Panic attacks along with social anxiety

3 years, 1 month ago

Er, hello.

Before today, I wouldn’t probably give a thought to the idea of writing here, but now it feels like an option. I’ve already went through existing discussions and with general problem of social phobia, they are sure to help, but I haven’t noticed anything specifically about having and treating panic attacks.

It’s been a long time since I had one until today – I’ve almost forgot! Really not a nice situation if you seem to be unable to control yourself, your voice gets all shaky and weak and you’re fighting very hard with tears. Plus, if it’s at a time and place when everyone else would react normally, so mostly no reason at all and very embarrassing at the end.

I guess those who had such know what I’m talking about and I’d like to ask on your ideas how to stop one and act normally or even better prevent happening it again.

Thank you :)

January 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm

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Profile photo of ELI var namnet ELI var namnet (@manimal) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Meditate.

And stop thinking about it.

Work on yours confidence.

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Profile photo of Jay Jay (@jaygran7) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

I have the same problem. I’ve learned that talking about what you feel insecure about really helps out in the long run. It’s hard in the moment though. I used to want to cry—I would tear up and and get a sick feeling in my stomach. I would just work on your confidence.

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Profile photo of Megan Wilson Megan Wilson (@poefan2490) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Working on your confidence and meditating will certainly help, although I’ve found that they don’t completely eliminate all of my anxiety. Try to avoid drinking coffee, soda, etc. since these can often be triggers. I also find that drinking herbal teas, particularly with chamomile or lavender, help to keep me calm and grounded. Make sure you get some form of daily exercise too, whether it’s yoga, weight lifting, dancing, or some sort of good cardio workout doesn’t matter, just get moving. Even with all of this I still feel anxious sometimes, but I haven’t had a really bad panic attack in a long time. Hope this helps!

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Profile photo of phelan1005 phelan1005 (@billphelan) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

I had the same problem all through college. Well, still do, but to a far, far lesser degree. I would get pretty bad tunnel vision and pretty much black out through any public speaking or social interactions.

I think that the thing that helped me the most was to just make light of the situation. Put it into perspective. So what if I’m no good at this? Who am I to care what all these people think? I also found that, through listening to other people’s interactions/public speaking, etc., I was able to find things that made them imperfect. That really helped me to realize how I wasn’t the only one that struggled; I was just the only one that was so preoccupied with it.

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Profile photo of phelan1005 phelan1005 (@billphelan) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

I had the same problem all through college. Well, still do, but to a far, far lesser degree. I would get pretty bad tunnel vision and pretty much black out through any public speaking or social interactions.

I think that the thing that helped me the most was to just make light of the situation. Put it into perspective. So what if I’m no good at this? Who am I to care what all these people think? I also found that, through listening to other people’s interactions/public speaking, etc., I was able to find things that made them imperfect. That really helped me to realize how I wasn’t the only one that struggled; I was just the only one that was so preoccupied with it.

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Profile photo of Rachel Rachel (@fakeplastictrees) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

In the short term, distraction and meditation, anything to take your mind off of the panic attack that you’re having. As you know, focusing on the panic attack is a feedback loop, and thinking about it makes it worse. Prayer/meditation/whatever focusing methods you prefer are key in the moment of the panic attack.

In the long term, find the triggers (as Megan said) and do what you can to eliminate or avoid them. I personally had a period of very high stress in my life 4 or so years ago, and the addition of certain foods and caffeine would always tip me over the edge into panic attacks. Of course the real fix was getting rid of that major stressor in my life, and once the situation cleared up my nervous system got back to normal within a couple of months. No panic attacks for me in the past 2 years at all!

Of course, for some the problem is not so easy to root out, so don’t discount seeing a professional to talk about medical treatments. My lil sister is on anti-anxiety meds that work absolute wonders for her. I seem to not need them myself, but I don’t look down on anyone who does. Whatever works for you, hey?

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Profile photo of Annie Annie (@peacekeeper) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

I find drinking tea makes my attacks worse. I have to avoid caffeine altogether, although maybe tea which contains no caffeine might help. My dr. described it as my mind couldn’t rest, and refused to let my body rest, due to it was used to being in total flight or fight mode from years of drama and trajedy. (I had gone through my father’s death, a divorce, and finally lastly my mother’s death.) My mind wouldn’t stop panicking. The panic attacks were just awful, but I found out that once I focused on my breathing, if I got out of bed and walked around and gave my body a chance to catch up with my mind, I would eventually tire out both phyically and mentally and fall back asleep. I had severe attacks for several years. Exericse and cutting out caffeine and meditation was the answer for me.

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Profile photo of Annie Annie (@peacekeeper) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

I find drinking tea makes my attacks worse. I have to avoid caffeine altogether, although maybe tea which contains no caffeine might help. My dr. described it as my mind couldn’t rest, and refused to let my body rest, due to it was used to being in total flight or fight mode from years of drama and trajedy. (I had gone through my father’s death, a divorce, and finally lastly my mother’s death.) My mind wouldn’t stop panicking. The panic attacks were just awful, but I found out that once I focused on my breathing, if I got out of bed and walked around and gave my body a chance to catch up with my mind, I would eventually tire out both phyically and mentally and fall back asleep. I had severe attacks for several years. Exericse and cutting out caffeine and meditation was the answer for me.

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Profile photo of Annie Annie (@peacekeeper) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Take deep breaths, also or breathe into a paper bag. It helps stop the hyperventilating. Cut out caffeine esp before bed. Exercise to keep your body active, as your mind races at night, which is what caused my attacks. (They only happened while I was sleeping and I would wake up screaming I am dying) It felt like impending death, and I literally didn’t know where I was, thought I was having a heart attack at first. Once I got out of bed and got active, the attack would leave. You may need to get on a very light sedative for a short while. Less is more when it comes to medication. I am so sorry to hear you have panic attacks, but I can totally related to how they feel and can advise you on how I handled my attacks. It was such an awful time in my life and I am so happy that I haven’t had a panic attack in years now. Hope yours goes away!

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Thanks everybody for responses, I didn’t think you would be so fast (or so many, it’s horrible how it always feels like you’re the only one in the world)!

Actually, I drink no caffeine stuff whatsoever and herbal teas like mentioned are regulars for me.. I wonder if it could have been worse if I did not?
Exercise or any kind of active movement is a thing I should definitely do more – but what do you guys think about music and dancing? Being a shy person I’ve always felt a little awkward about that, but now it seems it can help SO much in putting down the stress and taking it all less seriously in general. Some catchy guitar tune and when the world starts spinning, it doesn’t look like such a big problem anymore.

What Alexa said is another thing – it sounds possible, but very hard not to fight against it because what you get in the end? Pure panic, the thing I feared so much as well! (it gets a bit chaotic with this fear of feeling fear etc. :D) It sure is not bad when you are alone, but as my anxiety comes always because of the presence of other people around, letting it go won’t solve it and the only way seems to fight it or run. I searched for some breathing techniques and they may help from making it all just worse.

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Profile photo of stonedragon stonedragon (@stonedragon21) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

wow this is amazing stuff. alexa you are so wise and brave for looking it in the face. it seems to me to also be the way to go. but also in non panic moments try to see what brings this on and anaylize it . see if there is a logical reason for you to panic. is it due to being badly treated or laughed at at school?? find the reason behind it, then perhaps you can rationalize with yourself about it and realize that it is not needed to have such an extreme reaction to a certain situation.
i never had such attacks except in extreme emotional moments of despair and pain. like clenching my fists and screaming into a mountainside at night on my stomach in wet leaves. that kind of thing. just letting it out! indeed the way to go in my case too.
good luck with it rainy.
like every one says. you can over come this!
remember that all of us LOVE YOU!

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

thank you again, now I just have to try my best! We’ll see where it takes me.. :)

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Profile photo of Sasho Stoyanov Anonymous (@) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Um… I’m not sure I should say this but I agree with Alexa and I’ll say it. I had a panic attack once when I was 19 and I couldn’t cross the street without my mother beside me. I was “healed” when I just… let all my craziness out. And I still am. I don’t know how to put it better, I’m sorry. I just laugh at myself and make jokes about everything that I can’t do and eventually I do it. So yeah. I’m saying you should just freak the fuck out and make a joke about it. But you must let it all out. Express yourself through hysterical laughter. Writing about it is actually a better option but you are doing it now so… if you happen to have a panic attack next time try, bringing a journal with you and on the first page it should say with big letters: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dontpanic_1024.jpg

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Profile photo of Thomas Murray Thomas Murray (@mrmurray) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

i agree with alexa. Acceptance is a big part of dealing with panic attacks. Keeping a journal and getting out your comfort zone is also big. for me the panic attacks where there for a reason. I smoked a lot of weed and that amplified it but the root was a desire that i really had to get my act togeheter but did not do it. I did a few years ago and never had a problem since.

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Profile photo of paul_g paul_g (@paulg) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Hi Rainy,

this is very common. A few thoughts: be proactive; read a lot of self-help books (but pick which advice you follow); set goals and little challenges (your own, gently, mild, but yes, a little tiny bit of confrontation therapy..) – for example, starting slowly, set yourself a taks of saying “hello” to a stranger (of the same sex for safety) in the street in week 1. keep a journal, reflect on the relationships that coined you. draw mind-maps of people who played an important role for you, and what scary or empowering aspects of your relationship habits come into light when interacting with them. Pick a person you think you can trust and open up a little, hinting at your social unease. If you get warm and understanding, enjoy the safety from that. If you get harshness, pick another friend. Search for “social” in the search box of HE. Also very important, think about what purpose your fear serves. How does it protect you? Your body once learned this in order for it to fulfill a purpose. What could that have been? How can you gently introduce your mind and body to other ways of dealing with what it wants to protect you from? How can you take active steps to fulfill the protective role your fear currently has, thus saying to your fear: “Thanks for warning me and watching out for me, but I think it would be better for me if I took over now, and I will promise to you that I will also watch out very much for the same things you want to protect me from.” Make a promise to your fear that you will not forget what it has to tell you. It is your friend as well, and loves you in its own way. Check if there are self-help groups around (but beware of guys hunting vulnerable chicks..). And again, creatively think of little tasks for confrontation, e.g. see here http://www.highexistence.com/30-challenges-for-30-days/ . Try to find and make friends you truly feel comfortable around, who make you feel peaceful inside and where you can have the feeling that you can be yourself. Don’t settle for less in life, you deserve something this good! =]

Good luck with everything! -paul

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Profile photo of  Anonymous (@) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Oh, I see some Douglas Adams fan here :D I should probably just write it on my towel and carry it everywhere to remind myself.

Thanks to Paul for extensive advices, too! Although, I wouldn’t put saying “hello” to a stranger in the street for the first step.. for me really it would be at least “intermediate” kind of thing, I guess. Thought of talking with my fear as a friend has never crossed my mind, but it might help and even be fun after all.
It is a pity I live where I do, because you wouldn’t find any kind of self-help group here, not even anonymous alcoholics or how do you call them. The nearest groups are in our neighbor country, as far as I know…

But I can make it and some day I will. We all will.

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Profile photo of flapjack flapjack (@flapjack) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

@ rainy Rainy I feel ya. I really do and I might not be one to give sound advice because I have that shit too, but I’m learning to how to deal with it. Let me give you a simple truth that I’ve been learning recently. A realization from within is more grand than any advice you could ever get from someone else. You might get good advice here and there, but the realization that you create from it will completely trump everything else. The people who give really good advice are the ones who have realized these things for themselves, so if you want something that is going to work for you, stay with you, and ground you, then you are going to have to realize it yourself. Questions are good for self realization. Question all the problems that arise in you and don’t be lazy with it. First the questions will be unstructured and chaotic, but keep on, soon they will organize themselves subconsciously to what you want to know, then little answers will arise which will be little treasures boxes (goodies) of self realization, then more and more answers will arise and you’ll get better and better at this. Once it is second nature you won’t need advice anymore and you’ll have your own home grown philosophy on how to live your life personally tailored to you and no body will be able to touch you then. I say philosophy for you life because usually the social anxiety bleeds into most aspects of our lives. It’s good too because you use your brain and become smarter. It gets better. :]

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Profile photo of BirdFlyingHigh BirdFlyingHigh (@birdflyinghigh) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

Would it help to do something to get your anxiety out BEFORE you have a panic attack?

Not even before you start feeling nervous, I mean just setting aside a time to let yourself flip out and get all that nervousness out.

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Profile photo of Tom Tom (@phishphan) 3 years, 1 month ago ago

I have struggled with panic attacks since the day I was born and I would personally recommend exercise and asking your doctor if you can get prescribed to xanax or klonopin. I was once perscribed to xanax when I was going through a period of having lots of panic attacks and if I took a xanax before I had to do something that brought on anxiety, it would always calm my nerves and help me make it through my day. I also try to exercise when I am having lots of panic attacks because exercise relieves stress and works wonders for your circulatory system.

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