Anxiety Support
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New to Anxiety and having Panic disorder

Hi All,

Good day and I hope you are all well. I dont know what is happening and how to prevent it soon. I am on a whole week vacation then this feeling started.At first, I thought its my asthma but not later after my check up yesterday. The first attack was in a cinema, the feeling is just not good and butterflies are all inside my chest then go up until I get this chocking feeling.. The more I panic the more it escalates to something worse.. My nasal passages are closing and then my heart wont stop from beating fast. Then it continued for the whole week. Yesterday, I had ENT specialist check my air passages through endoscopy procedure and told me that passages are all clear, he just provided me a pill to take for 6months for the allergies.. Then goes my gastro doc confirming that it is not because of my Gerd or too much acid as result of my ultrasound are all normal. Then she advised me to talk to a phsychiatrist as I might have this flight or panic disorder in me. She even told me that I need help

I still dont know what triggers the attack, but hope to be better soon.

:(

I just wanted to know how to cope if it will happen again?

This is something new to my life

Thank you for the help

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Hi Jaica, the best but hardest thing to do is not worry if itll happen again but instead to accept those feelings if they come, dont fight them and let them pass. No matter how unpleasent, it will not harm or kill you. I remember my first panic attack I thought I was dying and went to A&E to be told there was nothing wrong with me. My panic attack then turned into a constant level of anxiety to which I layed in bed for weeks concentrating on not dying. I remember when the pharmacist told me to walk on the sunny side of the road. I thought she was crazy as that wasnt going to get rid of my anxiety but I realised it is about the little things we do each day. That was 4 years ago now. Ive refused prescribed medication for my anxiety as although sometimes I think I need it, deep down I know I dont and I wouldnt like to become reliant on it. Instead I got a box of Kalms tablets and also some rescue remedy pastilles/chewing gum/droppers, they sell loads of different products which I find helpful. Ive also had hypnotherapy which I found helpful but costly. I now do self hypnosis through phone apps (headspace) and youtube were I just type in 'hypnosis for anxiety'. Its especially helpful on a night when going to sleep. I also take a hot bath and read with candles on before bed. I find that its more about preventative measures such as really looking after yourself, eating well, drinking water, avoiding caffeine. I know it sounds daft, I thought the same and I wanted something that would get rid of it now but if you learn about what anxiety/panic disorder is it really helps to accept it and not fear it. I went on a talking changes therapy course that really helped me learn that its just our mind reacting to something we perceive as a threat such as if we seen a bear our lungs would start working harder to get us ready to run away. The grounding technique may be helpful if you experience those feelings again or putting some headphones in and listening to mindfulness/hypnotherapy and taking deep breaths imagining to let go of any worries or fears with each exhale - this does take practice and will probably be the last thing you feel like doing but it will help. I know this is new to you and you may feel scared or alone but remember at least 1 in 4 people suffer with mental health issues - you are not alone, tell yourself this and tell yourself that you will be okay because you will. You will feel well again. Best wishes x

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Jaica, you did the right thing getting medical specialists to check you over. It must have been reassuring that they found nothing physically wrong.

The fact that you were told to visit a psychiatrist and the fact you are posting this on the 'Anxiety Support' forum make it fairly conclusive that the symptoms you experienced were caused by anxiety disorder.

To answer your questions based on the experience of those of us here: yes, it most probably will happen again and no, you're unlikely to be better 'soon'. Not what you want to hear, I know.

You've probably spent many months, maybe years, subjecting your nervous system to stress, worry, over work, disappointment etc which is what got you into this state. So why should you expect to be cured 'soon'?

But the good news is you can recover completely though it will require some input from yourself. You need to understand what is happening to you and why. You will need to practice and persevere with the methods that will bring about full recovery. There is no magic wand one wave of which will clear everything up in an instant.

For some time you must have experienced a period of stress which lasted so long that it caused your nervous system to rebel. Your nerves have become over sensitised and it is this that has caused all your symptoms that mimic genuine physical illness so convincingly.

When you feel the symptoms, indeed when you just think about them, it causes fear and this releases stress hormones that cause the sensitivity of your nervous system. This then causes more symptoms which cause more fear which causes more symptoms: you are caught in a vicious circle that perpetuates your anxiety.

Although the episodes you describe are frightening the power of anxiety is limited. It won't cause your heart to stop, it won't kill you, it won't disable you and it won't send you insane. The symptoms may imitate real physical illness but in fact they are fake symptoms, all bark and no bite.

So now you know what's happened to you, you understand how anxiety works, you know its limitations and you know you can recover.

To recover, you must first neutralise the stress factors that have caused your anxiety disorder. Maybe a job or relationship that is causing you unhappiness, there are many other possibilities and only you can identify them. But neutralise them you must, this may involve major life changes and you must put yourself first for a change and be ruthless if necessary.

You could of course take a course of anti-anxiety medication. If your symptoms become overwhelming you may opt for this. But meds don't cure you of anxiety disorder, they just offer a period of respite. When you stop taking the meds the anxiety is still there waiting.

To recover from anxiety disorder you must de-sensitise your nervous system. This means you must stop flushing your nerves with fear hormones every five minutes. So when the bad feelings or bad thoughts come again you must learn to accept them calmly and with the minimum of fear.

Accept the symptoms for the time being that is, not forever. The symptoms may make you feel uncomfortable but you must let them come unopposed, don't fight them, surrender to them. This is the Acceptance method devised by Claire Weekes many years ago.

When you feel the symptoms just let every muscle in your body go limp, feel them going limp including an imaginery muscle in your brain: let that go limp too. Offer no resistance when the bad feeling strikes you, let them rush at you like an incoming wave and sweep over and round you and then recede.

By accepting the bad symptoms for the moment you no longer feel fear because true acceptance liberates you from fear no matter how irritating thr symptoms.

Once you stop bombarding your nervous system with fear hormones it recovers and when it recovers you will be free of these episodes.

That's how it works. You can free yourself of anxiety disorder by removing the fear...and the fear of fear.

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I couldn’t agree more with ‘Jeff1943’ - he’s so right.

Look into mindfulness breathing - it’s worked wonders for me.

I would also considering trying a different GP, they don’t sound the most supportive or attentive. I tried 5 doctors until I found one who cared and listened and has helped me so much in the past 6 months than any doctor has over the past 10 years.

Love xx

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