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Author Topic: Panic Attacks and Me  (Read 8104 times)
RideTheWalrus
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« on: May 08, 2008, 01:49:26 PM »

I was 19 years old at the time and on rare occasions I would smoke weed with friends.  I smoked perhaps once every month or once every two months.  At the time of this event I had smoked small amounts maybe 7 times over the period of the last year.  In my mind smoking weed was no big deal, I saw it as no different than having a drink. 

For some reason this time was different.  I don't know if the grade of the weed was higher, if I might have smoked more than usual, or if it was mixed with something sinister, but I reacted very badly to it.  My sense of time began to become distorted and my heart started racing.  I began to worry about how I was feeling, I was out of control, and I had a vicious panic attack.

I called the paramedics because I did not know what was going on, I thought I was dying, I couldn't think and my heart was beating extremely rapidly.  The paramedics took me to the hospital where they kept me for four hours and did various tests on me.

Oddly enough I tested negative for all of the common drugs (weed included).  Eventually my heart returned to it's normal pace and I went home and slept like a baby.

For the next few months I would have random panic attacks on a daily basis, and when I was not in a state of panic I was on edge waiting for the next random attack to strike.  I don't know if any of you know what a panic disorder is, but every time I had an attack they were so powerful it felt like I was dying.  To put it simply all of the adrenaline in your body is released all at once, which makes you feel like you're having a heart attack, even though you're actually in no danger. 

During some of these attacks my heart would race, breathing would feel difficult, complex thinking would become impossible, I'd shake, I'd shiver, and break out in a sweat.  You experience fear that only those who have been faced with death can really understand.  These panic attacks shut down my life for a while.  In those first few months I only slept for an hour or so each night and I had no appetite.  In my heart I knew there was something wrong with my body, something the doctors had missed.  At this point I was just waiting to die.

I never died, and all tests on my heart, brain, and lungs repeatedly showed I had a healthy body.  Eventually over the next few years I got my panic attacks and anxiety under control and got back on my feet, but the way I got them under control was to seal away my emotions.  In doing so I sealed away the positive as well. 

I'm 23 years old now and the panic/anxiety is under control, my body is healthy (and was healthy in the first place), what plagues me now is myself.  It's like I've been living in darkness for so long because of my out of control fear that the light/love scares me.  Or maybe it's not that I can't feel so much as I'm afraid to feel... since love feels foreign to me now.

It takes a lot of courage to open your heart to love after it's been closed.  I have great newfound respect for people who can go through trauma and put on a smile through it all.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2008, 02:02:14 PM by RideTheWalrus » Logged
Sam
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2008, 06:48:29 PM »

I really enjoyed your post, thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

Love
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chet
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2008, 06:55:05 AM »

Quote
I don't know if any of you know what a panic disorder is, but every time I had an attack they were so powerful it felt like I was dying.

I do know what a panic disorder is  - I was with my sister when she went into a panic anxiety and she kept saying, 'Call for the doctor, I'm dying, I'm dying, I'm going to die...'  I didn't call for a doctor - and she was OK and didn't die; she just went to sleep and was OK the next morning.

So I think I know what you say.

But the panic feeling is just a false feeling that the body does to you.

Quote
I'm 23 years old now and the panic/anxiety is under control, my body is healthy (and was healthy in the first place), what plagues me now is myself.  It's like I've been living in darkness for so long because of my out of control fear that the light/love scares me.  Or maybe it's not that I can't feel so much as I'm afraid to feel... since love feels foreign to me now
It takes a lot of courage to open your heart to love after it's been closed.  I have great newfound respect for people who can go through trauma and put on a smile through it all..

What you describe as going through trauma and putting a smile on it all is the human spirit. People with strokes paint, people with disabilities run marathons.

You're 23, your body is beautiful and healthy - what more can you ask for?! I would say, just go out into the light of being young and be confident! Be an open-hearted person, and people will love you in return.  :)
 
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RideTheWalrus
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 01:05:22 PM »

Thanks for the replies.

It's weird, but I think what plagues me now is my subconscious.  My logical mind is telling me I'm fine, live life, be happy, ect... but it feels as if the back of my mind is always on guard.

In the end the way I deal with it is to distract myself with tasks and ignore it.  When I focus elsewhere I feel perfectly normal, it isn't until I internalize my thoughts that I feel bad.
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Sam
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2008, 09:21:46 PM »

Yes, I can understand that, affirmations can help to retrain the subconscious and/or in time it will go away with what you are doing now.

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Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. -- George Carlin
chet
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2008, 07:28:34 AM »

Quote
it feels as if the back of my mind is always on guard.

I feel like that too.

Maybe like half the planet... ? ;D ;)

Quote
In the end the way I deal with it is to distract myself with tasks and ignore it.  When I focus elsewhere I feel perfectly normal, it isn't until I internalize my thoughts that I feel bad.

My advice: Don't internalize your thoughts - when they do occur give them a few moments' thought and then banish them. Too much internalizing your thoughts only makes you sad (and 'weak'). Get on with what you have to do in life right now.   

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RideTheWalrus
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2008, 05:24:58 AM »

Thanks for the replies, much appreciated!
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etherealsymphony
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2008, 09:52:05 PM »

I was 19 years old at the time and on rare occasions I would smoke weed with friends.  I smoked perhaps once every month or once every two months.  At the time of this event I had smoked small amounts maybe 7 times over the period of the last year.  In my mind smoking weed was no big deal, I saw it as no different than having a drink. 

For some reason this time was different.  I don't know if the grade of the weed was higher, if I might have smoked more than usual, or if it was mixed with something sinister, but I reacted very badly to it.  My sense of time began to become distorted and my heart started racing.  I began to worry about how I was feeling, I was out of control, and I had a vicious panic attack.

I called the paramedics because I did not know what was going on, I thought I was dying, I couldn't think and my heart was beating extremely rapidly.  The paramedics took me to the hospital where they kept me for four hours and did various tests on me.

Oddly enough I tested negative for all of the common drugs (weed included).  Eventually my heart returned to it's normal pace and I went home and slept like a baby.

For the next few months I would have random panic attacks on a daily basis, and when I was not in a state of panic I was on edge waiting for the next random attack to strike.  I don't know if any of you know what a panic disorder is, but every time I had an attack they were so powerful it felt like I was dying.  To put it simply all of the adrenaline in your body is released all at once, which makes you feel like you're having a heart attack, even though you're actually in no danger. 

During some of these attacks my heart would race, breathing would feel difficult, complex thinking would become impossible, I'd shake, I'd shiver, and break out in a sweat.  You experience fear that only those who have been faced with death can really understand.  These panic attacks shut down my life for a while.  In those first few months I only slept for an hour or so each night and I had no appetite.  In my heart I knew there was something wrong with my body, something the doctors had missed.  At this point I was just waiting to die.

I never died, and all tests on my heart, brain, and lungs repeatedly showed I had a healthy body.  Eventually over the next few years I got my panic attacks and anxiety under control and got back on my feet, but the way I got them under control was to seal away my emotions.  In doing so I sealed away the positive as well. 

I'm 23 years old now and the panic/anxiety is under control, my body is healthy (and was healthy in the first place), what plagues me now is myself.  It's like I've been living in darkness for so long because of my out of control fear that the light/love scares me.  Or maybe it's not that I can't feel so much as I'm afraid to feel... since love feels foreign to me now.

It takes a lot of courage to open your heart to love after it's been closed.  I have great newfound respect for people who can go through trauma and put on a smile through it all.

I had a similar experience a few days ago. It is really scary, I totally understand what you went through... I felt like i was near death also although the paramedics never really told me what was going on with me. I am still confused as to whether I had an NDE or just a really bad panic attack?
The thought of smoking weed makes me sick I don't even want to be around it.
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Sam
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2008, 01:23:10 AM »

Being afraid of love is not that uncommon. I think a lot of people feel that way. They are afraid to let their feelings guide them, afraid of caring for someone or something and then being rejected by their object of love. Tell me how you feel about smoking weed now, it there some regret that you tried it? Where do you think these feelings come from?

I just went and looked up a "gravity bong" and found out you can get a lot more "dope" from one than you can get from a pipe, plus the beer you were drinking made for a very powerful cocktail. I think you got hit pretty hard, and it may have left some mental side effects. Tell me what you can about it and yourself, I could offer some things that may help.

« Last Edit: August 13, 2008, 01:35:03 AM by Sam » Logged
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. -- George Carlin
etherealsymphony
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2008, 10:25:50 AM »

Well.. I don't regret smoking weed, I have been smoking for years. I do regret hitting the Gravity Bong that night though, yeah. The thought of it makes me sick... because of what I went through. That is, as of now. I don't really know if my feelings will change later or what.

Yeah, you are right about the "powerful cocktail" but it is weird my body reacted this way... because I used to drink and smoke together every night. It makes me thing the weed was laced or something, I have no idea. I really do think it left some bad mental side effects. I don't know what to do with myself, I am scared, hopeless, and I don't know how to move on.

I thought maybe going to a psychologist would help but I don't know if I can since I don't have insurance and I probably have a huge hospital bill coming.
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Sam
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2008, 06:31:08 PM »

I believe the panic attacks come because you are scared, but no one is hopeless even if they think so. Tell how you feel about near death experiences or have you read them? It really doesn't matter how or what scares you, what matters is getting through it. I am going to suggest doing the affirmations.

http://aleroy.com/Affirm.htm

Read them and tell me what you think about doing them.
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Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. -- George Carlin
RideTheWalrus
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2008, 10:01:57 AM »

Hey etherealsymphony, from what I've read panic attacks while smoking weed is not that uncommon.  I think your state of mind when you smoke plays a big part in it.  Everybody knows weed can make you paranoid.

First, I felt strange, then the thought popped into my head that 'maybe something is physically wrong', from there on the paranoia spiraled out of control and it turned into the worst panic attack of my life.  Had I never had that 'what if' thought I don't think I would have ever had a panic attack that night. 

I think you're right on leroy in what causes panic attacks.  Fear, but also resistance seems to trigger them.  When you try to resist and fight against an experience it only makes you have a bad time.

Panic attacks were much more common in people who used psychedelics and had 'bad trips.'  One of the things people would try to tell each-other is to stop resisting the experience and give into it.

I know it's hard for people like us, when something feels strange and foreign I naturally try to fight against it.
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etherealsymphony
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2008, 09:21:07 PM »

I think you are right about this... after my experience I couldn't be around weed or even look at it. Even listening to music that I heard when I was high repulsed me, it's very odd.
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