Today’s anxiety success story is from Sylvia. She has been free from panic attacks for 2 years and shares what works for her.
Hi My name is Sylvia, and I started having bad panic attacks in 1988. I thought I was having a heart attack or stroke, my heart was pounding, I had chest pains, nausea, weird sensations in my head, pain in shoulder, and squeezing sensation between my shoulder blades.
I spent many years going to doctors, calling 911, spending hours in the ER, and having every test under the sun done on me! I have seen many doctors over the years. My heart was fine, just sinus tachycardia, with normal rhythm. They said I had nothing serious, and nothing that should be causing the symptoms I had for all those years.
These attacks would wake me up from a sound sleep with my heart racing 180 BPM, and my blood pressure going sky high, along with chest pressure, nausea, etc. I would sometimes go weeks without any attacks, and then boom, they would start all over again with a vengeance, sometimes having several attacks a day every other day!
I called the paramedics so many times they knew me by name! I would also get them in the daytime, but most of them happened late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, either just before I fell asleep or while I was sleeping. I always felt like I was dying! I would feel this awful impending doom.
I never thought that I would be free of these debilitating panic attacks. After all those years of living with the panic attacks and palpitations, it will be two years this month since I have had any panic attacks or palpitations. I hope it continues to stay that way. I get some anxiety and sensations and symptoms from time to time (nothing severe), but they have not turned into panic attacks or fast heart rate in these past two years.
What helped me:
I am taking Klonopin and the beta blocker metoprolol. I also take a multi-vitamin along with extra vitamin B, fish oil, vitamin D3, Magnesium, calcium, C, and E (lack of certain vitamins and minerals can trigger attacks).
If I start to feel anxious a few sprays of Rescue Remedy on my tongue often helps. Put a few drops of lavender on your hand and rub your hands together, cup your hand and breathe into your cupped hands, the lavender is very calming and relaxing.
About 4 drops of passion flower extract under my tongue also helps with panic and anxiety. The homeopathic remedy arsenicum album, a few tablets under your tongue, helps with anxiety, panic, fear, palpitations, etc.; Aconite is another good homeopathic remedy of choice if your anxiety is the result of a sudden fright.
I also suffer with heartburn, lots of allergies and sensitivities which all can trigger panic attacks.
If I have not eaten much and my blood sugar is too low, I will try to eat something or you could also keep some glucose tablets around. I have notice when by blood sugar gets too low I am more prone to panic attacks.
Hormonal imbalance, MVP, and thyroid problems can also be causes of anxiety and panic attacks. If I don’t get enough sleep, that has also triggered attacks in me.
Sulfites, MSG, artificial sweeteners and other food additives can all cause reactions to sensitive people.
I also cannot take any cold medicines as they cause me to have anxiety and panic attacks. A lot of cleaning products like bleach and some air fresheners will cause me to have anxiety. Some perfumes and cosmetics will also set me off. I am also very sensitive to second hand smoke.
Stress is another big factor in my panic attacks and anxiety. Just remember that it could be anything that you drink, eat, consume, breathe in, or touches your skin (because anything that touches your skin can absorb into your bloodstream. Any of these can cause you to have a reaction which can cause anxiety and panic attacks, and the reaction can be right away or delayed by hours or even by several days later.
I suggest keeping a journal of everything from, foods, drinks, chemical exposure, medicines, stressful situations, hormonal changes and even the weather (feeling over heated can make me feel anxious), as any of these could be triggers.
Eating healthy and getting enough sleep also helps. Lack of sleep can cause anxiety and panic. As can low blood sugar and electrolyte imbalance. I use a large 3 ring binder filled with paper as a journal. Write date, time, along with anything you drink, eat, consume, breathe in, or touches your skin. Also record any physical and emotional symptoms and sensations. You can look back later and see if you can see a connection between any of these and your anxiety and panic attacks.
I use relaxation CDs and mp3’s, breathing exercises, sipping on ice cold water, reminding myself that it is only anxiety and that it will pass and that it has never harmed me and will not harm me now!
I also do four square breathing:
1 Take a deep breath, breathing in for four seconds.
2. Hold your breath for four seconds.
3. Slowly exhale for four seconds.
4. Do nothing for four seconds and then repeat the process as many times as you need until you calm down.
Exercise always makes me feel better! Watching something funny on TV or a DVD, or watching a funny Youtube video is also helpful! Youtube also has a lot of good relaxation videos.
I also use the iPhone apps: Anxiety Connect, Panic Talk Down, Panic Attack Aid., Panic Control and Panic Eliminator, Instant Heart Rate, Tactical Breather, Anti-Stress, and many others and also making and listening to my own panic attack talk down recordings on my Iphone and listening to them when I am having a panic attack. I also find that listening to music, playing games, or listening to a guided relaxation on my Iphone or Ipod a helpful distraction.
Drinking ice cold water and splashing my face with cold water also helps me. Sometimes it will help to get some fresh air, stand under a fan, or turn up the air conditioner. Go outside and stand on your porch. Walk around your yard.
It also helps to get on an online anxiety forum and talk to others who understand what you are going through! I think it helps to read positive uplifting books, and to listening to calming music. Prayer is something else that can be very helpful.
I also just recently got “The Linden Method” I have already found some helpful advice in the manual that goes with the program, and the “Panic Attack Eliminator CD” that comes with the program seems helpful.
Remember that is it important to believe in yourself, and to believe that you can overcome panic attacks!
Make sure you find out what your triggers are, this is important. I hope my story and suggestions as to what helped me will also be of help to others.
Thank you Sylvia for sharing your anxiety success story!