Is this a Panic Attack? I don't feel anxiety I feel depressed when it happens - Scared and alone

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I am 49 - I have had standard perimenopause symptoms for 9 years. My periods are fortnightly only last 24 hours and I am using bioidentical progesterone every day. 

Last night something happened to me that's left me in tears as I write this thread I am so scared and alone, I had hoped things were getting better since these depressional waves and other symptoms started a month ago, but after last night I have given up hope of that happening as it was by far the most intense attack i have had to date. 

I started with a feeling of emotional flatness which I have had before during the last month but not this intense.

It creeps up on me and I notice I start to feel disinterested in the TV I had been watching (for example) and I am less and less connected to whatever I had been watching or doing. 

This moves onto what I would describe as classic PMS depression, tears and very low mood and I actually feel sleepy too so lie down and doze on and off as the anxiety and depression plays on in the back of my mind. 

I cannot sleep truly I just feel sleepy, so I am awake lead in bed and I start to feel detached from my environment, nothing feels or looks real anymore... I am in my own house and I recognise it but I feel like i'm trapped inside a bubble or my own head as well as feeling depressed and i DO mean depressed in a clinical sense. 

I can hold a conversation about how I am feeling but thats all I can do. If my dog sits on my lap I cannot feel emotionally connected to her, I am stroking her like a robot...no emotion. 

I feel like I am in a dream like bubble and its very intense.

Of course THEN I start to feel anxious because I am so scared this spaced out drugged up is not going to end, that I will get "stuck" in this bubble of depression and derealisation.

I feel weak, drowsy, dizzy, my body has a kind of buzzing sensation to it now... my limbs feel wobbly and weak. But my heart is not racing and I am breathing normally. I am NOT having a panic attack as I would have imagined it to be....I feel very depressed and very unreal and of course scared/worried about if this will ever end and pass. I am crying...hysterically scared of how I am feeling and how long I will feel this way. 

I have read about people who are in a constant state of "derealisation" and honestly, to feel like that indefinitely I know hand on heart I would want to be dead..and I do not say that lightly. At this point, all I can think about is:  "My God...please let me out of this feeling...I want my mind sanity back I NEED my mind back" 

After about one half hours, It starts to lift. The TV will catch my attention again and I can follow the story and feel emotionally connected to what I am watching & hearing again and I can feel the dark fog lifting... and I am so relieved. Within 10 minutes I am back to myself, but very shaken....The whole "thing" lasted 3 hours but the most intense part with the derealisation lasted one and half hours. 

Now of course I am a living walking mess because I this can occur at any time and next time maybe I will get stuck like that... 

I have no one I can call or talk to. No one who can relate or tell me "they have had it too" and when I look online all I find are stories of usually younger people who are in a permanent state of derealisation or depersonalisation due to anxiety issues and panic disorders and all that does is add more anxiety to my anxious mind. 

This all started AFTER I stopped eating sugars and started cleaning my diet up....???? 

I have read the symptoms of a "Panic Attack" and Derealisation and Depersonalisation are listed as one of the main symptoms of a panic attack but still, I am not aware of feeling anxiety when it starts only once I am in the middle of it.

I have copied and pasted my personal symptoms from a list associated with Anxiety & Panic attacks. 

Feeling of going crazy or losing control

Feeling you might pass out

A surge of doom and gloom

Dizziness

Trembling

Feeling detached from reality

Weak in the knees

Hot and cold flushes

Tingling sensations

Derealization (feeling unreal, in a dream-like state)

Dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness

Emotional distress

Emotional upset

Inability to calm yourself down

Knot in the stomach, tight stomach

Nausea

Panicky feeling

Feel like crying

The last month has been hell. I stopped eating sugars started juicing veg cleaned up my diet and for what?? I have never ever been so sick and depressed. 

I left a thread a couple of weeks ago about these new symptoms ive had for a month.  here: https://patient.info/forums/discuss/spaced-out-dreamlike-bright-vivid-colours-pms-perimenopause-hormones--647313

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  • Posted

    Oh Hon, nearly ALL of what you wrote sounds like me from last December through February. It was horrific. I could barely function and when I'd get home from work, all I could do was lay down and try to watch something funny on tv. My whole body would buzz, twitch, ache, and have weird sensations. Some days I'd literally collapse onto the floor in tears from the frustration, physical and emotional pain.

    It's certainly hormonal-at least for me. I ended up getting a prescription for anxiety which helped that end of it. The physical symptoms have eased and plateaued for now. My midwife warned me that during peri menopause there could be a strong resurgence of symptoms after a plateau. I'm just enjoying the respite for now. 

    Hormones are our best friend or worst enemy it seems.

    Hang in there!! You are NOT alone.

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  • Posted

    Good Morning Elizabeth,

    I cannot speak for the derealization that you describe, but believe me when I tell you that I am familiar with panic attacks.  I have had them so bad that I have gone to the doctor thinking I was having a heart attack.  For me, the anxiety and panic attacks are the worst part of this mess.  They had made my life completely unmanageable.  I got to the point where I really did not want to leave the house.  I had all of the symptoms that you describe, but also had this pain in my chest, it felt like a vice clamped around my heart.  I ended up going on a low dose of Prozac to manage the symptoms, and it has helped greatly.

    It sounds as though you are also suffering from some depression, which is no picnic either.  Have you researched if depression can be one of the side effects of the progesterone that you use? I do not take any type of HRT myself, but I have heard that it can be.  Anyway, I think it may be worth a mention.

    Perhaps you should speak with your doctor regarding an SSRI?  I know that the panic attacks are terrifying and can make your whole life feel like it is spinning out of control.  

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  • Posted

    Utrogestan I am on too I think I have some symptoms you mention but nothing like you listed I think you need to review progesterone I see consultant week after pretty sure mine the utrogestan like doom but I get pms every other week for 5 days grumpy emotional but I am a very happy positive person and I think a balance in hormones . Don’t give up try looking at hrt I  on 50 oestrogen patch that bloody utrigestan testogel been 2 months now , early menopause 37 now 55 for healthy most the time just those 5 days every other week and what appears to be like a very light period . You will get thete will let you know how I get in 😀

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  • Posted

    Hi Elizabeth,  I experienced the exact same thing that you described. It lasted for about 3 months for me. You will feel better just try and remind yourself that it is hormones. I feel off now and then still,  but nothing like those 3 months. Just be gentle with yourself....if you want to cry, cry. If you want to just lay around and you can, do it. You will come through this part of the roller coaster ride. Just hang on with a tight grip. Continue to read post and talk with others  on this site. There are some great ladies on here. I will be praying for you. Take care!    . P.s  If you need to text or chit chat with someone private message me and we can exchange numbers. 
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  • Posted

    I felt that yesterday, my estrogen levels are very low, and sometimes I manage, but other times, like yesterday, I told my husband as I was crying, it feels like the bottom dropped out underneath me.  In those times, there is nothing holding me together.  Nothing can make me feel hopeful, or happy, or anything.  You sit in your house, feeling like you don't belong there, or anywhere.  Nothing makes you feel better.  You want to run away, but you are too detached or depressed/tired to do anything but just feel this awful feeling.  It is not normal, and it is not ok.  Antidepressants (I've used them, but it just masks it, and I feel emotionally better, not physically) just are a band-aid.  I am seeing a Dr. today to get on bio-identical estrogen.  Our bodies need it.  For some reason so many of us get debilitating peri/menopause symptoms and I think we need help balancing our hormones as we go through this so we can have quality of life.  I am a mother of 5 and a wife, and I need to be okay!  Sorry for the rant, but it is not just okay that we feel this way and have to suffer.

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