by Kandace

First I just want to say thank you so much for creating this site. I am 23 years old, happily married, and we are expecting our first child this March. My whole life shifted at the end of last December when I had a very severe panic attack. I have had them on and off since I was 16, but was always able to calm myself down before this one. After 2 hours of not being able to calm down, I decided to go the emergency room. They gave me an Ativan, and sent me back home. 3 nights later, same feeling came back. I went back to the ER, (feeling like I was going to quit breathing at any minute). They did chest x-rays, EKG, everything was fine. They sent me back home. My mother, aunt, and grandmother all have Mitro-Valve Prolapse and have had similar symptoms, so I decided to visit her doctor to see if that was my answer. I made an appt, and sure enough it was confirmed. She did an EKG, but also a ultrasound on my heart to see the valve, as well as a treadmill exercise test . My resting heart rate was 134. I was a ball of adrenaline. To hear someone say they understood and to hear somewhat of an answer was such a relief. She prescribed me Lexapro for anxiety, as well as Atenalol (a beta blocker) to slow my heart rate down. I completely quit caffeine as well. For a few weeks things got better. The panic attacks slowed down, and I could tell my heart was not near as racy which was wonderful. No chest pains or tightness. I was still scared I would have another episode, but eventually got over that too. However, even after all this has been better, I started experiencing what I have came to learn is derealization. I am glad I found a name for it, because I cried myself to sleep several nights thinking something was terribly wrong with me. I had had this feeling in the past before each panic attack, but never been in what feels like a permanent state of it. I tapered off the lexapro, because I was certain it was causing it. It has got better, but still not fully away, and I have been off of it for several months now. I was switched to labetalol vs the atenalol for pregnancy. I don't believe the beta blocker causes it. I have researched and cant find anyone on that medication type with these symptoms. I think my panic attacks just traumatized me and I cant get out of this state. I don't talk with anyone about it because I feel like they wont understand. I feel like I cannot even fully enjoy my pregnancy because I feel this way most of the time. Its scary. & feels never ending. I also make it worse on myself because like you have mentioned I think about it 24/7. I wake up everyday and analyze how I feel. I haven't had an attack in a while, thank goodness, but just want to escape this feeling. It has probably been going on for about 7 months now. There are good days and bad days. It is more severe when I am by myself, or when I am driving. I just want to be my normal, outgoing, fearless self again, and feel like I have lost that. I don't even realize I am anxious or stressed. I just can't shake this feeling.

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Jan 28, 2021
by: peter

Hi! My name is Peter. I want to share my story hopefully you can extract something good out of it. I had an anxiety disorder for 10 years. last 2 years It was really severe. Last year I was hospitalized for 2 weeks. I got better-taken sertraline for 6 months, but anxiety came again. I come from southeastern Europe and I was a war survivor. Coming to the US I've experienced anxiety, and I was more afraid now than during the war. I wake in the middle of the night with intense fear, pounding heart, restless stomach, diarrhea, and feeling of vomiting. I couldn't eat or sleep which made it worse. I didn't know where anxiety is coming from, and how to react or cope. when having a panic attack I would take lorazepam and get better for a day. this way I was not helping myself because the anxiety would come again.
I've found this book which helped me to manage my anxiety for good. the book is called "rewire your anxious brain".
This book explains to stay in the situation when you're experiencing high anxiety and panic. I decided not to take any medication for at least 2 or 3 days.
I started having a panic attack at 3 in the morning. practiced deep breathing and stood in one place. From 3 am till 9 PM I was in very high anxiety and having multiple panic attacks during the day. I forced myself to eat and was madly tempted to take pills to calm myself. I didn't take any pills. I forced myself voluntarily to fix a puzzle picture while having a panic attack. At one moment during the day, I felt that I was going mad. This was the scariest day in my life. but after 18 hours of torture, I started to feel calmer, and my pounding heart started to slow down. To my experience of anxiety, this was the secret. I had to face my own fear/anxiety. This book that I mentioned above saved my life. I have to admit that this website gave me the courage to continue in my journey. DONT GIVE UP, DONT GIVE UP, DONT GIVE UP you will conquer your anxiety.

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