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mxett

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Jul 1, 2007
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You sound a bit like me, I have certain triggers. I can be fine but if something happens that I don't like I immediately go into anxiety mode, I'll have a panic attack if I don't get out of the situation.

I avoid the triggers to avoid the anxiety but then you can't live a full life, which makes me depressed. For me, it's the things I can't do because of my anxiety disorders that make me depressed. I am being treated for both.
One alternative approach I have seen and practiced myself is to wilfully head towards situations which cause you anxiety. Regular exposure can reassure your mind that the situation is actually non threatening, lessening the anxious response.

Depending on the severity this may need to be managed by a qualified care giver.

An example could be someone with social anxiety who deliberately makes an effort to speak in public or meet new people. While it may not cure social anxiety it can help manage it so it doesn't dominate your life. Avoiding these scenarios helps in the short term but can also make the problem worse over time.
 

Shane Heard

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One alternative approach I have seen and practiced myself is to wilfully head towards situations which cause you anxiety. Regular exposure can reassure your mind that the situation is actually non threatening, lessening the anxious response.

Depending on the severity this may need to be managed by a qualified care giver.

An example could be someone with social anxiety who deliberately makes an effort to speak in public or meet new people. While it may not cure social anxiety it can help manage it so it doesn't dominate your life. Avoiding these scenarios helps in the short term but can also make the problem worse over time.
Toastmasters is a good thing for that 👌

 

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John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
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I’ve applied a strategy this year that seems to help me maintain my stress levels. The strategy is basically me accepting and embracing “change”. So instead of something new happening which previously I would see it as a nuisance, I accept it and think “I embrace this change”.

For days where it seems the usual typical, I actively do something that’s different from my norm. Examples:
- jogging around the block at 7pm (I’ve never jogged outside in the dark before).
- having a cold shower during April (have had cold showers before but usually only during hot summer days).

I must emphasise this strategy isn’t likely to work on severe mental illnesses, but might help with general stress.
 

mxett

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 1, 2007
25,224
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I’ve applied a strategy this year that seems to help me maintain my stress levels. The strategy is basically me accepting and embracing “change”. So instead of something new happening which previously I would see it as a nuisance, I accept it and think “I embrace this change”.

For days where it seems the usual typical, I actively do something that’s different from my norm. Examples:
- jogging around the block at 7pm (I’ve never jogged outside in the dark before).
- having a cold shower during April (have had cold showers before but usually only during hot summer days).

I must emphasise this strategy isn’t likely to work on severe mental illnesses, but might help with general stress.
excellent JW. Acceptance is HUGE. It doesnt mean settling for poor circumstances or unhappiness. To me it means being OK with how you feel and where you are. It means being able to find peace and calm in yourself when things aren't the way you'd like. For me mindfulness plays a big part in this
 

John Who

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 16, 2017
7,349
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excellent JW. Acceptance is HUGE. It doesnt mean settling for poor circumstances or unhappiness. To me it means being OK with how you feel and where you are. It means being able to find peace and calm in yourself when things aren't the way you'd like. For me mindfulness plays a big part in this
Yep, we need to accept that these are the cards we're dealt with in life and it's then about how to play these cards. I read a blog recently which sort of ties things together - to learn to accept that "life isn't fair".

Once we can accept that life isn't all an even playing field, it's more easier to focus on "what to do?" rather than "who do I blame?"
 

LeverPuller

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Well it’s been a pretty torrid week. Broke down last week in a big way and about to start on meds. Haven’t been able to stop having panic attacks; had my first one ever last Tuesday and haven’t been able to stop them. No clear trigger. Been seeing a therapist for about three months but have definitely deteriorated.

This is a nightmare...I feel like I have a plan but while I do I also cannot stop these attacks right now on my own. I’m constantly effectively in fear in practice because I’m getting the physical reaction of a fight or flight response even though I’m not actually in that situation.
 

Electronic_Renaissance

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Mar 25, 2021
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Well it’s been a pretty torrid week. Broke down last week in a big way and about to start on meds. Haven’t been able to stop having panic attacks; had my first one ever last Tuesday and haven’t been able to stop them. No clear trigger. Been seeing a therapist for about three months but have definitely deteriorated.

This is a nightmare...I feel like I have a plan but while I do I also cannot stop these attacks right now on my own. I’m constantly effectively in fear in practice because I’m getting the physical reaction of a fight or flight response even though I’m not actually in that situation.
Panic attacks are the worst. I've suffered for years, but unlike you I have clear triggers. They sap the life out of you.

When you say therapist do you mean a psychologist or psychiatrist?
 

LeverPuller

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I've been in the system for years, so know how it works (the system only, no medical advice). So who is prescribing your meds, a GP?
Yeah. GP doing so at this stage. He’s been pretty thorough, gave me some options, suggested paths and a fallback if things get really bad.
 

Electronic_Renaissance

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Yeah. GP doing so at this stage. He’s been pretty thorough, gave me some options, suggested paths and a fallback if things get really bad.
Have you ever considered a phsychiatrist? It is hard to find one that you click with though. I just find they are much more inclined to try the meds that a GP wouldn't touch. I see my GP basically never, see my psychiatrist ever couple of months.

The GP's around my area all have signs at the door saying "we will not prescribe addictive medication". A psychiatrist will though, if needed. They aren't cheap, but if they help you in the long run I think anything is worth it.

Also, I am on those so called addictive medications. Been on them for years. I don't get "high" from them. I take them as prescribed. They can really help with panic attacks.
 

Ando727

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Well it’s been a pretty torrid week. Broke down last week in a big way and about to start on meds. Haven’t been able to stop having panic attacks; had my first one ever last Tuesday and haven’t been able to stop them. No clear trigger. Been seeing a therapist for about three months but have definitely deteriorated.

This is a nightmare...I feel like I have a plan but while I do I also cannot stop these attacks right now on my own. I’m constantly effectively in fear in practice because I’m getting the physical reaction of a fight or flight response even though I’m not actually in that situation.
Hey mate, sorry to hear you're going through that. My only experience with panic attacks is from being stuck in a medical scanner without access to the emergency escape button. Longest half hour of my life! I still have some heavy imprint from that. I recently cancelled another scan that I wanted to get because I wasn't ready to face that environment again yet. It's probably not quite at the level you're experiencing, but I can definitely sympathise. It's very distressing.

I think going to a psychologist can set you up to learn how to avert panic attacks in the medium to long term. You get to know the symptoms and signs that the attack is coming, and take steps to deescalate the situation. That's going to be very important for you to master.

But in the short term, I support what the other posters have said about maybe needing some medication to manage things in the short term. You want to have some quality of life and limit the trauma of panic attacks so that it doesn't become a vicious cycle - ie. Panic happens because you're afraid of panic happening.

You could gradually wean yourself off such medication and apply your "learnings" (yes, Goodwin reference!) after a while.

Again, my sympathies for what you're going through. Come to the thread any time you need some support, mate.
 

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LeverPuller

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Have you ever considered a phsychiatrist? It is hard to find one that you click with though. I just find they are much more inclined to try the meds that a GP wouldn't touch. I see my GP basically never, see my psychiatrist ever couple of months.

The GP's around my area all have signs at the door saying "we will not prescribe addictive medication". A psychiatrist will though, if needed. They aren't cheap, but if they help you in the long run I think anything is worth it.

Also, I am on those so called addictive medications. Been on them for years. I don't get "high" from them. I take them as prescribed. They can really help with panic attacks.
I haven’t - not yet. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty good GP and they’re happy to prescribe, and it hasn’t been me just pitching up and asking for them - had a MHCP done last week, five days off work after the attack and still couldn’t stop them. Literally spent 5 hours today going through some sort of attack. So I went in there with a case and having had a discussion about them last time.

Are you? Interesting. I’m pretty wary of those drugs though - I’m from a family of borderline alcoholics so don’t want to tempt fate on that front. That said if I get desperate I’ll definitely take one, it’s not a permanent aversion, just a wariness.

That said the doc put me on propranolol this afternoon and it has hit the spot in a big way. Best I have felt in a week. I’m still tired - the attacks have done a number on the muscles in my chest - but the tension has eased for the first time in that time.
 

LeverPuller

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Hey mate, sorry to hear you're going through that. My only experience with panic attacks is from being stuck in a medical scanner without access to the emergency escape button. Longest half hour of my life! I still have some heavy imprint from that. I recently cancelled another scan that I wanted to get because I wasn't ready to face that environment again yet. It's probably not quite at the level you're experiencing, but I can definitely sympathise. It's very distressing.

I think going to a psychologist can set you up to learn how to avert panic attacks in the medium to long term. You get to know the symptoms and signs that the attack is coming, and take steps to deescalate the situation. That's going to be very important for you to master.

But in the short term, I support what the other posters have said about maybe needing some medication to manage things in the short term. You want to have some quality of life and limit the trauma of panic attacks so that it doesn't become a vicious cycle - ie. Panic happens because you're afraid of panic happening.

You could gradually wean yourself off such medication and apply your "learnings" (yes, Goodwin reference!) after a while.

Again, my sympathies for what you're going through. Come to the thread any time you need some support, mate.
This is going to sound funny but the tipping point for needing the drugs was the game on Saturday night. I was sitting with my dad at the G, Q4, close game and exciting finish. 2 minutes into the quarter and an attack hits.

I love being at the footy. It’s my stress relief. Screaming at the maggots in yellow, the frustration of error, the exhilaration of success, it’s wonderful.

So it happened. And I tried breathing, tried shutting my eyes and blocking out the game. Bit hard from the Olympic Stand.

It was there until I sat on the train at Richmond. 45 minutes I sat at the G in fight or flight.

I have sat through plenty of close games and plenty worse than that in terms of opponents coming at us - the final quarter of the 2013 game against the Dogs comes to mind.

But nothing like that.
 

Electronic_Renaissance

Team Captain
Mar 25, 2021
324
398
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I haven’t - not yet. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty good GP and they’re happy to prescribe, and it hasn’t been me just pitching up and asking for them - had a MHCP done last week, five days off work after the attack and still couldn’t stop them. Literally spent 5 hours today going through some sort of attack. So I went in there with a case and having had a discussion about them last time.

Are you? Interesting. I’m pretty wary of those drugs though - I’m from a family of borderline alcoholics so don’t want to tempt fate on that front. That said if I get desperate I’ll definitely take one, it’s not a permanent aversion, just a wariness.

That said the doc put me on propranolol this afternoon and it has hit the spot in a big way. Best I have felt in a week. I’m still tired - the attacks have done a number on the muscles in my chest - but the tension has eased for the first time in that time.
I've never been on Beta Blockers, benzodiazepines have been my treatment (amongst others). When I tell a GP what I am on they freak out (last thing you want). I am on a hospital level dose according to some. My Psych says it is standard for a lot of GP's to overstate the addictiveness of a lot of things.

See how you go, but have no hesitation in getting a physchiatric referral if things don't work out.
 

mxett

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 1, 2007
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Well it’s been a pretty torrid week. Broke down last week in a big way and about to start on meds. Haven’t been able to stop having panic attacks; had my first one ever last Tuesday and haven’t been able to stop them. No clear trigger. Been seeing a therapist for about three months but have definitely deteriorated.

This is a nightmare...I feel like I have a plan but while I do I also cannot stop these attacks right now on my own. I’m constantly effectively in fear in practice because I’m getting the physical reaction of a fight or flight response even though I’m not actually in that situation.
I really feel for you. That was me about 6 years ago. Due to work pressures, and unrealistic expectations I placed upon myself, I began experiencing anxiety which manifested as headaches. I didnt realise what it was so I never addressed it. After about a month I suddenly had a panic attack at work. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I literally thought I was going insane.

Here are some things that I have learnt about this issue:

1. panic attacks can be so frightening and powerful it's not unusual to become scared of having another panic attack. This fear alone causes your body to release more fight and flight hormones, which causes more physical symptoms of panic, which leads to more panic attacks. It's a vicious circle.

2. A psychologist may help you identify what is causing your worry. As with me, excessive worry over time can elevate your cortisol levels to the point that a panic attack errupts. Once this happens many people can have repeated panic attacks due to fearing the feeling of a panic attack. Boy that sucks. As Ando said (smart guy, knows his stuff) a psychologist can also teach you some coping mechanisms to lessen your stress levels overall, and manage panic attacks before, during, and after an episode.

3. Drugs:
- Benzo's like vallium and xanax can help but are usually only used in the short term so you can function and get some other strategies in place. It is unusual for people to be prescribed benzos for the medium to long term because your body can build up a tolerance so you require a greater dose to feel the same effect. For some they are addictive. However, as stated above, in certain circumstances a psychiatrist may use benzos as a long-term strategy when other methods are ineffective.
- Antidepressants can really help, they did for me in a big way. However, unlike benzos they do not work immediately. In fact, for most people, it takes around 1-2 months to see any benefit, and full effect around 3-4 months. They can also make anxiety and depression worse for the first month so some doctors prescribe them with benzos at first. IMO they are worth persisting with because you generally dont build up a tolerance to their effect. They are considered non-addictive but once started many people find it hard to cope without them and restart within 3-6 months of stopping. That includes me. I've stopped 3 times and gone back on them each time. They also come with potential side effects which can range from nothing much to very annoying.

4. You're not alone. MANY people suffer anxiety and panic attacks. Even people you would consider confident and successful. It doesnt mean you are weak or broken. All it means you need some help to find your way through this situation.

5. Additional solutions I've found helpful:
- meditation such as mindfulness can really help. It wont necessarily stop a panic attack but it enables you to find the present moment and relax, even within a panic attack
- Panic hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol have a very short half-life, only around 20 seconds or so. This means if you can learn to allow the feelings to happen without fearing them, the feelings will dissipate very quicjkly. This is easier said than done, but with practice you can do it. However, while you remain scared of the panic feelings these hormones keep surging within your blood stream which prolongs the attack. Trying to stop the panic attack often keeps the fear going because you feel out of control, which keeps the hormones surging and the panic attack going. Relaxing and accepting the feelings as nothing more than your body's NORMAL response to fear can stop the surge of hormones, and the feelings decrease. You basically ride the physical feeling, knowing it will decrease once the half-life of the hormone is over. I used to observe the physical with an accepting smile, knowing that allowing without fighting would decrease the feelings of panic.

If you want any more information on the above, or just need to vent or ask anything, please post here or feel free to pm me. You'll get through this and things will improve soon enough. All the best and keep us posted on your progress
 
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mxett

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 1, 2007
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My only experience with panic attacks is from being stuck in a medical scanner without access to the emergency escape button. Longest half hour of my life! I still have some heavy imprint from that. I recently cancelled another scan that I wanted to get because I wasn't ready to face that environment again yet. It's probably not quite at the level you're experiencing, but I can definitely sympathise. It's very distressing.
Hey Ando, if you still need your scan let me know. You can come to my work and I'll stay in the room with you. Together I reckon you'd get through it.
 

Ando727

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Hey Ando, if you still need your scan let me know. You can come to my work and I'll stay in the room with you. Together I reckon you'd get through it.
That's super kind of you, mate. I'm living down in Tassie at the moment though. It is possible I will be coming up to Melbourne to stay with family some time in the next few months, so if I can swing it to do the scan at your work, I'll let you know. Do you know if your work does the CAC test? (Coronary Artery Calcium test)
 

mxett

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That's super kind of you, mate. I'm living down in Tassie at the moment though. It is possible I will be coming up to Melbourne to stay with family some time in the next few months, so if I can swing it to do the scan at your work, I'll let you know. Do you know if your work does the CAC test? (Coronary Artery Calcium test)
I do them, lots of them. Takes me less than 5 minutes. Let me know when you're in Melbourne next
 

bgt2110

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Best thing you can do is talk to people openly about it. I’m ex defence and ex detective and only 38 years old.
If you or any other ex defence personnel reading this need assistance (financially or just a place to drop in and chat with like minded people then contact Melbourne Legacy anytime www.melbournelegacy.com.au or pm me for any questions.
 

Cotchins Hair Piece

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I haven’t - not yet. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty good GP and they’re happy to prescribe, and it hasn’t been me just pitching up and asking for them - had a MHCP done last week, five days off work after the attack and still couldn’t stop them. Literally spent 5 hours today going through some sort of attack. So I went in there with a case and having had a discussion about them last time.

Are you? Interesting. I’m pretty wary of those drugs though - I’m from a family of borderline alcoholics so don’t want to tempt fate on that front. That said if I get desperate I’ll definitely take one, it’s not a permanent aversion, just a wariness.

That said the doc put me on propranolol this afternoon and it has hit the spot in a big way. Best I have felt in a week. I’m still tired - the attacks have done a number on the muscles in my chest - but the tension has eased for the first time in that time.
I might mention propranolol to my Doctor. I’m on Zoloft, Quetiapine and have Xanax or Valium when needed but I really don’t like taking the Xanax or Valium. Even taking what I’m on I have constant anxiety, nervousness and just feel on edge.
 

LeverPuller

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I might mention propranolol to my Doctor. I’m on Zoloft, Quetiapine and have Xanax or Valium when needed but I really don’t like taking the Xanax or Valium. Even taking what I’m on I have constant anxiety, nervousness and just feel on edge.
Had another panic attack today and took half a Valium for that, but apart from that the propranolol has been awesome to settle the physical symptoms of the general anxiety I have been having so far. That said I’m only four days into my medication journey, and there’s still a long long way to go.
 

John Who

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Had another panic attack today and took half a Valium for that, but apart from that the propranolol has been awesome to settle the physical symptoms of the general anxiety I have been having so far. That said I’m only four days into my medication journey, and there’s still a long long way to go.
Have you taken a blood check in recent times? Panic attacks that are new might be coming from health conditions other than just from the brain. Unstable sugar levels, thyroid imbalances are just a few conditions that can cause panic symptoms. Otherwise psychologists and/or psychiatrists are the avenues to go for more individualised therapy. Everyone will respond differently to different treatments, so we can give general advice, not knowing what will work best for you.

Some genuinely good advice from a few others in the previous page. Good luck to you or anyone else going through anxiety/panic attacks!
 

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