Worst panic attacks yet! Severe derealization!

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Jamie28
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Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 3/22/2007 9:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all,

I haven't posted in some time but I regularly visit this board to hear people's thoughts and to feel that I'm not alone. To make a long story short, I will give a quick summary of my past.

Male, 30 years old, suffering from panic disorder for a little over 3 years now. I had my first panic attack at 27 and it has been an uphill battle ever since. about 18 months ago or so, I started taking Effexor XR for the attacks. The medication helped curb the attacks but after 9 months of being on them, I decided to wean myself off. Reading about anti-depressant withdrawal on this forum was a huge help on making my recovery easier. I'm glad the medication helped but I felt very detached while taking it. I wanted to have my emotions back. Withdraw wasn't as bad as I had anticipated but wasn't entirely pleasant either.

Ok, fast forward 6 months. I was relatively panic attack free until one month ago. Then, out of nowwhere, they started hitting me again...hard. This time, it was accompanied by horrible derealization, which I had experienced before on and off. After 4 weeks, I have become very depressed and my derealization feelings continue to get worse each day. I feel like I just can't shake it. I'm reluctant to start medication again but I've had some incredibly severe attacks that have almost crippled me for an entire day at a time....

As with most panic sufferers, I always feel like I'm actually going to die when each attack hits that hard. I also found out that I was severly anemic last week. After a week of blood tests and taking iron supplements, I'm feeling like I have a little more energy but I have to see a specialist to see if I'm bleeding internally somewhere. I think this has raised my stress level, as well... :(

My question is does ANYONE else have attacks this strong? What about the derealization? Does it hang on for long periods of time for anyone?

Thanks in advance and I wish everyone the best! :)

Jamie

debaser
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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 3/22/2007 10:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi.

I'm really sorry that you're going through this.

By the time I was having real panic attacks I'd been so thoroughly checked out with medical tests I knew it wasn't going to kill me. I just thought I was going to lead a miserable life with no hope of ever getting better. In some ways that was worse than a fear of dying. I've faced death before in real life and handled it pretty well, ironically.

Derealization? I'm not sure how one would define that, but I'm pretty sure I've never experienced it.

BUT...I have had panic attacks hang on for hours and debilitate me for more than just a day! They'll wear you out like nothing else.

I'd think everyone's panic attacks are unique, but I'd say the worst of mine were very, very strong. I couldn't even begin to calm myself down.

But, please, don't be reluctant to take meds. I'm a hypocrite as I'm typically deathly afraid of pills, but hey, if you need them you need them. Don't allow yourself to suffer.

I'm sure there's some people on here that will give you better advice than I just did. Wish you the best, man. Take care of yourself.

andwes
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Date Joined Oct 2006
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   Posted 3/23/2007 8:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I have experienced derealization on and off during my life and its NOT fun! It's a VERY scary feeling and one you really have to fight....I used to have what I called a "split" derealization years ago, where I felt my left side wasn't connected to my right - now how nutty is that! So never feel that you're alone with these feelings - some of us have had the same, some of us had different types - but it all adds up to the same thing - anxiety/panic manifestations. I read something recently (maybe on this site) that a psychiatrist wrote in one of her books - "never worry about losing touch with reality - if anything, anxiety/panic sufferers have a heightened sense of reality which is why everything bothers them so much" so even though these derealization sensations may be very, very scary (I remember), they are just another part of the disease and you WON'T go crazy or psychotic. And as I continue to say to you all and to myself - I believe that ALL of our suffering stems from FEAR - so anything we fear the most (going crazy, being removed from reality) are just a manifestation of our inner FEAR....I'd be interested to hear from some of you as to whether you had alot of fearful experiences in your young lives as I did - I'm very sure that that's the reason I've turned out to be an extremely fearful person of EVERYTHING - especially health for me - and the main reason why I suffer so from anxiety/panic.

1ofhissheep
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 116
   Posted 3/23/2007 9:57 AM (GMT -6)   
What exactly is derealization? I never quite understood what people mean when they say they experience that.
'I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.' ....Walt Witman
 
 
 
"Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.".....Galatians 6:2


andwes
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Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 728
   Posted 3/23/2007 11:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Well for me it is the feeling that I'm not really there - that what is happening around me is more like something I'm dreaming than truly real.  It's a VERY VERY odd and scary sensation but I have to admit it feels good to know that other people experience it and that it's a part of the whole anxiety thing.  I actually haven't had the sensation in quite a few years but used to have it ALOT  in my teens and 20's.  But when I heard about other people experiencing it, I surely could relate.

Jamie28
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 3/23/2007 12:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone for the replies! I've always tried to describe derealization as andwes did. It's a sense of feeling like you just woke up from a vivid dream and never stepped out of it. Almost like a constant deja vu. It is a heightened sense of the world around you.

I used to be "ok" with the depersonalization/derealization in the past because it was fleeting and never lasted more than a few hours. What baffles me is why it's hanging on this time. My theory is that its a cycle for me. I went many months without severe panic attacks and then they hit me again. I think the constant stress of the repeated attacks threw me into this cycle. I'm hoping that it will break soon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and trying to be.

I just picked up one of the very few books on depersonalization or "DP" from Amazon. It's called "Feeling Unreal" and gives great insight (so far) into this issue.

smittythepig
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 3/23/2007 6:15 PM (GMT -6)   
does that book saying anything about post-traumatic stress syndrome? because a psychiatrist i went to said that PTSD is the cause of derealization and that it's actually kind of separate from the anxiety and if you deal with the trauma it goes away. i don't believe that but i would be interested to know what the book says.
 
by the way, i definitely experience it as well. it's rough, but i've learned i'm not alone in this and it's part of teh anxiety.

FloatingThoughts
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 3/23/2007 6:45 PM (GMT -6)   
My first post. Glad I found this place, aleready feel like I'm getting better just knowing that I'm not the only one going thinking he's going nuts.

I used to get panic attacks and anxiety while fearing I was going to die from some disease. When the docs and the tests showed I was fine, then it was fear of going nuts. Then I slowly looked at my life to realize I really wasn't.

But now it's getting worse than ever. I also get this feeling of shifting out of reality. I've begun to wonder about existence, time, what's the voice in my head that makes me think...and all those questions without answer make me go mad, and think I'm going to go insane because I can't answer them. But I know it's stupid, I've watched the movie "Matrix" and other sci-fi movies that try to define time passing and reality, and never did thinking about it make me feel bad. I've been happy all my life even though I was living a mystery that is called life. Today I'm worrying about "what if I'm not on the same time dimension as others are, and I'm all alone now while others are already in the future..." these thoughts with no answers make me feel weird, just like I wasn't in reality anymore...So I guess I kind of understand how you feel. And I'm sure there are many ways for this to manifest.

But we are not crazy, and we won't be. We simply are very afraid and this tiny dostortion of reality is I think our way of expressing the fact that we feel totaly powerless.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/24/2007 5:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Derealization is basically what anwes has posted and can be even more debilitating ........
I do occasionally suffer from this and I too feel like I am on the outside looking in kinda ya know ....great answer anwes and smitty
PTSD can and will cause this

debaser this is not the usual Panic attack .......
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Howlyncat
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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 3/24/2007 5:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Floating Thoughts
Welcome glad you found us here at HW
A fantastic support group and great group of very caring ppl here
You are not going crazy ........alot of us do feel that way but it is only a feeling ...
Have you tried Cognitive behavioural Therapy and other techniques to help you out ........
PLEASE stay with us and get the care empathy and support you need
Glad to have you abaord
LYN
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FloatingThoughts
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Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 3/24/2007 5:51 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for the welcome Howlyncat. I havent been through any therapy yet. There's always this fear of "what if it doesnt work, then I'm stuck". For now I'm trying to change my mind, do stuff even if I really don't feel like it, and read a bit on this forum in the morning and before I go to sleep. This place is a therapy in itself. Hope that when I get better I'll be able to help out in here instead of just exposing my fears. But again, reading about other's fears and state of mind help me a lot to banalize anxiety, when I feel alone in my mind.

Cheers to all!

Howlyncat
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Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/24/2007 7:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Cognitive behavioural Therapy is I am talking about is online and free and basically you do the work and look at your responses
I was a skeptic for sure but I did change my tune real quick .....lol

The link is
MoodGymsTrainingProgram.com......in case you want to check it out

Yes this site is therapy in itself for sure
Glad you are finding it useful and particiapting in threads

Be well
LYN


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Post Edited (Howlyncat) : 3/27/2007 4:17:13 PM (GMT-6)


FloatingThoughts
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 3/25/2007 1:13 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the link Howlyncat, but it links to some sort of spam site. Although I found this link on google that looks like what you're taking about: http://moodgym.anu.edu.au/

trying to get better
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/26/2007 7:10 PM (GMT -6)   
i am really glad i joined up and have read this board and messages ... i am going through a rough time with anxiety and panic attacks over past month ...i was on zoloft for many years and felt great ...about 2 years ago stopped working and then tried effexor and lexipro ...did not do much for me ... so for past 2 years have been without medication .. at this point i am hurting ...depressed and dealing with derealization ( derealization is terrible , really terrible )

think its time to go back to see someone and get back on meds ...anyone have any great success with anything other than zoloft , effexor and or lexapro ? i have a friend who is doing really well on Paxil and was wondering if anyone had good info on Paxil ..

and again its very encouraging to hear stories from real people like the ones in this post ... Keeping the hope

FloatingThoughts
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 3/26/2007 8:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Hang on in there, "trying to get better". For me derealisation occurs gradually during the day, getting to it's climax in the evening. For me it starts when I start questioning and doubting in everything. And as bad as it gets, as far as it can go, I always come back more or less wether its a couple of hours later or the day after. To reassure myself I've picked someone I trust, not too far from me, and told myself if I ever go so mad I can't think for myself anymore, I'll put all my trust in that person to guide me.

Also, even if it seems hard or impossible, I try to occupy myself with the things I usually that requires a certain ammount of concentration so I wont think so much about the stuff that debilitates me. I can't keep my mind off the bad thoughts constantly, but at least that way, every day when I go to sleep, instead of having shoveled only bad stuff in my mind all day, half of it is good half of it is bad. So going like this it seems like everyday I have a bit less of thenegative thoughts floating around. I'd say that today compare to the beggining of the week, where I had 99% bad thoughts, I might have had 65% bad thoughts VS 35% normal thoughts.

Of course that alone doesn't do it, I also take low dose of Ativan to keep anxiety down. But it still doesn't keep me from thinking. So I try to avoid negative thoughts for now, until I feel balanced enough to confront them again. Maybe make a movie or write something about it one day!

And one last thing, everytime bad derealisation happens, when it's kind of over, I take the time to notice how nothing has changed around, and I'm still myself . Still have the same memories, people around me are still the same, still like and dislike certain things. The world keeps on turning, your heart keeps on beeting, you are still yourself. It just takes a bit of time.

I hope I can make you feel less alone in this, as I once thought before finding this place. Things change, and when you've been through the worst, it can only start getting better.

trying to get better
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/26/2007 9:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Floating ..i do feel it ebbs and flows and i can go long periods without much of a problem ..its just when things are negative , it gets so overbearing and difficult ...exhausting really ... for me it just gets all bunched and lumped together ...melancholy and depressed , fighting the derealization and the fear / anxiety ...definitely tough but is really reassurring when seeing and hearing others stories ..main thing is that it seems very clear as scary as it is when it happens , I am not going crazy

I plan to see a doctor and see if its good to get back on the meds ...i think if i can get rid of the depression alot of the other stuff will subside ...i am certainly keeping the faith

thanks again

ti-bebechat
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/27/2007 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello there Jamie28, l know what you are going through.
Believe me, l have been on effexor xr for 10 years now, yes l know it has been a long while. l went through detox of Rivotril this winter. Wow l mean l was off course home, l could not work nor function for a while, and like you said about de realization oh yes the empty lost spaced out feeling that we are stuck somewhere in limbo not feeling attached to our body or able to communicate. l think it is our emotions that have been cut off too long and we are starting to feel them again at a very high level. l took 2 group therapies about panic and anxiety and it really helped. Have you spoken to a specialist in this feild about group therapy? l know that some days are just hell but l think about the good ones and tell myself tyjat at least there are more good days than bad now. l could go on and on about panic and anxiety but the important thing is to talk talk and talk more to people that you trust about what you are feeling. there is no shame in this. Keeping buzy helps doing something different changes our thoughts and if you have a special one in your life a good massage or back scratch does the thing. Do not let go.

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/27/2007 5:19 PM (GMT -6)   
OH I still work on the old one FT....I have in Fav's

Anyways ppl Harry has done a fantastic thread on this exact thing please do check it out
LYN
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 **When you Feel Anothers Pain ....You Are Humbled**
 
 
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Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/27/2007 5:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to HW ti-bebechat
Glads you found us here and I hope you stay with us and become active on the boards

Support is great here so are the ppl

LYN
    Contribute today to support Healing Well Forums...Donate @
 
 
 **When you Feel Anothers Pain ....You Are Humbled**
 
 
Co Mod... Crohns        
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