Contentment With a Side of Panic Attacks

Life is fairly good these days.  I’m attributing it to plenty of sunshine and DBT and working hard in therapy and having more structure to my days.  There are some big changes on the horizon, like moving, and QoB *finally* retiring (maybe), but those are good changes.  While my mood has been fairly neutral, I have been having some physical symptoms that have been giving me trouble.

Physical symptoms that I decided were lithium poisoning, because that is where the problem  usually is, but when that wasn’t the answer (after a blood test) and the urgent care provider sent me to the Emergency Room, I was stunned that I hadn’t thought of this:

I was having every single one of these issues, a minimum of three separate episodes each day.  So, apparently, my anxiety (that I *knew* was high, but, um, it always is!) is manifesting into more physical problems.  Also known as, multiple panic attacks a day with very high anxiety between attacks.

So while I thought that I was mentally very healthy, because I was not feeling extremely depressed or extremely elevated, and because I was not having more than my usual amount of generalized anxiety, I misdiagnosed myself as having lithium poisoning or something wrong with my heart because it has been so long since I have had full-blown panic attacks.  I should note that these attacks almost always additionally come with gasping, sobbing, and cursing on the side.

I beat myself up that I didn’t realize my anxiety was so out of control before having this little Emergency Room epiphany, but I think that I was just so grateful to not feel extremely depressed, that I decided everything else was “fine” and that I was just “physically ill.”

I still “don’t feel good” physically and am going to need to get in to see my psychiatrist this week, but I am really not looking forward to that.  I reported increased anxiety at my last appointment, and I do have a PRN for anxiety that generally works.  It is only when the anxiety gets really blown up and into a full-on attack that seemingly nothing makes me feel any better.

I am curious.  Have any of my readers ever had something like this blow up out of nowhere?  I mean, it probably isn’t really “nowhere” and I just can’t pinpoint where it started.  Thoughts, feelings of commiseration, home cures (hahahah!!!)?


6 thoughts on “Contentment With a Side of Panic Attacks

  1. Yes, when I was 16 I was sitting in class one day when I had my first panic attack. Nausea, felt like I was choking, thought I was going to fall out of my chair, the works. Though there’s plenty or reasons why I may be “messed up” there was no specific trigger that I know of to start these attacks. Going on meds is what curbed the intensity of the attacks, so they are much more live-able now. But either way, they suck. 😦 I hope you find some relief soon xxx Blooming Lily


  2. You might be surprised to discover how common panic attacks are … and how many “normal” people get them, at least occasionally. You never get used to them. I’ve read all about them and I still don’t know why something apparently innocuous will trigger one while a really serious problem or emergency doesn’t. I’m not sure the “pros” are entirely sure how it works, either. It’s better to know that you get them so at least you won’t think you’re having a stroke or a heart attack (always MY first thought). Life. Can’t live with it. Definitely not without it 🙂 I think I’ll see if the chili is ready to eat.


  3. Panic attacks are TERRIFYING, but the good news is that once you find a way to battle them (breathing methods, drugs, escape procedures), then they become less severe. Once you feel like you’re winning, you can do a lot better. I’ve got from having 3ish panic attacks per week to around one or two a month. I’m hoping it will go even lower. You can do this!!


  4. One of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had happened at church. I immediately took a Xanax but was still overwhelmed after 20 mins, sitting in the bathroom, waiting for it to kick in. My sister was taking care of kids in the nursery, I went to her crying, shaking all over. She prayed over me and finally a calm rested upon me. The combination of medication and anointed prayer is what got me through that one!


  5. Sadly yes. I’m at a point where low-grade anxiety is a constant companion and I get flares pretty regularly. Exercise, just walking, helps me as does the medication I take, gabapentin. Lots of stuff to talk to your doc about, but you can do this sweetie. ❤


  6. Panic attacks! Ugh, ugh, ugh! I struggled almost thirty years ago with them and still have to take care of myself so that they don’t make a return visit. Peaceful thoughts your way, Rose.


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