panic attack

panic attack


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I remember a couple years ago, in an inpatient program, there was this big guy who you could tell had seen some shit. The man went through 2 heart attacks, and after having his first panic attack, said he’d rather have had the heart attack again.


I had a panic attack once as a kid, and boy was it awful. I was freaking out about the sound of my own heartbeat reverberating in my ears and basically every other stimuli that you'd normally filter out


I had exactly that for about a month, went to hospital a few times in the worst moments. Ended up having a milder version of it intermittently for about 2 years. Then I eventually needed surgery on one of my organs, had it removed, got home, all my anxiety symptoms gone and haven't had a panic attack, any of the after effects or any of the pre-cursors since I really have no idea how the body works at all, despite trying to figure it out for many years, but I can definitely confirm living in dread all day for weeks on end is not a particularly enjoyable experience. However, when it all just disappears one day, it does feel good




how did you know?


My grandmother had the similar symptoms and convinced the entire family that she was going to die soon, then chilled out after her gallbladder got taken out


that’s crazy... I mean I won’t bore you with it but I am really a different person since. I’m better than I was even before the attacks


So what you’re saying is, correct me if I’m wrong, but, if I get my gallbladder removed, I will also remove my anxiety?


haha your results may vary but based on my sample size of 1, yes 100%


So if removing an unimportant organ like the gallbladder has such an amazing effect, I can only reason that removing a more important one would be even more helpful. Perhaps the liver?


Anxiety, depression, and mental illness are quite seriously symptomatic of swelling or inflamed organs. It's actually quickly noticeable for me (with a faster metabolism for metabolizing drugs and foods than most people) how much better my moods are just by drinking stuff really high in antioxidants. So maybe not removing your gallbladder, but making it happier and less stressed out :)


Question: did you make this up, or there is someone or someone's who actually tracked this, proved this? If this is true and anxiety, depression etc. has a strong correlation, maybe even causation with inflammation, then this is a big big big deal... I bet pharmaceutical companies don't want you to know.


You have not bored me embrace your improvements


Holy shit. This happened to me also because of my gallbladder.


Which organ?




Interesting I had the opposite effect, I was fine my whole life then around 19 I had my appendix out and 2 weeks after the surgery I had that exact mental breakdown for a good year and a half then It went away one day....


Did you have any other symptoms?


Depends what you mean by symptoms. It started off out of the blue completely one night, where I felt weird after watching a video about heart attacks (yeah, dumb). My heart was racing so I went downstairs and my legs started wobbling then I just panicked horrendously, couldn’t breathe etc, couldn’t use my legs so couldn’t drive to the hospital, called ambulance and that’s when it all started After that I had weeks of just pure terror. Any time I wasn’t directly talking to someone I was in fear for my life. I would wake up with my arms not working, I developed rashes on my skin, I would randomly fall over sometimes. Even just driving I had to have the window open because I could never breathe. I developed a very loud humming noise in my right ear and I would have that and massive surges of adrenaline whenever I was dozing off, which both stopped me from sleeping. At one point I developed a big lump on my neck that I went on antibiotics for (docs had no idea). I was also always in pain, at one point my back was so sore I went for my first ever massage and the lady was actually worried for me just from feeling how much I was tensing my back. I dunno It’s my opinion that all of these things were manifested by my anxiety. But finally with the gallbladder thing it was the ‘real’ thing. I think the fact I had something ‘real’ fixed has been the trigger for my recovery but that’s just all me bro sciencing it. For the record having awful health anxiety when you’re going in to surgery also not good but I got to a place of acceptance where I was actually serene when they put me under and have been that way ever since I did have one day after surgery where the humming in my ear developed in to half of my body vibrating to the point that I thought my next door neighbours were drilling the wall with a pneumatic drill. But after that one day - all gone Edit: the day I got home I had this sudden urge to do all of the things I had been slacking on. Cleaning up, sorting out my car, diet, garden, etc. I did everything. I can’t explain it but I’m just a different, more pro-active, happier person


Wow thank you for writing all of that. Yeah I’ve had some stuff similar to that, but no longer. I had the racing heart and shaking legs but only one night months ago. These days I do feel like I have to distract myself or else I get a constant small amount of anxiety. It isn’t enough for an attack, just enough to be uncomfortable. I haven’t had any rashes or lumps. Sometimes some stomach pains or issues but nothing too serious. It’s frustrating because I’ve gone and had a few scans and tests and all told it’s anxiety. My problem now is my tensing my jaw a lot I think. I’m really glad it works for you now. I hope to recover soon.


The way it worked for me was that whenever I had one issue and sort of ‘resolved’ it, I would immediately jump to something else. I would focus on all sorts of things. At one point I was worried I couldn’t swallow properly so for days or weeks I was intensely focusing on my swallowing. In bed I’d be swallowing my saliva repeatedly til it was so dry I couldn’t, then I’d panic My advice to you would be to just do what you said - find good distractions. I used cbd oil for a while that was enough to convince me I was controlling my anxiety, so I’d just use that. Then eventually I’d just say ‘no, you’re fine, concentrate on X’ and that would be enough to stop that small amount you’re talking about from boiling up inside me The real key thing for me was realising that if something really is wrong - if you are in danger, you’re not just gonna fall over dead. You’re gonna go through some shit - some diarrhoea, pain, vomiting, fever etc. And it’s going to be bad enough that you won’t question it. Your body is gonna really let you know and give you time to go to the doctor. So try everything you can to tell yourself you are totally fine til you are so not fine that you need the doctor. I got so good at it that on the day I finally did go I was able to convince myself for almost 48 hours of agony with my ultra inflamed gallbladder! Anyways sorry for going on. You’re ok and there’s lots of fun stuff to be doing!


I've had them a few times, it's so weird feeling like you can't breathe while simultaneously hyperventilating (at least that was my case).


I've had a panic attack once, and I thought I WAS having a heart attack (since both my arms and hands went cold and numb). It took everything I had to just focus on my breathing, because I told myself that, _as long as you are breathing, you are not dying._


I don't think not breathing is a requirement of dying, just being dead.


I have panic disorder and, uh... yeah. It’s not fun


-“normally” *must be nice*


Normal day with anxiety: ^^aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Something mundane happens: aaaaaAAAAaaaaa^a^aaaaaa Panic attack: #AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaa Panic attack but, like, you're in your thirties now and kind of used to it: AAAAAAAAAaaaaa*am I having an anxiety attack?*aaaaaaAAAAAAaaaa*yep. What's wrong? Oh yeah.*aaaaaaaaaaa*damn this is taking too long*aaaaaaaaaa


Whoa a window into my soul


"I think I'm dying, again. Must be Monday"


Fair enough


I had one while watching Dunkirk in theaters a few years ago. I love war movies but I legit thought I was having a heart attack, bc 30 min into it I started sweating profusely. My heart rate was in the 140s and I could not figure out what was going on. The only thing I kept focusing on was the tick tock in that movie with my heartbeat in my ears. Coupled with the packed, hot theater I thought I was going to die. I spent the rest of the movie in the hallway watching while my friend was alone in the seat. Come to find out I miscalculated my caffeine intake and had around 700 mg that day. I have to consciously meter my intake and keep it under 400 mg everyday. Never want to feel like that again!


Yeah, I had a minor panic attack in a Michael's after drinking one too many cups of coffee. Had to leave and it pissed my girlfriend off. Didn't help that I offered to wait in the car. She didn't really get what was going on, and wasn't at all understanding about it. She was mad about that for days


Yeah caffeine can be a two edge sword. I later developed an arrhythmia due to too much caffeine, lack of sleep and stress. But since I’ve kept it under 400mg and try for 6-7 hours sleep I haven’t had one in about 4 years.


I hear my heartbeat in my ears when I lay down. I hear it right now. I told the doctor once and he never skipped a beat and kept on with the appointment. It’s really annoying. Is there a fix?


I have panic disorder. That means I have chronic panic attacks for no reason. Before medication I couldn't drive further the 5 minutes away without having an attack. No matter how often it happens I always thought I was dying.


Same! My husband had to sit in the bathroom with me while I showered because panic attacks in the shower are just stupid dangerous.


Bruh driving in open spaces and unfamiliar ones is my trigger I hate it when I vacation or go on road trips I’m useless in the car department and just feel like a bother because I can’t take any of the load off.


I too have panic disorder. Driving is still really hard for me, even on medication. I can definitely relate.


At least with a heart attack, you are still able to "grab hold" of your mind and remain sane (as long as you're conscious, anyway) With a panic attack, your mind is what's having the attack, so there's very little TO "grab hold" of!


i've had a full-blown panic attack i've also been in a car accident that totalled my car, had parts of my fingers mangled and amputated by a motorcycle chain, had bleeding in the brain where the neurosurgeons didn't know if i would make the hour, much less the day i'd rather have those again, than another panic attack. it's worse than physical pain. You're losing *yourself*. All your senses explode, you lose sense of time, you can not move, speak or even *stand*. You lose all control, physical and mental. You have no idea what's happening, apart from *i'm dying*. If i were a religious person i would say that *that* was hell. edit: if anyone is curious, there *is* a way to voluntarily cause a panic attack, via injection of a certain substance. Only problem is you would need to convince a psychiatrist to prescribe it to you .


Had my first one about 15 years ago, they are extremly rare these days but fuck do they suck.


Yeah eternal relief


Is that like peeing forever?


I mean... I think not. What do you do when the toilet fills up? I feel that would not be a relief at that point


You can still flush the toilet at regular intervals


>You can still flush the toilet at regular intervals Even better, the toilet will flush itself at regular intervals, because siphons.




My urethra is the size and force of a fire hose! They brought me into a porn one day, and tried having me pee on a girl for a scene.......and then we saw her skull.


Can't flop it out takes an hour to roll back up


Thanks gravity.


toilets self flush with enough liquid in them. It's a function of the s-trap so, never? As long as the float valve keeps working.


The toilet will automatically flush when it reaches a certain level. All toilets do this. That’s why you’re supposed to dump mop water down the toilet. Try it out sometime with a bucket of water.


I dont think you know how toilets work.


Depends, is this in my house? If it's a public restroom I'm not worried.


So it was you!


A pee dream? One of the ones where no matter how much you go, you have to keep going? I'll pass.


those fucking pee dreams my god those are so annoying lol


For some reason dream me can never find a proper place. I'm always panic pissing in someone's garbage or even a box. Then I wake up and thank the stars I yet again avoided pissing a lake into the matress.


i find a bathroom find but then I just feel like i'm pissing but it's never enough, I just continuously piss, and it doesn't help... it's torturous


I thought I was the only one who had dreams like that. Only for me, every restroom I come upon is either fully occupied, or the only available toilets are missing their stalls and have no privacy at all, or when they do have a stall either it's too small to fit in because of the weird geometry of the room, or it turns out that instead of a toilet there's just a box or a hole in the ground. And it's amazing how many restrooms there are one right after another and they all have the same problems. And on the rare occasion where I can go, it's not pee - it's always pooping I have trouble with, it's like the poo just never stops.


Especially when you wake up and find out it wasn't just a dream.


Interesting tidbit, [all mammals take the same amount of time to pee.](https://www.themarysue.com/mammal-urination-times/)


Breathe in that sweet release of death's eternal embrace.


But you don't even get to experience the relief. Only way you get relief is by staying alive and working through your problems. You got this.


I went to emerge a few months back, sweating, dizzy, chest pains, barely able to walk. They talked to me like i was having a panic attack after smoking pot. Rolled thier eyes and did a buncha tests and only because i have family that works there did they treat me with any respect. Fed me an adavan and told me to drive home. Couple weeks later at the walk in the doctor looks over the results and tells me it was a mild stroke. 🤣


Great, how am I gonna tell if I'm having a stroke, now...


I know you were probably just joking, but in all seriousness, here’s the symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA, or a mini stroke): - Sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arms, and/or legs, particularly on one side of your body. - Confusion and trouble understanding. - A sudden difficulty with speaking. - A sudden, severe headache. - Sudden vision problems in one or both of your eyes. - Dizziness, loss of balance, or sudden difficulty walking. One side of your face may drop. You may have difficulty raising both of your arms - one arm may drift downward when you try to raise both arms. You may have trouble repeating a simple sentence and/or your words may be slurred. These signs are a part of F.A.S.T - Face, Arms, Speech, Time. Time is important as the quicker medical assistance is given, the better the outcome, as for every second that passed can mean as much as 32000 brain cells are lost. F.A.S.T is worth knowing as it might benefit you or someone else in the future. In contrast, with a panic attack you might experience sudden and intense anxiety and fear. Your symptoms might be a racing heart beat; shortness of breath or hyperventilation; sweating, trembling or shaking; tingling in your finger or lips (this is caused by hyperventilating); feeling dizzy or lightheaded, nausea; feeling like you are losing control. Hopefully you’ll be able to tell the difference, and if you have frequent panic attacks, you’ll be familiar with the sensation and might be able to sense when something isn’t right.


Well if you have all the symptoms of a panic attack, but without the actual panic, or fear, then you should probably go to the hospital because it's not a panic attack, but you won't, because you don't have any panic, or fear.


Yeah but I hardly ever recognize that an attack is the result of fear or stress. Some of the worst panic attacks I've had in my life happened at some of the most serene moments in my life. Guess I'll have to just wing it. Doesn't seem like something you should worry about, but after 40 you start suddenly paying attention to this stuff. "Would I make it to my front door to unlock it for EMS if I had a heart attack? Would I know how to do chest compressions if one of my homies had a cardiac arrest? Would I recognize a stroke if it felt like a panic attack?" Holy shit old age is just waiting to kill us all.


I’ve left you a comment about strokes and panic attacks, but to answer your question about knowing how to do chest compressions if you’re ever in that situation, then yes, your would. The 911 (or 999, 112, 000 etc) operator will talk you through the procedure. If in doubt, place your hands one on top of the other at the base of the sternum (the bone in the centre of your chest) and pump the chest up and down to the beat of the chorus of “Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees (no, seriously) which is roughly 100 compressions a minute if done in a steady rhythm. After every 30 chest compressions, give 2 rescue breaths, then continue compressions. You *must* press down *hard*. I’m talking pressing down about 5-6cm/2-2.5ins. You may crack the patient’s ribs doing this. I’ve actually bruised my wrists doing compressions. > “Would I make it to my front door to unlock it for EMS if I had a heart attack?” If there is reason to believe there is an immediate and imminent threat to your life, paramedics are allowed to force entry into the building to get to you. If the emergency doesn’t have your life in the balance (ie you’ve fallen and fractured your leg so can’t get to the door), then they’ll call the police to assist with entry or ask neighbours if they have a spare key. If they can communicate with you, they might ask you to call a family member/friend who has a key. In some cases, if you give consent, they can break into the house, but it really depends on the legality in your state/country. Most importantly, don’t worry about this, because whatever happens, the paramedics will know what to do. The emergency operator will talk to you, they’ll pass info on to the paramedics - whatever the case, the emergency responders will be in communication with you and each other and they *will* get to you one way or another. Taking a first aid or CPR class might help calm your worries, because then you’ll have the knowledge of what to do to help anyone in need or help yourself while waiting for help to arrive. Have you sought treatment for your panic attacks. I’m a surgeon, not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but to me it sounds as if you have might be suffering from GAD or another anxiety disorder. You might benefit from anti-anxiety medication and therapy such as CBT. I had GAD when I was in my late teens/early twenties, but medication and therapy helped me to get it under control before I went into surgical training (panic isn’t a helpful trait in a surgeon). I haven’t had a panic attack in 8 years, in contrast to having a panic attack almost every other day in the past.


> Some of the worst panic attacks I've had in my life happened at some of the most serene moments in my life. I'm not a doctor but I don't think that's supposed to happen. I don't think you're supposed to be just sitting there minding your own business and then suddenly BAM panic attack but without any panic or anxiety-inducing thoughts to precipitate it. There are medical conditions that can induce those kind of random panic attacks, like thyroid problems, adrenal gland problems, even more loosely related conditions like gastrointestinal diseases or MS can cause panic attacks unrelated to your train of thought. The easiest way for me to tell that they weren't panic attacks was when I stopped caring whether I lived or died, accepted I might die of a heart attack, had absolutely no fear in me, and the symptoms still refused to go away.


From what I understand, this is the other part of panic attacks that we *don't* understand yet... Why they can happen even when you're not under what you perceive to be stress. But then, going back to the feedback loop thing, once you've had an attack, you're gonna be mentally primed for it in the future. Maybe you have a couple seconds of bad heartburn, or something equally as benign, but it feels a little strange. If it's enough to make you notice and worry, that might be enough to start the cycle. Still though, it's been a while since my last physical, so I'm gonna put that on my to-do list.


Yeah that'll calm people's nerves! Lol


I hope you got treatment because 1 in 20 people who suffer a transient ischemic attack (minor stroke) will have a major stroke within a few days and 1 in 10 will have one within three months of the TIA. I’m not surprised you were dismissed by the emergency department. It’s incredibly common (worryingly so) for TIAs to be misdiagnosed, as the symptoms, though similar to a major stroke, aren’t long lasting. Less than a third of people who have a TIA seek medical treatment, which can often be worse for them down the line, so props to you for actually trying to get help (even if it was reluctantly given).


This is fucking funny, well done




Took me a second to realize he died lol I thought the grim reaper was just being supportive...


Wow I didn’t even know that’s what happened lol I’m here trying to figure it out.


He died of heart attack


Yeah, good job. I was just thinking that as a youngster I could jump down a flight of stairs. Today, even thinking about doing that makes my heart skip a beat. You're young forever until the day you get old.


When I was a kid I had a lot of fun without fear, around the age of 16 I broke my arm and was never the same, now I'm afraid of falling and breaking something again.


It’s funny because it’s true. I’d rather have a widow maker heart attack than another panic attack.


That's not a panic attack. You were recruited for the skeleton war.


2 Spoopy 4 Me


Every time i have a panic attack I am convinced that I’m dying of a heart attack which further strengths my panic attack.


A lot of the stuff we're learning about panic attacks points to this reinforcing feedback loop being a contributing factor. You feel like something is off, your brain squirts a little adrenaline. The adrenaline causes your heart rate to go up, along with some other physiological effects, which freaks you out a little more. That fear causes another shot of adrenaline, and so on and so forth. Before you know it you're experiencing an inappropriate flight-or-fight state, and then bam, you're in another dimension. It feels like somebody dosed you with a cocktail of acid and ketamine, you're dying and your mind is breaking.


This just spiked my anxiety because that's exactly how it is.


Get a small prescription of benzos from your doctor and plan on only using them in an emergency, if you have an attack. Just knowing that you have a safety net, something that has a good chance of bringing you back, can help with that underlying fear. Twenty years ago I thought I was losing my mind, before I finally accepted a doctor telling me it was panic attacks. Read a dozen books, went through a lot of SSRIs, but in the end the only thing that really seemed to help was the comfort in knowing I had benzos if I needed them. That got me okay with going out more often, because I knew if I had one I could at least get out of it in 20 to 40 minutes. I went a solid decade without having even one bad one, and in the past decade I've only had two or three bad ones. I think there's a lot to be said for our baseline fear and anxiety, or lack thereof.


Not advocating recreational drug use, but to anyone reading this who experiences panic attacks but doesn't have access to something like benzos, you can take some very common medication to the same effect. Most allergy meds will calm a panic attack in ~20 minutes even at very low dosage. Some doctors will even perscribe antihistamines (allergy pills) to someone who has periodic acute panic attacks instead of benzos. Of course talk to your doctor and don't follow random medical advice on the internet from a stranger if you have a chronic condition.


Honestly I feel like it wouldn't matter if they were tic-tacs, as long as you believed they would bring you down from an attack. It's also helpful just learning about what panic attacks are, and the fact that nobody's ever died from one. Knowing what it is, and that it can't kill you, can help a lot. Still feels like you're not in control when you actually have one, but the idea is that not being afraid of having them might stave them off, at least to some extent


The last time I started feeling a panic attack coming on I was just like, well if I die, I die lol and that actually helped calm me down


I taught myself chocolate milk rather than tic tac for a placebo and keep one of those shelf stable juice box of UHT milk in my laptop bag. For me a tic tac was too easy to use when I wasn't having a panic attack and kinda deconditioning it's placeboness. Just being able to reach in my bag and touch the milk does make sharing an elevator bearable.


I forgot to say, though... Don't ever take a bunch of Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Not only is it bad for ya, in large doses it works like a disassociative, or a dysphoric, and that's just gonna give you a bad day regardless of the panic attack. People take this stuff recreationally, and imo they're all fucking insane, lol. But a couple shouldn't hurt. There's other stuff doctors can prescribe, if they get sketchy with benzos. Some people use alpha or beta blockers, and I hear it works for them.


Deliriant actually. Much much worse supposedly.


It might sound kinda trite or silly, but the thing that worked to get mine under control was just telling myself I was ok in a strong way. It was essentially like having a benzo on me but the benzo was my own mind. I’d tell myself I was ok and my mind was gonna beat it, constantly reinforcing it until I just was ok I did also seek that feeling of security with meds that you are describing, but I always wanted to get to a place of being my own med personally


That’s awesome. I should try that. I’m glad that works for you.


I was the same, just having the benzos helped. But I went through a period where I developed a panic disorder and was taking them all the time for each attack. Then I depended on them and not taking them would give me an attack. It was bad. I did try to ween myself off of them. Eventually, my doc recommended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT, and that therapy helped more than any other medication. Can’t recommend it enough.


It’s funny because I’ve been trying to beat it by therapy, eating very healthy, drinking lots of water, strength training, running, picked up multiple hobbies, became more socially active, sleeping good, and dressing nice. I still feel like I’ve made little progress. I understand exactly how anxiety works. I’ve researched it thoroughly and I know all of the recommendations of things to do to lessen the anxiety. The day I can live life without that adrenaline shot will be the best day of my life. I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever find peace but I think that is what I want more than anything on the planet


Just a random tip from my own experience, but doing all those things you mentioned personally worsens my anxiety, as does meditation and other recommended solutions. This is because they are all about focusing on yourself, self improvement etc and I personally think all of that is just pressure. Pressure that is squeezing your brain juices until you’ve done them enough to treat them as habits I may be talking rubbish but just having regular medical check ups and constantly reinforcing that who I am right now, and what my body is right now, are both ok, was really the turning point for the worst of my attacks


The only time anybody was ever able to help me come out of one was when he intentionally dismissed it as no big deal, and didn't humor my attempts to keep worrying about it. He's had panic attacks himself, so he wanted to try acting like nothing was wrong. That was the only time I've ever come out of a full-blown attack that fast, without benzos. Just gradually subsided over about 20 minutes. I'm gonna try something similar the next time I'm around somebody who's having one. Not gonna be mean or anything, just gonna carry on like normal, or appear to. Like normally you wouldn't ask someone about what they did last night while they're having an attack, or you wouldn't offer them a snack, stuff like that... I dunno, I think just being dead-ass normal might help convince the person that everything *is* still fine, just like it was before the attack started.


The hard part is finding some way of distracting your brain for that 15-90 minutes that the adrenaline just hangs around causing havoc. Because sure, you can tell yourself "okay I am just panicking", but then the adrenaline doesn't shut off that fast, it takes a long time for it to leave your body, and in the meantime it's making your heart pound, making your chest hurt, making your muscles tense, maybe making you sweat, or feel dizzy, or dissociated with your body. The only thing I've found that works for me personally is pushups. Have panic attack, go through recovery steps - fix panic thoughts, take deep breath, exhale all my air through nose-only to trigger heart-calming physiological reaction, but also, DO PUSHUPS! But it works so well that I've actually used that to get out of panic attacks during bad trips on shrooms.


Perpetual motion device of dread


Lisa, in this house we obey the laws of thermodreadnamics!


This is why learning to gain agency over your mind is so important. Ironically even though weed can often induce a panic-attack-like state in anxiety-prone people, it actually ends up being one of the best ways to train your mind against them. Once you get way too high enough times and feel your heart pounding and your mind racing and intrusive thoughts cascading at you, but can maintain the calmness to let it all just wash past you and laugh about it, it really does massively inoculate you against real stressors and allow you to keep your cool so much better in tense situations or actual panic attacks. Just like training your muscles to grow bigger requires putting them under the stress of heavy lifting to rebuild stronger, it's the same with the mind. You have to experience and overcome mental stress in order to be able to handle it more adeptly in the future. Meditation and breathing techniques work well too, but that stuff can only prepare you so much if done in an already calm state. But just like weight-lifting all this has to be done incrementally with the correct technique to avoid doing damage.


Yup, me too. It’s a vicious cycle. It got pretty bad for me for a while. Still get them sometimes. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone


Had numerous between the ages of about 25-28 then didn't have any for 2/3 years. Guess what's just come back HARDER than ever? Panic attacks, daily. Genuinely would not wish this on my worst enemy, it is truly no way to live.


If you haven’t already, quit caffeine entirely by weening off it with less and less by the day. Caffeine is rocket fuel for panic attacks. Then cut out all drugs and alcohol and do every positive thing you can to release serotonin and dopamine like go on a run or play some guitar or something. Once you start working on doing yourself better, it takes around 1-2 months to get back to a place where you don’t feel so on edge


Just wanna say this is 100% true. When I drink caffeine I can physically feel the anxiety building inside me unless I’m in a particularly calm state. I was absolutely amazed how much difference it made and made me wonder why it’s such a popular stimulant


I'm not sure if it's always gonna be a factor, though. I take meds that are, eh, *much* stronger than caffeine, and I haven't experienced any increase in severity or duration of attacks. That was about 6 or 7 years ago, and I've been dealing with panic attacks for 20 years. But it hasn't been nearly as much of a problem for the last 15 years. I suppose if you're already in a state of baseline anxiety, then caffeine isn't gonna help.


I only drink one coffee per day in the morning, I'm really not ready to lose that enjoyment as well 😂😂 Drugs and alcohol haven't been a thing in my life since around 2014, I drink extremely rarely, like single digits per year rare... Illicit drugs even less than that.


Yep, had them almost daily till I quit drinking. Now only once every few months or so. I've gotten to the point where I'm so familiar with them, that I can tamp down on the "I'm dying! I'm dying!" Sensation a bit.


Drinking definately makes it worse for me aswell! Usually the day after I got drunk, though, during the hangover


Agreed, almost never had them while drunk. This of course led to it's own separate vicious loop. "Oh I'm having panic attacks! A drink or 7 will calm me down!" Rinse and repeat until you need a month "vacation" in a rehab facility.... For me at least.




A lot of people, especially in their late-teens to early-20s, experience their first attack when they're drunk or high. I don't think they know exactly why yet, but I've read that it might be related to a "lowering of the threshold" in terms of what it takes to trigger an inappropriate fight-or-flight response. I had my first one at 19, after smoking a couple hits of pot. And I was a daily smoker back then. Wasn't even strong stuff, back in the late-90s.


Same here!


Yep, it resonates like a tuning fork


So, several years ago, I was having shit like this, always when I was trying to go to sleep. "Mini heart attacks". I couldn't figure out what was wrong, I'm fairly healthy otherwise. But one night, it got REALLY bad, and I called 911. Ambulance came, I met them outside, they gave me a quick EKG and said I was fine. I'm like, "Are you sure? My chest hurts, I couldn't breathe, I'm sweaty and panicky" and dude's like "Have you ever been diagnosed with Anxiety?" ... ... (gears starting to click) Writing about it here doesn't do this moment justice, but in that instance, everything for me just CLICKED. Every weird-ass thing in my life I've ever done or felt suddenly made SENSE other than "I'm just a random weirdo, lol". It was anxiety! And these "heart attacks" I'd been having? Just random panic attacks (not to be dismissive of people who suffer with these, but it was good to know I wasn't literally DYING), that usually fed off each other in the way you described. After that, it never happened again.


Oh man that’s awesome you were able to overcome it! The power of the mind.


... and hands are shaking




This doesnt help my panic attacks!


When the usual CBT or breathing exercises don't help, I can recommend the DARE technique. Seems a bit weird at first, but worked for me really fast. https://www.idealist.org/en/careers/4-step-method-managing-anxiety-at-work If step 2 works, you don't necessarily need step 3. But in the beginning you'll use it often. It's also more like 'Yeah, beat faster heart. We're going on a ride. Bring it!' You need to get pumped up, similar to beginning a workout. That always stopped the attack until it wasn't necessary anymore.


All I'm learning from all these techniques and discussions and other people's experiences is that the "panic attacks" that I thought I was having might not be panic attacks after all. What are you supposed to do if you have all the irritating symptoms of a panic attack - the heart racing, the sweating, the dizziness, the chest tightness, the palpitations, etc - and the doctors tell you it's just a panic attack, but you're not actually in a state of panic or anxiety or afraid of anything at all? The only reason I even went to the hospital was because the symptoms were so annoying I had to sleep on my chest to get it to shut up. But I was never like "I'm gonna die, I'm scared". I'd admit it if I was. But they kept saying "probably anxiety or stress", sent me home, and 4 weeks later it resolved by itself, only to come up every so often again.


It did for a moment until I saw who was talking.


I'd like to think I have enough experience with severe panic attacks that when I do eventually die, it will be like something I've already felt 1000 times. My god it's weird to feel like you're absolutely dying and then be completely fine 20 minutes later. Every day, multiple times a day, for months at a time. Triggered by nothing really, your body just decides to feel like you're dying and then you "panic" about it, rather than the other way around. (I stiffen up, shiver uncontrollably, and can barely talk, breath, or think; so panic seems like a misnomer)


I have this too, really bad. It took about 2 months to kick in but Fluoxetine/prozac completely fixed it. I don't have depression either which I know prozac is designed to fix.. apparently it can also work wonders for anxiety/panic if that's what you need. It is so unbelievably hard to live life that way, makes you feel like it's not worth it sometimes when you can't enjoy anything without collapsing with the shakes and the numb hands/face from fear and hyperventilation. Anyway, hope you find the right meds for it


Having a Panic Disorder is super anoying, I have a mild one. My body fall in fight or flight mode at any change in my body. Caffeine kick in, sunburn after a hot day, stomach ache, any medecine etc. So now im scared to be scared, its a vicious cycle and drains energy so much.


I have a severe one, and I wouldn’t even wish a mild version on my worst enemy. Keep fighting brother


It's fucked up......shiiiiit I'm dying. Take rolaid and " chest pain" goes away


Clearly that’s not actually Death; he isn’t speaking in ALL CAPITALS.


A Yak of culture


One of the ways I learned to calm down my anxiety or panic attack was to pull a reverse uno on it. As in: Panic Self: "Oh. my gawhd, Imma gonna die!" Calm Self: "Wait, why?" Panic Self: "Havin me a heart attack! This is it! You know I have a heart condition, and this it! Good bye cruel world!" Calm Self: "Yes, you have a heart condition, but as a result you are tested via chest Xray, EKG, ultrasound, and MRI every goddamn year just in case anything shows up, and nothing EVER shows up." Panic Self: "Not good enough! Gunna die!" Calm Self: "Well, like . . . what if you WANTED to have a heart attack?" Panic Self: "What?" Calm Self: "Yeah, like imagine if you wanted to have a heart attack right now. Like you'd panic if you weren't having a heart attack." Panic Self: "Yeah?" Calm Self: "What are the chances you AREN'T having a heart attack? How badly would you be freaking out if you WANTED a heart attack?" Panic Self: "Waaaaayyyyyy worse than my current panic." Calm Self: "Riiiiiiight." Me: "Oh . . ."


You have a 100% survival rate from panic attacks.


True, but a lot of that can be chalked up to dead people not reading reddit too often


Yeah I went through this exact same thing with panic attacks. Had a few ER visits. Finally went in to an urgent care, he said he didn't see anything on the ekg but the would refer me to the cardiologist if it would make me feel better. Went to see the cardiologist, said the ekg was fine, but would do a stress test if I wanted because at least if something happened in the future they would have a baseline to go off of. Stress test happens, "you'll be out of here in no time" Then the techs are quietly huddling over the computer results. One leaves and gets the cardiologist more huddling. It's probably nothing but we're going to order a CT scan just to be sure. CT happens, yeah your LAD artery is totally blocked and 2 others are a bit blocked, we can't do stents because of reasons. So we're just going to crack you open, stop your heart for a bit and rip some veins out of different parts and plug it all back together.


Holy crap. You’re basically describing my worst nightmare. Did you end up having the surgery?


Good news. I promise you will never confuse a heart attack with a panic attack. I pray you never verify this.


Pray for me too. I never wanna find out. 🙂


I taught a CPR/First aid course, and the key symptoms are a SQUEEZING pressure/pain in the center of your chest, excessive sweating, and short of breath. All of my panic attacks feel like an OUTWARD, chest is going to explode kind of feeling with no sweating, and heavy breathing (but not "short of breath.")


"You'll know a heart attack if you have one!" is an incredibly dangerous, *incorrect*, narrative to spread. Because no, many of us won't, [especially women](https://www.uchicagomedicine.org/forefront/heart-and-vascular-articles/why-women-often-dont-recognize-heart-attack-symptoms).


That's not what I said. I'm very precise with the words I use. Read them. Do not change them.


That is one of my biggest pet peeves in communicating with people. They always respond to whatever is in their head instead of what I wrote or what I said.




That's your problem, not mine.


You're like the guy who thinks his humour is on another level and nobody gets it when really it's just not that funny. If you want people to get what you're saying maybe you should try rewording it. If you don't, then keep doing what you're doing.


The link I posted says that heart attacks are frequently confused with anxiety symptoms(a panic attack is the most severe form of anxiety attack) in women. This is exactly what you said would never happen. Your post is very clear. It is also very wrong.


I also have a heart thing (bicuspid aortic valve). I have to remind myself that I have more proof of having a healthy heart than most people, because I get all the tests you listed. Despite that it’s easy for my brain to go “no, _this_ is the time when I’m finally dying.” Even if my last EKG/echo looked totally normal.


Uff... You got me worry there for a moment. Nice happy ending👍


i mean, death, especialy when metting grim reaper, is better than panic atack.


Let him know you appreciate his hard work, poor guy never gets a day off and is rarely appreciated.


One time my mom went to the doctor because she was having a horrible panic attack that wasn’t going away and he was like “your blood pressure is literally through the roof” and apparently he was mostly surprised because he’s constantly getting patients who are convinced they’re having heart attacks and he has to explain that it’s a panic attack and this was the first time that it was kind of the reverse


Whenever I have a panic attack, I think I'm having a heart attack.


My family has a history of heart problems, so when I feel like I'm having something along the lines of a panic attack, there's that intrusive thought that says it's a heart attack. I tell myself I'm in good health and there's a 99% chance that I'll be fine, but then my brain intersects by saying, "One day it'll be that 1%. What if this is the 1%? Universe won't wait until your kids are grown. If it's your time, it's your time" And I'm miserable until I'm able to calm down. My brain hates me.




Stay strong my friend. Suffered the horror for 3 years and then one day I was like “hmmm I’ve felt fine for a few days.” That in itself made me start to panic! However, days went into weeks and then months. Still have bouts of anxiety but panic attacks have gone...for now...been almost a year! Stay positive. Don’t let your mind break you. There’s nothing physically wrong with you. As soon as you feel one coming on, get your mind onto something else. I browse Reddit or play games on my phone to distract it and splash your face with cold water. You can get through this.


With you on that buddy


Heidegger's Being and Time in a buttshell


I know this is meant to be funny and it is. However, this is literally my biggest fear. My anxiety presents itself as classic MI symptoms; left sided chest pain, tingling/pain in left arm, nausea etc. I’m literally worried that I’ll blow it off one day and it’ll be the big one.


This is a rare case where the last panel actually adds to the punchline, instead of ruining it by over explaining




Thank you!




My hearts are seizing!


My lungs a-wheezin’!


Nicely done. I think it would be slightly better if the reapers line was delivered offstage and then he's shown in the last panel as the punchline


I'd rather take death than a panic attack


I get pretty bad panic attacks and it really feels like I’m going to die every time. There’s just no getting used to it


It's not a panic attack, just death.


panic attacks can be a killer


Finally, for fuck's sake, these things are taking years off my life, it's about goddamned time you showed up.


Oy. I had one driving today and had to pull over. The fucking worst man. It’s been a few years so I had forgotten just how bad they were. I was afraid I would pass out!!!!


I hate when people get a bit of a shock and say 'Ooh, I had a panic attack!'....NO!! I was ill badly 20 or so years ago. Having around 7 panic attacks a day. They come over you like a fit. You fall to the ground and cry because it feels so awful. You KNOW every time you are dying, because nothing can feel this bad. Nothing helps.


Op, do you have a twitter? I wanna share this on Twitter and would prefer to just retweet you if possible


Yes, same username as here


Had a panic attack a month ago. Felt like I was about to faint, so I sat down on a chair and just meditated. Felt normal again after a minute of just focusing attention on my breathing. Honestly, I didn't even mind it that much, kind of an interesting experience.


Lol I wish I could’ve been as level headed as you. Had my first panic attack and drove myself to the hospital. Cost me 3k cause I went to an out of network unknowingly.


It's because that's just my standard way of dealing with stress. It's a habit by now, apparently it works. I've only had the one, but if you have them quite often, you might want to look into mindfulness meditation?


This doesn't sound like a panic attack. They're rarely over in a minute and it feels like you're losing your grip on reality. It's also exceedingly difficult to snap yourself out of one with relaxation, because your nervous system is coursing with adrenaline. It's possible it was a panic attack, but it sounds pretty unlikely. You might wanna get yourself checked out for heart and blood pressure issues, though. Just in case.


It was caused by excessive worrying about a certain body part I hold dear. I started freaking out, started getting super light-headed, sat down, and calmed myself down. I'm pretty sure it was a panic attack, thanks for looking out though!


This is not a panic attack. Panic attacks are more commonly associated with an intense and sudden fear of death, emotional distress, the feeling like you can’t breath, and the inability to speak. You had an anxiety attack, closer associated to worry/anxiety about life circumstances and situations I don’t want to gatekeep mental health issues, but for someone who mediates, breathes, and has tried every tool in the book to stop from having these horrific experiences - I take a great amount of offense to your “interesting experience” and “have you tried meditating?” Even when I know I’m having a panic attack, I still can’t talk, I can’t breath, my throat is closing, I’m sobbing in my wife’s arms about how I don’t want to leave her alone while my body’s going numb. I can’t open my hands with all my strength. My voice goes completely out and I can’t speak. Trust me, if I could just meditate or some shit I’d do that instead of going through this regularly.


It's great that you can calm yourself down like that I wish more people could. I'm glad nothing bad happened.


I can relate.


Works as a looping comic


Me like!


more like a holup isn't it?


My hearts a-seizin my lungs a-wheezin! The Fuckin walls are melting! I can hear satan’s voice!


I don’t get though


Means he’s most likely dead.


The sweet relief of death. Yeah.