EVERYBODY PANIC! No, Wait, That’s Just Me

You may be wondering why I haven’t been writing all that much recently, at least not the deep, well thought out works of non-fiction literature you come here to enjoy. (At least, in my imagination you’re wondering why I haven’t been writing.) I feel I owe an explanation of that, and finally I feel like I can actually talk about it.

It was Monday morning. The 20 minute drive from home to work through the crowded interstate and cluttered local roads was accompanied by the book-on-CD version of Issac Asimov’s I, Robot, instead of the usual political talking heads and local news chatter. Calm drive, really, just full of traffic. Got there around 8:30 AM.

By about 10 I had already settled down, checked my email and started on some work which I knew would eat up the better part of the week. That, of course, is what they pay me for, so no complaints there. In fact, I was still playing out some of the nuances from I, Robot in my head. At about that time, I started feeling a sharp pain in my chest. At first I thought my shirt got caught on a couple of chest hairs (yes, I have chest hair. Not much, but it’s there). I scratched it thinking it would go again, but it didn’t. Suddenly, I felt tingles going through my chest and making their way into my arms and hands, which had become numb. I started feeling dizzy and as if I was about to black out. Suddenly, my heart misfired and started speeding up:

Thump… thump… thump… KAthump… flump…………………. flump……………………. thump..thump..thump.thump.thump.thumpthumpthumpthumpthump…

I stood up. This can’t be, I thought. Was I having a heart attack? I needed to walk around.

I got out of my office and walked up and down the office building, thinking that if I just walked around a little my heart rate would calm back down. Maybe… maybe if I got some water…

thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump

I had always been able to control my heart rate to an extent. Unlike most people, I can feel my heart rate by simply concentrating on it, and with a little controlled breathing I could usually speed up or slow down my heart as needed. Not today. My hands felt cold, numb, and they were trembling wildly. My tongue felt as if it had grown in my mouth and was now trying to choke me, I felt short of breath, as if having an asthma attack, and I felt disconnected, like if everything I was seeing was part of a dream.

Something is definitely wrong, I finally admitted to myself. I didn’t want to go to the hospital, didn’t want an ambulance called, but if this really was a heart attack then I better just admit it.

It couldn’t have been a heart attack, could it? I’m too young. Sure, I’m overweight, but I’ve lost a lot of weight recently. I’d been eating healthier than I had in years, and exercising more. This couldn’t be happening to me now, could it? And if I went to the hospital, if I admitted something was wrong, would I die?

I went to the office manager, still trying to convince myself that if I could just get my mind of whatever I was thinking this would all go away. “I’m not feeling too well,” I said. I then asked her to talk with me. Scratch that, I told her to talk with me. After a minute the realization had grown in my mind that I should be going. Apparently she felt the same way.

“You want to go ahead and go home?” she asked, in her light Brazilian accent.

“Actually,” I said, struggling with the words, “I think you need to call an ambulance.”

While calling 911, one of the other workers stopped by. “Are you OK?” she asked.

“Uhm… no,” I said, with a shaky voice. I was now sitting in the office manager’s seat with my legs on another chair, raised, parallel to my hips.

The worker then left and came back with another person, an ex-nurse now working as a computer programmer. She did a couple of minor checks on me and talked to the 911 operators. After a minute she told me, “I don’t think you’re having a heart attack, but I don’t know what’s going on.”

She stayed with me for what seemed like a long while. In reality it had only been about ten minutes since I first started noticing the symptoms, but every minute lasted for an hour.

Just before the EMTs came I called The Wife.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Hey, hon,” I said in my still-shaky voice. “Listen, I’m not feeling well, I need to go to the hospital.” As I said this, the EMTs walked in. “I want you to know I love you. I gotta go.” Click.

As I got poked and probed by the emergency medical technicians (EMTs), an EKG revealed that my heart was healthy. Pumping fast, but healthy. My blood pressure was high, 151/73, but that, I was told, was expected after whatever I had just gone through.

I was taken to the hospital which, lucky for me, was right across the street. There I was again poked and analyzed, turned and x-rayed, and poked again. (Blood was drawn six times, from six different places during my time there. By students. I’m still sporting some of the bruises.)

A few hours later, after The Wife had come to the hospital, after a visit from my boss who observed that my shoes had not yet been taken off (“That’s a good sign,” he noted), and after trying my best to extract information from whoever was looking at me at the time (including the x-ray technicians, who let me look at my x-rays, see my heart, and commented that I had “huge lungs,” after revealing that at least one of them was a deep-sea diver), I was let go. By now it was 2:00 PM and all I wanted to do was rest, and enjoy the fact that I was alive. (In fact, the original name for this portion of the story was “Yesterday I Died. I Was Born Today.” This seemed a bit too melodramatic, though vis-a-vis what I discovered next.)

For the next few days I took it fairly easily. I worked from home, slept a good amount, and made sure I had nothing to worry about. I opened the windows, spent time out in the porch, smelled the air, and tasted my food with a curiosity that can only be attributed to someone who’s appreciating life for what it is.

I had a meeting with the cardiologist a couple of days after the incident, as well as a meeting with my family practitioner. Nothing new came from any of those meetings.

The cardiologist — a surprisingly attractive Brazilian woman who looked like she was in her late tweens/early 30s and therefore almost too young to be a cardiologist; I felt as if in a television show — took another EKG and scheduled an echocardiogram, but said that neither the blood work nor the EKG revealed anything abnormal. (“Your EKG looks good,” she said to me. “Phenomenal, in fact.”) She ordered another blood test to check for thyroid problems, which I had revealed to her run in my family. I don’t know much about these, however, only that my grandmother has problems with her thyroid, and that she’ll fall asleep in the middle of telling you something. By this time I didn’t fear the sting of the needle any more: I had apparently been downgraded to pin cushion, and a pin cushion need not fear piercing. I was also ordered to pick up a 30-day heart monitor to record any future incidents. Aside from caffeine-induced heart palpitations, I hoped this thing didn’t record anything else.

The family practitioner — Dr. MK I’ll call her, since I’ll likely be referring to her in the future — said something along the same lines: EKG looks fine, bring back the blood test results, and keep wearing that heart monitor.

The days following the initial incident I had felt fine. In fact, I felt better than fine. I felt great! Better than I had in… years? Certainly seemed that way.

As I studied this another possibility arose, one which had been mentioned by a few people, but which I didn’t want to accept: that what I had gone through was a full-blown panic attack. I went to the usual sources for information about this sort of thing — WebMD and Wikipedia — to see what they said about it. Here’s the Wikipedia description:

A panic attack is a period of intense, often temporarily debilitating, sense of extreme fear or psychological distress, typically of abrupt onset. Though it is often a purely terrifying feeling to the sufferer, panic attacks are actually an evolutionary body response often known as the fight-or-flight response occurring out of context. Symptoms may include trembling, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain (or chest tightness), sweating, nausea, dizziness (or slight vertigo), light-headedness, hyperventilation, paresthesias (tingling sensations), and sensations of choking, smothering and dreamlike and disconnected sensations. During a panic attack, the body typically releases large amounts of adrenaline into the bloodstream. Many first time sufferers of a panic attack believe they are dying, going insane or having a heart attack. Many say panic attacks are among the most frightening experiences of their lives.

This sounded exactly like what I had gone through, almost to the letter. In fact, the list of symptoms on the page was almost verbatim what I had told the doctors I was feeling. This looked promising, although frighteningly so. Still, the more I read the more I began to be convinced that this was it, especially in light of what was now quickly becoming the second choice, Hyperthyroidism. Hopefully that first panic attack would just be an isolated incident.

It wasn’t.

I was at a meeting that Friday, again at work, when suddenly there it was again: the tingling sensations, the pain in the chest, the racing heart rate — the works. I took my chances and instead of calling another ambulance I went outside for a while to walk, quickly, up and down the sidewalk. Luckily, my office is in a medical office complex, so if something went wrong I could get to a door quickly enough. I was hoping to burn some adrenalin by walking and stop some of the other side effects of the panic attack, if that’s what it was. For all I knew, I was having a heart attack.

After a few minutes, and after being joined by someone willing to talk with me during the ordeal, I felt myself calming down again. My heart rate came back to normal range, I stopped trembling, and my skin was no longer numb or tingly. Yet, I was scared now, very scared. What if these things kept going on forever ever time I came to work? The racing heart, the moments of pure fear, the need to run away from wherever I was, the vertigo, the nausea, the fainting feelings, the numbness, the choking… Would these things just keep going all the time, everywhere?

That weekend I had a few more episodes, none as bad as the first, or even the second, but bad in their own right. I could no longer tell what the trigger(s) could be. On one night, I had them for so long I eventually just passed out on my bed. After every attack I was hungry and very, very tired. That night I simply could not stay awake any more. Thank God for that. I didn’t want to stay awake.

The next week I had the echocardiogram. Pulse was around 58, which seemed right. I have yet to hear from any doctors about it so I can only presume that if they found something it wasn’t too bad. I remember when I had broken my knee a few years ago. They called me back that night to run a more invasive test, to make sure no veins or arteries were pinched. These guys, thankfully, don’t take chances, which in this case made the old saying “No news is good news” a truism.

I also had a meeting with Dr. MK wherein I revealed my latest findings. She suggested Zoloft if I wanted a pill for it, especially since the attacks were not isolated, but were now becoming somehwat commonplace, but I told her I didn’t want a pill. She then wrote me a referral to go see a psychologist to see if we could get to the root of the problem. Even if it was biological, the psychologist could help put my mind at ease. The fact that this may be panic disorder has not escaped me.

During this time, a conversation started up in itazuraßeau’s blog in which the topic of panic attacks came in. (If you click on the link you can see part of our conversation, the public part at least. You may want to turn off your speakers. By the way, Beau, a.k.a. itazuraßeau, is an old friend of mine from college who I spent time with when working on the USF music school computer labs. Oboe player. Very good. He’s now living in Japan.) He has helped me understand the issue a bit better and as served as a bit of a sounding board for me, one which talks back and offers useful advice, some of which I may share later here. Most of this advice revolved around medications and why not to take them, advice which The Wife, a psychologist by training, echoed loudly.

Anyway, so to the point of this post: now you understand why my posting has slowed as of late. I just haven’t felt like writing and frankly, for the moment I’m not going to do things I don’t feel like doing. Might sound childish and amateur, but frankly all I care about now is getting whatever issues are causing the attacks resolved. I have a few suspicions, but I don’t care to go into them right now, mostly because they’re just that: suspicions. If I start attributing stuff to them I may be doing something detrimental by building up walls which would later have to be torn down.

You may also be wondering why I’m letting all this out in public. Mostly is to bring light to the situation. Also because the original purpose of this blog includes it being a way in which I can learn of myself better. If you’re wondering, no, I’m not going insane, at least not any more than most other people. I’m just, apparently, dealing with a bunch of stress, stress I didn’t know was there. (That this happened now is surprising because the past two years have made for one of the calmest periods of my life.) Then again, if you’ve known me personally for any amount of time, you probably know stress something I normally feel that I thrive on and enjoy. Guess I got that one wrong.

So, will I keep my writing going? Yes, but on my own schedule, something I haven’t always felt at freedom to do. I’ll try to continue posting at least twice a week, and depending on time constraints and other considerations I may post more, but for the time being, until I get all of this sorted out my posting may be a bit erratic. My apologies in advance.

Take it easy. I’ll work on doing the same.

12 thoughts on “EVERYBODY PANIC! No, Wait, That’s Just Me

  1. Thanks, although I don’t think getting more rest will help out any. There are other issues at play here, I think.

    Glad you enjoyed the post, though, at least enough to go without air for such a long time. “Sufficatingly good”? I think I like that slogan.

  2. just wondering what happened next- I have been dealing with this for about 9 years now off and on and lately ts been on and cant seem to get it to go away– very frustrated and tired and I am tired of being tired and sick– thanks cynthia

  3. What happened next: Let’s see if I can get this all in the right order:

    1) I had a few more attacks, mostly small ones, but annoying enough. I was so afraid of having the attacks that THAT brought on a panic attack.

    2) I started exercising more. That helped, but not in the way that I had anticipated. I thought if I used up a bunch of my adrenaline during exercise then the attacks would be less likely. While the attacks that occurred were less severe, they weren’t eliminated. What helped was the time spent thinking through commonalities of the attacks: when did they happen? what was I thinking about? what was I doing at the moment?

    3) After a lot of thinking (and piecing together of seemingly random pieces, I determined that the reason for the attacks was a fear (rational or otherwise) of running into trouble with a figure of authority in my life. That figure was usually tied into my finances, so I suppose you would say it was a fear of financial difficulty, but really it was a fear of being watched and getting caught doing something “wrong”. (The big hint here was the panic attack that happened in my car. I had been listening to the audio book version of 1984, and needed to get gas in the car, then lunch before I headed back to work. My worry was that I wouldn’t make it back on time. This was confirmed by a future attack I was able to stop, during a conversation about business with a friend of mine, in which the subject of long term finances came to mind. Again, I felt as if I was being watched, although the watcher wasn’t necessarily a corporeal person.)

    A major issue which precipitated the attacks (and once you read this you’ll understand why the aforementioned was pinned as a major cause) was a shift in my priorities. I have as of late been spending a lot of time writing and working on my writing skills, as well as reading fiction and philosophy, something I haven’t allowed myself to do in almost 6 years because I felt that I *had* to keep reading self improvement and business books. While I enjoy these, it was that feel of needing to do it (as if by command, not by thirst), and the negation thereof by openly reading something else (instead of spending 5 minutes here and there glued to the political and scientific blogs) that became a major contributor to the panic attacks.

    4) After figuring out what the issue was, I spoke with itazuraßeau (email, actually), then spoke about the situation in depth with my wife. Speaking about it openly frankly, and having figured out — after a LOT of working it out in my thoughts, and speaking to her and myself out loud — what the issue was helped enough that I haven’t had a major attack since. A couple of small ones, usually easily diffused by figuring out the possible reasons within the framework I found to have been affecting me.

    5) I started to see a psychologist about this, and while that’s helped I’ve found my own introspection to have been much more insightful than those, at least for the issue at hand. Still, it’s interesting to see the underlying causes of even that: studying myself and why I think the way I do, tracing it to the root causes of these, is something I’ve found supremely interesting, specifically in that I can now see where my thoughts spawn from, what preconceptions are within me, and what items may be nurture as opposed to nature (which thoughts came from my relationships with family and friends versus what genetic — for a lack of a better term — predisposition defines my base modus operandi.

    Nevertheless, I’ve yet to have another panic attack. All the tests from the cardiologist came back normal, but revealed that I was was very sensitive to heart palpitations. This was unsurprising because I’ve always been able to monitor my heart rate and even guess nearly correctly my blood pressure by simply listening to myself.

    With all this said, Cynthia, you may want to begin a process of self observation, observe when the attacks happen, including the severity of the attack, what has happened that day, what will happen that day, what you were listening to or watching, what you were thinking about at the time of the attack. These observations will likely reveal one or two core items which are the cause of these attacks. Just remember: the power of your mind is not in that it can conquer the world, but in that it can conquer itself. Use that to your advantage, because it is truly the only tool you have. All panic attacks have biological components, most of which you can’t control. That’s fine. There are biological components you can control, as well as environmental. (For example, I find that being outdoors helps calm and stave off attacks, whereas being indoors, specifically where I can’t see the sky, becomes part of the determining factor for the severity of the attack. This may have to do with my recent rethinking of matters regarding spirituality, including God, the soul, and the existence or inexistence thereof. Could very well be a matter of association, since I have always associated the sky with God and angels; as a kid I used to look at the sky to try and see the angels in the clouds.)

    In the end, you will have to observe. Sit down with someone very close to you, someone who you know is a good listener, and someone who is mature. (Finding an intellectually engaging older person may be your best bet here, for example a priest, someone who will listen to you without judgment and who may help by asking smart questions about what they’ve observed about you. Even if you don’t know many older folks, or none which fit that description, we all have those friends around us who are about as non-judgmental as can be. These people usually make for the best listeners, since many times you’ll be figuring things out and simply want someone there to witness the fact that you’re figuring things out. Also, pick someone who can stay quiet and won’t try to solve your problem for you. In other words, avoid most guys on this one.)

    Anyway, this has gone long enough. Good luck and I would appreciate it if you updated me on your condition. If you wish you can contact me at my email (norb@gnorb.net). Although my time is limited, I’d be glad to help out in any way I can.

  4. I went to the dentist for the first time in about 8 years in March of 2006, I have a heart murmur and take antibiotics prior to my dental cleanings, I took my antibiotics and went and was happy to find out while my gums were not in good shape and I had a couple of cavaties there wasn’t any serious problems.

    The dentist told me it would take several visits to start my way into having a healthy mouth, after my second cleaning which was a few days later than the initial visit I awoke in the middle of the night feeling like my throat had closed and I couldn’t breathe. This only lasted a few seconds and while now scared I was able to fall back asleep….

    The next few days I noticed this feeling of a lump in my throat like something was stuck there and then more and more the sensation of my heart pounding and skipping beats{palps}became common, Being a longtime smoker I decided that it was time to throw them away and I quit scared that they may have finally done me in.

    The feelings were getting worse and I went to my cardiologist to get a echocardiogram, the results were normal and he disagreed that quiting smoking was the reason for my new found problems, He suggested that it sounded to him like fear and panic.

    What followed that very evening was a full blown attack of somekind that caused my entire body to feel like it had fallen asleep. shaky,cold and lightheaded, it lasted about 15 minutes and my mother gave me a lorazapam to calm me down as I thought this was the end. It passed and happened again two days later. I then felt it every once in awhile but never as severe as these two occasions. However symptoms like heart palpations, dizziness, exhaustion, difficulty breathing, numbness and tingling in hands, buzzing in head when trying to sleep, out of body sensations, twitching, fast heartrate, choking feelings, anxiousness, and more occured on a every day basis, while sometimes for weeks these symptoms are not as strong as other times not a day goes by without one or a series of the following affecting my life.

    I have been to the heart doctor at least a half dozen time in the last 16 months, to my family doctor countless number of times and have seen every doctor of almost every field inbetween, the results have been all positive. But really its negative because at least a physical abnormality could be treated. More than one doctor has said it sounds like panic attacks but my response to this is ‘How could it be constant?’ if it happened once in awhile and the rest of the time I felt normal I would not mind so much.

    Im now 32 years old and don’t want to suffer from this forever, also I’m not a person who wants to go on anykind of anti-depressant, one allergy doctor perscribed cloenazapam for me to take if the feelings are really bad and I have taken it only 4 or 5 times since and only at night when it seems the symptoms are at there worst. I cannot deny that I feel better now than when this first began, but the bottom line is it’s still there and I’ve become used to some of the feelings, which is to say I don’t get as scared now as I once did.

    Please let me know what you think………………………Thank You

  5. Sounds to me like you’re dealing with panic attacks. The way I was able to deal with mine was as follows:

    1) Go see a psychologist. (Note: not a psychiatrist.) They can help you figure things out and connect dots you may not be able to connect yourself.

    2) Don’t dismiss the fact that it MAY be biological. Malfunctions in the brain can cause the adrenalin to start pumping in your system (causing the sudden thumping in the chest) which then creates a feedback loop of fear/panic/more adrenalin/fear/panic/more adrenalin… This causes you to have the feeling of needing to run away somewhere (basic fight or flight response).

    3) Most of the time, however, it is NOT biological. In my case I had to narrow down what were the situations which were causing me to have panic attacks. I figured out the attacks were coming whenever I felt “watched”, not by a person, but by responsibility. I felt I was faltering in my job at the time (I wasn’t), and I felt I was faltering with my company at the time and therefore being watched and judged badly by the future (I wasn’t, faltering, I mean), and I was reading 1984 (Big Brother was watching). Specifically this dealt with the area of finances, since The Wife and I were talking about having kids ($$$) and one of the big attacks came at a Toys R Us, when we were looking at the Monopoly boards ($$$). In short, it was the feeling of being watched (usually in matters involving finance) that were causing my attacks. Once I figured that out my attacks ended. (Seriously, I haven’t had one — not even a small one — ever since).

    4) Small attacks were usually the result of my fearing that I would have another attack. Again, this caused a loopback cycle. Fear caused an increase in adrenalin which pushed me to panic (clammy, numb hands; heart palpitations) which caused fear which caused an in crease in adrenalin which pushed me to panic, etc. The key here is retreating into your mind and remembering that this is ALL in your mind, and that soon it will pass. Meditation, especially Yoga, comes in very handy here.

    FYI: Cut off the caffeine, smoking, and alcohol consumption, at least for a while. You may be able to go back to them later on, once you’ve worked through the issues.

    There are a lot of things you can do about your panic attacks, but most of this boils down to the following: First, you ARE likely a very healthy individual. The panic attacks ARE in your mind. Yes, they have biological components, but that’s just your minds chemicals interacting with each other. Next, you’re probably fairly intelligent, which means your mind is collecting more information than most other folks. That’s good in that, hey, you’re smart, S-M-R-T! That’s bad in that the panic attacks will be triggered when you gather more stimulation that you can handle on a certain subject (in my case, again, it was finances and the fear of being “watched”). Finally, remember: you’re not going to do this alone. Make sure you socialize with friends and they know what’s going on. A true friend will be able to help you. You’re not crazy (hopefully), you’re not homicidal (hopefully), and the only thing “wrong” with you right now is that your “fight or flight” response acts up at weird times, something which can, with discipline, be overcome.

    Take time out to relax. Read a few books. Find out what you really are meant to do in life. You’ll find that when you’re happy, when you feel like you’re doing what you’re meant to do the panic attacks won’t come any more. But first you have to figure out the reason (or reasons) you’re getting the attacks in the first place.

  6. Thank you GNORB very much for your response. I have heard similar things from others who have suffered from attacks and from doctors and friends. It is true that my life has become filled with more important responsibility than ever before. My work now involves consequenses to my actions, where in the past when I got home all was forgotten. There is also the care of aging parents and grandparents that has fallen in my lap, I have brothers but they neglect their duties as they always have. Point being I’ve been the relaxed one my whole life. the one you can talk to, the strong minded one who could deal with the situation without confrontation, which makes this anxiety crap tough to except as the cause of my problems.’ It must be physical’ is what I keep telling myself, I am going to try some of your suggestions and be hopeful, staying busy is the only thing I find that helps, but these feelings, especially the general almost constant buzzing sensation is alot to handle and does interfer with day to day activities. I know your not a therapist and I hope I’m not wasting your time, but any thing you can help me with is highly appreciated…THANX

  7. Michael:

    Sounds to me like the starting point for your figuring out why the panic attacks are happening is mentioned right here: increased responsibility. However, that may not be the answer. In my experience, there are usually a specific set of circumstances (or themes) that are at play every time an attack happens. For me, as you saw, it involved the feeling of being watched by my fiscal responsibility to the future. THIS was the cause of everything else, the tying factor. You have to see what your tying factor is.

    Another thing you allude to is this: “Point being I’ve been…the one you can talk to, the strong minded one who could deal with the situation without confrontation,” While you may have been the listener, perhaps it’s time you find others to listen to you. Again, for this I highly recommend a psychologist, as well as a new circle of friends you can get involved with, people you can talk to, comfortably. (Maybe by joining a chess club or, if you qualify, a High IQ society, since if you’re above a certain level (say, 130) your emotional needs often won’t be the same as the emotional needs of someone with an IQ of, say, 100, and would therefore benefit from those who are more like you (and vice versa: smeone with an IQ of 100 will find it difficult to relate to someone with an IQ of 130 at an emotional level simply due to the differences in which those two types of people will process information).

    As for “wasting my time”, don’t worry about it. I put this post here in order to show people that they’re not alone, that others have gone (and will go) through the same thing, and that there’s always help. As for me, looking at my life I can’t say this wasn’t expected. (Lemme see: a workaholic who has, throughout most of his life been the one who can shoulder responsibility and who would serve as everyone’s guy to talk to. Yeah, that doesn’t scream Panic Attacks Waiting to Happen or anything. On top of that, I’m a bit of a hypochondriac, which just makes things worse.) In short, it is my pleasure to help. If you wish to divulge more information, something you’d rather NOT make public, feel free to email me at norb@gnorb.net. Considering I’m a total stranger (and therefore can’t help but be non-judgmental) I may be a great person to talk to. Of course, the fact that you don’t know me from Adam should also tell you that not everything I say should be trusted until I prove myself trustworthy. If you wish to keep discussing things here, go for it. I’m sure others will, in the future, benefit from our conversations and the outcomes achieved therein.

  8. Well, theres really only one thing left that I would like to clear up. Have you ever spoke to anyone who suffers from panic attacks who has symptoms that are occuring daily. I mean either everyday at night or in the morning I feel this body buzzing or palpatations, and at several points throughout the day one or another types of symptoms hit me. A little dizzy, not breathing right and so-on, the only difference is that sometimes its worse than other times, and it makes it difficult to figure out what the triggers are. I’ll give you an example, my grandfather past away in December 06, to whom I was quite close with and was very upset about, yet I managed to get through his funeral without feeling to many side effects of this problem, but sitting and watching TV is a big worry, I find this confusing. Let me know what you think.

    Once again I appreciate your time and help MIKE

  9. “Well, theres really only one thing left that I would like to clear up. Have you ever spoke to anyone who suffers from panic attacks who has symptoms that are occuring daily.”

    *Raises hand* Happened to me.

    Actually, in response to that I wrote this post. Hope you don’t mind.

    “…but sitting and watching TV is a big worry…”

    This reminds me of a joke. I walked in to my doctor’s office. She asked “What brings you in today?”

    “It hurts when I breathe,” I answered.

    “Then what do you think you should stop doing?” (Insert laugh.)

    Moral of the story: stop watching TV :-D. Actually, that’s one of your clues right there. What kinds of shows do you watch? Is it with all shows? Is it with shows and not with movies? Is it after you’ve been watching for a certain amount of time? If so, how much time? Do you watch the news? Do you NOT watch the news? Do you watch alone or with someone? Does it happen if you’re watching and doing something else, like cleaning, folding clothes, or washing the dishes? Does it happen day time, night time, or both?

    Ask yourself all kinds of questions. Move on to the next type of big attack. When does it happen? From what you told me here, it sounds as if you don’t have an aversion to death, which is a healthy thing, though I wonder why it is you brought THAT up instead of something more akin to watching television? (That’s something else to look at, by the way: what words do you use? What associations do you make in your mind? Does that give you any clues?)

    If you want to keep this going, feel free. I’m more than happy to help, and if it means you get your attacks solved, then, by golly, this whole post was worth more than I ever expected.

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