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My Worst Panic Attack in a Long Time. Today was just a setback I hope.

Camden

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Well, I had a rocky start to my day. For the first time in a while, my early morning anxiety made me feel sick to my stomach and zapped my appetite. My whole body felt tense and tight as I went about my morning. I took some pepto and ate some mild oatmeal for breakfast and felt a little better.

When I went to leave the house and get in the car, things went south fast. I began feeling tearful and my face began feeling hot and prickly. Then the dreaded “I can’t breathe” feeling hit me and I flipped out. I pulled immediately into an empty parking lot and stopped the car.

I literally could not catch my breath, and I was screaming and crying. The inability to catch my breath made things 10 times worse. I reclined my seat to lay flat, and thought hard about the breathing exercises from my Calm app. The 4-4-8 breathing techniques saved the day while I laid flat as I could in my car.

I called my aunt, and she kindly stayed on the phone with me until I arrived safely at work. She helped talk me down from my anxiety in a compassionate and rational way. Having an aunt who’s a retired counselor is a blessing, especially on bad days like this.

The thing that upsets me the most about today’s attack is that no particular thought set it off. More like a vague cloud of stressful tasks and situations going on at work and with my family. Horrifying that it hit while I was driving. I got into that parking lot just in time.
 

MATD

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Anxiety is such a booger. It does not politely ask if it may have a panic attack but instead sneaks up on you. Don’t look at it as a negative. Even in my recovery quest, things do not go as I want them to. Just when I think I’ve got past something, boom! There it is again. The point being that recovery is not a straight path but zig zags. To let a simple panic attack knock you off your game is not acceptable. But do accept the panic attack as normal for you at this particular time. We will have setbacks and nothing will go according to how we want it to. We have a lot to learn yet, but the process is quite worth it since recovery waits at the end. So keep practicing acceptance and let this experience be part of your practice, by not beating yourself up over it, by simply accepting you had a panic attack, chalk it up to normal and keep on going.
 

Camden

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Thank you MATD. Looking back at my previous post, I am impressed with myself at how well I managed the panic attack. Yes, it came out of nowhere. Yes, it scared me and it was extremely uncomfortable. However, I feel like my coping mechanisms are strong and I’m able to do what works for me when these things strike.

The deep breathing and lying back were the first steps as I fought for my breath back. Once I calmed down a little bit and got my voice back, my next step was to call my aunt in order to talk it over, distract myself, and have someone on the phone with me until I safely reached my destination.

As well as I believe I handled this, I can’t help but worry another unexpected panic attack will strike. What if it happens while I’m driving again? What if it happens at work, at church, at the grocery store? So many onlookers would probably be scared or judgmental.
 

MATD

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And so what if it does? Those questions are setting you up for second fear. Don’t buy into it. You handled it today, you will handle it again.
This is where you face those questioning fears with “so what, a little embarrassment never killed anyone.” You see, those questions come from that critical inner voice disguised as concern.
Today’s scripture is “I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me.”
 

Missy

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Thank you MATD. Looking back at my previous post, I am impressed with myself at how well I managed the panic attack. Yes, it came out of nowhere. Yes, it scared me and it was extremely uncomfortable. However, I feel like my coping mechanisms are strong and I’m able to do what works for me when these things strike.

The deep breathing and lying back were the first steps as I fought for my breath back. Once I calmed down a little bit and got my voice back, my next step was to call my aunt in order to talk it over, distract myself, and have someone on the phone with me until I safely reached my destination.

As well as I believe I handled this, I can’t help but worry another unexpected panic attack will strike. What if it happens while I’m driving again? What if it happens at work, at church, at the grocery store? So many onlookers would probably be scared or judgmental.
Try to stop the "what ifs" That is the future and that is where anxiety thrives. You handled this well and you will handle the next one, if and when it occurs. Pat yourself on the back for your response.
 

Camden

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I’ve had two more panic attacks this week :( Both of which were while I was driving unfortunately.

First one hit on the way home from my parents’ house Sunday afternoon. Second one hit on my lunch break while I was out doing errands. What’s going on with me right now?
 

Missy

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I’ve had two more panic attacks this week :( Both of which were while I was driving unfortunately.

First one hit on the way home from my parents’ house Sunday afternoon. Second one hit on my lunch break while I was out doing errands. What’s going on with me right now?
Do you remember what you were thinking about before they happened? Did anything upsetting occur before?
 

E.B

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I’ve had two more panic attacks this week :( Both of which were while I was driving unfortunately.

First one hit on the way home from my parents’ house Sunday afternoon. Second one hit on my lunch break while I was out doing errands. What’s going on with me right now?
You and I both know they can appear out of nowhere...sometimes we have obvious signs and have been going through a season of anxiety. Other times it's out of the blue. Either way you will persevere.
 

MATD

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E.B is correct. Keep practicing acceptance and accept that you had these attacks, they mean absolutely nothing. As a side note, they may indicate that your guard is coming down and thus why the panic attacks. Make sense?
 

Jonathan123

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Thank you MATD. Looking back at my previous post, I am impressed with myself at how well I managed the panic attack. Yes, it came out of nowhere. Yes, it scared me and it was extremely uncomfortable. However, I feel like my coping mechanisms are strong and I’m able to do what works for me when these things strike.

The deep breathing and lying back were the first steps as I fought for my breath back. Once I calmed down a little bit and got my voice back, my next step was to call my aunt in order to talk it over, distract myself, and have someone on the phone with me until I safely reached my destination.

As well as I believe I handled this, I can’t help but worry another unexpected panic attack will strike. What if it happens while I’m driving again? What if it happens at work, at church, at the grocery store? So many onlookers would probably be scared or judgmental.
What if!! That is a sure way to bring on anxiety episodes. You are in a state of apprehension and if it goes on 24/7 it is sure to get you in a permanent state of anxiety. What if I have a panic attack while driving? You may do but the secret still lies in not adding second fear. Let the panic come. (Difficult) but you will never stop panicking by adding panic to panic. Deep breaths and carry on with what you are doing. The analogy of a little boat in a storm serves well here. An experienced captain will turn his boat round and head into the wind. If he tries to keep going as he was he will surely capsize. Ride out the storm but face it and accept it as a very temporary episode. Panic has a limited life because the adrenal glands can only turn out a limited amount of adrenaline. Knowing it will pass can help, but it's not easy, then what is in anxiety?
 

Bry

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Agree, panic attacks seem to come at the most oddest times. I have even had them while relaxing watching a movie/show i like.
 

Camden

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Do you remember what you were thinking about before they happened? Did anything upsetting occur before?
With my most recent attack it was midway through a very stressful day at work. One of my best colleagues was leaving to take a new opportunity, I was getting nonstop emails, and there was rumor of an impending project that would land in my department. I had just got off the phone with my mom who mentioned that one of her pets got sick in the house that day. The simple thought of the nasty mess in the house is what was the last straw. Even though I didn’t have to deal with it, the thought of ordure on the floor in the house made me lose it.

Thankfully I was parked in a store parking lot. I called my aunt, and we did some deep breathing, then talked everything out. I took my medicine. I can remember saying “my chest hurts” during the barrage of mental pain I encountered. I went from having splitting chest pain and hysterical shallow breathing back to subdued in a matter of 20 minutes. I waited till I was calm enough to focus before I drove.

I felt a little tired and “off” the 2nd half of the day. I came close to telling one of my coworkers that I had a panic attack and might need to go to a vacant room to continue to calm down. Thankfully, I stayed strong and just powered through it.
 
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MATD

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The odor. For me as a child, my first day of school, terrified. Lunch time, the smell of the food somehow terrified me even more. I will probably never forget that smell. I have smelled it many time since then. It was definitely a trigger for me. So what did I do about it? I accepted it for what it is, a reminder of past anxious moments, and by accepting and allowing it, I called it what it is, just a reminder of past anxious moments that cannot affect me now. I can remember without reacting in a negative way, but look at it and have compassion for that terrified little girl and comfort her and reassure her that it is ok. For many folks, they develop aversions to nasty things in life. There will be dirty jobs to do and someone has to do them. It may get be a good idea to think about why you react to such situations. It may be the issue of contamination which could lead to illness or death. The bottom line is still lack of confidence which is what is feeding that fear. Acceptance still applies here. If we allow ourselves to run away from all the nastiness that comes in life, we remain a fearful soul, missing out on the opportunity to strengthen ourselves. Think about it. Food for thought. Overall, I think you were simply overwhelmed with all that came at you. Simply overwhelmed, nothing more, nothing less. It all just built up and you had a panic attack. There is going to be a lot more of those kind of days where things come at you quickly and seemingly unrelenting. That’s where you have a good opportunity to practice acceptance. You aren’t Superman, you can only do so much, accept things as they come at you and know that you are just one person. You don’t have to take on the responsibility of everything by yourself.
 
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Jonathan123

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With my most recent attack it was midway through a very stressful day at work. One of my best colleagues was leaving to take a new opportunity, I was getting nonstop emails, and there was rumor of an impending project that would land in my department. I had just got off the phone with my mom who mentioned that one of her pets got sick in the house that day. The simple thought of the nasty mess in the house is what was the last straw. Even though I didn’t have to deal with it, the thought of ordure on the floor in the house made me lose it.

Thankfully I was parked in a store parking lot. I called my aunt, and we did some deep breathing, then talked everything out. I took my medicine. I can remember saying “my chest hurts” during the barrage of mental pain I encountered. I went from having splitting chest pain and hysterical shallow breathing back to subdued in a matter of 20 minutes. I waited till I was calm enough to focus before I drove.

I felt a little tired and “off” the 2nd half of the day. I came close to telling one of my coworkers that I had a panic attack and might need to go to a vacant room to continue to calm down. Thankfully, I stayed strong and just powered through it.
Anything can trigger a panic attack. Even something we feel good about. Anxiety is so complex as are our minds. If you panic STOP what you are doing, take deep breaths and CARRY ON WITH THE PANIC THERE! Now that is not easy. Panic attacks though pretty awful mentally are harmless. They will always die down if we see them through. The biggest mistake we can make is to retreat in fear, rush back to the supposed safety of our car, or dash home. We will soon realise we have failed once again and that in itself can cause more anxiety. If you can see it through without adding more panic you will find a sense of achievement. If you panic again you have the remedy at hand. Acceptance, no second fear.
 

Missy

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With my most recent attack it was midway through a very stressful day at work. One of my best colleagues was leaving to take a new opportunity, I was getting nonstop emails, and there was rumor of an impending project that would land in my department. I had just got off the phone with my mom who mentioned that one of her pets got sick in the house that day. The simple thought of the nasty mess in the house is what was the last straw. Even though I didn’t have to deal with it, the thought of ordure on the floor in the house made me lose it.

Thankfully I was parked in a store parking lot. I called my aunt, and we did some deep breathing, then talked everything out. I took my medicine. I can remember saying “my chest hurts” during the barrage of mental pain I encountered. I went from having splitting chest pain and hysterical shallow breathing back to subdued in a matter of 20 minutes. I waited till I was calm enough to focus before I drove.

I felt a little tired and “off” the 2nd half of the day. I came close to telling one of my coworkers that I had a panic attack and might need to go to a vacant room to continue to calm down. Thankfully, I stayed strong and just powered through it.
So you see it was the mindset, the thoughts, that triggered the attack. There was nothing wrong physically with you, just the thoughts that triggered the physical symptoms of the panic attack. You were fine after you rode it out, and accepted it.
 
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