Suggestions on Dealing with Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Updated on June 20, 2008
C.V. asks from La Mirada, CA
51 answers

I have been dealing with panic attacks and anxiety for almost a year now. About two months after the birth of my daughter, I was sitting at a stop light when I experienced my first panic attack. I had just recently returned to work and was bringing my daughter to work with me. I had just picked up my two boys from summer school/daycare and was heading home and experienced the first attack while sitting at the stop light. It came out of nowhere. Over the evening and next morning I wasn't feeling any better and went to the ER to have tests ran. That is when they diagnosed me with the panic attacks. After a visit to my doctor, I was given Xanax. I had a depressive reaction to the Xanax and was then put on Lexapro. The Lexapro took some getting use to but it worked for a few months. I took myself off the Lexapro this past January and was feeling okay. Ever since last summer when the first panic attack happened, I have been fighting daily with negative thoughts of there being something else wrong with me. I have had TMJ problems, neck and back pains and the fuzzy, dizzy head feeling. I just can't seem to pull myself out of a fog of thinking that there is something more wrong with me than just a panic/anxiety disorder. I had a major set back in early May and had two major panic attacks while driving in the car. This has caused me to be fearful of driving. I am lucky enough to have a job that has been working with me on giving me some time off to deal with adjustments to new medications and taking some time for myself. Needless to say, I still can't pull myself together. Every moment of the day is centered around how I feel. I know it has affected my family. I don't go many places because I don't feel safe anywhere but at home. My husband is an amazing man and father and has been taking on most of the responsibilities of our family life and chores. I do have good days. But I have more bad days than good. What I need help with is if anyone else has had to go through this and some suggestions on how to turn my negative thinking into positive thinking. I am starting to see a psychologist but would love some advice, suggestions, etc. from other moms. Thank you!

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A.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

E-mail me off line and we can chat.
[email protected]____.com

I'm so sorry for what you are dealing with.

A.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

I'm not personally trying to sell anything...but this has worked for ALL of my friends with panic attacks and husband for depression.(I got it from my doctor initially.) Most of them take 2-3 daily in the am. I take it daily, but I only need 1 and I feel like a million bucks.

It's adrenal support AND it's the best I have found:
http://www.worldlifesupplements.com/products_main.html

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S.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

a friend of mine has panic attacks while driving. She is also on meds. I've only had two attacks and they are horrible I know. I've been dealing with anxiety since I was a child. I never knew why I felt that way until I was in my twenties. I was prescribed prozac but was scared to take it. I'd rather have anxiety then having thoughts of suicide. So I didn't take them. A few years later I was prescribed Bupropion, that's the generic brand. I was told to take it twice a day but I started off taking a half once a day. I felt it helped some what. I take one once in awhile when I feel anxious. I don't feel that medication is the answer but it helps at times but might cause another problem. Try not to worry about things you don't have control of. I have social anxiety as well as just anxiety. I worry about everything sometimes. It's not healthy. I find that when I walk in the morning it helps a lot. If you can get out with a friend in the morning or evening.

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L.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear C.,
Greetings!!!

I truly understand how you are feeling as a MAMA myself. Experiencing anxiety and panic attacks is downright depressing and scary, especially when you want to be the best MAMA you can be and everything becomes an effort. I was wondering if you've thought about researching homeopathic and natural remedies for how you are feeling? There are many natural solutions that can actually help with what you are going through.

I highly recommend contacting Dr. Anita Pepi who is truly an amazing Chiropractor and Nutritionist and would definitely be able to help you naturally.

Here's her data:

2950 Los Feliz Blvd. Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 666~1088
http://www.drpepi.com

If she is too far for you, please let me know as I may know of an incredible nutritionist that is closer to you.

I also recommend checking out 4 organizations validating why going the natural route is best for you and your family:

http://www.uniteforlife.org/
http://www.cchr.org/
http://www.cchr.org/mothers_act.html
http://www.labelmesane.com/

You'll also find some amazing data regarding alternatives at: http://www.cchr.org/solutions_and_alternatives/

And, , please watch:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=LQW23XCmOCw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qble_vQEC7M
http://www.psychconflicts.org/

Please free to reach me anytime at: (323) 906~2784 or via e~mail me at [email protected]____.com. I'd love to help you however I can.

LOL,
L. (Mama to 37 week old Dylan Orion).

4 moms found this helpful
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S.M.

answers from San Diego on

Wow, sounds like a spiritual attack on your faith and peace of mind, for sure. There are two things I personally would do. First, I'd have the elders or prayer team of the church lay hands on you annointing you with oil and pray over you. God has delivered me of many things in my 40 years and prayer has been a really powerful thing. I will pray for you, also. Secondly, a small thing that helps me when I get attacks of stress, claustrophobia, whatever it may be, is a product called Rescue Remedy by Bach Flower Essences. It works great and has no side affects and you don't feel like you do on the xanax, I have used it for many years and also for my children. I love the stuff. You can find it at the vitamin section of health foods stores, research it online, etc. If you plan to carry it around with you, I'd get some small grade bubble wrap and tape or rubber band it around the bottle since it's glass and can break (had that happen - $17 down the drain!). I also use one from the same company called "Rescue Sleep". It's been featured in magazines and such because it really can help you when you have insomnia caused by a mind that won't quit, it calms your thoughts and you just fall asleep, no side affects. I cannot use many over the counter or prescription drugs due to lupus and kidney failure so I have been studying natural medicine for 20 years and found some great remedies. I leave you with a blessing from the Bible (also a song from church)... May the Lord bless thee, and keep thee, may the Lord make his face to shine upon thee. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee peace.

And as a footnote, if none of the above helps, try investigating online the Adrenal Stress Profile. It's saliva testing that gives you a full work-up of all your many hormone levels (there are quite a few to list) and will tell you if there is an imbalance causing this. I had mine done with a natural MD, regular doctors won't bother, but they should!Glandular disfunction can show up in many ways, including some of the symptoms. you are having.

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C.R.

answers from San Diego on

Hi,
Good for you for addressing this and seeing a psychologist.
You are on the right path. I've worked with people with anxiety, depression and panic attacks for years. You might benefit greatly from practicing how to relax using relaxation therapy - guided imagery, biofeedback, and progressive muscle relaxation. Also yoga. If you haven't done so already, I'd also cut out the caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. I'd also talk with your psychologist and/or psychiatrist before stopping any meds. Remember no one has ever died from a panic attack.
Hope this helps. It sounds like you have a great support network. Good luck to you.

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J.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds like Post Partum Depression, C.. You may want to talk to your doctor about doing some hormone testing. I invite you to read Brooke Shield's book, Down Came the Rain : My Journey Through Postpartum Depression to help you understand what is going on. (and it's on an amazing sale at Barnes and Noble right now for $3.95!)
You may also want to check your diet. How much sugar and or alcohol do you ingest on a regular basis? Sometimes that can exacerbate the problem. It could be your blood sugar. Realize that this WILL go away, your body is trying to tell you something. I wish you all the best. To your health.

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M.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, I am 38 yrs old and started getting panic attacks when I was about 22. I had dizzy spells sweats and got sick. I was also scared to drive since it was also happening in traffic on the freeway. I spent a few years in and out of doctors, blood tests, etc. only to discover it was panic attacks. Part of the anxiety for me was there was "something more" wrong, and it wasnt for me. I learned to give myself more time for everything so I didnt feel panicy about being late or whatever. I put myself on a schedule of what days I would do laundry, clean, go to the bank, etc. and I really try to stay on it. I am not rigid with it but I sleep well knowing even if the laundry is piling up...its not laundry day and I relax. Over time the doctor said my brain would adjust to the dizzy spells. Basically its your equilibrium thats gets out of wack and the brain eventually figures out how to "adjust" to the imbalance. I used to have the room spin, sweats and get sick. Now its just that fuzzy head feeling for a few seconds and it passes. The hard part was to not panic when I had a panic attack. I never got on medication although they suggested a prescription that was the same as dramamine since I felt my balance off for sometime a day or more after the attack. All I can say is figure out a plan that helps you relax a bit, take time outs for yourself, baths or therapy, a schedule, whatever works for you. Its hard with kids, I know, but so important to keep you ok.

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A.N.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

I struggled with this too. My doctor prescribed Zoloft and daily exercise and suggested that I talk with a counselor. I found a Christian counselor in my area (I got a list from Chruch)and that really seemed to work. I also talked with some friends and they shared some scriptures, etc. with me. I have been off of the Zoloft for over a year and am doing well.

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B.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hey C.,

You have gotten a lot of responses, just goes to show how many women have dealt with what you are going through. Being a mom isn't easy in today's world, and dealing with anxiety and panic attacks is not easy either. Last year my bowel got a small hole in it and I developed sepsis. I have always had anxiety, but after nearly losing my life I notice that my anxiety is a bit worse. I was on Xanax, but got off as it can be addicting. I am now using something called "Rescue Remedy" which I purchase at Whole Foods or it is also available at Mother's Market. I think it helps. Also the herb Valerian might be of some help also.

Prayer is vital. Don't worry, nothing fancy, just asking the Lord to help is enough. Sometimes that is all we can manage. Get together some verses from the Bible that really speak to you. Take one day at a time and don't try to think too far ahead. Here is one of my favorite verses that helps me to put my trust in the Lord:

"O my soul, why be so gloomy and discouraged? Trust in God! I shall again praise Him for His wondrous help; He will make me smile again, for He is my God!" Psalms 43:5

Hope this helps. God bless you!
B.

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K.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,

You are not alone! If I didn't know any better, I'd think this message was posted by my close friend as she has been complaining of the exact thing for a while now. I also suffered with panic and anxiety for years. I was lucky enough to have my first panic attack on my honeymoon in Jamaica, of all places! My anxiety got so bad, that I was afraid to leave the house. That's when I got help. The key, I believe, is to get regular therapy in addition to finding the right medication. The medication doesn't have to be forever, just until you can retrain your brain. For me it was about 9 months. I do remember however, that it was only about 1 week on the meds before I really started to see a difference in my thinking. Keeping a journal of your thoughts and progress helps a lot too. Going back and re-reading where you were and how far you come, helps when you start to feel yourself going back to that dark place again. Also know that anxiety is a vicious circle. Once you start to feel anxious about something, that in turn will heighten your adrenaline and will ultimately make your anxiety worse, if you let it. There are also medications available that you can take on a per occasion basis. If you know you'll be entering into a situation that will possibly bring on an attack (i.e. flying) you can medicate ahead of time to avoid the headache. Klonopin (spelling?) worked wonders for me in my darkest days. I know I've been speaking a lot of drugs - I'm not the kind of person who believes in self medicating unless it's absolutely necessary. You have to be the one to decide if and when it's necessary. Others might offer other "non drug" solutions and that's great too! Good luck to you and remember that to a certain extent, it's mind over matter. Stop and breathe...you'll be fine.

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B.B.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

i also had them, but beginning with my first child. i want to say she was about 6 weeks when the first one hit me and i thought i had a pulmonery embolism (i am a nurse, its my nature to think the worst :)). anyways, my doctor informed me that sometimes, instead of postpartum depression, women develop anxiety attacks after the birth of children, right about the same time your hormones are trying to get back to normal. maybe its a hormone issue? try to have your levels checked and see if something is out of whack. mine just slowly faded over the following couple of years (not very encouraging, sorry) and i had ativan for the actual attacks. try exercising more, make sure to get as much sleep as possible, limit alcohol (they really increase the frequency of the attacks), and basically just get as healthy as you can on your end. this will all improve your sense of well being and limit the attacks. maybe finding a therapist and try a few sessions. sometimes just talking to someone can alleviate the anxiety to a managable level. good luck.

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H.S.

answers from San Diego on

C.-
I dealt with those same symptoms for 10 years. I was placed on many different mood altering medications to solve the problem but none of them helped. Finally while at yet another doctors appointment I had a "panic atack" right there in front of him.
The doctor asked me to do a pulminary function test (this tests how well your lungs are working for you). I highly reccomend it for anyone who "just doesn't feel good". My lungs were working at 64%. According to the doctor my lungs functioning so poorly had probably been affectiing me most of my life.
I have been off the antidepressants for almost 11 months now and have not had any "panick attacks" since the doctors started me on steriods for my lungs. My energy level has gone way up and my moods are a million times brighter.
I believe doctors are too rushed to find an answer these days and it leaves a lot of room for a misdiagnoses. If you still do not feel right keep going back till they start listening. When I asked why the doctors did not think to test my lungs before I was told that I should have asked them to. Sad but true.
H. Stanley Mother of 4 and Navy wife.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

I have all the compassion & understanding in the world on this subject.I would love to talk to you & give you some guidance!I have been there...I can tell you that those that have not actually been there,have a hard time understanding how it consumes your life,and that as much as you HATE being there,you just can't "snap" out of it...
Please feel free to contact me!!! I can help!!!
[email protected]____.com

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T.A.

answers from San Diego on

Hi C.,

I am so sad to hear that one more great woman out there is struck by anxiety and panic attacks! I feel as if anxiety and depression has become somewhat of an epidemic in this country and woman seem to be affected by it much more than men, either way it is not an easy way to go through life. I had my first panic attack 3 years ago and the trauma of it created a years worth of cronic attacks and a fear of travel (which is something I love to do). I went to a therapist once a week and it took about 6-8 months to stop having these attacks w/o meds. I feel education is the best medicine (knowledge is power). Once I learned about anxiety and panic I found ways to cope with them such as deep breathing daily first thing in the morning, walking every night or exercise in general. I also tried Lexapro and that helped as well afterwards when the anxiety turned to depression. I too took Xxnax as needed when I would have a severe attack so that I wouldn't shake and most of the time it just knocked me out. It can cause a depressive reaction which is basically what happened to me as well. Once my anxiety stopped, depression set in and I feel that is far worse!! I stayed on meds for about 8 months then got off when I found out I was pregnant with my first child back in April of 2007. I felt really great during my pregnancy however, one month after giving birth PPD set in really bad and I was so terrified at how sad, lonely and devestated I felt. I also felt so guilty for not feeling anything for my daughter. The severe depression lifted about a month ago now (she will be 6 months at the end of June) that I have been on Cymbalta (which works a lot better for me than Lexapro) however, I do still have bouts of depression the week before my menstral cycle that makes me feel so frustrated!! I too wish that all of this would just go away for good however, the one thing I always remind myself is something I learned in therapy "all humans will experience dis-ease in there life whether it be cancer, mental disorders, or something else." This doesn't mean we have to become our disease because it is not who we are it is what we have! This is not our fault and your family knows that however, I would suggest that you remind that all that you really appreciate all of their love and support and do things for them occationally that remind them that mom loves her life with them and is doing everything she can to feel like herself. I will pray for you and your family. Hang in there and stick with the therapy!
Again, education, time, exercise, sleep, and focusing on today vs. the future really help during the bad spells!

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L.N.

answers from Las Vegas on

I know exactly where you are at! All the "What if's" that run through your mind unbidden gets very overwhelming! So a tool that I've found helpful is to take those "what if's" and put the word "So" what if in front of it --"So what if..." and in truth, answering the "So what if" questions make the situation much more controlable. Just remember to breathe and find your "happy place" --corny, but it works! It stinks that no one around you can really tell that you are in the middle of a panic attack unless you point it out. At least you know that you are not alone! Also, while medication doesn't always work for everyone, I found that wellbutrin has worked best for me.
Good luck in conquering over the anxiety!

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,
I have a friend that is selling a nutritional supplament that could help with all of your symtoms. You can e-mail her, and she can get you more information. [email protected]____.com

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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Sounds to me like you have some issues in your past that are coming back to haunt you. A pschologist will help, but you might want to consider psycotherapy. Psychologists deal witht the behavior, and psychotherapists deal with the root of the issues" our childhood. Good luck.

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R.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. For me, I think the therapy helped more than medication. I learned how to deal with these thoughts when they come, and it has helped me to come to terms with the fact that this is never going to go away, I just have to deal with it, and take it one day at a time. That means I have good days and bad days, but I do my best and try to just tell myself that life is going to go on, and it always does. Hang in there, I hope things get better for you.

R.

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N.M.

answers from San Diego on

I am very sorry that you have been going through this. Has your medical doctor checked your hormone levels? I know that the change in hormones from being pregnant gives many women anxiety. You may want to look into that. I have suffered from anxiety since I was a little girl, so I know how you are feeling-and its very difficult to live with. I think you are on the right track with a therapist. That is always a good thing-also, you may want to go to an actual psychiatrist for your prescriptions. (You may already be doing this) A psychiatrist will have a much better understanding of how each medication works. You can ask about Buspar. This is an anxiety medication which is unlike Xanax and the like because it will not give you that instant relaxed feeling-and then wear off-and it is not addictive like those types of pills. Also, it has very few side effects unlike antidepressants like lexapro. It is worth looking into-I have had amazing results from it. I call it the miracle of my life. ANYWAY, that is the traditional western medical view.....if you want to try more natural ways of dealing with anxiety here are a few things that really work. The first is Sam-E, this is a natural vitamin which really helps. Also, acupuncture can give you amazing results. Daily aerobic exercise and yoga also would make you feel better. Learning to meditate. REALLY paying attention to your thoughts and learning how to stop the negative thinking and switch to a positive thought. I know this is the difficult part, but really being conscious of the cycle of negative thoughts that spin in your head can help stop that cycle-try saying out loud that you are having anxiety-the minute you feel it-say it out loud-this helps get it out of your head and you can let it go. Watch "The Secret" -this will help you feel more positive. I hope some of this helps and I hope you feel better soon. Best of luck! (one more thing-watch your caffeine intake-this can make anxiety much, much worse)email me if you need anything else [email protected]____.com

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W.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,

I am praying for you and asking the Lord to not allow your mind to be attacked by the enemy at all! With that said, I have never dealt with anxiety, but my best friend has. My suggestions are this, First and foremost, get into a support group through your church for this problem, if they don't have one, Calvary Chapel any Calvary Chapel will point you in the right direction. Second, get to a reputable Chiropractor and start getting adjusted and have Nutrition Response Testing done. My husband is a DC and the results he has seen with his patients are amazing in this area. This is not in your head, it is real and needs to be dealt with!

I will pray protection over your mind, body and spirit and please don't believe that there is a miracle pill for this, they all have such horrible side effects that people end up more depressed and suicidal than they started out. If you want help finding a Chiropractor that practices NRT in your area, feel free to contact me, I am more than happy to locate one for you.

Take care and God bless you,
W.

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A.P.

answers from San Diego on

I am no expert and have not experienced anything quite like what you are going through. However, I'd like you to consider post partum depression. I've experienced it with both my kids. I had a few months of euphoria after each birth followed by intrusive violent thoughts (with my daughter) and persistant insomnia and typical depression symptoms (with my son). There is quite a range of symptoms that are with the range of normal. My friend and neighbor for instance had panic attacks, insomnia, sadness and trouble with controling anger (not normal for her). Go back to your doctor or find a different one. Most doctors don't think about post partum. They just address individual symptoms. Until you get the help you need to identify the cause and eliminate your symptoms I reccomend making sure you get enough exposure to sunlight and try to get enough sleep. I know I might be asking the impossible but give it a shot. I know it helps me. (The medications didn't hurt either.) I'll be praying for you.

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L.D.

answers from Las Vegas on

I have had the same thing happen to me several times throughout my life. I've have learned over the years as our bodies get older they become more chemically imbalanced. (And I'm only 33) It has a lot to do with your daily diet etc..... There are some natural things you can take beside's a multi vitamin, better diet and exercise - (really helps with speeding up the endorphins in your body).

There is this drink you can buy online and at Target and other Health food stores called "Kid Calm".
http://www.calmnatural.com/kidscalm?gclid=CO6dm57D75MCFRp...

Also, there is another amazing natural product called Vidacell. Check out this product online.
http://www.greatlifeintl.com/default.asp?r=Frehner

Best of Luck taking control of your life again. :)
Life is too short to sit at home.

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A.B.

answers from San Diego on

Hi C.. I have a panic attack last year while getting my hair done. It came out of nowhere and completely freaked me out! Luckily my hairdresser had experienced them herself and was excellent to me. Since then I have had 2 times where I felt them coming on. When I feel that I just begin to pray. I just place it all in God's hands and true to the nature of God I begin to feel much better. I just keep fighting through the whole thing with prayer and God's strength. I know that they are so scary but you have to give them to Him. God bless!

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S.F.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi C.,I feel for you. I had these at a transitional time in my life and I was so scared that I went to a cardiologist! Mine went away with a concerted effort to look at what was bothering me down deep. I highly recommend exercise, meditation and acupuncture. The medication is a stop-gap solution, but I learned that you will have to do "the work" and make some changes sooner or later. The exercise increases seratonin levels and will help you a great deal. And I also think that the mind usually has tremendous answers for you in the form of your dreams. So I think one of the best things I did was make a big effort to write down my dreams- even if you think you don't remember any at first- you will. You have all the answers in your psyche. If you can find a good therapist to help you with this it could also be a great help.
Best of luck,
S.

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K.B.

answers from San Diego on

I could have written your entire entry there about myself. It is amazing how many people, women especially, are having to deal with this problem these days. Years ago, when I had my first panic attack (also in traffic) they put me on Xanax and I had the same exact reaction to it. Ever since then, I decided no drugs and tried therapy. It helped me before and it's helping me again now. Try a therapist who does cognitive therapy methods. If you want, I can give you the name of one, she's good. Sometimes drugs are necessary, but try this first. Drugs just mask the problem if it is an issue that can be resolved.

It's all about retraining your mind. Your mind is telling you a story... that you should worry about this or that, or what do people think of me, and oh my god, you might be sick or you might even die. I had those thoughts for at least a year after first being diagnosed with anxiety. I just couldn't believe that that could have such a huge impact on me physically, but it did. Anxiety is an awful story teller, and it affects every aspect of your life if you let it. I know exactly where you are coming from, I have to deal with it almost every day. But it's getting better every day. And it will for you too.

There are a couple of books by Eckhart Tolle that have helped me gain some perspective on this fear. A New Earth and The Power of now. Learn exceptance and awareness. Also, in the mean time, don't let it control your life. If you stop going places and doing things just to avoid the panic, it wins and the anxiety will get stronger. It's true, it happened to me.

Let me know if you want to talk. You are not alone.

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J.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,

Your hormones are so out of whack and you feel crazy. My whole system had been damaged by too little sleep for too long and it affected my adrenal system, which in turn affected my thyroid and hormones. There is a doctor who totally gets it and knows how to test what is going on with you.

Dr. Mary Berry (love the name) is in Anaheim Hills. ###-###-####. She is a DO while her husband, same office, is an OB/GYN. Being a Doctor of Osteopathy brings her the same education as a regular doctor but then they continue their medical education of understanding why someone is having a problem. She wants to find the problem, not just give you a prescription.

Know you aren't alone in this and it is not uncommon what you are experiencing. My goodness! Look at your load! It is ok to not be a superwoman and to step back sometimes. Give yourself a hug and start to look into information on hormones. Dr. Christian Northrup - "Womens Bodies, Womens Wisdom" is a must for every woman's bedside reading.

Are you worse the week before your period. Have you noticed if it is certain times of the month that hit you harder?

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J.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi,
You are not alone. I also suffer from this. I have for the past 4 yrs. I had my first attack coming home from camping. We had to stop at an E.R. because I though I was having a heart attack. I have upper back problems which make me feel like I'm having a heart attack. I went thru the dizziness and light headed as well. I am a very out going person that does not sit around the house. There for a while I didn't want to leave the house and was afraid to drive. I am better now (but still suffer from it). I'm still not comfortable doing long drives by myself.
What helped me some what is, that I purchased some C.D.'s and DVD's from ain infamorcial I saw on T.V. The kit was $500.00 and it talked about this and other mental order's, like OCD and Bipoplar. They were pretty informative. I also have pills to take if I feel one coming on, I can't think of the name of the pill righ now. If you have any questions feel free to email me at [email protected]____.com Best wishes to you!!

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D.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had the same thing happen to me. I think it starts and a physical reaction to stress and then you begin to develop a pattern of reacting that way. I think I may have had this my whole life but it was intensified when I became a mother and was juggling so much and trying to accomplish things that were basically unrealistic. Anyway, I was listening to the radio one day and the timing was perfect - there was a program being announced that talked about the anxiety I was dealing with and I called the number for more information. It is called the Midwest Center for Stress and Anxiety and the program is called Attacking Anxiety and Depression. This program is a committment to yourself and if you follow it - I assure you it really works. It allows you to re-learn how to react calmly to situations that cause anxiety. I never took medicine to treat my anxiety. But this program has helped many people see that their condition is not a mental disorder but a behavior disorder that affects our physical selves. Anxiety can really make us seriously ill if we allow it. I think the fact that you are reaching out for help is the first step to getting on the road you want to travel. And just as a side note: they do state that caffeine can really aggrevate the anxiety. Good luck.

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A.L.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

This may seem out of place, but Al Anon has helped so many people in so many ways. Just check out a support group like this.

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L.G.

answers from San Diego on

I would ask for a complete workup including Thyroid test, it is more common than you think for the Thyroid to "burn-out" during pregnancy. Depression could also be a factor, you sure are doing quite a juggling act with 3 kids, husband. home and job. Either way voice your concerns to the doctor and don't let them give you a pat answer. Write down a list of questions to ask and points to be made, your doctor will appreciate your preparedness. Good luck.

LynnG

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W.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

I myself have been experiencing the same type of symptoms. I have a doctors appointment set for next week to see my doctor. i spend everyday wonder if I can make it through wihtout snapping. I unfortunatley have a husband who doesn't understand very well so it makes it alot harder. Sometimes, I feel so alone and crazy!!! Just writting this makes me start to tear up. Panic attacks, anxiety and depression run in my family. I just starting experiencing this about 6 months ago. At first I did not want to tell anyone cause I felt like I was just imagining this emotion. Now, I know it's something that I need to face with the help of a doctor. I don't know how your childhood was, but I grew up in a very broken home. My mom left when I was 3 and my dad remarried and sort of left me behind. I think now that I've become a wife and mother all those feelings stated to surface. I am at the most secure and happiest place I have ever been and I feel terrified!!! I have somedays where I feel like I will be ok, but most are a battle. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and I will write you and let you know what suggestions I get from my doctor. I hope the best for you!!! I try breathing exercises and yoga seem to calm me when I feel my chest tightening!!! Best Wishes!!! Please feel free to contact me at anytime. Maybe we can help each other through this. NO ONE KNOWS BETTER THAN THOSE WHO HAVE DEALT WITH IT FIRST HAND!!!!

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J.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

C....
My heart goes out to you. I have similar difficulties with PPD and anxiety. Good for you that you got yourself into counseling! However, it seems that you have committed a "classic" mistake regarding your medication...you felt better and therefore you stopped taking it. But, as much as you don't want to hear it, the whole reason you were feeling better was because you were taking the medication in the first place. I would advise you (under the supervision of your doctor, of course) to begin taking medication again. If you weren't entirely happy with what you had, try something different. And, in the future, when you begin to think about going off the medication, talk to your doctor or your psychologist first. I too had a difficulty with taking medicine. I didn't want to admit that "feeling bad" was something that I couldn't beat on my own with prayre and good feelings. However, PPD and anxiety are an actual medical condition and the medication was just a necessairy tool for my recovery. If you look at it like that, like it is a tool that you use for a time, it is easier to deal with. Of course, when I was finally on the medication, I couldn't imagine why I had put it off for so long. It just stopped my mind from running in highly-charged emotional circles. I was able to stop crying, focus on tasks, pay attention to my children and get back to every-day living. What a blessing! What I have also come to realize is that the road to recovering from PPD and anxiety is, well, a road. There is no magic wand to wave that makes things like "the way they were". However, once you have begun down the road (which it sounds like you have) life will continue to get better and better and, one day soon, you will be able to look back and see how much you have grown and just how strong you are. A resource that I have found helpful is the book called Will Medicine Stop the Pain: Finding God's healing for depression, anxiety & other troubling emotions, by Elyse Fitzpatric & Laura Hendrickson, M.D. I could go on and on but I'll stop here...besides, it looks like you have alot more good advice on the list, from excercising to wholistic cures...all good tools... Anyway, good luck C. and remember that "All things work together for good," even though it doesn't seem so (or feel so) at the time.

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J.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Oh wow. I am a healer and work with a beautiful friend of mine through network chiropractic. If you are located anywhere near costa mesa contact me and i will give you more info on how we can help dissapate this anxiety. You poor thing, my advice is taking time to lay down and take really deep breaths and allow your body to freak out and move anyway it wants. Your body has the potential to heal itself, now all your brain needs to realize is to trust your body in every moment on what it is calling out for, and sometimes it is much more subtle that that. I cannot recommend deep breathing enough. The work that we do is a lot of very gentle energy work for your nervous system and then when your ready, we realign your spine witch is probably way out.

I hope you find your answers on this site! A big hug.

J.

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K.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,

I am sorry that you are dealing with panic attacks, they can be so distressing.

I am a therapist, although not working currently. Counseling can be very helpful, both in working on the root cause of the attacks, and helping you learn coping techniques (until you get things resolved.) I would especially recommend a therapist trained in EMDR, which is highly effective for panic attacks and all PTSD (and really, lots of other trauma too.) You can go online to the emdr website (Not sure if we are allowed to post websites on here) and you can look up therapists in your area. To be on the EMDR website, you would have gone through extensive training, so it is a good place to look.

As for medications, sometimes medications are helpful, especially when the attacks become debilitating. In such situations, I find that the meds are only temporary until the counseling can get to the issue. I do however, recommend that all pscyhotropic medications be prescribed by a psychiatrist, rather than a general practitioner. Different types of mental health issues have subtle nuances or subgroups, and a psychiatrist is the best equipped to find what would work best for you, without side effects.

Good luck,
K.

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

I had the same thing happen to me after the birth of my daughter, about 3 months after wards, the attacks come on when your the most relaxed, it hurts alot makes you feel like your having a heart attack. I did visit my doctor he gave me loratab, when I feel something coming on I took one to calm down my heart rate, my attacks lasted about 6 -7 months then just stopped. On the other hand,do you get dizzy when driving maybe from the car bouncing, or when you turn your head to fast.. sure you don't have a bad tooth that is causing your balance to be off. Is your blood presure ok, do you have a lot of electronics in the house, or large electric poles in the back yard or near you , Electric Magnetic radition can also cause your symptom. The negitive thoughts hum I did not experience these, now bare with me for a second, OK !!
by chance did a relative pass away a friend.. anybody right before this started ? do you buy antiques ?? anything strange going on in the house lights dimmer, tv acting up, your animals barking or meowing at nothing ?? sounds silly but
this is something either you believe in or not, sometimes a Ghost can cause the same symptoms.. if you would like more information just let me know, something to think about

Blessings to you , I sent a prayer with your permission I would love to add your name to some healers I know ~~ **

T. M

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A.H.

answers from San Diego on

I was glad to read you have started seeing a psychologist, if you don't like him/her I have someone I can recommend. She has helped me through my anxiety and other issues. I too have a few panic attacks (very scary, aren't they)! I was over-stressed when I first whet back to work two years ago now. My daugther was 1.5 and I hated leaving her a daycare all day. I use to feel panic in the car on my way to pick her up...the traffic and distance really upset me. Anyway, I ended up with a auto-immune disease and while I was being diagnosised I had the panic attacks. The Xanax helped me, but what really helped was therapy, yoga and stopping work. I ended up working a full year after finding out what I had, and finally a year ago we figured out it was best for me to not work right now. This has been the best decision my husband and I have made, aside from having our daughter. It has given me the space to heal. With your TMJ and panic attacks, three kids and work, I have to think you are over-stressed. I highly recommend figuring out how to lessen your stress right now before your body over-reacts like mine did and your are forced to make big changes. Your health is most important for you and your family. :-)

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M.B.

answers from Reno on

Hi C.. Both me and my best friend suffer from panic attacks. I've found that caffeine can be a trigger for me and my best friend had to avoid caffeine and even social drinking for some time. But my attacks (even though I've ended up at the hospital twice thinking I was having a heart attack) are or were not nearly as severe as my best friend's.
I'm not a huge proponent of medications especially when they are overprescribed but in this instance, as severe as your attacks are (agoraphobia is where you are heading from the way I read your message) then you need to continue taking them for the prescribed amount of time as well as learning coping techniques and dealing with the rest of it. Part of the issue with disorders such as ours and other mental disorders is the belief that because while taking the medication, we feel better, we must be better but you have to recognize that this is the medication talking. Part of the anxiety is also the fear of the drug itself.
I would highly recommend you revisit your psychiatrist while you're working with the psychologist and get back on your medications because you do not have to live this way. Eventually, at the direction of your doctor, you can wean yourself off of the medications (I fear your taking yourself off of the abruptly may have exacerbated your anxiety disorder) but you need to do it with him.
By all means, once you have it under control with medications, visit ways to deal with it non-medicinally but just like a diabetic, you need your medicatons to get it under control until you can regulate your diet. This is the same.

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J.W.

answers from San Diego on

See a chiroprator. I go to a great one.

Spend some time in your Bible and in prayer. Medications can help you (they did me) but wen you have to get off them (or want to) it becomes a nightmare. Find someone that will listen to you at a moments notice so you can talk through these things.

You seem like you are trying to be a Proverbs 31 woman, that can be an awful lot of pressure. Take some time for yourself because if you are falling apart who is going to do all that wonderful stuff for your children? You don't mention a husband, check that out if you do have one. Where is he in all this service? You can sacrifice yourself to death.

You are in my prayers, but remember that you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can save anyone else.

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C.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,

You've had tons of responses. Too, many for me to read. But at least you know you're in good company. Mommyhood can be overwhelming. 1st I want to say, you will feel better. I promise. Reading you're posting was like reading about myself. I have experienced everyone of those symptoms. And...... I got over it. 1st, I saw a therapist. I can recommend a really good one who focuses on teaching you to relax, finding the triggers and underlying issues. Vitamins..... Huge. Take lots of bcomplex and salmon oil. Yoga. If you can find the time it will change your life. I can also recommend a holistic Dr. who helped me a lot to release negative stuff that I didn't even know I was hanging onto.

A lot of people have recommended religion. Prayer/meditation can definitely help. Just find what you're comfortable with. I've heard that the book A New Earth can help people with anxiety but, I haven't read it yet so I don't know for sure. And, I know it's hard to concentrate on reading when you have anxiety.

Also, I know someone who has had fantastic success on Paxil. If medication is the route you go, you just have to find the right one. Everyone is different. I hope this helps.

I wish you peace.

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

first of all, I am very sorry you are going through this. I have both a brother and a very close friend that suffer from panic attacks, especially while driving. Both were also diagnosed with another disorder, my brothers was bipolar disorder and my friends was depression. Both were instructed by thier primary care MD to visit a psychiatrist AND a therapist. Has your MD asked you to do this? I urge you to seek out some help throught his avenue. It has helped my love ones immensely! You are a mommy and wife who is so obviously cared for and loved beyond belief. Sometimes it takes a while to find the approprite medication for you. When all else fails, my friend also added a little excercise to her routine and has had positive results.

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi:

I used to be on Effexor, Paxil and Xanax. Then God gave me a gift/opened a new door for me, and in October 2007 I started treating for my depression and anxiety with an naet certified doctor. I have been off all antidepressants and anti anxiety meds since December and am growing like a weed emotionally and spirtually. From your "A little about me" I thought you would be interested to know that at the outset, I asked the doctor his views on God and since then we have prayed together before each treatment. I go to Dr. David Karaba in Fullerton ###-###-#### and if you use my name, he would be very happy to give you a free consultation.

Best wishes and many blessings

M. Sexton

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S.O.

answers from San Diego on

I briefly scanned through the other responses here. My advice would be to get your thyroid and other hormone levels tested. I had similar symptoms to yours a couple of years ago. My doctor immediately told me I was "crazy" and it was "all in my head" and that I needed to see a psychiatrist immediately and get on antidepressants. Well I knew I wasn't depressed so I kept searching for answers online. At the time I could barely crawl out of bed on a bad day and could barely watch my son while lying all day on the couch on a good day.

I finally found my nutritionist, Linda Wagner (www.endometriosissupport.com). Her knowledge and advice saved my life! She had me get all my levels tested, especially my TSH and T3 and T4 levels. When those came back, they were in the "normal" medical range. But they were very low for me. I think the "normal" range for the TSH is 0.5 to 5. My level was at 1.75. A healthy level for me is around 3.

I also will second the suggestion for chiropractic care. I have been seeing my chiro lady for about 2 years now about once a month.

You might also want to try accupuncture or accupressure.

And I definitely recommend some sort of low impact exercise. I did a lot of yoga when I was trying to get my levels back to normal and of course walking is great! I found that yoga not only gave me a good work out, some good stretching, it also helped me to focus positively on the day.

I know so many other mommies who have thyroid issues that are related to the stress of raising a family. Three are on thyroid medication for life. I chose the long road of curing the problem and not just treating the symptoms. For 7 months I naturally cleansed and strengthened my organs one by one, changed my diet, and exercised more. Then by the grace of God I got pregnant (2 years earlier the docs told me I wouldn't be able to get pregnant the good old fashioned way). I now have a beautiful 1 yo daughter, a rambunctious 3 yo son by adoption, and am feeling good and definitely ready to get back into the gym to work out again. And my TSH level is at a healthy 2.9 :D!

Good luck! And listen to your body. If you feel that something is off, then it probably is.

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R.M.

answers from San Diego on

Wow C., you described the exact occurances in my life for the past 12 years. I don't want to scare you, but once you start having panic-anxiety attacks they seem to never go away. I have been married for 16 years and have 3 boys, ages 11,10, and 5. If it wasn't for my husband I would have lost it years ago. I am so sorry that you have to go through this, let me give you a history on when my panic attacks started. My first attack was sitting in the lunchroom at my job on 5/5/1999, this was my last day at work. Everything in my life at that time was as you mentioned, was centered around how I felt. I did not want to leave the house for fear that I would have an attack while driving. I did see a psychologist for one year during that time I was on disability because I could not function at work. My anxiety and panic-anxiety attacks are triggered from my fibromyalgia. I don't have them as much as I used to. I would say that I would have an episode about three times a month. I just wanted to respond to you to let you know that you are not alone. The best advice I can give you is to not let the panic-anxiety attacks be the center of your life. Just know that you are blessed to have a husband as I did to help you through it. Each day, try to do a little more than you normally would. Don't be afraid to leave the house as I did at one point. Don't let it take you away from your family.

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K.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

I would highly suggest going back on the lexapro. It has been wonderful for me. You may also want to ask your doctor about adding a second medication. Sometimes two is better than one.

I would also suggest trying yoga or some other form of meditation. A good therapist can also help you to 'self-talk' your way out of a panic attack.

Hang in there! You will get better!

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N.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have the same thing and as much as i know you don't want to hear it. Go back to a doctor and get back on some meds. If you didn't like the last one try another but you have to have it. You may be having some migraines if you have dizzness. I know everyone says you don't need it but you do. The feeling will not go away till you get back on it. Life is so much more difficult these days. Go to the a good therapist and vent. Good, bad and ugly. Find a quiet place to pray-meditate. Do something fun with girls or just for yourself.
I tried coming off mine and the same thing happened.
Take Care! Check your thyroid and for menopause.

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C.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Dear C.,

It is GREAT that you recognize this challenge and are seeking help. Clearly you are doing better than you think if you are managing to raise your three small children! Praise God for the work He is doing in your life!

These sound like symptoms of panic disorder with agoraphobia (that's the fear of being somewhere where you may have an attack and can't get help; e.g., driving, going out); while the medication may cut down the attacks themselves it may not be sufficient to address the anxiety you have about a potential attack. I would strongly recommend you work with a psychologist that you feel comfortable with- that you really like and trust- to help you change your thinking patterns. You may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, so you may want to ask psychologists if they offer that when you are looking for one. In CBT the psychologist looks at your automatic thoughts and cogntive distortions, and helps design exercises and assignments to change them.

If you do use medication, I strongly recommend you work with a psychiatrist and not a general practitioner since they simply don't have the expertise. A psychiatrist may actually recommend an antidepressant which despite the name can help with some anxiety issues.

I am not a panic disorder expert but I hope this helps! God bless.

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C.I.

answers from Los Angeles on

I know all to well what you are experiencing. I have been a victim of panic/anxiety attacks for many years. I take Paxil, and will continue to take it because it works for me and I am able to function.Mine would also occur when I was driving, which really scared me. I would feel that I wouldn't be able to get back to a safe place, mainly my home. I would also have them in a crowd of people. I tried therapy, and many other medications. Paxil has worked well for me. Xanax is not good and is habit forming. I drive wherever I want to go and have even driven to Arizona and Las Vegas with no issues. I am 62 years old, and I have had them since I was 30, once I found Paxil I am able to function with no problem. Good luck to you and if you want to talk, email me at [email protected]____.com God Bless

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M.V.

answers from Honolulu on

For those who prefer to not use medication, there are alternatives. In high school I learned how to do piano improvisation and practiced putting my feelings to music. It was a great source of validation and peace. There is a wonderful teacher named Mark Almond who has a Piano for Quitters DVD where he teaches improvisation. My 10 and 8 year old daughters have been learning piano improvisation from it and have grown in leaps and bounds. Time where one can focus and express themselves is a healing thing and our kids take notes of good self care when they see us doing those things.

Of course, you can't haul a piano around in the car with you everywhere you go... There are other techniques for situations that require immediate stress relief. My favorite is simply pretending to write with my finger in the sand, so to speak. It is an emergency kind of prayer styled after the time Jesus was surrounded by a mob that demanded he make a decision that would effect another's life. He wrote in the sand, allowing himself the dignity of a moment to pray and consult the heavens before responding. His response to the mob was legend. His whole life was an example of perfect love. I think we all have moments where we feel surrounded by sudden doom sometimes. I love his example of how to win regardless of it all. I love the clarity of thought that follows prayer.

Part of having joy in our posterity, our kids, is replenishing our reserves. Vitamin B is what our body uses to survive stress. If those reserves go bankrupt we will have the kind of symptoms you are experiencing. High fiber foods are rich in vitamin B.

Although there are lots of healthy alternatives to medicine that honor our bodies, such as eating high fiber foods and having hobbies that uplift us, they will not prepare one's soul to master the skills that make the attacks a non-issue. I believe our soul will not feel complete until we have found, practiced, and mastered the deeper skills of being a peacemaker. The apostle Paul in the New Testament describes his joy in being faced with what I will call panic and anxiety producing situations. In short he is saying, "bring em' on!"

There is something so great about perfect love. As a student of it, one's courage to live life and face all challenges can go from debilitating feelings to joy.

Anyway, these are just some recommendations and personal experiences with alternatives to medication. I honor your journey =).

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M.C.

answers from Las Vegas on

Hi C.:

I had experienced panic attacks in my early 20's and had them off and on for a few years. My first one also happened in my car and just came on suddenly, I was so sure I was having a heart attack. After my second attack, I realized I was having panic attacks. It took a while but I finally learned to calm myself down and eventually they stopped. Then a few years ago, as I entered menopause, I started them again. When my ob/gyn checked my hormone levels we discovered they were very low. I was prescribed bio-identical hormones and they seem to be helping the attacks. Occasionally when I do get one, I try to breathe deeply and tell my self, it's only a panic attack, you are ok, nothing bad is going to happen, it will end in a few minutes. I also try to distract myself by reading a book or calling a friend. Anything to get my mind into a different space. Eventually it passes but it can be very scary.

I think you are wise to see a therapist. Hopefully they can give you some tricks to lessen the severity. I think just recognizing that it is a panic attack and that it won't hurt you really helps. And you may just want to have a complete physical just to satisfy yourself that you are indeed healthy.

Good luck to you and I wish you the best.

M.

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K.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

I highly suggest you do things that take you out of your mind such as yoga, exercise and/or meditation. These things can be done at home with a tape or on your own. I have a tend towards anxiety but since I started meditating 10-15 minutes every morning, it has calmed me. I exercise 3-5 days a week for an hour each day. Put on music and just dance to it. When you are not in an anxious moment think of a sentence/quote that brings truth to you. Tape it up to your mirror, carry it in your purse and when you start to feel anxious, read it over and over to yourself preferably looking at yourself in a mirror. Find the physical things you enjoy doing and do them. If you don't know how to meditate, there are books and tapes to teach you - or just sit with your eyes closed and think of one word, any word and repeat over and over again - there is no one/right way that must be done. It is merely important that you get away from your thoughts into a calm space. Put on calm music while you do it - it may help.

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