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I have had only a handful of panic attacks in my 33 years of life, all of which I blamed on drug overdose, too much cough syrup, too much pot, caffeine withdrawal from taking 6 espressos a day for months, etc. Two months ago I suffered a horrific full blown panic attack on an airplane as I was flying over to visit my father. I have flown many many times in my life since childhood and had something almost this bad happen only once before and only while I had a bad cold and to much cough syrup. This time I turned white and blood pressure drop to the point of near unconsciousness and they carted me off via paramedics. Doctors could not find anything wrong, blood pressure came back to normal, etc. After telling my family what happened my mother spilled the beans and told me this was a panic attack, I had inherited them from her and that thankfully it did not seem as bad as it was for her. She had been on medications all her life for this and we once had to commit her to a mental hospital, I never knew or understood that anxiety disorder was the cause of her problems, I always thought it was alcoholism, turns out that her primary medication.
Right after I managed to make it to my father's I was in a state of continues dread, fear and panic, just emotion devoid of any reason, for several days. Eventually I went to an ER to get pharmacological help immediately. I got a prescription to 1 mg lorazapan every 6 hours and 10 mg propanolol once a day. I can read drug side-effects on-line and despite how well it works I have restricted my lorazapan use to just once roughly ever 3 days. The propanolol works nicely but only for a few hours and I have taken roughly 1.5 a day. I take no caffeine anymore and try to stay away from alcohol even though it works as a sleep aid.
I have tried meditation, that being sitting still and counting and drawing in my head numbers in different languages I know, basically focus as much mental will on a specific continuous thought. I count up to 100-200 full breaths before I reach a relaxed enough state to let my mind wonder. It works but only while mediating or for a few minutes afterwards. I try to run several times a week, daily if possible, 2 miles at 6 mph, 1 mile at 3-4 mph, that feels good and helps but again only for an hour at most. Focused meditation works as normal meditation does but I can't just go to a session or plug in headphones and laydown anywhere. Cellphone apps like chess or Simon also have helped me dissipate a budding panic attack. None the less a constant low level dread is present in my conscious existence now.
Distractions help greatly, if I have tasks at work or at home that occupy my mind effectively I feel totally normal, but when I'm idle my mind focuses on feelings of dread that leads to panic which feeds-back into my mind trying to find thoughts to attach dread too, feeding back exponentially. This makes sleep hard, sitting still doing nothing active (like watching a movie, worse in a movie theater where I feel I have to stay sitting) is the worse and I feel most comfortable pacing. I have started a “Wellness” Journal to track my day to day performance and try to improve my means mentally suppressing anxiety.
What advice could any of you provide in how to deal with this?
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