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Worst panic attack of my life today


calypso
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I have suffered from panic attacks for nearly 10 years, and they have been fairly mild, totally controlled with medication (Zoloft and Klonopin). I went off of those when I got pregnant and did fine. Since I had my daughter, I have had two panic attacks -- again, not a big deal.

Today, however, was a different story. I was standing in the kitchen holding my daughter when my entire head/face become fiery hot and red, feeling like my head was about to burst to bits. Then I started gasping for air as my throat closed and I nearly started choking. Of course by this time my heart had started pounding madly and then my face went numb. I picked up the phone, nearly dialed 911 but decided to go outside instead. My husband was out of town so I was afraid if I passed out or something, my daughter would be crawling around on the floor by herself, or she could get hurt if I collapsed.

Two minutes later, it stopped, and I felt like I had run a long race. I have never had a choking/shortness of breath sensation before with a panic attack; mine were always heart pounding and maybe a little tingling of my head. But oh my gosh, now I know why some people develop a fear of more attacks.

I know some people here get panic attacks. Did you guys have them before POTS or did they come on after? I don't know why this one was totally different from the rest and so severe, but wow.

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Oh, m'gosh--that sounds so scary! I'm sorry that happened to you today!

I didn't get diagnosed until last January but had symptoms since I was a teenager (I'm 42). And yes, I used to have panic attacks too--mostly characterized by extremely severe dry mouth, heart pounding/tachycardia, and sometimes uncontrollable shaking. I never had the choking/throat closing symptom you described, and I never took meds to control them... just dealt with it best I could. They're much fewer and farther between now, than goodness--and now that I know I have POTS, I think I'm more calm. (When I get symptomatic--or panicky--I just remind myself that it's the pots, not me, and then I do something that may make me feel better...lie down for a while, drink a bunch of water or gatorade, eat something...)

Do you know what triggered it for you today? Were you thinking about something worrisome? Everything OK w/your daughter? Are you still breastfeeding or can you consider going back on the meds that worked for you before your pregnancy?

I hope this was a one-time thing for you, Calypso...

Take care,

Merrill

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Merrill - To answer your questions, I was not doing anything particularly specific - just standing in the kitchen and holding my daughter. Came out of absolute nowhere ... but I know that's how panic attacks usually hit me. I am supposed to be starting Effexor soon but have been putting it off due to the fact that there's little research on what it does to babies whose mothers take it while nursing, and also because I really don't want to be on an antidepressant again ... I just finally stopped taking the one I had been on for eight years last year.

I feel very defeated that I can't get control over all of this stuff without the drugs. I have been through five psychotherapy sessions in the last two months and despite tons of relaxation techniques, positive thinking and such, I am getting nowhere. Having developed POTS at the same time is not helping and is no surprise considering how sensitive my nervous system already was.

The fact that this one only lasted two minutes makes me feel as though I can endure another, and makes me think it was probably a panic attack and not something else. At least that's what I hope!

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I have had about 5 of these attacks, but mine were during my sleep. I went to a specialist and he just said it was stress attacks. SCARRRRRRY STUFFF. Luckily I have not had the breathing problem with my seizures yet. Thinking of you, take one day at a time. O and enjoy your daugh :rolleyes: ter you are so blessed to have her in your life.

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Calypso

I know how scary those "panic attacks" are and how out of control it makes you feel. I'm sure it was that much worse to have no one around but your baby when it happened. I had the absolute worst panic attacks of my life post partum. I know when they were happening I really thought they were going to kill me, my heart would pound so fast and I felt so horrible--also felt like I couldn't breathe. I know what you mean about wanting to find a way to control the symptoms without drugs. Well, for one thing, probably your symptoms are at an all time high now, post partum, and are going to get better. Just keep reminding yourself of that--it really helps, I think.

I went to a psychologist who did biofeedback with me (covered by my insurance!). It helped me to manage anxiety and panic attacks at least at a mental level which had a physical effect as well. That said, a small dose of SSRI really helped too. But correct, most doctors would advise not breastfeeding while taking one--and from what I've read, I would be uncomfortable taking that risk.

Thinking of you--I know how hard it is--I've just come from there.

Katherine

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Amy- I am sorry to hear about this. I'm sure it was extremely scary, and I also hope it never happens again. I know how it feels to feel like you are going to lose control and be holding your baby in your arms with nobody around. REALLY frightening. But I'm glad it turned out okay. Just to give you some reassurance- most of the women I've talked to reached a peak in their symptoms around 6-8 months postpartum and then they stabilize. I think it takes some time for the body to adjust and return to "normal" (wait a minute, what's normal? ha!)

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You ladies are doing much better than me!!! I have chronic anxiety daily and panic attacks frequently(several a week). :P ANd that is with pretty regular doses of clonazepam. :P I have had these since my POTS started 18 yrs ago. Each time is still like the first. It ***** :P

Just wanted to let you know you aren't alone.

Danelle

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