• Welcome to the Anxiety Community Forum, a friendly space for discussion, help and support with mental health issues. Please register to post and use the extra features available to members. Click here to register.Everyone is welcome!

The worst panic attack I've had (and what helped me get through it)

Yoshi

New Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2021
Messages
1
Reaction score
1
I am not a qualified medical professional. Please do not use this post as medical advice.
Hi everyone - In March, I experienced a very scary panic attack that made me convinced I was going to end up in hospital. Luckily, I didn't end up in hospital and I managed to get through it. I would like to share this experience because perhaps it can help someone who is going through similar. If this is you, read this:

My doctor told me that panic attacks build up to a peak about 10 minutes in, and gradually subside over the following 10 minutes. This is not how I experience panic attacks, and you might not either! You see, the problem with this generic information is that I was convinced I was seriously ill after 20 minutes. I remember thinking to myself "A panic attack only lasts 20 minutes, and it's been 30 - this must be something else". It wasn't. In total, my panic attack lasted 1 hour and took another hour to subside. I have since learned that I probably experienced a string of panic attacks. This 2 hour-long panic attack was obviously my most scary, however, I'd say even my "everyday" panic attacks last more than 20 minutes.

My heart rate was 130 for an hour, and got to 156!
I felt like I was going to vomit.
I was sweating.
My mouth was dry.
My stomach and chest were both extremely painful.
I felt as if I was going to pass out.
I felt restless and was pacing.
(You might experience other symptoms of which there are about 100!)

What helped me?
I breathed into a bag, which stopped me hyperventilating. After about 30 minutes, I started feeling less dizzy and restless.
I took a propranolol tablet. This had the unfortunate effect of making me feel more sick! But at least it worked on my heart rate.
I listened to calming music. I just spent an hour focusing on the music and trying to get my heart rate down. This in combination with the medication got my heart rate down to 90 something after 1 hour and 30 minutes. This also stopped my chest from hurting.
I had a drink of water.
After about an hour and a half, I started feeling better enough to try to go to sleep. (it was 2 in the morning, which didn't make the situation any better)
I put a comforting YouTube video on, which for me was actually a cooking video by Adam Ragusea (very peculiar, I know, but it calmed me down).
After another 30 minutes, I was asleep.

I woke up feeling quite groggy and weak, like I had a cold. I drank a lot of water in the morning and a cup of tea. I tried to eat as much as I could.I hope this account helps anyone who is going though the same thing.
“Calm doon, al mek a cuppa”
-Yoshi
 

Doug97

Active Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2021
Messages
397
Reaction score
142
Thank you for this, very helpful. I too have experienced back-to-back panic attacks. You start to panic when it's not ending and that just makes them keep coming.
 

Camden

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Messages
75
Reaction score
38
Hey Yoshi,
Thanks for your post and for sharing your experience. It sounds like it was really rough for you but I’m happy for you for powering through it with coping strategies. Well done!
I’ve had a few nocturnal panic attacks myself and it’s definitely not fun to have your sleep disrupted. What you describe is definitely a full out panic attack, however it is understandable to think you had something else going on due to your doctor’s advice.
A lot of what you experienced is very similar to what happens during my panic attacks. I’ve been having panic attacks since age 11. Yes they suck and me feel like rubbish for a long time afterwards, but I’m fortunate to have a better understanding of them and now have better coping strategies as an adult.
With me, my warning sign of impending panic attack is a hot, flushed, feverish feeling face. It then spirals out of control with many of your same symptoms including the urge to vomit and chest pressure/racing heart. Afterwards, I feel like I’m recovering from some type of virus. I’m physically and emotionally drained. All I want to do is sleep and isolate myself.
 
Top