expected of me...we just had a very casual and relaxed conversation...felt like I was talking to friend.

At the end of it all I can say that I am definitely happy that I went and I'm happy with who my therapist is. She assured me that my problems are well within her realm of expertise and that, with time, we can address everything that needs working on. Basically, we will be doing cognitive-behavioral therapy and see if we can't get my thought and worrying under control.

So what did I learn from this? I want all to read this and learn from me to never be afraid to seek help and never give up! There ARE very good doctors/therapists out there...you just need to be patient in finding one. I'm telling you that it could very well be worth your time as I'm finding that I already feel better just knowing that I have someone to talk to and help me work on things.

P.S. You were right about my screen name...it is named after the Bronx Bull Jake Lamotta! Loved the movie "Raging Bull" and I love catching those old Sugar Ray Robinson wars I see on Classic Sports now and again...AWESOME STUFF!

 
Old 12-06-2005, 01:11 PM   #7
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Re: Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuttyprof.

I'm glad you found a therapist that you feel comfortable with in trying to combat this panic stuff. I'm looking for one right now. I'm on meds, but i think some cbt can work great for me also and the combination of the two might work best. I just have a problem seeing young women psychologists. I love women, don't get me wrong. I just feel ashamed and embarrassed talking to them about my panic disorder and my inner most feelings and irrational thinking patterns that go on in my mind. It's something i have to get over.
You know something, I thought the EXACT same thing before I went...it was one of the main reasons I felt like turning around and leaving. I'm only 28 myself and talking to a woman nearly my same age seemed kind of weird at first. When I walked in though, to my surprise, all of those reservations disappeared rather quickly. What I learned is that good psychologists are the most approachable, understanding, and nonjudgemental people in the world and that I had nothing to fear. I thought to myself later that, "Its not like I'm trying to date this woman...I'm not here to impress her...This is her choosen profession...she hears these things from all sorts of people all the time."

I understand how you feel, but keep in mind also that seeing a female therapist perhaps might help us get over some fears and insecurities about looking weak in front of women. I'm curious about how this might help...Food for thought...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuttyprof.
Being that she is an intern, are you going to be seeing her on a regular basis or is her supervisor going to take over at some point? Cuz that to me, wouldnt make much sense.
Actually, I asked her about this and she said that she will be in this office practicing at least until May if not longer. I doubt that I'll even need to see her any longer than 2-3 months tops as it is the usual cognitive-behavioral treatment time. Even if I did, I wouldn't mind seeing the other psychologist there anyway because she is supervised by him and he will know me and my case pretty well by then...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nuttyprof.
Although I know you cannot reveal everthing that goes on in your visit, while myself and others are looking for therapists, let us know and keep us posted on how you are doing and maybe you can give us some advise on how to deal with the panic disorder using cognitive behavioral therapy.
I will do so and please do the same. I'm interested in hearing anyones story and how well things are going. Anything I learn that might help you will be shared.

Last edited by CFD 333; 12-06-2005 at 01:15 PM.

 
Old 12-06-2005, 01:27 PM   #8
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Re: Question about Panic attacks to more experienced members...

Hey,

I have panic attacks all the time. Whatever i do i worry about it and get nervous then i can't get my words out. I don't like going out on my own or going into big crowds. My best mate is the same but she has got it worse than me. I don't really know what to do but it's best to go to your doctor and tell her/him how you feel. Good luck x

 
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