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Anxiety and Depression Support
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Severe Panic Disorder

Hello all, I’m here to see if anyone else feels like this. I have been struggling with panic disorder since I was 12 years old. I am currently 23. Recently my symptoms have gotten so bad. My heart races and pounds constantly and my chest vibrates. When I’m having a panic attack I feel like I’m choking and as if I’m about to die. I actually just have a constant fear of dying when feeling this way. I have no relief at all. I saw a cardiologist last year because this was happening before and I checked out normal. I am an athlete and performed well on all the cardio tests. So please if there is anyone out there who feels this way or has any tips, reach out to me. I pretty much struggle 24/7. I’m wondering if it is genetics or if I have a chemical imbalance. People in my family struggle with depression and anxiety but none have the severe panic disorder as I do.

Currently I take 37.5mg of Effexor (switching to 75mg soon), and 25mg of Metoprolol (beta blocker to calm my heart rate). I also have 0.25mg of Xanax as needed. (That Xanax dosage may be too small? I am 6’1” 180lbs.)

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I think it might be a good idea for you to talk to a specialist about this problem again because it sounds quite serious. I have something similar happening to me when I am anxious, I can't really breathe and my chest burns up. I hope you feel better soon with the help of a professional. Best of luck and stay strong xoxo.

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Thank you so much for your response. I will certainly be seeing a specialist again soon.

You stay strong too! I know how tough it can be but we are not alone

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I’ve had severe anxiety too, but you should be getting some relief by now. Effexor may not be the best medication for you. I’m on Lexapro and it’s more sedating than other drugs. Yes .25 is a small dose of Xanax, there is a non benzodiazepine called buspar that may help. I think this is genetic but also stress, do you have something stressful like a big life change happening?

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Hi Ryan15,

You are not at all alone!

Have you read Claire Weekes? She was a genius who figured out panic and anxiety and how to get it to all settle down. If you haven't read "hope and help for your nerves" by Dr. Weekes I'd get that first, read, and implement :)

Here's her amazing audio:

She discusses panic in depth. Don't let the name of the video (really it's just audio) mislead you - this is all about anxiety, panic, the frequent depression these things cause, and how to recover.

Panic and anxiety start to slowly disappear when we lean IN to it. When we learn to accept the symptoms as quite common, normal, and utterly harmless. As interesting, fascinating, but completely unimportant to our well-being. This may seem impossible right now, and it does take practice, but I promise you it is the key to recovery. Panic will start to fade. Panic attacks will get shorter. Eventually, you will try to have a panic attack (you won't fear them any longer so why not?) and you won't be able to have one.

The other resources I love, and which are keeping with the Claire Weekes approach are:

Paul David's book - At last a life

Hugo Rock's anxiety website

Swamy G's website (acoachcalledlife.com) - (please note I personally disagree with his relaxed opinion on marijuana use, I don't think it's a good idea with anxiety) otherwise the site is incredible

Nothing works- an online essay that is all about panic, anxiety, and more about this approach, which is most definitely curative: nothingworks.weebly.com/

"Nothing Works" gets to the notion that making nothing out of your symptoms is what works. A panic attack is truly nothing. I don't want to minimize your discomfort, but when you start to see that it really is nothing- just a little adrenaline, the same chemical that is released each time you go on a thrill ride, or see a scary movie- you will see the symptoms lessen and lessen, and fade away to nothing. There will be no more suffering.

I hope that you can eventually come off the xanax completely. Remember, the goal is to learn to accept the symptoms of panic. Xanax dulls the panic. Recovery is slowed when you are dulling the panic. I suggest working towards getting off the xanax over time and slowly allowing the panic volume to go as high as it wants- all the while practicing your new skill of ignoring and minimizing the symptoms of panic and anxiety. Then start putting yourself directly into the situations that intensify the panic and practice more. With continued practice, your panic attacks will be no more. Well maybe you'll have one here or there, but it won't matter- you won't care, it'll barely bother you, because you will have practiced the correct approach so much and completely changed your mind about panic. Give yourself lots of time, lots of room for error, time and room for setbacks. It isn't easy to change your mind about something you are currently terrified of and are fighting. Slowly but surely you will be able to move forward, I have no doubt. And you will feel so much better :)

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Calm_mama,

Thank you so much for this response! I will certainly be listening to her audio tomorrow evening and purchasing her book. Also, I will be researching these authors. I agree with NOT using marijuana as I tried that in the past and it made me feel much worse (I’ve tried cbd oil but haven’t felt much relief).

The ultimate goal is to definitely stop taking Xanax. I hate having to take it almost everyday for the past few weeks. Even if it is a small dose, I know it’s not good to take so often. I think possibly going to cognitive behavioral therapy will help me get to the bottom of this. I tried cbt in the past and was not successful but I kinda gave up and only went to 3 sessions instead of being patient.

You’re so right about a panic attack truly being nothing and I have to remember that. It just all feels so real, the heart racing and pounding, struggling to breathe, uncontrollable shaking, chest tremors, it’s all scary and it feels like I’m going to die, but I have to keep telling myself this is nothing and simply panic, not harmful to my body physically.

Again I really appreciate your time and all the resources you provided.

All the best,

Ryan 15

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Ryan15,

Your positive, hopeful attitude will greatly support your recovery. I have no doubt you are going to be feeling better soon :)

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I have very severe panic disorder. I feel like I'm dying constantly checking my pulse like 50 times a day. My "symptoms" change on me once I get used to them. I was on effort 75 milligrams for 2 years I got off of the meds because I want to manage on my own and a year and a half later still have withdrawals from that med.

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