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My Panic Attack Won't Stop!

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Old 11-14-2012, 08:55 AM   #1
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jparker31 HB User
My Panic Attack Won't Stop!

Ever since last Thursday, my body has been locked in an on and off severe panic attack. I have a long history of PA, but have enjoyed only having mild attacks over the last couple of years.

Which only makes this one so scary. My attacks originated from an early fear in life of having a heart attack. Due to family history, I am in a mega high category for heart disease. Ironically, this attack comes on the heels of trying to get in shape. I pushed myself harder last week in the gym, and probably strained some chest and shoulder muscles doing chest presses. I started having pains in that area which brought on anxiety of having a heart attack. Soon, I became very concious of my breathing, and it seemed like I had to take a breathe constantly.

Then I went in full panic attack. Shortness of breath, mild chest pains, squeezing sensation on my chest, weird sensations in my arms. As always, I never can feel 100% comfident that it is just panic when I'm in the midst. I went back to the gym and did a full workout and felt better, but the next day, I woke up thinking about the attack, and immediately became aware of my breathing which brought back the attack.

I was hoping a relaxing weekend would end the cycle. I had a few periods of relief, but the attacks kept coming back. I couldn't stop thinking about my breathing which would cause me to breathe more rapidly and bring back the attack and chest pains.

I keep telling my mind that this is just panic attacks and will go away, but now I'm locked into this fear that they won't go away, and I can't stop conciously being aware of my breathing and how often I'm taking breaths. It's maddening! It has become the first thought to hit my brain when I wake up.

To convince myself that I'm not having a heart attack, I walked up and down five flights of stairs today. I was definitely out of breath, but recovered quickly and felt calmer, but soon the attack returned. I would think if I was having a real heart attack, I would be feeling much worse.

Has anyone had attacks cycles like this that just go on for days and days?

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Old 11-14-2012, 06:25 PM   #2
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panicremission HB Userpanicremission HB User
Re: My Panic Attack Won't Stop!

Yes I have had several attacks that have lasted for days. I had one particularly bad episode where I didn't sleep more than 2-3 hours for three days. It was terrible. This is what works for me:

When I am going through a lot of panic attacks/anxiety, I also tend to focus really intensely on my heart beating or my breathing rate (to the point where if I stop feeling my heart pounding I will think it stopped beating and will check my pulse to make sure it is still beating, completely irrational I know!). The only thing that works for me is to be okay with the sensation I am feeling. If my heart is racing I will think "thats okay, my heart is racing. It's not going to kill me. I'm just going to continue doing whatever I'm doing". And with breathing you just have to know that your body will breathe for you no matter what and if you are doing some other task, your brainstem will take over your breathing and there won't be a problem. But I have learned that it is impossible to "distract" yourself from your physical sensations. You have to be comfortable with the sensations and then they will go away. It has to be acceptance of the sensations. And then just try to continue to do whatever you were doing. I smiled when I read that you were hoping a relaxing weekend would end the anxiety because I know that for me, if I am bored or have nothing to do that is when all of my physical sensations/anxiety come up, because my mind isn't actively engaged in another task. But there is a major distinction between trying to distract yourself and accepting that you are feeling uncomfortable but continuing to pursue an activity. And I have found, at least for me, that it is a critical distinction. Hopefully that makes sense. I hope you feel better!! I know how terrible it can be!

Last edited by ms_mod; 11-15-2012 at 05:25 AM. Reason: Removed long quote. Ms_Mod

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