anxiety/panic attack

Posted , 5 users are following.

So after doing really well for the last week having started Cit 10 days ago I'm having horrible anxiety and I can feel a panic attack coming on. I hate this! It feels like I'm never going to be able to escape this crippling anxiety :-(

It makes life so scary, feeling like I'm going to have a heart attack pretty much every day for nearly 3 years is just so depressing and unbelievable scary, what do the doctors call it " the feeling of impending doom" I just wish I was normal.

I need to get help for my eating disorder (bulimia) I've had it for 17 years now and the side effects cause 70% of my anxiety,  I just can't bring myself to tell my doctor or seek help for it, I feel like they're going to look at me and laugh and say "but you're so fat" ugh this all feels impossible. 

Just needed to get all that out.

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Sarah, Citalopram is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and I have, over the last 10-12 years, taken several different of SSRI-SNRIs. Speaking in general terms, SSRIs can take anywhere from two to six weeks to actually have a noticeable effect when you first start on them. In fact the change can be so gradual that your friends and family may notice the changes before you do. Hang in there--10 days is not long enough to give Cit a fair shake. In the meantime,,, have you considered asking your doctor for something like a sublingual (fast-acting) lorazepam (brand name Ativan in Canada) to help with the panic attacks. I am armed with 0.5mg Ativan SL that I carry with me 'just in case.'

    Regarding your bulemia, it is a REAL illess that can be treated. Tell your doctor. Your anxiety and panic attacks will not be resolved with medications until the other side of your illness is addressed as well. There is no shame in having an eating disorder. I was overweight and finally obese during the first eight years of my treatment for depression and anxiety. I had a distorted body image, no self-esteem, and while I didn't realize it, that too was a major contributor to my other issues. I still have body image issues, but I did slowly tackle my emotional eating response over the last four years, and have finally reached a healthy weight for my age/size. It is still an issue that is occasionally front and centre, but I take it one day at a time, and most days are better than they have been in a long time.

    So give your meds time to work, try to relax and be aware of "the feeling of impending doom", or what I call my "catastrophic thinking." Knowing that it's not real can take away some of its power to overwhelm you. And as you get stronger, remember that bulemia is a treatable disease, and find a way to tell your doctor. You may be surprised--he probably already has a suspicion and certainly will be there to help, not judge.

    Hang in there. There's no instant fix, but if you reach out and be patient (boy I hate that word!) you will heal. All the best.smile

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    • Posted

      Thanks Calliur, you really helped calm my anxiety :-)

      And you're so right, I need to tackle my bulimia before I can really try and tackle my anxiety.  I am trying to get y binging and purging under control,  I've got it down to 3/4 binges/purges a day which fr me is good but for my health its still not good enough,  but I used to do it 10 to 15 times a day before I started Cit. I will speak to my doctor about it in two weeks I have an appointment so I'll address it then.

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement, 

      Sarah x

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  • Posted

    Thanks Sarah. Just thought of one other thing you need to be careful about with the timing of when you take your meds.

    Try to do the best you can to delay your purging for at least a couple of hours after you take your Cit. It really needs some time to be absorbed by your system.

    Be brave and take a few deep breaths when next you see your doctor, and tell on your disease. It will lose most of its power once you're not alone in the fight.

    Best wishes. I'm already proud of you for having reached out here for help and advice. That was a BIG first step. It gets easier from here, as long as you're willing to continue to reach out: to your doctor, family, friends--whatever it takes. It's time to look after Sarah first.

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  • Posted

    Hi 10 mg is very little u need to call yo GP for a ermegence appointment, and tell him to increase it to 20 mg, l am on 40mg so know what l am talking about, l am also a mental health nurse, good luck u will get better dear, call yo GP.
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    • Posted

      That's correct in some cases Holly.  Although sometimes 10mg is prescribed as a continuing dose in certain cases, particularly useful apparently for helping with sleep disorders, especially 'night terrors' as at that level it reduces REM sleep but isn't a high enough dosage to cause the disruption to sleep patterns that higher dosages often do.
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  • Posted

    Hi Sarah I think you need to see your doc. I was the same and most of us had to increase our med.

    Don't be to hard on your self.its that what got us in this mess. Tiny steps you will get closer to your goal.its hard to think positive .try to distract your self .I seaked help from hypnosis, that really helped . after all its only in our head and we cannot think straight when we are afraid 

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  • Posted

    Oh Sarah, I feel so bad for you having to endure this horrible experience.  As others have posted, couple of important things to take note of: It's early days for the Cit to have started its work, it can take up to around six weeks to really kick in, so keep going.  Secondly as Callifur has said - do try to ensure that you do not empty your stomach for at least several hours after taking the medication so that it has time to get into your system otherwise you'll lose it when you purge and lose the benefits.

    Lastly and most importantly, an eating disorder is, as said before, a REAL illness and is definitely not something anyone will laugh at you about.  Your doctor will have access to a whole range of support methods to help you with your bullimia and your body image.  Once you have found the courage to speak to him that alone will be a massive weight off your shoulders that you do not have to deal with it alone.  No one involved in treating eating disorders these days ever belittles the problem or in any way criticises.  That first step is the hardest so once you've taken it, you'll know it will only get easier afterwards.

    Your doctor can only help you if he knows the full extent of the distress you're experiencing and all its causes and symptoms.  We all tend to moan about the health service and GP's in particular not understanding our needs (I'm certainly guilty of doing it often) but if they don't know the full details of our health problems, they can't give the best treatment for you personally.  

    You're already being very brave in discussing it on here, it's just a teeny tiny step more to give your doctor the same info and let him/her take some of the awful weight off your shoulders.  Good luck Sarah. xx

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  • Posted

    One of my big aggravations is when someone says it's all in my head! The next thing I expect to hear is something like "Why don't you just pull yourself out of it."

    Yes, it's in our heads; in fact it's in our brains. There are chemicals messed up in there, and more and more research is discovering that there may even be structural and other physiological differences in people who suffer from so-called 'mental illness' or whatever the politically correct phrase is these days.

    We (Sarah, Loxie, I, and millions of others) do not choose to be like this. It hurts both emotionally and many times physically. It destroys relationships with family and friends with that antiquated "it's all in your head" attitude, who are unwilling or unable to comprehend our illnesses and the daily battles we sometimes must fight. Despite overwhelming odds on occasion, most of use prevail and manage to put one foot in front of the other, endure a changing cornucopia of slow-acting drugs, often wrought with nasty side-effects, until we find a combination of behaviours and pills that give us back some semblance of our lives.

    Sometimes we recover, sometimes we become resistant to our successful cocktail of drugs and have to try again, but freshly armed with the knowledge that something else may work and help us revisit that success again. And sadly, an unfortunate few never make it. They don't find support like these groups and forums, or other supports in their community. They suffer alone, don't seek medical help, never realize that they're not alone, that there are others who have had those same thoughts and feelings, and that there is help out there.

    It's not all in my head. I can't just pull myself out of it. I am fortunate to have found help, support, and several years of recovery, but I am now fighting Round Two of my personal battle. After six years of recovery, a normal working life, and a good life overall, my particular drug cocktail turned on my body over two years ago, and began to wreak havoc with other organ systems. So I had to make a choice between increasing kidney/liver failure versus my mental health. I chose physical health, and another battle for emotional health and life. So two years later, those organs have recovered, I have just had major side-effects from a new antidepressant, gone through withdrawal from it and in another downturn as I'm in week two of the 2-6 week kick-in for the next candidate in line.

    Oh well, TMI, I know, but it was the little "after all its only in our head" by gawen4321 that set me off. As a contributor, I know he couldn't have meant it that way, but it pushed my Big Red Button.

    Ttthat's all, folks! lol

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    • Posted

      awww callifur - in your last sentence you realised that gawen didnt mean that how it sounded - youre right, we ARE used to so many non sufferers not understanding how a short circuit can cause us such distress - he is right though, and so are you - it's all in our 'brain' (so I guess our 'head' could mean the same thing).  Why the hell my brain should misfire on me is a mystery.  I've had the same traumas as everyone else in my life, some really hard to deal with but for so long, I dealt with them and then for some unknown reason - unknown to me and the medical profession alike by the sound of it - I didn't deal with them, I either swallowed them whole and let them fester inside or I exploded with temper and inappropriate behaviour each time someone or some thing threw me a curved ball. I could see I was doing it but was powerless to act any other way.  My brain (head) wasnt functioning correctly and unfortunately when it's all in your head, the insensitive people around  you cant see a physical cause so assume it's willful and selfish.  I'm sure those with eating disorders have in the past many times been greeted with impatience and exasperation and suspicion that their behaviour is just attention seeking or stubbornness.  Thank God that more understanding now exists and the realisation that when we suffer from anxiety and depression it's NOT intentional and we the sufferer hate it even more than those having to cope with us. I too had horrendous physical health issues from a severe allergic reaction to meds that were working very well on my anxiety problems.  Hobsons choice eh callifur - a healthy brain or a healthy body - no bloody choice really.  Why the hell I should have to choose makes me angry and anger brings anxiety again.  I didnt choose to get sick, like those with cancer or other physical diseases didnt choose either but being wacky doesnt get quite the same sympathetic understanding as those other physical complaints and it SHOULD!
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  • Posted

    Thanks for your understanding Loxie, and you too Gawen, if you're out there. And Sarah, please don't let my little rant discourage you from continuing your path to recovery. I did recover and if I was in any way discouraged I wouldn't be having another go at it. It's not nearly as bad as you may think my little entry might have made it seem. I was just running off at the mouth about the misunderstandings we can still run into by the uneducated or misinformed.

    Loxie is right that we are very fortunate to be living in the 21st century, where our issues are recognized for what they are, illnesses, and are treated as such. We can get help, there are lots of treatments and support available, so go for it. Like we've all said, talk to your doctor, be honest and brave, and we're all behind you.

    And by the way, I've also just started on Cipralex (escitalopram--pretty much the same drug, just tweaked a little so the Canadian drug company can extend its patent and make more money, as I under it) and I'm feeling no effect yet either. I started on 10 mg 1/day for the first week, 20 mg (2 tabs/day) for week 2, and I start 30 mg (3 tabs/day) tomorrow. Don't compare dosages because you're being treated for anxiety and me for major depressive disorder, GAD (general anxiety disorder) as well as panic attacks (for which I have an emergency supply of Ativan SL .5 mg).

    (As an aside to all, if my spelling seems a bit wonky, it's Canadian, which is a bit of UK and a bit of US combined, for example, we use [u]ou[/u] for behaviour, but z for criticize, so I can spell--just not the same way as you.) wink

    Best to all.

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    • Posted

      Hey Callifur :-)

      Don't worry we all need a little rant from time to time, it's better you do it on here were we all understand the need for a outlet fornour frustrations. To be honest one of a few things that have helped me a little over the last few years when it comes to panic attacks was a paramedic who said to me "remeber it all in your head, the feelings of impending doom is all metal and your body's reaction to that is physical,  you need to remind yourself of that while having a panic attack," and it does help a little. 

      Loxie is so right I've had bad things happen in life and I dealt with it and moved forward but then one day my brain just stopped coping, why? I don't get it,  now I can tell anxiety will always be apart of my life but hopefully with meds I can keep it under control,  depression well I think that's easier to deal with at the moment,  3 years ago I was in an amazingly horrific depression that only came under control this year, and I can never ever allow myself to go back there, I lost everybody in my life and they either walked away from me or like my two boys were taken away from me, I have them in my life again niw after a lot of court cases and therapy,  I lost them for taking an overdose of painkillers whilemy youngest was asleep in his cot, luckily someone knocked on my door when I didn't answer the looked through my window and saw me on the floor, woke up in hospital after having my stomach pumped,  so social services gave my boys to their dad, I didn't et any help from any mental health they just released me from hospital,  I went home my kids were gone and I didn't think I could feel any worse until that moment,  my god I was wrong! Life just spiralled out of control from that point, the thing that kept me alive was the desperate need to see ny kids, and that took months, supervised visits, then supervised in the community,  then unsupervised in the community then I was allowed to take them home for a few hours and finally last December I was allowed overnights, I was cautioned by the police for child neglect for trying to take my life with my child (who was a 12 months old at the time) as the police said what would have happened if I had died? My son could have died if I wasn't found. I never thought of that at the time, I'm glad they took them away from me I was mentally unstable,  I would never ever hurt my kids but them seeing me in that state did hurt them, something I will never forgive myself for.

      Not sure why I said that all, maybe just to explain how my anxiety started, and also that it feels so good to have a place can finally say all this and have my meltdowns lol, people on this forum really do help when I have anxiety and when I'm feeing down, I appreciate it and I know we all appreciate each others support.

      Xx

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    • Posted

      I just read what I wrote and need to add, I didnt try to take my sons life  I would never!  Ever! Do that, he was in his cot asleep and I was in the living room, also sorry for the typo's im using a touch screen on my Samsung s3 lol.
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    • Posted

      Oh Sarah, I wish I could just reach out, put my arms around you in a warm hug, and say "I understand."

      But what a survivor you are! It's such a fortunate circumstance that your visitor just happened upon you in time. Of course you meant no harm to your little ones. You simply wanted the pain to end.

      I used to call things like your timely discovery as you lay on the floor 'coincidences.' I can’t any more. Too many times these serendipitous events have happened for me to chalk it up to just luck. I went into major anaphalaxis from a drug reaction, alone in my home, with accompanying shock, airway constriction...the works. Reaching unsuccessfully for the phone I coincidentally passed out in a steno chair and fell with the back of my head hanging over the back of the chair, somehow keeping my swollen airway hyperextended. I regained consciousness well over an hour later and called 911. According to the ER docs it was pure luck that I fell into the position I did or I would not have survived. Ditto being t-boned on my car door by another vehicle at high speed, where my car just happened to be touching on a patch of black ice at impact which allowed it to slide a bit. I and my passengers walked away, the other car flipped and rolled with many injuries. A breath/heart?-stopping electrical shock (worn spot in the insulation on the tool handle) with an infrequent visitor who had outdated CPR training. Another coincidence?

      We are the survivors, Sarah. Look at what you have overcome. You have been to the bottom and scrambled back. You have your boys now. Yes, you are dealing with anxiety and bulemia, but the fact is that you ARE reaching out and doing something about it. Never think of yourself as weak. Look at what you have been through and already overcome. You have more strength and determination already than most 'ordinary' peoplle.

      I'll be 60 next month and I have my off moments, but I'm still chugging along. I try to live one day at a time, getting through the bad days using the skills I've learned and by reaching out for help when I need it, and revelling in the good days. You'll see more and more good days. You're a strong survivor, Sarah. You go, girl!

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