Constant panic attacks for the past 7 weeks, PLEASE HELP!

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Hi,

My name is Luke, I'm 26 and I suffer from pretty severe health anxiety.

For most of my life I've always been scared of death and illness to a pretty obsessive level, to the point where if I feel or see anything wrong or different with me I cannot stop thinking about it and believe that I'm dying.

It's always been pretty bad, going from having testicular cancer to a heart attack to a stroke and so on. This would affect my sleep and I would spend most of my nights crying myself to sleep thinking I wouldn't wake up in the morning.

I had never suffered from any physical symptoms of my anxiety other than fear but about 8 weeks ago out of the blue (I hadn't had any major worries for a few years at this point) I woke up at 2am having my first ever panic attack and my word it was the most terrifying thing I've ever felt. I spent the next 3/4 hours shaking uncontrollably, dizziness and light-headed, dry mouth, lump in my throat, heart palpitations and nausea. I was adamant I was dying, I was having a heart attack or something, my partner was adamant I was having a panic attack and I needed to calm down but I struggled believing her because I was having these physical symptoms. This eventually passed and I had nothing for another week and till bam again at 2am, this time even worse.

Ever since this I have felt in constant panic and anxiety, day and night for the past 7 weeks. I cannot stop thinking about it and every time I feel or see something new it gets worse.

I really don't know what to do. I've seen the doctors and they've performed 3 physical examinations, ecgs, 2 blood tests, a nerve conduction study, blood pressure checks, spoken to 3 different doctors, the works and everything has been completely normal. They've all said I'm suffering from anxiety and panic disorder.

They have put me on a course of Sertraline for my mood and anxiety and propranolol for the panic and have been on these the past 6 weeks. The first 2/3 weeks were utter hell and made me feel so much worse but things have finally started to settle down.

The only problem is I'm still suffering from the dizziness, tremors and shaking (feels like my bed is shaking, has anyone had this? I find this particularly distressing), heart palpitations and nausea, most noticeably when I get into bed. I lay down and start to feel the bed shaking, almost like a heart beat and then I get fidgety and then all the other symptoms start and I cant sleep. I'm getting around 2 hours sleep each night and being late for work almost every morning because of it and I'm utterly exhausted. I'm scared to go to bed and put it off and off to get myself tired enough and still can't sleep and panic every night.

I'm now starting to believe that something life threatening is wrong with me and I'm going to die again. I'm starting to think maybe the doctors have missed something and now are putting down everything that is wrong with me to my anxiety when it is something serious.

I thought with the medication after this amount of time I would be back to a somewhat normal me but I'm not and this is why I believe I'm dying.

I don't know where to go from here. I'm exhausted and fed up of feeling like this and being scared to sleep (somewhere I used to love being a lot!). Can anyone help me? or feels the same? or has the same symptoms as me? or some reassurance?

Thanks guys and sorry for the long post!

Luke.

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  • Posted

    Hi Luke,

    Sorry to hear you are suffering, and have been for a few weeks. I know it is absolutely terrifying, I am also going through a bad patch of anxiety and all the related symptoms!

    I noticed you posted this a few weeks ago, how are you getting on now? Sertraline can take up to 12 weeks to kick in I believe, so stick with it. What is your current dose, as they may increase it if you are still not seeing any improvement. My Dr has just prescribed Propanolol for me, so I'm hoping that will help!

    Feel free to message me if you want to chat 😊

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  • Posted

    A panic attack is very frightening, particularly if you don't understand what is going on. You feel intense fear and feel as though you are going to totally lose it. The truth is that it is "just" an unpleasant but harmless physical feeling. It is a totally natural thing caused by a burst of adrenaline. Fear causes adrenaline and adrenaline causes fear. It can start for all sorts of reasons but once it does start, it becomes a vicious circle. You have to realise that although a panic attack feels very unpleasant, it won't actually do you any harm and it will ALWAYS pass. It doesn't just keep getting worse. If you feel a panic attack coming on, DON'T TRY TO STOP IT. Instead, try to ACCEPT IT and go with it. It can't hurt you. Instead of tensely trying to control it, let it happen and wait for it to pass like a wave. It will pass. Once you realize the truth of this you will start to become less afraid if it and the vicious circle will start to go the other way.

    I could recommend a very good book on this subject but I can't find how to send a private message and I know the moderator doesn't like books being quoted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you by the way. Everyone reacts the same way to adrenaline.

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