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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 1/7/2010 3:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Firstly, let me introduce myself as a new member to the forums.

I'm a 28 year old male living in British Columbia Canada and have been suffering from panic attacks for about 10-12 years. Unfortunately, they have become exponentially more frequent the last few months and their severity is petrifying.

For me, it all circles around my heart. My father had drug addiction issues (prescription based) and eventually died of a very sudden heart attack at the age of 50. Since he's passed, my panic attacks had at least quintupled up to the last 10 months or so when they have skyrocketed to the point that I am now having them every day and have been needing to use my sublingual ativan much much more than I used to.

My heart will beat very hard and fast and easily reach 160bpm and then i really start to lose control. My worst bouts are when I hit 200bpm ( I have a heart rate monitor in my watch) and my vision goes blurry. This is when the paramedics need to assist.

I shouldn't exaggerate it too much, the above certainly happens, but I start to panic even if my heart is at's more of the feeling of a pounding chest and the 'what if' it gets faster that really scares me.

I am here to seek resources and support.

I have been laid off since July, and am too scared to search for work diligently. This is severely affecting my relationship with my girlfriend as my EI benefits will dry up in 4-5 months. I tried going to a group meeting setting for those with panic disorder and I've given myself excuses to not go back after the first meeting which I found to be minimally helpful, but overall it was a step in the right direction.

I am currently on a wait list for 1 on 1 counselling with a free service in my area.

I also have been looking into "The Linden Method" and "Panic Away" but have to be wary with where I spend my money.

Currently, as mentioned I take Sublingual ativan for my attacks; however I'm worried about becoming addicted as my father was with xanax. I already have made myself a relative hermit in the past months, being much too scared to socialize not to mention the fear of being asked why I still don't have a job after working for 10 years straight. I used to have social drinks with friends, now I must avoid alcohol at all costs as it seems the next day I will have incredible attacks even after only 3 or 4 drinks the night before. This change has been in the last 5-6 weeks, or after I quit smoking on December 2nd.

Yes, that was a very stressful event. I had such severe toothaches that I just 'forgot' to smoke and eventually just gave it up, even after the dental issue was fixed.

I think that's enough to chew on for a first post. :)

Thanks for reading.

Anyone with insight into these two above methods and their efficacy for yourself would be helpful as well as anything else that can lead me on to a path of recovery.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 1/7/2010 7:15 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi flames23 and welcome to Healingwell's Anxiety/Panic forum. We are so glad you found us. Since money is a problem for you right now, I would suggest you check out our resources thread (first post). We have some free online programs that may be of value to you to help you get control of your a/p. I hope you can get in with the therapist soon, as I found them to be of great help in quieting down my a/p. Again welcome, and we look forward to hearing more from you.

Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease & Anxiety/Panic
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 1/8/2010 1:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for the warm welcome :)

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 1/8/2010 12:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello ~

As a 20+ sufferer of Anxiety and Panic, I definitely feel your pain.

One thing I know for sure... we oftentimes "over monitor" our bodies and respond in a catastrophized way when we feel "less than normal"... i.e. in your case your heart bpm. Checking it and seeing it rise can lead you to subconsciously send Automatic Negative Thoughts... which can only worsen the situation .. and elevate it even more...

It's a vicious upward spiraling effect....

I might suggest trying to learn "belly breathing" to calm down your heart rate, as opposed to "leaning" on the Ativan (which as you know is addictive)

Also... affirmative statements might be of help when your heart rate goes up. You might take comfort that your heart CAN take it and if you can learn to slow it down, you should be fine.

The heart can beat quickly and continuously for a long period of time without causing any damage. Although heart palpitations seem to occur in the left side of the chest, there are many DIFFERENCES between panic attack and a real heart attack. During a real heart attack, the primary symptom is a crushing sensation inside the chest and a pain that is continuous.

During a panic attack, the attention is focused on the quick and rapid beating of the heart itself.

People having panic attacks are NOT experiencing heart problems.

A real heart attacks produces crushing internal pain that doubles people up and drops them to the floor. They DO NOT hear their heart beating nor do they care. The intense, crushing pain is the only thing they can pay attention to.

Best wishes and support. You are not alone!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 1/10/2010 1:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for your reply LT!!! I agree, all of what you said is exactly 100% true.

I will have to look into the 'belly breathing' as honestly, the only thing i seem to be able to do during an attack is to breathe in through my nose...hold...then slowly out through my mouth and repeat...'circular' breathing I think it is called.

Regardless, today I was at a hockey game that I'd been looking forward to FOREVER. Well, since September when the schedule was released.

It was Vancouver vs. My Calgary Flames. I live in Vancouver, but am a life-long diehard flames fan. I went with my brother as he got 3rd row tickets for us for my xmas gift.

I was doing okay up to the end of the second when I needed to go to the washroom. Well there are about 150 stairs from my seats to the concourse which elevated my heart somewhat which was already going too fast for me anyway.

I go to the washroom, then locked myself in a stall to try and calm down. When I'm around 115bpm or under I seem to be able to calm down normally and be okay. But I was over the 140bpm barrier and was having a severe attack (mind you I'm on 3mg of ativan at this point over the course of a few hours...3 x 1mg spread out since 3pm today). This was the first time it's ever gone over that 140 barrier when I have been on any medication. My eyes started to go, I get blurred vision and it wasn't just the speed of my heart but how hard it was beating it was deafening in my ears.

Low and behold I had missed 14 minutes of the 20 minute 3rd period...finally got ahold of myself ( i was in the washroom for a good 30 minutes freaking out) and convinced myself that having a 'heart attack' or fainting in the washroom will do me no good anyway. So I went to my seat and tried my best to enjoy the rest of the game.

Which I achieved, Calgary won 3-2 in a Shootout. It was really exciting. Almost too much so.

That was my day, I was so petrified to go to this game i'd been looking to forever, but went, enjoyed it, had a really bad attack, but LIVED. :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 1/10/2010 1:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Well that's good it didn't stop you from going out. Keep on pressing forward like that.

If you're worried about xanax or ativan addiction, you could ask your doctor about a switch to a longer acting benzo. It sounds like you're having a more continuous problem with anxiety and panic so perhaps the as-needed medications aren't doing you much good. While you can and will become dependent on long-acting benzodiazepines, addiction isn't nearly as likely as it is with the short-acting ones. Plus like I said I think they're more suited for what you're going through. Ativan and Xanax are supposed to be used more or less infrequently to stop panic attacks. Longer acting benzos are used to prevent them. You take a small does usually twice a day whether you're feeling anxious or not. The drug builds up in the bloodstream and sticks around at a low level.

Hopefully this made sense. I'm writing late at night.

Good luck to you.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 106
   Posted 1/10/2010 6:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Just wanted to welcome you. You are certainly not alone. This is a great place to come and find support and comfort.

Blessings to you....kitkat

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 1/10/2010 4:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for your replies debaser and kitkat32.

Debaser, I will certainly bring these points up tomorrow. I have a one on one counselling session tomorrow with a UBC grad student (i think). It's free counselling, so I was on a waiting list for a long time, but the first appointment is finally upon me. I'm pretty sure it's a grad student from UBC...anyway, we'll see.

I'm interested to get some objective opinions from a 'professional'. It's hard feeling emasculated day in day out, as my live-in girlfriend goes to work and I sit at home and try not to have 'panic attacks' while sitting on EI.

Further, I make just as much on EI as my gf does working full-time (which isn't much...we're still very much paycheque to paycheque) which causes some friction as well.

Obviously there is no way for her to even understand that her working all day, and me playing 'house husband' (doing all the household chores while having panic attacks a lot of the time for no freaking reason) is the same. I mean, she goes and works for an employer. I don't have to deal with people, just myself...which can be worse of course.

Oh well. I'm blabbing. I do that, fyi :)

On a high note I'm 39 days smoke-free! Hehe.
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