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First panic attack....advice and opinions sought.

(14 Posts)
linspins Thu 12-May-16 10:07:25

Hi all,
On Monday this week I had something that was most likely a panic attack. I was at work, at my desk, and suddenly felt very faint ( I've fainted a few times in my life and recognise the feeling) so I called a colleague over and lay in the floor for a bit. The problem was that the feeling didn't go away, it just got worse, with me not being able to sit up, and then having a ' bad' feeling, and crying etc. I basically lay on the floor with my eyes tight shut for ages, crying and not being able to breathe properly. My hands and feet went in to something called 'carpopedal spasm' which was scary, and I lost all feeling in my arms. My work colleagues tried to calm and soothe me, but eventually had to call an ambulance, as I was getting worse. The paramedics came, and all together eventually I could breathe properly again, and move and talk ( and finally opened my eyes!)
It all took about an hour and a half. My husband was called to drive me home, and I saw my GP later who said if it ever happens again, breathe in to a paper bag.
I am under quite a lot of stress, renovating a house to move in to, selling ours, busy with work and two kids, a few health scares, etc, but it's all cope-able with.
I'd always thought a panic attack happened when you were actually panicking, but mine came out of the blue.
Since them I have felt horrid. Exhausted, head ache, swimmy head, and a bit surreal. My shoulders are painful when they were in spasm.
Do panic attacks often happen again, or could I just have this one?
As a by product of this, the paramedics had me connected to all sorts of monitors and found I may have an abnormal heart beat too, called a long QT. They didn't seem too concerns, and my GP told me to pop in a week later and have it checked. I may or may not have it, so we will see. That's a bit scary in itself.
Is it usual to feel so rubbish after wards? It's three days now and I feel sooooo tired and like I'm properly convalescing from something serious. What's the best way now to brush this off?

GemC1986 Thu 12-May-16 10:23:58

Hi linspins, it sounds like your going through a lot at the moment. Moving house can be very stressful and can trigger anxiety. The attacks can happen just out of the blue with no warning. It also causes physical symptoms one of them being fatigue which could be why you feel so tired which in its self is hard. It's very important that you get it sorted as it can become worse. There are some good breathing exercises online which help to get your breathing under control during an attack. How are you feeling day to day in social situations?

linspins Thu 12-May-16 10:29:51

I'm usually fine, Gem, I'm quite a cheery optimistic person, and I think others would think I'm quite organised. I've just got so much to do, and so many decisions whizzing round in my head, maybe it was brain overload!
I'm keen not to panic about possible further panic attacks, as that would be counter productive. It's alarming that it came from nowhere.
I am feeling a bit embarrassed at my work colleagues seeing me as snivelling hyperventilating snotty mess on the floor. Yikes.

soap34 Thu 12-May-16 10:31:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

linspins Thu 12-May-16 10:41:00

Thanks Soap for sharing your experience with me. When you say 'get help' what would this consist of? I was vaguely thinking that getting through all the busy and stressful stuff going on would then mean no reason for body/brain to panic anymore. Not sure what practical steps to actually take? I am going to get a paper bag though and keep it folded in my handbag just in case!

soap34 Thu 12-May-16 10:48:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Napnah Thu 12-May-16 10:52:00

I had my first panic attack at a train station - just as you describe.

I had a few more over the course of about 2 years but now am completely free of them - you CANNOT have a panic attack if you breathe properly, it is a physical side effect, they cannot actually harm you.

They are HORRIBLE though you have my sympathy

I took a tiny 2mg valium (prescribed by gp) if I had to travel on my own for a while as I was so worried about having another one in a public place .

linspins Thu 12-May-16 15:10:18

I've bought myself some St. John's wort in boots, but I'm not going to take it until I've had my heartbeat check up at the GP.
To me this feels like a mental health issue ( related to stress and anxiety at having too much to do) and although I am very supportive of mental health issues being treated just the same as physical health one, I also feel a bit embarrassed. Sigh.

NotAClueReally3 Thu 12-May-16 15:14:10

Oh, so sorry you're going through this. I have terrible anxiety which I actually take medication for. It can be so scary.
This is a link to something which I have saved on my phone and I breathe along with it. I find it helps.

www.duffthepsych.com/stopanxiety/

BlackSwan Thu 12-May-16 21:59:53

Stop feeling embarrassed. Forget the st john's wort - get some anti-anxiety meds and some counselling if need to talk through things with someone and you will manage. This is totally 'normal'. Nearly 10% of people in the UK are on anti-depressants.

Chewbecca Fri 13-May-16 11:00:23

I have had just one panic attack, although at the time I had no idea that's what it was, I thought I was having a heart attack. Only subsequently reading about them did I realise the symptoms exactly matched what happened to me, I didn't realise a panic attack had physical symptoms too.

I'm also an optimistic, capable person. At the time, work was extremely stressful & (slightly embarrassingly) I was waiting for DS's school entrance test result and was quite stressed about making a decision the alternative options & there were some family health worries.

The experience prompted me to make some time at work to discuss the issues and put some new strategies in place to help me switch off.

Just wanted to say this was in October 2014 & it has not happened again, fingers crossed it won't and was a one off for you too.

linspins Fri 13-May-16 18:34:04

Thanks everyone. Chewbecca, that's reassuring to hear. I am going to try to keep life as organised and stress free as possible, although it's easier said than done. Everyone keeps telling me to have a whole day doing nothing, but all the things that I would have done on that day still need to be done, so there would be twice as much stuff the next day. We are renovating a house, and it's a building site at the moment, and we aren't moving until July, so it's going to be a challenge to keep calm. Hmmm!!
I did go out for a nice long walk yesterday evening with a friend, getting exercise and social contact all in one go, which was good. I need to be firm with myself about getting to bed early, as I know tiredness plays a part in making me feel low.

MissTriggs Fri 13-May-16 20:43:01

It may or may not happen again
Either way you'll be ok x

MissTriggs Fri 13-May-16 20:44:26

Having said that, early bed does sound sensible
Easy on the coffee, basics like that

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