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Panic Attacks? Imagine That?

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

So, I went to my doctor this morning because I was having a lot of trouble breathing yesterday. My chest was tight, I was having some pain, my fingers were tingling, the whole bit. I've been having these episodes over the past year, and I ASSumed it was my asthma, which can be pretty severe at times. However, the symptoms weren't responding to any of my meds. Turns out, apparently, I've been having panic/anxiety attacks all this time. Really? Imagine that! I diagnose this shit in people every day, but couldn't be objective about myself, I guess. What in my world could possibly be causing me ANXIETY?

No, but really. I asked her that. The mentally ill, suicide-ideating, self-abusing 10-year-old has been out of the picture for over a year. The bed-pissing, lazy, lying, manipulative, teenage sociopath is gone. Yes, we're going through a CPS investigation. Yes, BM's and her demon spawns' influence will never be truly gone, but the everyday stuff is so much more peaceful. The drama and games in our home are gone. So why the anxiety NOW? Her answer....

THE STEP SITUATION. Imagine that! Step drama causes stress!

She's actually amazed my symptoms weren't worse considering the particulars of my situation. So now she wants me on anti-anxiety meds, which I don't want. I work with people with anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health issues every day. I'm familiar with many of these meds and their side effects. Does anyone have personal experience with any of these (that you'd care to share)? I'm looking for opinions before I decide what to do. I'd love to be able to breathe. And sleep. And function as I should be. But I don't think I want to go the med route.

Maybe I just need to drink more?

Or...possibly...try Nutella? Maybe it has some secret healing property? I'm ashamed to say I've been on this site for ages and have never even touched the stuff (hands head in shame).


not your momma's picture

I take Xanax on an as needed basis. Very low dose and it works. Not a daily regimen at all.

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

I suppose I could try it on an as-needed basis. I really don't want to be on another medication.

PokaDotty's picture

I'm on a mild dose of Prozac for anxiety.... works great for me (as does the wine in the evenings and once a month massages)

Flying.Purple.Step.Monster's picture

I had a horrible job once with an A$$h0le boss that caused panic attacks and anxiety and my doctor put me on the generic for Zoloft. It did help a lot. I don't remember having too many issues with side effects.

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

I think you're right. I didn't have the time to get stressed out in the middle of it all. Now that I had some breathing space, BOOM! Makes sense to me.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

I have anxiety and panic attacks. I take meds as needed for the panic attacks.

momandmore's picture

Me too and I usually have just enough to get me through but I'll be out about a week early this time. I'm going to have to explain to my dr.

zerostepdrama's picture

Once DH and I got engaged, I started suffering from severe anxiety and panic attacks. I took xanax for a bit and that helped. I learned how to deal with the situation better. But ya I was fine until Step Hell.

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

I've always wanted to try yoga. Now might be a good time to look into classes. Thanks!

momandmore's picture

That's a good idea. I suffer from chronic anxiety and fibromyalgia. I had to take lots of pills. I started doing yoga and ended up changing my whole lifestyle for a few years and didn't have to touch a pill. Not now though. Maybe I should get back into it.

AllySkoo's picture

I'm not sure what advice I'd offer you. I'm prone to stress-related migraines more than anxiety attacks, and sometimes when the step stuff is particularly bad I get multiple visual episodes (although not always the headache part, thank god!). There really isn't a med for me (at least none that I know of), so what I try to do is get some chunk of time to think about everything, and another chunk of time to do something just for me.

For example, when SDthen17 got pregnant last year there was A LOT of Drama coming from freaking everywhere. Stressful. The migraine crap started. So I told DH, "OK, Friday night the two of us are going out to dinner and we will talk about ALL of this crap. Saturday afternoon I'm going to get a mani/pedi." For me, having a designated time to talk and think about it did two things - one, I could get it ALL out. (And you can do this with anyone, doesn't have to be your DH if that's just going to cause more stress!) But also, it allowed me NOT to worry about it until then. I knew I was going to get Friday night for that, so if it crept into my head Thursday morning I just told myself, "Tomorrow. You'll deal with all of it tomorrow." and then I could concentrate on something else. Then the "me time" was total unwind time. Smile

I'm sorry. It kind of sounds stupid and obvious, I'm sure you've thought of this before. Sorry I don't have anything better!!

moeilijk's picture

Sometimes your body needs an outside influence to help you to 'reset'. I think for you, meds might be a great option to try for a week or two to see if they can trigger you to wind down a bit.

I think what can so easily happen is that our minds get into survival/panic mode... and then our wonderful ability to analyze gets out of control and we stay in that mode while we worry about what has happened, what might happen, what should have happened, etc etc. And the whole time, our bodies are responding like the danger is right in front of us.

So you have to give your mind a break, so that your body can start to rest. But you have to give it a week or two so that your body can let all the tension and stress go... so that your mind won't just jump in where it left off.

Just my thoughts...

queenofthedamned's picture

Ativan worked really well for me during a rough patch, when things were falling apart with my ex and I would have panic attacks just seeing him. Took the edge off enough for me to see clearly.

hangingbyathread6's picture

I was having panic/anxiety attacks due to the whole BM, MIL, exH skid issue plus the deaths of my Aunt and SIL within two weeks and my father's failing health. I finally went to the Dr in the midst of the deaths and I'll health and she has me on Celexa and I have Xanax for as needed. I have had to take a few of them (mostly when I first started the Celexa since it takes a month to be regulated in your system) and I still take one occasionally when I can't sleep. I've noticed since starting the Celexa I don't have those attacks nearly as often. Occasionally...but not that often. And I feel I'm less apt to stress out and lash out or be angry. I'm much more even keeled.

Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Hope you come to a decision that works for you

DaizyDuke's picture

I started having anxiety attacks in my early 20's it always happens when something stressful is going on in my life...was able to be off meds for years but of course, due to SD16 crap... back on them again about 6 months ago.

My first drug was Paxil. Definitely worked, but caused me to gain about 40 pounds over 5 years and God forbid if you forget to take it one day, it makes you feel like the world is spinning. Tried Lexapro and didn't like that either, gave me the same loopy feeling as Paxil if I forgot to take.

Dr. finally switched me to Wellbutrin which is wonderful. Zero side effects whatsoever, very safe, been around forever. I was told that I could even take it while pregnant with BS5 (I opted not to just because)

I also learned a redirection technique in therapy. when I start to feel that panic coming on, that pit of the stomach, chest crushing feeling, I redirect my thoughts to something that requires focus (writing or browsing on the computer seem to help me the most),and I can generally get it to go away within 5 minutes.

I am hoping that when/if SD16 leaves in the next week or so that I can get back to "normal" and just be happy instead of panicky and stressed. Sad

DaizyDuke's picture

What is a "small bite of chocolate"? One does not simply have a "small bite of chocolate" Wink

Aniki-Moderator's picture

I think that's when you still have room in your mouth to move your tongue, but only very slightly.

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

I was on an anti-depressant (I forget which one) years and years ago, when I was 19 or 20. I recall no side effects then, but yeah, getting off it was HORRIFIC. But I don't know what med it was. And surely my body's changed in 20-plus years.

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

Thank you so much, everyone, for the stories and tips. I have a lot of research to do! I agree that wine (tequila, bourbon, etc. etc. ) does help. I also have my martial arts, and I always that was great therapy. Apparently it's not enough. I think I'll sit down this weekend with a bottle of wine and think over my options. I don't see my therapist till the week after next, but I'll be consulting her too.

I'm very anti-med overall, but if it'll help....

misSTEP's picture

Low dose of Sertraline and just added low dose of wellbutrin to help with hot flashes and menopause irritability Dirol

Living the dream's picture

I take Xanax ER (extended release) every day to control my panic disorder.

I married my DH, who spawned three times before I knew him, almost two years ago, right after I turned 41.

I never had any anxiety problems before I began to live in the unnatural world of stepdom. I don't think that's a coincidence.

The Surgeon General should create a series of public health warnings, maybe in the form of a card carried by all men who have spawned, like the ones on cigarette packaging.

MarriedaBallessWonder's picture

Antihistamine (especially Singulair) cause anxiety attacks (and weight gain).

oneoffour's picture

When my ex left I was on ADs for 2 years. His decision was sudden and within a week he left the country. It certainly helped me cope with day to day life. And when I wanted to try life without them I weaned myself off over 1 month. One days bout 6 months later I had a REALLY bad day and it brought up all kinds of ghosts so I took just half tablet. I was knocked off my arse! So having the ADs on board definitely made sense for while and obviously I needed them at the time.

So I would say 'as needed' would be a start.

momandmore's picture

I started drinking more and realized that wasn't the right answer for me. I read through the first few responses and I think you got some great advice.. Some I may try to fit into my own situation.

I am really sorry for all that you are going through and I hope it gets better for you.

GhostWhoCooksDinner's picture

Thank you all! Right now I'm thinking I definitely don't want the Zoloft. Last time I was on it then rain zaps www hell. Maybe I'll take the Klonoin as needed, but not regularly. But I'm not doing anything until I've gotten a chance to talk with my therapist and try more natural things. I think meds canne really helpful and necessary for some people in some cases, and I've definitely needed them in the past, but I don't think I'm at that point. I'll keep everyone updated.