Panic Attacks

Do any of you suffer from panic attacks with this disease and if so have any of you tried therapy with a professional to help and address these concerns. I had another one today and I have got to do something to find out how to deal with these.

I do not want to just be put on a bunch of medication but instead I would like to find a coping mechanism for dealing with them.

I feel like I am going backwards all of sudden instead of forward. My vertigo/wavs have been better as of late but because of all of this my panic has increased to a point I am scared to do much other than stay at home for fear of what is going to happen when I leave.

Throw into that I am now in peri menopause and have this other disorder with the Mav and wow I feel like I am going nuts.

My husband is so worried and it is making it so hard for me to see him this upset and try and explain to him what I am feeling and how I cannot just be ME anymore.

Timeless, I think that I have…I get real dizzy, disoriented and when I try to sleep it off I find that my brain is busy with some many thoughts (nothing really bad, just too much). Sometimes I get cold and shake a little and my blood pressure increases. It hasn’t happened much but it seems to be a little more often than ever before - it may be that this disease is wearing on me emotionally and that is leading to it. I have taken a Xanax each time but it doesn’t always help. I do think professional help just to deal with this disabling condition is a great idea and something that my wife has been pushing me toward for a while. Not being who we once were or who we want to be can wreck havoc on our mental well being, which only causes increased MAV symptoms…a horribly vicious cycle! Good luck. Ben

Timeless,

I never had a panic attack until all this dizziness started. The first one scared me to death. I was at work (as a teacher) and I was in the front of the class, I can’t even remember what I was teaching or saying. All that I know was that in my head I was having racing thoughts about what was wrong with me and why was I so dizzy and what was wrong with me…until everything kind of started getting cloudy and I could almost hear my voice echoing and my heart was pounding out of my chest. I didn’t know what a panic attack felt like so I was so scared. I did go to my GP that day and he said it sounded like a panic attack. I had another one about a week later in the grocery store…which kind of started the same. Soon afterwards I started to try different avenues to get the dizziness under control, none of which worked right away but it helped the panic in that I knew that I was at least doing something to try to get better. I also started listening to relaxation tapes before going to bed and doing a lot of deep breathing and muscle relaxation which helped a lot. Panic is such a vicious cycle because it starts off as a fear of one thing and then it spirals into a fear of having a panic attack. It wouldn’t hurt to talk to a therapist to help you through this. Sometimes it’s helpful to let someone outside of your inner circle put things into perspective for you. I wish you the best and hope this starts to get better for you!

Timeless –

I was pretty much how Colleen described – I had never had a panic attack in my life and didn’t even remotely understand what it was. When I heard back then of someone having an “anxiety disorder” I would think they were “weak” or that they had some mental problem. Wow, did I ever learn my lesson the hard way. The very day I got hit with VN, I had a panic attack so suddenly and so acute that I ended up in the ER thinking I was dying. It was like someone had plugged my fingers into a socket; my heart was beating like crazy and sat in my throat. This went on for two weeks off and on in the extreme as VN tore me up. I of course was scared to death so threw gas on the fire through my own stress.

It took a long time to see it clearly but I now know there was two components to this: physiological anxiety (most of it) as a direct result of the vestibular system being hosed and my own mind-created anxiety. Killing the physiological stuff required a drug for me because once the VN passed through me, MAV took over. I didn’t know it at the time but Cipramil killed two birds with one stone – MAV and anxiety control. When that stopped, I eventually stopped my own stressing about the problem and the panic attacks stopped.

It’s very important that you DO NOT avoid things because of fear. By doing so you empower the anxiety and are more likely to feed and reinforce it. If you are really so ill with anxiety then you should probably consider a med to help you through the worst of this while also seeing someone and doing some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). There’s nothing wrong with using some valium or one of the benzos to get through this rough patch. An SSRI might even kill the MAV and the anxiety. One thing is certain – you must get the anxiety genie back in the bottle otherwise it will fuel the MAV. It’s a nasty feedback loop: anxiety exacerbates MAV; MAV exacerbates anxiety. You need to interrupt the cycle.

It will stop and is not permanent at all. You’re just very sensitised at the moment and it sounds like there’s a lot of fear around the illness that you’ll need to deal with.

Hang in there … Scott :slight_smile:

ps Check out “Self-help for your nerves” by Claire Weekes. It’s a great book and will really help you to understand the anxiety and how to disarm it.

Hi Timeless,

I get panic/anxiety attacks with MAV as well. I found it a whole lot easier to deal with once I realised it was another MAV symptom and not me just ‘losing it’ because I was feeling so bad in general. For me that panic/anxiety is really a physical, not a pyschological feeling. They feel very different for me.

The severity of those attacks has now lessened significantly for me, to the extent that I can often ride them out, without taking a Valium, but it’s great to know the Valium is there, is so effective and that I can take some if it’s too bad/protracted (praise be to Valium!).

While I feel the anxiety is physiological I DO think it can be then made worse psychologically. I have noticed this myself, that if I’ve got a bit of physiological anxiety going on, an externally stressful stimulus, or worrying about it too much can make it worse. In that respect I think CBT would help. You certainly don’t want to be exacerbating phsyiological anxiety and you want to take control of it yourself as much as possible.

Victoria

— Begin quote from “scott”

Timeless –

I was pretty much how Colleen described – I had never had a panic attack in my life and didn’t even remotely understand what it was. When I heard back then of someone having an “anxiety disorder” I would think they were “weak” or that they had some mental problem. Wow, did I ever learn my lesson the hard way. The very day I got hit with VN, I had a panic attack so suddenly and so acute that I ended up in the ER thinking I was dying. It was like someone had plugged my fingers into a socket; my heart was beating like crazy and sat in my throat. This went on for two weeks off and on in the extreme as VN tore me up. I of course was scared to death so threw gas on the fire through my own stress.

It took a long time to see it clearly but I now know there was two components to this: physiological anxiety (most of it) as a direct result of the vestibular system being hosed and my own mind-created anxiety. Killing the physiological stuff required a drug for me because once the VN passed through me, MAV took over. I didn’t know it at the time but Cipramil killed two birds with one stone – MAV and anxiety control. When that stopped, I eventually stopped my own stressing about the problem and the panic attacks stopped.

It’s very important that you DO NOT avoid things because of fear. By doing so you empower the anxiety and are more likely to feed and reinforce it. If you are really so ill with anxiety then you should probably consider a med to help you through the worst of this while also seeing someone and doing some cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). There’s nothing wrong with using some valium or one of the benzos to get through this rough patch. An SSRI might even kill the MAV and the anxiety. One thing is certain – you must get the anxiety genie back in the bottle otherwise it will fuel the MAV. It’s a nasty feedback loop: anxiety exacerbates MAV; MAV exacerbates anxiety. You need to interrupt the cycle.

It will stop and is not permanent at all. You’re just very sensitised at the moment and it sounds like there’s a lot of fear around the illness that you’ll need to deal with.

Hang in there … Scott :slight_smile:

ps Check out “Self-help for your nerves” by Claire Weekes. It’s a great book and will really help you to understand the anxiety and how to disarm it.

— End quote

I ordered the book yesterday as a few other people recommended it to me from another site I visit about menopause where this can also be a component of this part of a woman’s life also.

I want to get the genie back in the bottle as have never had to deal with this before in my life and the MAV alone is bad enough but this part of it puts it in a different realm.

I think the symptoms I am experiencing are a combination of the MAv, menopause and the panic kicking in and the viscous cycle continues. I have come to learn that people who have never experienced these on a semi regular bases have no idea how frightening they become and the phobias that set in are “real” in the minds of those of us who have them.

— Begin quote from ____

Sometimes it’s helpful to let someone outside of your inner circle put things into perspective for you. I wish you the best and hope this starts to get better for you!

— End quote

I think this may be important also as I am sure those in the inner circle are having a very hard time understanding the person I have become because of all of this.

— Begin quote from ____

For me that panic/anxiety is really a physical, not a pyschological feeling. They feel very different for me.

— End quote

Someone sent me this and I think it pretty much sums it up very well as she told me she was home bound for a long time until she learned how to deal with this.

— Begin quote from ____

When you are dealing with stress and panic attacks your body gets depleted of many of the things it needs to stay in balance. All that “flight or fight”, adrenaline, sugar highs and lows, etc. depletes your body. Those things I just spoke of are NORMAL not signs of some terrible disease or mental problem. There are things that your body does to prepare when there is fear (stress). It is important to understand that. Yes, there is a chemical imbalance, but if you were being chased by a bear there would be a chemical imbalance. No different, just that you aren’t being chased by a bear, you are being chased by fear. Fear of the feelings, fear of the panic, fear of the anxiety. The body does the exact same thing as it would if that bear was chasing you. Your heart would pound, your sugar levels would rise, you would sweat, your muscles would tense, adrenaline would surge, etc. Dr. Weeks and Shirley Swede will help you understand that.

Now, given all of those things there are things you can do for your body. Your body loses the B vitamins when so much stress is present. So get yourself a good Vitamin B complex. It needs to be a complex as the B’s need to work together. Also start taking Omega 3’s. It has been proven that Omega 3’s help with depression and anxiety. If you have a hard time with large pills both of these are available in liquid form at your local health food store. Next get eating better. Cut down on the sugars and the caffiene. Combine carbs with protein - like crackers and cheese, cereal and fruit, chicken and fruit, whole grains and fruit, vegetables and chicken. Also give yourself healthy snacks between meals - this helps to keep the blood sugars steady throughout the day. That is not hard - crackers and cheese are fine.

Begin to learn ways to relax. Learning how to breathe is the best thing you can do. Threre are lots of breathing exercises on the internet. They are very simple, yet very effective, can be done anywhere at any time and no one even needs to know you are doing them. Try also to find a time of the day when you can just lay or sit and do some quiet breathing. If you start feeling panic or anxiety - stop, breathe (slow, easy, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth). Every doctor, psychologist, minister, whoever will or should tell you that breathing is natures calmer. Also, relaxation tapes are wonderful. Go to belleruthnaparstek.com and order a relaxation CD. She has wonderful CD’s for almost everything - even one for menopause. They only take about a half an hour to listen to and you will find them so relaxing. She is a trained psychologist with great understanding, and her voice is wonderful. If you cry a bit while listening - no problem. If you fall asleep - no problem. But, you will be learning how to relax in a gentle, soothing way.

Again, you CAN do this. It comes with understanding of what is happening, acceptance that it will not hurt you, and hope (which is true) that it will end. Some people may not like me saying this, and I am not judging anyone for each must do what is right and helpful for them, but if you can do this without drugs you come away far stronger for you will have learned the right way and your mind and body will remember that. Drugs mask but proper learning teaches. If drugs are used they should only be for the short term and only with the appropriate advice from a very good doctor.

Just keep telling yourself that you have been under too much stress for too long and your body is reacting to that stress. Doesn’t matter what stress, even good things can be stressful. And yes, menopause and this time of life is stressful. So comfort yourself. Tell yourself it is OK. Wouldn’t you say that to a friend? You are only doing what thousands and thousands have done - reacting to stress. Begin to stop fighting the bears, letting go, and telling yourself you are very, VERY normal.

— End quote

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