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Old 08-06-2014, 12:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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62: When Panic Attacks

Comedians Myka Fox, Paul Hooper, and Justy Dodge talk about their experiences with panic disorders. They speak openly about what they do during panic attacks when they're on stage, how they differentiate between panic and heart attacks, and how they handle being in public with high levels of anxiety.

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Old 08-07-2014, 03:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm 26. I've suffered with panic attacks since my first memories at 3 and before that my parents had trouble dealing with me crying uncontrollably and inconsolably (beyond that of a normal infant). I get them when I'm both awake and asleep where they manifest as horrific nightmares that jolt me awake continuing the panic attack. I went through all the meds and therapies about 10 years ago and they did nothing to help - except for one group house I stayed in for people with a different disorder who reacted with anger when they bottled up their feelings or were around toxic people. I _decided_ that I had the same mechanism except instead of anger I got panic attacks. Since I had just tried to kill myself for the third time by swallowing 3/4 litre of gin and about 80 tranquilizers I realized I could either slit my wrists (a method I really don't like) and try a fourth or run with that idea and see if it helps. I managed to resolve about 80% of the triggers of my panic just by learning to breathe, running 3 times a week(outdoors at 3am so no one was around), not bottling anything up and confronting and removing toxic people from my life.

I probably identify with Myka the most on the show except I've never worried about dying and I'm not a hypochondriac. I had a privileged childhood and was smart/asked a lot of questions but I'm just wired with an over-active fight/flight response. I have the racing thoughts and rolling panic attacks that can last for days with maybe a few hour break and then another few days straight on and on for months or years. During the worst of it I'd just stop eating or sleeping or getting out of bed and I'd wish for the physical strength to get out of bed and kill myself. I know the meds don't work with my brain chemistry and although I tried to kill myself a couple weeks ago my half-assed exit-bag broke just as I was blacking out when the body's reflex to high CO2 in the blood kicked in and I guess I tore the bag while not aware I was doing it.. I tried 3 bags until I ran out of bags. my girlfriend dragged me to the doctor so now I'm either tranquilized to the point I can't walk properly and dizzy and nauseous or having panic attacks where on a scale of 1 to 10 it never goes below the 2-4 range and frequently goes to a million cycling through every and any combination of symptoms listed on wikipedia.

Even though I've been able to build a successful career in spite of panic disorder over the last ten years I had to quit my job in april because I couldn't leave my apartment anymore and seeing a diminishing return in my "remove toxic people from my life" mantra I lost the will to keep fighting through every day. I've really been suffering every single day for as long as I can remember. I declined my health benefits because I knew I was going to just kill myself this time and didn't want to inconvenience anyone. I knew they were going to get worse and worse and they have. I have managed a few days since then where I forced myself to leave the apartment with panic and managed to actually get the rest of the exit-bag equipment, or get groceries since while I'm suicidal I'm not depressed and still get hungry sometimes. I also want my girlfriend to be stocked up on food in case my suicide makes it hard for her to get to the grocery store.

I have a tiny shred of hope that I can kind of live with them again if they get down to a more manageable level below what I've been struggling with for the last 10 years because I realized that I'll never be able to achieve what I want to in life unless they do in fact become more manageable. There were so many missed opportunities and it prevented me from really being the person I am. I just can't say that having to wait even another day for that cure is worth the torment of even one more panic attack.

I don't really want to die, but there aren't really any other ways to make it stop and I just don't want to live this way anymore. I guess I'm just waiting for the hope to run out again with exit bag in hand. one day at a time.

Anyway I'm not posting for help, I have more than I care for already. I just wanted to contribute to the conversation and answer any questions other people may have, maybe on a more medical/scientific level or about various therapies or meds, since I've lived with it and been analyzing/documenting/trying everything for so many years while I'm still around to answer. everyone is different, many people can be helped, so ask me anything.
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Old 08-08-2014, 01:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by yoav View Post
I've really been suffering every single day for as long as I can remember.
I like your post, (even though it's lengthy as fuck

I have similar issues. I recently went through the Wuttke Institute's two week intensive program. It's too lengthy to explain, but I can tell you this: it helped. Greatly. Check out their website.

The Wuttke Institute | Neurofeedback
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Old 08-08-2014, 05:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This show is a masterclass on the effects of your words on children.

The other day my mother-in-law said to my two year old: "don't go out there, it's dark and scary" and I had to correct her "it's only dark, there's nothing scary about it.". Instilling fear leads to very early anxiety issues that are unnecessary and leave - evidently - permanent marks.

The god/ death issue made me think a lot. It was probably the best thing my parents did for me: this is what I believe in, these are your options, there's maybe nothing, there's maybe something. Read up and ask away, we will accept your opinion.

Great great show!
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A few years ago, I suffered my first panic attack at the age of 39. I woke up around 2am with a racing heart, sweats, and difficulty breathing. All of the symptoms pointed to a heart attack. My wife called 911, and an ambulance came to our home. So scary. Something I remember so vividly was when my kids came to the top of the stairs, looking down at me with EMS checking me out.

After a brief visit to the hospital for bloodwork, etc., it was confirmed to be a panic attack. I haven't had one since.

Since my panic attack began while I was sleeping, it was pretty clear what caused it... my job at the time. Within 3 months, I resented the work environment so badly that it affected my job performance, and I was fired. First time ever, after ~20 years in the industry. It was also the first time my health had suffered due to work, so fuck them.
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