Panic attacks are suddenly back, have been going on for weeks - needing reassurance

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Hi! My name is Whitney. I came across this community while I was trying to Google Search my way into some answers, and I hope you don’t mind my intrusion here. Everyone seems supportive and knowledgeable, and I could really use some reassurance right now. 

I am 26 years old. I experienced my first panic attack when I was in 5th grade and they progressively became more frequent and intense. I spent my teenage years shut off and depressed because the attacks were so debilitating. I couldn’t get out of bed without being overcome with anxiety, thinking I was going to die, and having an attack. At the time, panic attacks weren’t as widely discussed or known about, so I never found anyone to help me. I eventually taught myself mental diversion and that slowly began to help m through my attacks. They eventually became less frequent and I finally got a taste of normalcy. I went to college, graduated, and have been at my first full-time job for 2 years this summer. I would still suffer from occasional attacks, but they would happen then pass on and the next day I would be myself again. I would say I probably had less than 6 attacks a year. 

Until now. Last month, I started having attacks again for no real reason. I thought they would stop, but they haven’t. I’m more afraid than I have been in years. I wake up feeling anxious and the feelings of unreality are overwhelming. I am terrified I’m dying. I feel disconnected, numb, and scared when I’m driving. I’m scared to even go to work. It feels like I can’t breathe and my throat is swelling up, and I am constantly on edge like I need to get away. I’m tired and exhausted. I don’t know what brought them back or why they won’t stop. I know I’m so scared of them now that I’m probably making more of them happen, but I can’t get my mind to shut off from this fear. 

I’m flying to Indiana in 2 months to see my best friend, something I do twice a year, and I’m already scared that I’m going to have an attack on the plane where I can’t escape or be helped, or we won’t be able to do anything together because I’m going to be freaking out with an attack. It’s never been an issue or even a blip on my radar before now. 

I fought so hard to become “me” again and I feel like now, for some reason, I’ve lost the battle I thought was long won. I’m clueless as to what I should do. I’ve been to the doctor twice and nothing was found to be wrong with me outside of an elevated pulse last week and an upper respiratory infection back in February. 

Any advice or reassurance would be so appreciated right now. Thank you for listening. 

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  • Posted

    Dear Whitney 

    I only respond to individuals I can relate with and have empathy for, you are one of them.

    There’s a book called, “Hope and help for your nerves” It is an older publication, but powerful. I’ve tried everything regarding my anxiety and panic attacks:

    Hypnosis 

    Meditation 

    Positive imagery 

    Medicines

    Moving to a far away place where there was sunshine ?? 

    You name it, I’ve done it!

    I am an extremely proactive individual and this book revolutionize my whole way of thinking 

    After implementing the Four steps suggested in the book I’ve been panic free for decades.

    I know what it’s like to be totally consumed by my thoughts of fear. 

    With counseling I learned to embrace and accept my fears. The difficult thing about panic versus anxiety is that it hits you hard out of the blue.

    Just keep the deep breathing (Breathing in through the nose for 8 seconds... holding it for 5..breathing out through the mouth)

    Thinking all through this process that “This too will pass”

    I know what it’s like to not use medications... I was so afraid I’d become addicted to them. You may need to talk with your Doctor about short term use of medications like Xanax.

    I care

    Prodigious 

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply. I had to be taken to the ER on Friday because the attack was so intense, my whole body felt numb and I did not feel real. I was given a trial run of Xanax and I see a doctor again Wednesday. So far it is helping some, but my mind is still running wild with fear that I'm going to have an attack anyways. I haven't had an attack, I am just scared that I'm going to and I have a hard time thinking about anything other than fear. When I can distract myself it is better, but I have myself in such a tizzy and I am so traumatized by the past few weeks, it hasn't been easy. 

      I just ordered the book you recommended on Amazon and it will be here Tuesday - thank you so much for the suggestion. I also made my first appointment with a therapist on April 4. I think I have battled this war for too long on my own, and hopefully medication and counseling (and the book) can help me. I will do my best to remember your words, and I appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness so much. It makes my heart sing that you have conquered this terrible illness - I hope someday I will be able to say the same, too. 

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    • Posted

      My dearest Whitney

      Oh I’m so sad you had to go through that experience at the ER...Xanax is a medication great for panic attacks as it kicks in quickly! Just for now this is everything you need to do to beat this!

      Relax into the Xanax and you will learn through more and more positive experiences that you’re going to be fine feeling free one day very soon.

      Both my sister and I were put on Xanax to break the cyclical physical reaction from the emotion of fear. Both of us would continually be burdened with thoughts of yet another panic attack. What happened is the attacks happened less and less until the

      Obsession with them left. Stay on the medication...Live in the moment and don’t worry about becoming dependent on it! If we live in the past we can become depressed with who we once were...If we live in the future we can get anxiety..From the unknown...But if we live for just this one moment we can ease back and find peace of mind...I know that’s probably what you want more than ever... All of us do!

      Whitney don’t read “Hope and help for your Nerves” Until you are further down the path of healing and freedom.

      And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been going through This troubling time in your life. I went through it in my twenties and was put on Xanax as well as my sister we had the attacks for years before Doctors put us on Xanax Just to exemplify how your life can change...My sister is now well known in the Pacific Northwest for all the commercials she does with no panic or fear...I am a well known public speaker that shares in assemblies in High Schools and I Train others in the art of public speaking all over the country.

      I never mention this on these forums whatsoever...I just want to boost your faith that “THE BEST IS YET AHEAD”

      Everything is temporary in life!

      I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for over 20 Years now and I was just telling him about there being a beautiful soul who is experiencing just the same things I went through 

      I really care for you Whitney 

      Thank you for responding back to me!!

      Love to you,

      Living in the moment,

      Prodigious 

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    • Posted

      I truly don't deserve your kindness and faith, it means so much to me to hear your amazing story of triumph, as well as your sister's. I hope and pray I can find that freedom again someday soon. My mind is still tormenting me, even with the Xanax. I had a pretty good day yesterday, then got a little too confident and went to the gym for a short workout... that was a mistake, as my elevated heart rate seemed to trigger me into thinking I was going to have an attack. I was a bit off for a few hours after, felt a little better, but I woke up this morning worried out of my mind again and I'm feeling woozy, a bit apart from myself, and my throat feels numb and tight. I hope I didn't set myself back too far. Winning the mental side of this truly is the hardest part of all. 

      Thank you so much for all of your support and kindness. I am going to try to keep living in the now and praying "now" won't keep feeling so terrifying for very much longer.

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    • Posted

      Dearest Whitney

      As with many things in life it’s two steps forward one step back...Pat yourself on the back for even entering the gym for a workout! I try to think of anything I can pat on my back for small steps ahead 

      Whitney it’s only natural to want to get out of the prison of your mind 

      However try to have an attitude of acceptance regarding exactly where you are today..It seems like the more we try to push this fear out of our minds the worse we get! It takes a while for these horrible thoughts to leave because they have become habit...

      They’re going to pass. I remember First thing in the morning when i woke up I would be bombarded with fear

      The more you trust the Xanax and God for getting you out of this conundrum.

      GOOD JOB GOING TO THE GYM LOVE THATS HUGE.

      You didn’t hurt your recovery!!!

      Love to you always, Prodigious 

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  • Posted

    Hi Whitney,

    Since you have a life and your busy I would ask your doctor for ativan to take when you feel an attack coming on. It works in around 10 minutes and that's what it's used for. If possible take a very small dose of clonazapam at

    bedtime, that stopped my attacks all together. I don't allway's suggest medication but you work and don't have

    time to play with different meds and sit in groups. You said you were going away for a while also. I'd like to see you have a good time and not worry about this. I hope you have a very understanding doctor. Tell your doctor you got this information from me by reaching out for help and you just want to work with him. If he won't help you ask for a referral to someone in the mental health department asap. Let me know how it goes...Cindy

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    • Posted

      Hi Cindy! Thank you so much for replying. I had to be taken to the ER because I had a very bad attack and could not feel any part of my body, I felt so unreal and was convinced it was the end. My vitals were all normal and they didn't even want to run any additional heart tests; the nurse promised me it was a panic attack and not my heart. They gave me a trial run of Xanax and so far it is keeping my body from physically going into attacks, even though my mind is still very overactive with worry. The past two mornings have been amazing, I woke up feeling like me again - it's as the day goes on and my mind wakes up that it becomes obsessive again, but at least it has just been obnoxious, worried thoughts and I haven't had a full-blown attack.

      I am also going to see a counselor on April 4, so hopefully it can be attacked from that side as well. I will keep your medications in mind when I meet with my doctor this week. I do not want the life I fought so hard to get to be ruined from this disease, and I am going to try to keep fighting. Thank you so much again. 

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