Panic Disorder? I'm at a loss as to what is wrong with me...

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neb5982
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/13/2006 2:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello
I'm new here and to this but a friend recomended this website for support. I began law school in the fall and right around the time I started, I began to experience these odd "attacks". My first time i was sitting in class, all of a sudden got really hot, my heart started racing, my hands and feet became numb and tingly and i felt like I was going to pass out. I didn't know what was going on, thought I was having a heart attack and left the class to get help. Once i realized I was not having a heart attack and all my vitals were fine- I calmed down a bit. However for the rest of the day i felt really really weird, off- tired, groggy and like I coudn't focus right.

Since then, I have about one or two "attacks" per week. My doctor put me on lexapro, but that didn't do anything and as of last week took me off of it. I have had lab work done, worn a heart monitor and am now meeting with a cardiologist to rule out anything physical.

After having an "attack" I am always so tired. My vision sometimes even feels odd or strained after or during.

What is wrong with me? Does anyone else experience this? I feel like a freak and its making me miss class sometimes and it is hard to miss class in law school.

At first I thought they might be panic attacks but I"m never nervous or scared or anxious and don't feel any of those symptoms.....so I'm at a loss.

thanks.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 11/13/2006 3:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to HW
Sounds like you are having panic attacks and severe ones IMO
Perhaps another med would help you out
sometimes SSRI's do not work for everyone and then you might also want to ask for a short fast acting med to help you out in these real bad times
Panic /Anxiety can and will do just about anything to you if it can
there are many techniques as well as meds to learn and use to get a fight on this DD
Breathing techniques
Conitive behaviour Therapy
Knowing you are not alone in this is a biggie and having a great support system in place
I have found this site is the best in regards for me
as well as the fantastic peeps here that help you thru, care and support you when they can and that usually is all the time
I am glad your friend showed you the way to us please stick around and get to know us and we you
Post often and remember you are not alone
LYN
Also read some old threads and use resources at side in yellow
Take care
post again
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GFK
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Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 275
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:18 PM (GMT -6)   
My first PA was out of the blue also. I felt alot you are, plus I was really edgy and restless - hot one minute, then cold the next. It sure sound like panic attacks. You may not even be aware of your stress level, especially if you have been used to dealing with it for a while.

When I first got them, my doc gave me xanax, which helped alot (just knowing I had them on me helped!). CBT and deep breathing can help lessen the severity and frequency of the attacks - some people can get rid of them alltogether.

Best of luck on your tests and hope you're feeling better soon.

Karen

neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:36 PM (GMT -6)   
thank you both so much.

I'm pretty sure they are panic attacks just because my symptoms match so well....but the days i have them i feel out of it all day- just slightly off like i said and real light headed. Is that common? I'm meeting with the cardiologist this week to test my blood pressure and have a stress test- but if that comes back fine then i guess my doctor is going to rule them as panic attacks. I'm setting up an appointment with a therapist in the area that specializes in anxiety...so hopfully that will help also.

its just really depressing and scary and frustrating to go through this when i just don't ahve the time (stupid law school!) to deal with it. it makes me feel like a freak- especially getting up and leaving class over and over because i feel like i'm going to faint. i hate it. :(

but thanks for the replies:)

aquarias
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 296
   Posted 11/13/2006 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I know exactly what you are talking about.  I get the same way.  I really feel like I am going to black out.  Usually I get really hot first. My legs start feeling weak, then the feeling of fainting.  It does feel real, however I have never fainted.  I too have been through many many medical tests.  All of my tests are fine.  It does sound like panic attacks.  You may have been stressed about starting school and not really known it.  It is hard to figure out why these things happen.  I would try other meds.  It will get better.

freezinginAK
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1052
   Posted 11/13/2006 9:12 PM (GMT -6)   

Wecome to the site it dose sould alot like an attack pretty screay at frist but try not to get in the habit of hiding and forming a safety zone it can get pretty deep and get the help u need

best of luck to u


GFK
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 275
   Posted 11/13/2006 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I can relate to how you're feeling. I dont get the panic attacks too often anymore, but I still get really frustrated. The reason you have "lingering effects" afterwards is probably anxiety (which is "normal"). The panic attacks and anxiety are also most likely wearing you out!

Be positive about the therapy. My first round of A/P was able to be controlled with just therapy. It's great that he/she specializes in anxiety. Mine didnt, but he did wonders anyway!

Karen

neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/14/2006 12:49 PM (GMT -6)   
wow, this site is really helpful. It is helping to hear that other people KNOW what I am going through and can relate.

Does anyone else experience the vision thing? Any thoughts or suggestions as to how to get "through" an episode? It is complicated in class because there are 103 of us in a room and when I feel one coming on i get really nervous that i'll pass out in front of everyone. Also, it makes it terribly hard to concentrate. I tried doing the deep breathing but for some reason sometimes that makes it worse. Maybe i'm not doing it right?

and the sweaty hands thing is gross and makes it hard for me to take notes!

thanks again for all the support and kind words.

GFK
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 275
   Posted 11/14/2006 6:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I'll get tunnel vision or have black spots that block part of my vision (sounds almost like an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, huh?!) I know vision problems are common during A/P.

When you feel dizzy, can you bend down (to get your head low) til it starts to pass? Maybe pretend to be looking for something in your purse or bag? Just be sure to sit back up slowly!

Karen

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 11/15/2006 7:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Karen has a great idea theree for the dizziness I know it works for me
I get that vision and dizziness all the time anymore it seems I am not shocked nor wonder about anything the A/P does to me anymore I have lived with it for about 40 yrs and it is hard to do but there are techniques out there which I am just learning this past yr to help fight the fight and beat on this as it does us
I wish you all the best
Take care and be well
Lyn
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         Don't Comprimise Yourself :you are all you have    
 Never Give up on Yourself ,Your True friends nor your Dignity
   


shell79
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 11/15/2006 10:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Neb, I know how you feel.  I started having panic attacks about 2 months ago. I am also back in school and studying to become a Nurse Practitioner. This is my 3rd semester in the program so I'm not sure why I am just now getting stressed!  It's odd, I'm in a profession where I help people daily and I feel like I can't even help myself!
 
It has been almost 3 weeks since I had a panic attack and guess what.... I had 2 today! Do any of you ever have more than one in a day? I was driving to the hospital this afternoon and while I was driving began to have the feeling of dizziness and numbness around my mouth. I realized I had been shallow breathing and began to do my breathing exercises which sometimes contribute to my dizziness! I got myself calm again and went on my merry way.  Then I had to run in to Wal-mart tonight and although I am not aware of any social anxiety that I may have, but I had to drop all my stuff and leave immediately and go to my vehicle.  I feel so out of control. My doctor mentioned Lexapro after running  a ton of tests, but she wants to hold off because I am trying to have a baby. I feel so out of control!

neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/16/2006 6:28 AM (GMT -6)   
oooooh i totally have more than one a day. yesterday i woke up feeling real dizzy and when i walked it was like the floor was moving below me. i tried going to class but had to leave 1/2 way through and just went home to sleep it off. but then felt terrible all day. driving is the worst, someimes at red lights i start to freak out a bit.

i never have gotten shallow breathing- thankfully. that sounds terrible.

i was in the grocery store once and almost left but fought my way through the feelings- i just kep ttelling myself that if i passed out, at least i wasn't in class!

my doctor is starting to think though that while i might be having panic attacks i might also be having an inner ear problem that has been mking me dizzy. greeeeeeeat. a double whammy.

hopefully i survive class today.

-nicole

shell67
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2005
Total Posts : 1268
   Posted 11/16/2006 7:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Sorry for the late welcome neb, but we are glad you are here, it does sound like the horrible panic attacks we all have troubles with, i get dizzy also, and the sight seems to go odd at times, but i hope you start to feel better soon. Im proud of you for not leaving the store i have left many times after walking in ;) its alot of small baby steps to get through this, but we can do it, take care and keep posting
hugs, shell
" Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now, in this instant of time. From this moment onward you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."
Eileen Caddy


neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/16/2006 9:47 AM (GMT -6)   
you guys are all so great. i'm really glad my friend recomended this website to me. :)

so lexapro didn't work for me, but what other types of meds are out there and what have people found- likes, dislikes?

anxiety veteran
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 11/16/2006 10:17 AM (GMT -6)   
It's panic and anxiety. Hey, you are in law school. Anybody would be stresssed! Just continue to get help. Take meds and get counseling if you need it. It all helps. Just try not to get overwhelmed with school and take a mental break once in a while.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 11/16/2006 10:23 AM (GMT -6)   
I agree the fact that you are in such high stressed environment is gonna be tough
Pride and knowing you have us IS a good thing
Keep posting and letting us support you
Lyn
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         Don't Comprimise Yourself :you are all you have    
 Never Give up on Yourself ,Your True friends nor your Dignity
   


neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/16/2006 10:29 AM (GMT -6)   
thanks again.
i'm actually in class right now- feeling a little dizzy but i keep telling myself i'm not going to pass out and just to stick it out. and i keep doing deep breathing or letting myself just "sit still" and not focus on class for a few minute to regain composer.

i'm just so concerned with what people will think if i do pass out that it makes it worse.

jordaNZone
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 11/17/2006 3:43 AM (GMT -6)   
You will get over this rough patch...
Has your doctor prescribed you meds to help, and recommended counselling so you can learn new skills for coping with anxiety?
At first I couldn't control my anxiety doing the breathing thing either...but I learned to practice it when I wasn't anxious so it just kicks in when you need it most :)
Take good care.
Maree

aquarias
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 296
   Posted 11/17/2006 7:41 AM (GMT -6)   
I know one thing that I finally learned to tell myself.  I was scared to death about what people would think of me if I passed out.  I finally came to realize that first of all- I am not going to pass out, and second- A lot of people pass out for different reasons.  We have all seen a lot worse happen in our lives.  It seems like more of a big deal to us then it does to other people. I started to tell myself  "so what - go ahead and pass out- the world will not end!!"  That would usually make it go away.  It is hard at first because it is just so scary.    

neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/20/2006 11:39 AM (GMT -6)   
good point.
except i'm sitting in class right now i think having a panic attack...i'm dizzy my hands are sweating and i'm freaking out inside.

i ahte this somuch.

lucy99
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 11/20/2006 12:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Just remember, the more you think about the feelings you are experiencing during an attack, the worse they will get.  Try to think about something else like your deep breathing, or concentrate on what the professor is talking about. Don't put all your attention on your symptoms or they will just get worse.
Get well soon!!

neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/20/2006 1:02 PM (GMT -6)   
i ended up not making it through class- i had to leave with 15 minutes to go. I felt a "wave" of symptoms wash over me. My heart started going a mile a minute and my dizziness peaked to a point where I really thought i was going to hit the floor. I had to escape, so l eft and sat outside in the cold. That helped...a little. i still feel lots side effects though. and ih ave one more class left.

i can't wait until tomorrow when i start therapy and hopefully my doctor will proscribe me a good medicine today.

jordaNZone
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 11/20/2006 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi neb
Have you really got to the bottom of why you are having panic attacks? There is usually an underlying reason..seeing a counsellor could help you a lot..talking with someone about why you get so stressed is very uplifting - especially when you figure out how to control all that panic you are feeling.

Take good care.
Maree

Motherly
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 11/20/2006 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Neb, I agree w/ Maree.  There might be something underlying that is causing your anxiety.  I would try to find out what that is.  Another suggestion I have is.....you might be thinking about having an attack even before you get to class since that is when you seem to get them the most.  You might be associating you class with the attacks.  Try to stop your thoughts before class if you start thinking that way.  Also, this isn't going to just stop.  The attacks will just come less and less frequently.  Don't beat yourself up when you have one.  Don't start thinking "Oh, here is goes again".  It will just make it worse.  Give yourself permission to feel the way you are feeling.  Talk to yourself.  (not out loud)!! tongue But just say something like, Ok, I'm in law school, it's a challenge, I'm going to be a little stressed.  Or, the holidays are coming up, things are a little bit busier now.  Whatever, just give yourself permission.  I find that helps me.  Xanax also helped me.  Because there wasn't a day that I didn't have an attack, I just got worse and worse.  At least the xanax calmed me down enough to feel normal again.  I then learned how to deal with the attacks.  Now I guess I get them but talk myself out of it so fast, that is doesn't turn into anything.   Good Luck, Angela

neb5982
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 11/27/2006 10:41 AM (GMT -6)   
i hope all of you had a nice thanksgiving. i was able to get home, rest and not think about school. i didn't have a panic attack for 5 whole days. I started taking zoloft...and can't wait for it to start working. the only side effects i've experienced are crampy stomach but that is really it. my doctor gave me a perscription for ativan just incase, or until the zoloft kicks in...


here it is monday, in class, and just had a panic attack. i took an ativan and i think its starting to work but i didn't want to have to take that. theymake me sleepy and feel otu of it and i have 2 classes left and a meeting with a prof. i've started therapy...but i want results NOW. i'm just venting here....

i'm just frustrated. i've been dealing with this since the beginning of september and its almost december. it has made my first semester of law school almost unbearable. i can't deal with this, but i refuse to drop out because of some stupid mental condition i have. why isn't anything working and why do i panic? i have nothing ot worry about? what is the worst that can happen in class? i don't know the answer? big deal. i know i'm not going to die. and so what if i pass out...i'm sure nobody will really care that much.

i hate panic. i hate it. i hate myself for having it. this is such bullcrap..
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