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Someone please talk to me about panic attacks...

(10 Posts)
Twinklemegan Thu 25-Jun-09 00:20:17

Hi. I'm pretty sure I had a panic attack last night, and I'm now scared to go to bed tonight in case it happens again. The thought of it is bringing on mild symptoms right now.

I used to get these quite frequently when I was on the pill, and put it down to being scared of getting a DVT. I haven't had them for years though.

What I'm feeling is a tight, tingly sensation in the centre of my chest and across the top of my stomach, dizziness and a vastly increased awareness of my breathing. Last night the room was spinning and in the end I was so frightened I had to wake DH.

Someone please tell me this was a panic attack and nothing worse. Then please tell me how to shift the feelings I'm having just now so I can go to bed and not have it get worse again. sad

lowrib Thu 25-Jun-09 00:48:05

Hi Twinklemegan I don't know muh about panic attacks, but if it was me I'd ring nhs24 for advice, and also book an appointment with my GP. Even if it was 'only' a panic attack, perhaps they an help?


It sound horrible anyway, I hope you're feeling better now.

blinks Thu 25-Jun-09 00:57:11

sounds like it.

i had them for bloody years and managed to overcome them.

i find distraction the best way out of it. at the first sign of one try to concentrate in remembering the lyrics of a song. sing it out loud if necessary.

also read up on 'fight or flight' response. it's just your body making you ready to flee a perceived threat. i found that reassuring as it doesn't really mean there's anything 'wrong' with you mentally or physically.

you won't die. you won't collapse. if you wait the feelings will subside.

what's going on in your life that is making you feel anxious?

Twinklemegan Thu 25-Jun-09 01:05:08

Thanks both. Lowrib - I don't really "do" doctors tbh, although I see exactly what you're saying. Very stupid and a whole other thread.

Blinks - I don't know that there's anything in particular just now. I'm under stress at work at lot, but I'm on leave for a couple of weeks now. Although we're renovating our house and we're having DH's sister to stay next week, so I guess I'm a little anxious about that. Money too, but there's nothing new there.

I think it only takes a very mild feeling to make it escalate, and because the sensations are so so scary it's a vicious cycle. I don't know what triggered the feeling last night at all, but it does happen from time to time. I do often have trouble sleeping, and in the middle of the night I might find my brain playing tricks. I'm guessing that this occasionally morphs into the start of a panic attack.

Doozle Thu 25-Jun-09 01:21:04

How are you now? If you feel anxious again, tell yourself as calmly as you can "it's just the panic talking, it's just the panic talking". Don't try to fight it, it will subside eventually. Sounds simple, I know, but it does work. Breathe as slowly as you can, even into a paper bag if necessary.

It will go away, panic attacks are self-limiting ie. they will reach the end of their course on their own. Nothing terrible will happen to you physically. I found it really helpful when someone explained this to me.

Twinklemegan Thu 25-Jun-09 01:34:39

I'm OK thanks - it's under control, but I'm still scared to go to bed. I still have this mild tingling sensation in my chest though, which of course I'm now thinking is angina or something. Which is making me panic. Aaargh. <tearing hair out emotion>

blinks Thu 25-Jun-09 01:34:43

sometimes it's AFTER a period of stress that anxiety shows itself.

in my experience, not dealing directly with a source of stress can cause panic attacks.

i have the same difficulty in turning of my brain at night.. tis a bugger.

ErikaMaye Thu 25-Jun-09 01:44:41

Hey there I'm sorry you're having this issue. They really are a total frigging nightmare to deal with - I've been battling them for years!

Just a few tips to help -

~ I know its already been said, but try and remember that you will NOT die from having a panic attack. The worst that can happen? You pass out. Then you'll come round, with a throbbing headache, but your breathing will be regulated. Not trying to scare you, but knowing the extreme helped me.

~ Singing helps to regulate your breathing. Not a big ballad, but things like nursery rhymes or old songs.

~ Carry a paper bag around with you / keep them by your bed. Breathing into a paper bag (If you don't have one, making a cone out of piece of paper does the same thing) means you take in more carbon dioxide, so will stop the hypaventalating.

~ Focus mentally on things you need to do. Like, "I can't freak out, I have to do the ironing..." or something really mundane! Sometimes just focusing on that will kick start your brain into functioning correctly.

~ Massaging pressure points - two fingers whith down in your wrist / temples.

~ Speak to your DH about it if you can, and admit to him how frightened you are. It helped me just knowing that my partner knew about my attacks and understood them.

I hope that helps a little. x

Twinklemegan Thu 25-Jun-09 01:51:58

Thanks Erika and everyone. I'm going to attempt to go to bed now. I did tell DH what was going on last night - he remembers all too well our time at uni when he had to sleep in my single bed all night, every night, because I was so scared. He was really great last night - he got up with me, took me out into the fresh air and talked to me about anything and everything until it subsided. Let's hope I don't have to wake him again tonight. smile

ErikaMaye Thu 25-Jun-09 02:13:40

I'm so glad your DH is being so supportive - it helps such a massive amount! Good luck for tonight, just try and relax, hard as it is, and remember that even if it happens again tonight, that doesn't mean its forever. Sweet dreams!

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