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jazzguy
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03 Nov 2007, 5:10 pm

I stopped having full-blown panic attacks some time ago, thanks to one of my medications. But sometimes I do experience one. If there's an unexpected knock at the door, for example, I suddenly get an intense pain in my chest, my hands get clammy and my thinking becomes confused. This also happens when I'm somewhere crowded, such as a shopping mall. (If the mall has a bar that's always the first place I go. Braces me up.) These events only last for a few minutes but every time they happen it's so intense that I feel I've lost another year out of my life.
Does anyone else ever experience this, and do you have any ways of dealing with it?


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lelia
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03 Nov 2007, 8:03 pm

My experience might not pertain, but here goes:
I would have mine in bed at night. No social anxiety there, just some hormonal screw-up, and of course the massive surge of adrenaline meant I was not going back to sleep. So I would quietly read until I got sleep again, if I did.
But I have known other people who would have them in the day. They cope by saying, "Excuse me, I'm not feeling well right now. Give me a few minutes." They would take a break or rest or eat lunch, do something neutral without interaction to give their bodies time to calm down.



midge
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04 Nov 2007, 4:09 am

I get them from time to time as well, and they are sometimes triggered by small, crowded spaces. I find that it often helps to pay attention to the physical and mental changes that lead up to a panic attack, recognize them for what they are, and stop it from progressing any further, which I do in a number of ways-distracting myself with something lighthearted or interesting, seeking out a person or animal that I'm close to (I've heard that dogs can actually be trained to detect when a person is going to have a panic attack and comfort them), reminding myself that it's just my mind and body overreacting, and trying to stay as calm and lucid as possible, usually by focusing on very simple, concrete things.

I think the key is not to be afraid of the attacks, as bad as they can be. I've found that fear not only prolongs/intensifies attacks, but can act as a trigger for them as well. I think this is especially true when you are aware of the kinds of situations that lead to attacks and come to expect and fear them. It can be quite difficult, but I think it helps to try to overcome that fear (at least I have found this to be true) and not let the attacks control you. Sometimes I just remind myself that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that I can control it, and psyche myself up and keep myself calm, and other times I just keep myself busy and distracted. It has worked pretty well for me so far.



OregonBecky
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04 Nov 2007, 1:36 pm

midge wrote:


I think the key is not to be afraid of the attacks, as bad as they can be.
I've found that fear not only prolongs/intensifies attacks, but can act as a trigger for them as well. I think this is especially true when you are aware of the kinds of situations that lead to attacks and come to expect and fear them. It can be quite difficult, but I think it helps to try to overcome that fear (at least I have found this to be true) and not let the attacks control you. Sometimes I just remind myself that there is nothing to be afraid of, and that I can control it, and psyche myself up and keep myself calm, and other times I just keep myself busy and distracted. It has worked pretty well for me so far.


You're right about fearing panic attacks. I got so phobic thinking that there's a panic attack waiting to take me over. that I was scared mcuh too often. Then I think I stopped them by challenging them. When I was in a situation that can cause me panic, I'd mentally think, "come on, bring it on. I'm ready" I think I intimidated the panic attack monster. Haha.

I still have too much painful anxiety but no panic attacks for years.


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ping-machine
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04 Nov 2007, 11:28 pm

I get panic attacks too occasionally. My breathing gets shallow, fingers go numb, and sometimes I feel light-headed.

What I do -- it works for the most part, I suppose -- is get the hell out of wherever I am, and be alone, and find somewhere to walk around for a bit.

But then, I'm not likely to be any good at handing out advice on that score.


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