Forums > Off-Topic Discussion > SF2: Ess Effin Two > Add a totally terrifying experience and a ER visit

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

to cap off this lovely day.

So I went to pick up a prescription, and on my way home I started feeling faint and overheated. The symptoms got worse and my entire body started going numb. I was only a few minutes from home so I pushed on.  By the time I got home I was seriously numb and worried. I asked my father to drive me to the ER.

During the drive the symptoms got worse. The muscles in my arms and hands seized up completely and I couldn't move them. My jaw and tongue seized up so I couldn't talk. I was having severe trouble breathing. I was convinced that it was entirely possible that I would arrive at the hospital unconscious.

I had some important moments thinking about my life, and how at the age of 40 I have not yet fully accepted my mortality. I decided tonight that there I things I have yet to do; this is not an acceptable time for me to shed my mortal coil.

At the ER they needed two men to get me out of the car and onto the gurney. I was unable to open my eyes at that point.

I was wheeled in to the ER and the first thing I heard was "It's an anxiety attack." This came as quite a surprise to me, since I had once had a panic attack and that was completely different. However, they took my blood, gave me an IV with Ativan, and gave me an EKG, and after about 90 minutes I was walking out like nothing had happened - albeit a bit slowly and with all sorts of aches from where those muscles had seized up.

Interesting wake-up call. I will have to spend some time processing this.

EDIT: I just read the paperwork that they gave me. The actual diagnosis is hyperventilation syndrome.

Mar 21 13 04:47 pm Link

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Marc Damon

Posts: 6562

Biloxi, Mississippi, US

Wow. Sounds pretty http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.pngto me. I hope it doesn't happen again but if it truly was an anxiety attack, perhaps you should consider seeing your regular doctor for any chronic physical problems (blood pressure, lipids, etc) and maybe even a therapist for any psyc/stress issues you may be unaware of having.

Mar 21 13 04:53 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

Marc Damon wrote:
Wow. Sounds pretty http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.pngto me. I hope it doesn't happen again but if it truly was an anxiety attack, perhaps you should consider seeing your regular doctor for any chronic physical problems (blood pressure, lipids, etc) and maybe even a therapist for any psyc/stress issues you may be unaware of having.

I'm heading back to my regular doctor tomorrow. I saw him just last week, and the blood work he did only showed high cholesterol and low Vitamin D. The bloodwork from today's ER visit shows low potassium and high hematocrit. It looks like I'll be getting a prescription for potassium pills or bananas. Frankly I'd prefer the pills, but it's probably better overall if I go with the bananas. I hate the damn things, though.

Mar 21 13 05:00 pm Link

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Marc Damon

Posts: 6562

Biloxi, Mississippi, US

10 high potassium foods.
http://www.healthaliciousness.com/artic … assium.php
The banana ain't all that. I hope you like apricots.

Mar 21 13 05:02 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

Marc Damon wrote:
10 high potassium foods.
http://www.healthaliciousness.com/artic … assium.php
The banana ain't all that. I hope you like apricots.

Spinach and white beans. I can do that.

Mar 21 13 05:07 pm Link

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Bek Ruszin

Posts: 6023

Levittown, Pennsylvania, US

Holy shit, LG.  As I am sure we've discussed previously, I too, suffer from panic attacks and an anxiety disorder, but whoa...I've NEVER had something that extreme and that http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.png.

I'm SO sorry to hear this happened.  ((hugs))

Mar 21 13 06:19 pm Link

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DougBPhoto

Posts: 38534

Portland, Oregon, US

Wow Lawrence!!

First off, glad it wasn't anything totally worse, like heart or stroke, etc.

Second, yeah, that is really http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.png

I've found that as I get older, my mind is changing, and not necessarily for the better, so I can relate to the what-the-fuck-is-going-on thing.

Hopefully your Dr can figure out more precisely what caused it, and how to treat it, so you don't need to go through anything like that again.

Too many people take so much for granted.   Stay strong.

Mar 21 13 06:26 pm Link

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Apodyopsis

Posts: 6087

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Well that's something. Were you actually feeling any sort of anxious, or is that the sort of thing that comes out of nowhere for absolutely no reason at all? Glad you're okay.

Mar 21 13 08:39 pm Link

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-Jen-

Posts: 46835

Howell, Michigan, US

Lawrence Guy wrote:
to cap off this lovely day.

So I went to pick up a prescription, and on my way home I started feeling faint and overheated. The symptoms got worse and my entire body started going numb. I was only a few minutes from home so I pushed on.  By the time I got home I was seriously numb and worried. I asked my father to drive me to the ER.

During the drive the symptoms got worse. The muscles in my arms and hands seized up completely and I couldn't move them. My jaw and tongue seized up so I couldn't talk. I was having severe trouble breathing. I was convinced that it was entirely possible that I would arrive at the hospital unconscious.

I had some important moments thinking about my life, and how at the age of 40 I have not yet fully accepted my mortality. I decided tonight that there I things I have yet to do; this is not an acceptable time for me to shed my mortal coil.

At the ER they needed two men to get me out of the car and onto the gurney. I was unable to open my eyes at that point.

I was wheeled in to the ER and the first thing I heard was "It's an anxiety attack." This came as quite a surprise to me, since I had once had a panic attack and that was completely different. However, they took my blood, gave me an IV with Ativan, and gave me an EKG, and after about 90 minutes I was walking out like nothing had happened - albeit a bit slowly and with all sorts of aches from where those muscles had seized up.

Interesting wake-up call. I will have to spend some time processing this.

EDIT: I just read the paperwork that they game me. The actual diagnosis is hyperventilation syndrome.

My girlfriend had the same thing happen to her. It was stress and prescription meds doing it to her.
Her potassium was very low too.

Ask your doctor to test you for pernicious anemia.

Mar 21 13 10:15 pm Link

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Chris Rifkin

Posts: 24634

Tampa, Florida, US

Daym...glad you are OK

Mar 21 13 10:32 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

Apodyopsis wrote:
Well that's something. Were you actually feeling any sort of anxious, or is that the sort of thing that comes out of nowhere for absolutely no reason at all? Glad you're okay.

I've had very severe fatigue for the last month or two, and I actually missed worked because of it on several occasions. This was one of them. On top of that, I was spaced out and forgot to eat, and only had one glass of water during the day, so physical stress was definitely present.

As for anxiety, I have GAD but I'm on medication for it, though I've been ramping off the dosage. However, the symptoms of this attack were very different from anything I experienced in the past, so I'm not inclined to think the meds were a proximate cause.

I've been giving real thought to changing jobs (I've been sending out resumes), so that could cause a little bit of stress.

I'm going to go with general physical decrepitude as the most significant contributor to this whole thing. I had already started taking action to get myself in better shape, but this just gives me some additional motivation.

Mar 22 13 03:15 am Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

-Jen- wrote:

My girlfriend had the same thing happen to her. It was stress and prescription meds doing it to her.
Her potassium was very low too.

Ask your doctor to test you for pernicious anemia.

I was going to say that it couldn't be that because my hematocrit level is high, but then I googled "pernicious anemia hematocrit level." hmm

I don't think all of the blood tests are back yet. Maybe I have more surprises in store.

Mar 22 13 03:20 am Link

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ArtisticPhotography

Posts: 7699

Buffalo, New York, US

Anxiety Attack: You're not a Mafia Don in the garbage business in NJ, are you?

Anyway, I hope you're better soon.

Mar 22 13 07:37 am Link

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Boho Hobo

Posts: 25351

Portland, Oregon, US

wow.

well, try getting some bach rescue remedy before you open your hospital bill! (to stave off another anxiety attack!)

you'll probably need a halter, an Echocardiogram, heart stress test etc to be sure you don't have an undiagnosed heart condition.

testing your hormones might be in order too since out of whack thyroid and thyroid disease can cause heart arrhythmia as well.

But anxiety floods your body with adrenaline (the "fight or flight" hormone) which does what it's supposed to do if you're being chased by a saber tooth tiger, it causes your heart to race so that you can deal with a threat.

Most of us aren't hunters anymore, our stressors are work and life and it's killing us one day at a time.

If it turns out you have no underlying disease and your dis-ease is stress, then take that diagnosis seriously it's no joke. Perpetual stress can and will kill you or destroy your health if you don't deal with it.

smile

Mar 22 13 08:14 am Link

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Koryn

Posts: 36708

Boston, Massachusetts, US

That's a hell of an anxiety attack. I have anxiety also, and a history of mild panic attacks. I know what it is; I only ever went to a doctor for it once, when I was 22, working a high stress job and one day thought I was having a heart attack during a staff meeting. My whole left arm went numb.

A couple of years later, I had a friend who told me she would give me $50 if I would get in a tanning bed. I had a pretty serious panic attack in the tanning bed. I kept alternating between feeling like I was dead, in a coffin and couldn't breathe, to feeling like I was floating in a pod in space, and there was no earth outside. That shit was incredibly http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.png.


Now, it will just feel like there is a horse galloping in my chest, and I get weird stabbing/gasping/clenching sensation through my chest. It is manageable if I sit down and breathe. It's always sucked really really bad - nothing like what you reported though

Mar 22 13 08:42 am Link

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L A F

Posts: 8386

Davenport, Iowa, US

Oh no Lawrence!  That sounds so http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.pngand I  hate that you went through that.

Take care of yourself as much as you can, and if you need to vent to blow off stress, you know we're here for ya.

Mar 22 13 08:59 am Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

Koryn Locke wrote:
That's a hell of an anxiety attack. I have anxiety also, and a history of mild panic attacks. I know what it is; I only ever went to a doctor for it once, when I was 22, working a high stress job and one day thought I was having a heart attack during a staff meeting. My whole left arm went numb.

A couple of years later, I had a friend who told me she would give me $50 if I would get in a tanning bed. I had a pretty serious panic attack in the tanning bed. I kept alternating between feeling like I was dead, in a coffin and couldn't breathe, to feeling like I was floating in a pod in space, and there was no earth outside. That shit was incredibly http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.png.


Now, it will just feel like there is a horse galloping in my chest, and I get weird stabbing/gasping/clenching sensation through my chest. It is manageable if I sit down and breathe. It's always sucked really really bad - nothing like what you reported though

The thing that threw my off on this was that it really was different from anything I've ever experienced before. I've had panic and anxiety attacks, but they displayed very different symptoms (most significantly, they always triggered the flight reflex, which this one didn't). While I've had anxiety attacks that had a degree of numbness, it never EVER had anything close to the muscle cramping. Add in the freezing up of my mouth and the problems breathing and I thought this was as some kind of cardiac, neural, or hystemine problem (while I was experiencing it, that is).

Mar 22 13 09:19 am Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

Laura Ann - Fashion wrote:
Oh no Lawrence!  That sounds so http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.pngand I  hate that you went through that.

Take care of yourself as much as you can, and if you need to vent to blow off stress, you know we're here for ya.

http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs13/f/2007/026/7/0/Groucho_Marx_Emoticon_by_JakarNilson.gif

Mar 22 13 09:20 am Link

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Koryn

Posts: 36708

Boston, Massachusetts, US

Lawrence Guy wrote:

The thing that threw my off on this was that it really was different from anything I've ever experienced before. I've had panic and anxiety attacks, but they displayed very different symptoms (most significantly, they always triggered the flight reflex, which this one didn't). While I've had anxiety attacks that had a degree of numbness, it never EVER had anything close to the muscle cramping. Add in the freezing up of my mouth and the problems breathing and I thought this was as some kind of cardiac, neural, or hystemine problem (while I was experiencing it, that is).

yeah, it kind of read like anaphylactic shock, from a food or beesting allergy.

Mar 22 13 10:15 am Link

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ontherocks

Posts: 22603

Salem, Oregon, US

i'm a bit skeptical about this whole panic attack thing (there was a tv show about it the other day regarding that golfer). my suspicion is the body gets out of whack and exhibits panic symptoms but it's not a mental thing. it's the body being out of whack with electrolytes or food sensitivities (there is something called anaphylactic shock) or adrenaline or carbon dioxide or whatever. in the case of the golfer apparently he hadn't eaten for 20 hours and had low potassium -- that's not a mental problem that's an "i need to eat a banana stat problem"

if i get around some perfumes i feel like i'm going to pass out. does that mean the stripper was so hot she gave me a panic attack? lol the nasty stuff they put in perfume can really throw some people for a loop.

it would be an interesting thing to study. the good thing is you lived through it!

if i suspect some kind of allergy problem (like bee sting) i take a benadryl straight away just to be on the safe side. better groggy than dead. but antihistamines do lower the nervous system so i guess it depends on what's wrong and what other meds you might be taking. if you have too many nervous system dampening things going on i think you can just stop breathing?

Mar 22 13 11:32 am Link

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-Jen-

Posts: 46835

Howell, Michigan, US

Lawrence Guy wrote:

The thing that threw my off on this was that it really was different from anything I've ever experienced before. I've had panic and anxiety attacks, but they displayed very different symptoms (most significantly, they always triggered the flight reflex, which this one didn't). While I've had anxiety attacks that had a degree of numbness, it never EVER had anything close to the muscle cramping. Add in the freezing up of my mouth and the problems breathing and I thought this was as some kind of cardiac, neural, or hystemine problem (while I was experiencing it, that is).

low potassium symptoms may include:

    Weakness
    Fatigue
    Muscle cramps
    Constipation

Sounds like what you've have lately, doesnt it? 

you need potassium for your heart, if your potassium is extremely low you can have serious heart complications like arrhythmia. (abnormal heart rhythm)

And trust me, you do not want to drink the potassium they give you in the hospital.  Its NASTY!  The pills arent that great either.

Oh and pernicious anemia (your body doesnt absorb vitamins)

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitami … N=symptoms

The stress levels you have at your new job (I read your one thread) can contribute to your problem and the new medications you are taking can also be doing this.

Mar 22 13 11:39 am Link

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Fergy

Posts: 22383

Fenton, Michigan, US

-Jen- wrote:

low potassium symptoms may include:

    Weakness
    Fatigue
    Muscle cramps
    Constipation

Sounds like what you've have lately, doesnt it? 

you need potassium for your heart, if your potassium is extremely low you can have serious heart complications like arrhythmia. (abnormal heart rhythm)

And trust me, you do not want to drink the potassium they give you in the hospital.  Its NASTY!  The pills arent that great either.

Oh and pernicious anemia (your body doesnt absorb vitamins)

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitami … N=symptoms

The stress levels you have at your new job (I read your one thread) can contribute to your problem and the new medications you are taking can also be doing this.

I know a couple people with pernicious anemia.  As long as they take their meds, they feel wonderful.

Mar 22 13 12:21 pm Link

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-Jen-

Posts: 46835

Howell, Michigan, US

Fergy wrote:

I know a couple people with pernicious anemia.  As long as they take their meds, they feel wonderful.

quit talking to me like i dont know, dork. lol

(our dad has pernicious anemia)

Mar 22 13 01:26 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

-Jen- wrote:
Weakness
    Fatigue
    Muscle cramps
    Constipation

Sounds like what you've have lately, doesnt it?

The fatigue, yes. The muscle cramps yesterday were definitely from the hyperventilation. The other two aren't manifesting.

I had a blood test last week that didn't show low potassium. The one last night did. I'll definitely be adding more potassium to my diet, but there are enough other things in my life that I can't consider it the *sole* cause (I just had my appointment with my doctor and discussed this), though it could be a contributing cause.  We'll check my levels again in 6-8 weeks when we follow up on my cholesterol and VitD.

Mar 22 13 01:27 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

ontherocks wrote:
i'm a bit skeptical about this whole panic attack thing (there was a tv show about it the other day regarding that golfer). my suspicion is the body gets out of whack and exhibits panic symptoms but it's not a mental thing.

Physical stress can make panic and anxiety attacks more likely, but there is usually a mental aspect to it. This can be seen quite easily by noting that the triggers are usually emotional situations, and that mental training can reduce or eliminate them.

Mar 22 13 01:29 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

-Jen- wrote:

quit talking to me like i dont know, dork. lol

(our dad has pernicious anemia)

I forgot to mention the pernicious anemia to my doctor, but we did discuss my hematocrit levels. According to the blood test from his office I'm barely over the high end. He didn't have the report from the blood test done by the ER yet.

Mar 22 13 01:31 pm Link

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-Nicole-

Posts: 19209

Madison, Wisconsin, US

That's terrifying!

I'm glad you're alright

Mar 22 13 01:34 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

-Jen- wrote:
low potassium symptoms may include:

    Weakness
    Fatigue
    Muscle cramps
    Constipation

Sounds like what you've have lately, doesnt it? 

you need potassium for your heart, if your potassium is extremely low you can have serious heart complications like arrhythmia. (abnormal heart rhythm)

And trust me, you do not want to drink the potassium they give you in the hospital.  Its NASTY!  The pills arent that great either.

Oh and pernicious anemia (your body doesnt absorb vitamins)

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitami … N=symptoms

The stress levels you have at your new job (I read your one thread) can contribute to your problem and the new medications you are taking can also be doing this.

From that site:
Fatigue                       chronic and crippling
Shortness of breath    maybe sometimes?
Dizziness                    often
Pale or yellowish skin   I'm totally black
Swollen tongue that may appear dark red        nope
Weight loss                 nope
Diarrhea                      Do you really want to know?
Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet   occasionally
Muscle weakness        yes
Irritability                     yes
Unsteady movements   yes
Mental confusion or forgetfulness   yes to the forgetfulness


You might be onto something there.

EDIT: And after reading more about it, I hope you're not.

Mar 22 13 01:35 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

-Nicole- wrote:
That's terrifying!

I'm glad you're alright

Mar 22 13 01:36 pm Link

Artist/Painter

sdgillis

Posts: 2444

Portland, Oregon, US

even power aid, gatorade has potassium.

glad to hear you still with us!!!!

Mar 22 13 02:08 pm Link

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Michael Bots

Posts: 5959

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Exercise induced periodic paralysis in potassium channelopathy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx-se9c6oVY

Hypokalemic periodic paralysis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypokalemi … _paralysis


Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides … rview.html


http://hipokalemia.blogspot.ca/2010/04/ … lysis.html
Epinephrine or adrenaline , a drug routinely added to local anesthetics is used as a test to provoke attacks in HypoKPP,

Mar 22 13 07:58 pm Link

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-Jen-

Posts: 46835

Howell, Michigan, US

Lawrence Guy wrote:

From that site:
Fatigue                       chronic and crippling
Shortness of breath    maybe sometimes?
Dizziness                    often
Pale or yellowish skin   I'm totally black
Swollen tongue that may appear dark red        nope
Weight loss                 nope
Diarrhea                      Do you really want to know?
Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet   occasionally
Muscle weakness        yes
Irritability                     yes
Unsteady movements   yes
Mental confusion or forgetfulness   yes to the forgetfulness


You might be onto something there.

EDIT: And after reading more about it, I hope you're not.

My dad has it, they think he had it for 20+ years and had no idea.
He only has 20% of his stomach because he had a bleeding ulcer he almost died from back when we were babies.
But he gets vitamin b12 shots and drinks this stuff every morning (he says it tastes good) and he's doing fine.

Mar 22 13 10:58 pm Link

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Art Silva

Posts: 9451

Santa Barbara, California, US

That is Crazy... glad you survived.

I had a similar scare last week. I had a gallstone attack, went to the ER and had to have surgery to remove the gallbladder after a different procedure to blast the obstruction (stone) first.

Mar 23 13 04:58 pm Link

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Lawrence Guy

Posts: 17683

Spring Valley, California, US

Art Silva Photography wrote:
That is Crazy... glad you survived.

I had a similar scare last week. I had a gallstone attack, went to the ER and had to have surgery to remove the gallbladder after a different procedure to blast the obstruction (stone) first.

Sounds like your situation was actually dangerous. Mine turned out to not be dangerous at all - just http://assets.modelmayhem.com/images/smilies/scary.png. I was figuring that there was a good chance I was a goner, but I walked out of the ER 90 minutes later with nothing more than instructions to see my regular doctor the next day. There's something profound about that, I think.

Mar 23 13 05:11 pm Link

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Gabrielle Heather

Posts: 10064

Middle Island, New York, US

Lawrence Guy wrote:
Sounds like your situation was actually dangerous. Mine turned out to not be dangerous at all - just scary. I was figuring that there was a good chance I was a goner, but I walked out of the ER 90 minutes later with nothing more than instructions to see my regular doctor the next day. There's something profound about that, I think.

scary is something. It's called anxiety and panic. A really good friend of mine suffered from panic attacks for a long time and she would  suffer from them so badly that she was unable to leave her house for quite some time. Any place she did not know, or had ever been to before, stirred a panic in her. With therapy, and medicine, she was able to get to the root of things and she is now free of any panic attacks for years. She always had some minor stuff, but it got overwhelming for her at one point in her life. It is great to be able to know that nothing may be physically wrong with you, and that stress can cause all kinds of physical things within us. IM not saying that there arent any underlying medical things going on, but stress and anxiety definitely can affect one's health in great ways. My friend used to say that her panic attacks felt like she was going to die every time. Breathe as much as possible. Try deep breathing as relaxation. Perhaps a new form of therapy may be beneficial. hang in there.

Mar 23 13 05:56 pm Link