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  • Please help me! Panic attacks and severe nightmares

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    Old 09-01-2006, 03:41 AM   #1
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: Catoosa, OK, USA
    Posts: 305
    Hamilton92 HB UserHamilton92 HB User
    Please help me! Panic attacks and severe nightmares

    I have had panic attacks for many years now. For about five years I say total.
    For the first year the attacks came on for no reason at all that I could explain but I was so paranoid and freaked out that something so bad was going to happen that I couldn't go anywhere. Not to the grocery store, familys house, nothing. Well my panic attacks went away just as fast as they started.
    I finally told myself I am not going to live this way anymore.
    I was on Paxil for about two weeks but I hated the side effects and quit taking them.
    My real question is does anyone with panic attacks have very severe nightmares?
    I think my panic attacks may be starting again but more subtle than last time and not quite as severe.
    What I mean is I woke from a very bizarre nightmare this morning and I felt like my throat was actually closed off. Well I started to panic and immediately jumped out of bed. That was about an hour ago and my throat still has a very funny tight feeling to it. I know when you have nightmares sometimes you can wake up gasping for breath like you just ran a marathon but this wasn't the same thing.
    I actually felt like something had a grip on my esophagus and it was closed off.
    My dream was actually very weird too I remember trying to save cats that were dying and my husband and son were trying to keep me out of the room. I think they were being gassed or something. Well in my dream I remember running in to save them and I was pulling file charts screaming no no no.
    Files? Not cats? It may sound stupid but to me my dream felt very very real and I woke up freaking out and then my throat. I don't own a cat, I went to sleep feeling very peaceful and relaxed like I always do. I don't have an explanation on why I had this weird, bizarre dream and woke up thinking I was going to die.
    I took a drink of soda and it was very weird feeling when it was going down.
    I am scared. Can dreams kill you? What if I hadn't of woken up could I have suffocated if my esophagus or windpipe whatever it was was really closed off?
    I am in a huge panic right now. Can anyone relate to me? Does this have anything to do with my panic attacks returning?

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    Old 09-01-2006, 07:55 AM   #2
    Amy D.J.
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    Join Date: Jun 2006
    Location: Latham ;New york
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    Amy D.J. HB User
    Re: Please help me! Panic attacks and severe nightmares

    Hi, I know how you feel I have nightmares too, and I have panic disorder, I think for some reason we are prone to having them, but try not to worry try to go to bed having great thoughts that is what I do and just remember those nightmares are not real and they will not hurt you, that is what I do also, and focus on the good. I hope this helps, Good Luck!! Amy J.

    Old 09-03-2006, 07:27 AM   #3
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    Location: Alberta, Canada
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    bynobody HB User
    Re: Please help me! Panic attacks and severe nightmares

    Yeah Ive had bad ones too. Waking up with a start after 3 hours and FREAKED OUT. These were at the height of my anxiety.

    Also, when my anxiety was low, I would sometimes have panic attacks in my sleep (with or without dreams) and wake up thinking the end of the world was at hand, and I had missed the rapture and everything. Horrible feeling!

    Old 09-08-2006, 08:21 PM   #4
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    Join Date: Sep 2006
    Location: Indio, CA, USA
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    alanizem HB User
    Talking Re: Please help me! Panic attacks and severe nightmares

    Hamilton... yes, I can DEFINITELY relate... about two months ago I was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar I. I was hypomanic when I got there and put on lithium. The funny thing is, I wasn't scared at first- just happier than ever. I was then put on Haldol (an antipsychotic), and everything changed... soon after I started getting that panicky, paranoid feeling to the point where I thought people were trying to kill/hurt me and the other patients. I thought everyone was watching us, and was so paranoid I thought I wasn't allowed to talk on the phone to my loved ones or write in my journal, especially after my psychiatrist asked to read it! After a week, I started having nightmares that were so real that in them I would actually hear the patients screaming for help because they were being harmed by a particular male patient (I was one of the 3 females in a locked ward with 25 males). I would wake up between 3 and 5 am in a full-blown panic attack- hyperventilating, chest pains, trembling, trouble breathing, muscle cramps in my legs... like there was no escape (literally).

    Then, I thought if I looked out the window, I would feel better- I ended up getting more panicky because I then thought EVERYONE was watching me, like, they all knew I was crazy and were laughing at me... it was horrible. It got to the point where I was simply too scared to sleep, or even talk, which of course after being up three days straight made me even worse (dellusions, hallucinations, the works). It amounted to a constant state of panic- I felt like every move I made was under scrutiny, and was incorrect, so I'd be stuck there forever. Like, what does the doctor want me to say? Once I was released and off the Haldol, it took me about a week to get out of the panicky/slightly dellusional state... like coming down from a really long, bad acid trip.

    Now that I've lowered my lithium dosage, I've found I feel even better, although there is some residual anxiety. I too am unable to do little things like go grocery shopping by myself, and get freaked when driving on the freeway, although I force myself to do it. I also still get negative thoughts now and then (which I combat with prayer), and have had to take Xanax twice in near-attack instances in crowded places (this has to do with the "they're all judging me" experiences in the hospital). In these cases, I chant positive thoughts in my head and tap my fingers on each other, counting each tap. It seems to work pretty well.

    I personally don't think your dreams can kill you, per se... I suggest asking your doctor if it will ease your tension. I'm also glad to hear you're off Paxil, as I was on it for 5 years and had to be hospitalized just to get OFF it, the withdrawl was so bad. One thing you can do is write about all your experiences; I have found this to be the best way of "throwing out" your anxiety, especially when you know most of it is probably irrational. I don't know what I would do without my journal. Also, talk to someone you really trust about it (other than your counselor) who can give you an objective opinion. I think if you deal with this one instance (nightmares), you may be able to prevent your attacks from bleeding into your daily life... Now that I've rambled on lol... I wish you all the best!

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