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resiware 11-11-2003 11:38 PM

A word of advice.. a personal story
Hello, I am Brian and I have suffered horrible panic attacks for the past 5 years of my life and at times attacks that lasted up to 30 minutes and on and off all day long. I still have them but I have found some reasons, answers, and coping skills I'd love to share.

My panic has lead to lost relationships, thousands of dollars in bills, and countless trips to the ER. I will keep this as short as possible for fear of boring you out of your mind. When I had my first panic attack I thought all hell was upon me. The doctors had no clue at first what it was until it happened everyday and I was ending up in the ER almost 4 times a week. Well after that I became what you would call scared. They started me on Xanax which worked for me at first. My life could work with Xanax. Well the panic seemed to become more frequent and the Xanax worked less and less. They switched me over to Klonopin and then back and forth between Xanax and Klonopin. This turned my life to hell and I got very depressed. This continued for years. Then one day the panic was gone. I was working for AOL as a tech and started a business. Well, 9/11 came and we were all laid off from AOL. A month or two later while standing in my kitchen I felt like I was fading out and felt like something was seriously wrong. I started to think I am going to die right here and now. I had forgotten the feeling and tried to calm myself down. This didn't work. I went to the ER they Xanax'd me and I was better. There was my answer.. Panic. I became scared of having another and then they worry of the panic returning caused guess what... panic attacks. Well my life went down the drain and then I developed agoraphobia. Life got worse from there. They gave me Klonopin again and the fear led to something much worse. The medicine was my crutch. It made the panic go away. I started eating the Klonopin when I woke up and every 4 hours. I didn't abuse the medicine .. as it did not make me "high" I simply tried to do what it took to make the panic go away. What I had done was created a monster inside of me. Well my health went to the crapper and I was weak all of the time, faint, dizzy, and depressed. Something had to change. I talked to my doctor and a few others. They all told me to stay on the medicine and the panic would subside. This was not the case. I waited a few more weeks and then I made a choice for myself. I took myself off of the Klonopin. This made the worst hell I could ever imagine. Panic constantly and the withdrawl was so bad my blood pressure dropped dangerously. My blood pressure was to the tune of 52/64 . Six days into the withdrawl I went to the ER. I could not eat, walk, talk, or use the bathroom and the dizzyness was too much to take. They gave me a shot of Ativan and I was on my way. Sooner or later I made it through the withdrawl.. 8 days of it. My doctor gave me Librium to help finish the Klonopin withdrawl. After 6 weeks of librium we got it down to 1 a day.. then 1 every other day .. then none. It's been a year since a benzo has entered my body. A word of advice.. NEVER EVER STOP YOUR MEDICATION! What I did was my own accord and it was almost a fatal mistake. Many doctors tell me I am lucky. However, the panic improved and the weakness went away. The depression was also gone. I decided now I must fight this on my own and be strong. I must overcome this. Read on ..

What came about next was some serious change. I decided I did not want any medications for anxiety and I did not need a doctor to prescribe them anymore. My panic is not gone forever and I know this.. it comes back hard and when it comes .. it gets me. I fall into the grip of what I refer to as "Death without dying." Alot of people say it's all in your mind. They simply do not understand that feeling. My panic attacks come fast .. no warning .. like I am fading out and this fear rushes over me with a hot flash and a pounding heart. I cannot let them keep me from life and I cannot let them rip me apart. Let me tell you how I deal with them and what helps me.. it may not work for you.. but I just hope what I share can help someone.

Thoughts: I belive MY attacks are stress and seperation anxiety. I think if we look into our lives we can see our triggers and what causes the attacks. In my personal life I can find 3 things that cause them. Also, stress is a major part of it I think. This is where the "It's all in your mind" theory is disproved. The adrenal glands sit on top of our kidneys and they weight about 4Grams each. That's 4 grams of powerful stuff. The adrenal glands produce many different chemicals that help us live, fight things (infections and physical variables), and they are a part of the "flight or fight" reponse. Look at it like this.. if you are standing in a gas station and someone pulls a gun on you what happens. You get flushed, hot, fast breathing, fading feeling, and hard to breathe. Your body is preparing to run or fight.. or if you are hurt it's getting ready to try and keep you alive. The adrenal glands release so much adrenaline that you get the rush and all of the feelings above. Afterwards, you are shaky, scared, upset stomach, and generally weak. To me, the same happens before and after a panic attack. So there is more than the mind involved in this. Take stress for example. The adrenal glands work the same way under physical, emotional, and even illness stress. So when this adrenal response is triggered like it would be in the gun situation we end up with the unexplained symptoms known as a panic attack. After a panic attack we feel the same way as we would've after the gun situation. This all makes sense to me and i am sure others have different ideas. This was just a thought.

1. Drinking and drugs will not help anything. (I do niether. I smoked pot a long time ago and was high when my first attack happened)
2. Drink milk. I know it sounds crazy. Warm milk for me works.
3. Vit C, B6, B12 (Foods with them, never take an over the counter med of any kind even vitamins without checking with a dr.)
4. Use the adrenaline! Exercise, yoga, something you enjoy.
5. Find a creative outlet!!!! Writing, painting, or sports.
6. Talk to someone. Distract yourself when you start to feel a panic attack coming on. This is a good time to use the creative outlet.
7. Deal with stress or stressful people. Belive it or not but being nicer to people helps the overall feeling.
8. Address past issues in your life that could cause panic. If it stresses you subconsciously.. it stresses you. The subconscious mind still effects the body and health.
9. Find a higher power. I am a Christian but you may belive diffrently and that's more than ok. Something or someone you can look to.
10. Take medicines as the doctor says and do not stop them.

Please remember... I am NOT a health professional. I am just trying to share and help. I am here for anyone and I would love to share my experiences and I still need help to overcome what's left of my anxiety. Any tips or ideas is greatly apperciated.

Thanks and god bless.

hry33 11-13-2003 03:23 PM

the dosage of klonapin and other benzos should be always closely monitored by a doctor, if taken in sensible doses, benzos are very useful for panic attacks, antidepressant meds also often help

CBT therapy and meds helps most to recover from panic attacks, panic attacks often come and go for no apparent reason

hanelo4 11-14-2003 03:22 AM

Hi :wave:

I just want to say what a great post. Although I am sorry you had to go through what you did. You see, I am a christian too and I have been struggling with trying to have enough faith to not have to take this medication. Although I would never stop all of a sudden, I think God will answer my prayers and I will be off of this medication soon.

I also have thousands of dollars in bills from going to the ER. I was actually admitted because I had a bad reaction to a combination of medicines. I won't go into all of that because that is behind me now and I like to look forward.

You're quote "Death without Dying" is exactly what I feel when I have an attack. Or should I say had, because I know God will deliver me from this. He has already delivered me from other things.

I hope I am not offending anyone about talking about God, and if I am....I truely appologize, but I feel he has saved my life and he was there when I was going through my attacks and he is there for me now.

Anyway, thanks for the wonderful post, and God Bless you as well.

Chantel :angel:

puddinpie03 11-14-2003 05:30 PM

Oh wow. What beautiful posts. and by a newbie like me:) . Just a question to the other christian sufferers like myself... or maybe it's more a statement. When I first started having my attacks, afterwards I would always think about what had happened and would be so confused. Why Am i afraid of dying? I know i'm going to heaven. I know! There's no doubt in my mind... yet when i feel like i can't breathe and my hands get sweaty and everything turns blurry, all i can think is.. I'M DYING. and it scares me so much. Well, after much soul searching, hard attacks, and praying I realized it wasn't the actual dying I was afraid of, but who I would leave behind If I did. I have two younger brothers and I still live with them and my parents. We are a very close family. I consider them my best friends and the thought of leaving them on this earth devastates me. They would be so sad. My little brother would cry so much. It just hurts thinking about it. Anyway, When I realized that, I ALSO realized that I have to make everyday count. And so that's what I'm doing now. Sure I'm still on my effexor (god bless it) and I still have attacks but It's getting easier with each passing day and I know God has a MUCH bigger plan for me, as he does for all of us, and that somewhere in the scheme of things, I will find my place in the world, my calling, exactly what HE wants me to do. And then, It will all be okay. I will be okay. I will be cured.

hanelo4 11-17-2003 02:33 AM

Okay, so now you have me crying, lol. What you just said is exactly how I feel. I also couldn't understand why I was so scared of dying. I have two daughters and my youngest is very emotional. I am so scared of leaving them behind and having them deal with this. They say that once you're in heaven, your heart doesn't ache for your loved ones and I am glad for that, but it does now and that scares me to death! It's hard to explain and I am still dealing with faith and trust, but I have come a long way. I think I had to go through this for a reason. God has showed me how selfish I used to be. I live for my family now and do everything for them. I see the world so differently now. When I go outside I enjoy the trees and the grass. I even saved a turtle and a cat in one day, LOL. I always did save animals. I was more selfish towards my family then anything or anyone else. God has opened my eyes up big time and I'm just so glad he has. I want to do everything I can to help anyone in need and I ask him to direct and guide me in whatever he wants me to do.

P.S. Here is a great site to check out:


God Bless You,
Chantel :angel:

Some12 11-17-2003 03:10 PM

adrenaline rush, panic attack, no difference. Sometimes when you are put into a daily, long duration of adrenaline rushes, it eventually in the future becomes a panic disorder. I have painc symptoms and attacks everyday for over 2 year now and prior to that they came an went sometimes weekly, monthly and so on but always put me down for a couple of weeks. I have been in a sleeping coma going off a drug to fast for 8 days and I thought I was awake the whole time, walking around miserable and so sick I could not stand it. I learned later that I had been asleep the whole time. I have never recovered from this, my body temperature is 0.5 to 1 degree different on my left side of my body then my right. No tests reveal anything wrong with me. And you are right about the All MIGHTY, we are all in his hands and need to not be afraid and put others before ourselves. If putting others before yourself is delusional in some peoples minds as it seems to be now days, then I guess I am delusional, my Father was delusional and my Grandfather and his Father before him. I have been gifted with Great men and women on both sides of my family that did for others without seeking anything in return. I just hope that I have and can live up to their teachings.



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