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Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 6/30/2008 1:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I just completed my first year of lawschool.  It was quite stressful.  I never had a panic attack prior to lawschool (I am 34).  about 2 weeks before fall finals, my panic attacks started.  They were so severe that I could not study.  Prior to the exam, I would see stars flying toward me, my heart would race, often I could not see the exam, I would sweat, feel faint, etc.  Luckily I managed to earn decent grades.  After fall finals, I did not experience another panic attack until about 3 weeks before spring finals.  I had done so well on fall finals that I felt even more pressure to do well on spring finals.  Hiring after lawschool is mostly based on first year grades.  My mother federal expressed me a few of her xanax and I got through spring finals.  Again, I preformed well, but had final exam nightmares for about 2 weeks after finals were over.  I chalked the panic attacks up to severe test anxiety and figured they would lessen as lawschool went on.  Last week, however, I drove 7 hours to visit my parents.  On my way back home (the trip is extremely desolate) I had panic attacks one after another.  This time the symptoms were different.  I felt that I could not breate (even though I knew I could) and felt like someone was choking me.  I felt like a heavy band was around my neck and chest and felt like I could not swallow.  These symptoms were unlike the ones I experienced prior to exams, but just as scary or scarier.  When I would arrive in a town and could see that there were people there, my symptoms would ease somewhat.  As soon as I drove on, they would be back.  I finally decided I could not go any further and my husband had to drive 4 hours to escourt me home.  As soon as I knew he was coming to get me, I felt better.  I can NEVER go through this again.  What kind of doctor do I need to see?  I do not have student health insurance and I am not sure the university doctor will prescribe the medications I am convinced I need.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Also, I thought I read that panic attacks only last ten to twenty minutes.  I am sure mine were longer!?  Or, can you get them one on top of another?

percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 6/30/2008 1:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, MomofTwins, and welcome!

There is likely a counseling center connected with your university. I would start by contacting both the student health center and the counseling center to see who can help you get on some stable ground while you figure out why these are happening to you.

Sending good wishes your way,
percycat

nervymeg
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 6/30/2008 5:37 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi momoftwins and welcome to HW.

They tell us that panic attacks only last for a short "discrete" period of time, but I for one disagree. I have had attacks that lasted well over an hour. You are not alone in this. Having just got through my own finals I can empathise with things being anxiety ridden at this time. Often, after an anxious time we can have a panic attack seemingly "out of the blue". It is scary and unfair, but as we relax, our mind can take over and let out the anxiety we suppressed. 

Boooo!

I would reccomend seeing your normal GP (doc) and asking for a referral to a counsellor and maybe some stabilising medication until things get a little better for you. I wish you all the best. This is tough stuff, but know that at HW we will be here to listen and support.


Co-moderator Anxiety/Panic
Panic Attack Survivor
Weekend Warrior Princess
 


Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 6/30/2008 6:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the messages guys!  I am soooo glad I found this forum.  I was feeling short of breath on and off all morning.  Once I started reading here and confirmed that this was a syptom of a panic attack and not something life threatening I calmed down a bit!  I took Percycat's advice and called the school counseling office.  The told me they do biofeed back counseling?  I have never heard of this and have always been something of a sceptic.  I told them I had tried my mother's xanax and they said they do not prescribe medications...just do the biofeed back and congnitive behavioral therapy.  I just feel like I need relief ASAP.  Summer finals are in one month.  I think getting on medication would be better for me in the short term than whatever therapy the school offers. 

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 7/1/2008 3:36 AM (GMT -7)   
HI there
IF you feel this strongly about the meds you must talk to your doc and explain how you are feeling and at this point the bio feedback and CBT will not help ....AT THIS POINT

I am truly the biggest skeptic and I am doing CBT and for me it has worked and is working I do the free online one

Keep us posted on what your doc says and
STAY with us here
You are now no longer alone
You have the a/p family that DO understand

LUVS .............LYN
  DX With Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,Fibro & Other DD
 
Moderator @ Anxiety Panic..Alzheimer's..Co mod @ Crohns
                               FIGHT the FIGHT with all YOU HAVE
         Be Well All and Stay With Us We are Here To Help
                               LYN 
   
 
                   
 


Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/1/2008 4:15 AM (GMT -7)   
There is a free on-line CBT, Lyn?  Can I have a link to it?  One problem is that lawschool, along with my family obligations does not give me very much "free" time for therapy.  On-line therapy would be awesome.

Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/2/2008 1:51 PM (GMT -7)   
sad  OK, so I called the student health services and the first appointment is 2 1/2 weeks away.  I am having anxiety over my anxiety.  Does that make sense?  I have to drive to school and back home everyday (only a 5 minute drive) and am terrified because of my recent trip experience.  I have never been scared to drive before.  What can I do to get through the next 2 1/2 weeks?  Also, summer law finals are August 5th and my panic attacks usually start 2-3 weeks before finals.

marthamae
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 7/2/2008 3:06 PM (GMT -7)   
In my experience you can definitely have anxiety attacks that build and crest onto each other. When I was having trouble swallowing due to a stricture in my esophagus, I panicked all the time. The heightened panic state went on for more than an hour sometimes before burning itself out.

It's typical to feel batter when you see people and then to panic more when you are alone. In my panicked mind, people meant that I would not choke to death.

The best remedy I had for panic attacks was .5 Xanax dissolved under my tongue. Bitter, but it works.

Cognitive therapy and all is great in conjunction with meds, but I needed the meds. I still need meds to fly, although I use lots of cognitive tricks to stay calm during a flight.

In my opinion, you need to get a handle on what is causing this test anxiety. If you don't it will pop out in some other phobia.

I hear people say all the time "I am too busy for therapy" but take it from me...if you don't attend to your mental health, you won't have a life to be too busy in. Seriously.

Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/2/2008 3:22 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the reply Marthamae.  I liked what you said about taking time for therapy.  I know what is causing my test anxiety.  I gave up my career and moved my family 6 hours from home for lawschool.  I MUST suceed because this is plan "Z" for my family and I have huge financial stake in my schooling.  My husband is 19 years older than I am and he never set aside for retirement.  I see a day when I will have to support us all on my own.

Also, thanks for posting your experiences with panic.  It sort of solidifies in my mind that that is what I was experiencing.  My husband told me "its not real," but it sure FEELS real!


nervymeg
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 7/2/2008 3:34 PM (GMT -7)   

It sure IS real when it happens! Sorry you are feeling so much pressure to succeed, it's tough when you feel that everything depends on you. Try not to let that fear get out of hand though. There are always second chances, second tries and other choices!! Trust me, I've had my share of chances and I still get new ones given to me when I make mistakes.  Phew! Try and hang in their for that appointment and know you can post here anytime you are feeling anxious or upset or even when you feel ok. Share it with us and we will help ok.

Meg

she-of-many-second chances!


Co-moderator Anxiety/Panic
Panic Attack Survivor
Weekend Warrior Princess
 


Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/24/2008 11:33 AM (GMT -7)   
I wanted to give an update and also see what everyone thought.  I am still having panic attacks almost daily.  My doctor first prescribed Paxil.  I was on Paxil for 2 weeks and woke up one morning extremely dizzy, lightheaded, seeing double, etc.  I called the doctor's nurse and she said DO NOT take any more Paxil and come in and see the doctor.  I saw the doctor this morning and she seemed like she did not believe the dizziness was a side effect of the Paxil.  She seemed almost dissappointed with me!  Anyway, today she prescribed Celexa and beta blockers.  She said Xanex was addicting and would not give me that.  The thing is, I know Xanax works for me.  Does anyone here have any experience with the beta blockers?  If so, did it revieve your panic attacks?

P-Fit
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 419
   Posted 7/24/2008 11:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Will she give you clonazepam? It is a longer acting form of Xanax. My Dr gave me that and weened me off xanax bacuase she was concerned about the short acting and addicting nature of xanax. It worked well for me at .5mg (1 pill) and a bit more during stressful times 1 and 1/4 .5mg pill.
Dee-38yrs old 
Diagnosed with UC in 2004-PTSD/Panic Disorder/Depression in 2007 & Fibromyalgia 2008
750mg colozal 3 pills 3x a day
.5mg clonazepam
5mg Lexapro
1,000mg canasa suppositories (PM)
BUTALBITAL/ACETAMINOPHEN/CAFFEINE-Migraines
Prilosec-Not sure(Heartburn or maybe GERD)
Fish Oils
GNC Womens Active Formula Multi-vitamin
Colonoscopies-3 and one on the way 8/12/08


Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/24/2008 12:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the tip about the clonazepam.  I have another follow up appointment in two weeks.  I will ask about this if the beta blocker does not work.

Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/24/2008 12:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Another question P-Fit.  I noticed you are taking fish oil.  Does this help counter act the weight gain associated with the antidepressants?  Just curious.

percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 7/24/2008 12:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, MomofTwins!

I'm sorry you're not getting the relief you need. I do know that Paxil is considered to be more of an antidepressant than an anti-anxiety drug, although it does have some success in treating anxiety (I am a good example). You may experience some withdrawal symptoms now that you've stopped taking it, but don't let that worry you. That's all they are, and they will pass.

That's interesting that your university practices both biofeedback and CBT specifically. They must be up on their knowledge in that center if they know about these things. CBT is, in my nutshell, just a more task-oriented version of standard talk therapy. My therapist and I discuss what's going on with me and what I can do, specifically, to deal with it in a healthier way. It feels pretty mainstream. Biofeedback is also starting to be viewed with less stigma nowadays. There are some older threads in this forum about it that might give you a better picture of what it does and how it's designed to work.

percycat

P-Fit
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 419
   Posted 7/24/2008 12:28 PM (GMT -7)   
I haven't experienced weight gain w/my meds, but I suffer from UC and that could be why. There are times when I cant eat w/o getting sick or I'm not getting all my nutrients because of flare ups. I take the fish oils for my skin, hair,heart health, and because I heard it helps with mood. I found that the fish oils really helped with my hair thinning (maybe b/c of meds or malnutrition). One more thing on the clonazepam, I take it at bedtime so that I can function during the day.

Dee-38yrs old 
Diagnosed with UC in 2004-PTSD/Panic Disorder/Depression in 2007 & Fibromyalgia 2008
750mg colozal 3 pills 3x a day
.5mg clonazepam
5mg Lexapro
1,000mg canasa suppositories (PM)
BUTALBITAL/ACETAMINOPHEN/CAFFEINE-Migraines
Prilosec-Not sure(Heartburn or maybe GERD)
Fish Oils
GNC Womens Active Formula Multi-vitamin
Colonoscopies-3 and one on the way 8/12/08


Momoftwins
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 16
   Posted 7/24/2008 12:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Percycat and P-Fit. I am going to start the CBT and biofeedback in August. For some reason they only offer it during the fall and I just get 6 sessions. Hopefully 6 will be enough and the meds will have kicked in by then.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/24/2008 12:45 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Mom,

As far as the meds go, no use asking for Klonopin if she took you off Ativan as they are all from the same family...........benzodiazepines.

I am on a beta blocker and I take mine for a familial hand tremor but it is sometimes helpful in anxiety and panic.  IMHO it is worth a try.

CBT I know of but I have not much info on Biofeedback.  Some on the forum is doing the Biofeedback now so perhaps you will get some info.

See our post above under resources posted by Wen as she has some links there that might help you.

Good Luck
Hugs

Kitt


 

Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety, Panic & Depression 
*~*
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It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
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