Im 20 years old and about a year ago i suffered from my first panic attack. i had no idea what was happening and i had no reason to be stressed or worried. For the last year i have been making up excuses to why i cant go out and always bailing on friends because i am so scared i might have another panic attack, and i also have a huge fear of fainting and throwing up. I had a fight with my 2 best friends at the end of high school and really miss having close friends to talk to.
I have always been such a happy, outgoing person, but this has changed me completely and the lonliness and constant fear everyday is horrible and mentally exhausting.
I am seeing a hypnotherapist at the moment which has helped, but i have also been anti depressants which i was after some feedback about.
I know there are people with much more serious illnesses, but going through this has really made me want to help others.
Re: Panic Disorder
Hi Chrissie, welcome to Reach Out!
Panic attacks are just awful, aren't they. The first time I had one I had no idea what was going on and that just made it worse! It is awesome to see you've taken the initiative to see a doctor and a hypnotherapist. Unfortunately we can't discuss specific medications here as we're not medical professionals and it breaches our community guidelines. We can definitely suggest some self-help methods though, like those found here and here. Have you tried meditation before? A lot of us find it really helpful to relax the mind and cope with anxiety when it presents itself. A good place to start is the Smiling Mind app if you're a beginner.
Steer clear of stimulants like caffeine and try keeping a regular sleeping pattern.
Have you found a good way of getting through a panic attack when they do happen? I've shared this before which is a bit embarrassing but when I started having panic attacks I always needed to go to the toilet, and eventually I found that sitting on the loo was really calming for me and brought me back down to earth. Now at the first sign of one I go and sit on the dunny
But developing better self-talk and self-awareness can also really help you find a way to realise the warning signs and getting through an attack, eventually you may be able to self-talk yourself out of one before it even happens!
I know panic attacks suck, but you don't deserve to have them limit your lifestyle. You can still be a happy, outgoing person even with anxiety! Take small steps and go out once or twice to prove to yourself that you can do it and survive. The more confident you are in managing them, the easier it will become to get your life back to the way you want it.
I hope you can stick around and share your progress with us!
Re: Panic Disorder
I suffered panic attacks many years ago, and they went away; and then more recently when I was experiencing some trauma and grief in my life, they came back.
If you can find the right medication for you, that is great, however everyone is different and what medication is right for someone else, might not be right for you.
When I experienced panic attack years ago, I thought I was the only one ! I did not know of any medication and did not know anything about what was going on, and was quite relieved when I discovered I was not alone!
A few things I learned to cope-
-Tell a friend what is going on and have them travel with you or accompany you is quite helpful, and when you thought you were going to have a panic attack, it proberly won't happen. A similar outing by yourself will seem less threatening in the future.
-Visualise where/ what you are going to be doing before you go in a positive way.
-Remember/realise that to others you just look normal and they do not know what is going on inside your head (when you are experiencing a panic attack or leading up to one)
-Deep breathing does wonders! and practise deep breathing at home when you DO NOT have any anxiety (Often after I had a panic attack, the counsellor would ask, "Did you remember the breathing exercises? " "No, I forgot, I was too anxious". Practise at home, and it will come naturally in your time of need)
-If you get anxiety on public transport, do something to distract yourself- reading, IPOD, count houses
-The same goes for public places, such as supermarkets etc. I found counting cans on the shelf or flipping through magazines at the check out helped me pull through, as for some reason this is where I would most likely have a panic attack. I had been known to leave my groceries in the line waiting for service, until I dealt with this problem.
-Always sit down, take a big breath, breath, have a bottle of water with you and sip if you feel a panic attack coming on
-Might sound easy- but try not to think about it. Worrying about it makes it worse.
-Positive self talk is helpful. Sometimes we feel like we want to run or escape a panic attack but are not in a position to (public transport, supermarket, elevators, uni class). Positive self talk and breathing in these situations can pull you through. Even remembering something funny someone said or a joke can be quite useful.
Meditation, relaxation and hypnotherapy all sound great, and fantastic that you have already sought the support of a doctor, and are aware of what is going on.
Re: Panic Disorder
Welcome to RO
Following on from ElleBelle's comment I removed the name of the anti-depressant you're on as that is against our community guidelines.
Notice this post is from a little while ago, how are you doing now?
Also wanted to say - don't discount your problems as not big enough or not as bad as others - we each face our own burdens and you are important and you deserve to be able to discuss and sort all of this out.
I suffer from anxiety & depression also and take medication. I've not yet gone to counseling - I do know a few people who have, including my sister and they've found it incredibly helfpul. I'd really encourage you to talk to your doctor further about the prescription to better understand it and why you were prescribed it and also talk about additional or alternate treatments (such as counselling).
As a first step you can even try phone counseling with Kids Helpline - call them on 1800 55 1800.
It seems like your initial panic attack has lead to some further anxiety - and although it's hard, if you face it head on sooner rather than later I'm sure you are more than capable of learning to deal with it!
Re: Panic Disorder
Hi! I once suffered from panic attacks, so I know how awful they can be. An interesting quick fix I learnt through taking a pysiology class was this - hold your breath. It's difficult at first but just hold it until it feels uncomfortable and then repeat and repeat. You will notice your breathing will begin to slow down. This happens because it acts to increase the level of carbon dioxide in your body. Carbon dioxide regulates your breathing (not oxygen as most people would think). When we panic we over breath and levels of carbon dioxides fall, which causes us to over breath so it's a viscous cycle! Holding your breath is akin to breathing into a paper bag - it increases carbon dioxide levels and slows your breathing. Give it a shot, it truly works! It's hard to do at first - in full on panic mode - but perservere and feel the panic dissolve. Good luck, wendles
Re: Panic Disorder
Thanks everyone for you help. I actually had one of my worst panic attack at a funeral a few weeks ago which was absolutely horrible, I tried slow breathing but was too overwhelmed so I've started seeing a great psychologist who is giving me some really helpful techniques. Unfortunately I found out i also have severe depression, which was a shock, but with anxiety it was only a matter of time! Thanks again xx
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