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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

For those with a consistent history of anxiety and panic attacks: have you figured out what your attacks are linked to?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38956points) July 22nd, 2010

This past Saturday, I had a LEEP procedure done and sure I experienced all the bleeding, cramping, etc. after it. However, today I began having anxiety attacks and I know exactly the pattern my body takes once I start having these feelings and that it progresses really quickly if I don’t up my meds like yesterday.

I took a day off work and my supervisor called to check in and after our conversation, I realized that every time I had such severe anxiety attacks were about 5–7 days after a major event happened in my uterus (2 labors and now this LEEP) and I’ve been trying to figure out if that connection makes any sense or if I’m just looking for patterns in the clouds. Generally speaking, I do not get any anxiety after something out of my control happens (sickness or death in the family or moving, etc.).

Originally what screwed up my biochemistry was dropping Paxil (a medication I should have never been prescribed) cold turkey in London and after that my body’s never been the same. Yet, with Lexapro, I’ve been able to have a decent life, mentally, until labor 1 happened. I think my body doesn’t respond well to anything traumatic happening to the reproductive system and I am wondering if any of you, with a history of panic attacks, have similar experiences (where your psychosomatic response is linked to a body system) or if your attacks happen because of circumstances in your life (traumas, triggers). Thanks for your answers.

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33 Answers

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

The general pattern of my anxiety episodes relates to things which happen in the here and now over which I have no control. I don’t worry about the future or fret over things I’ve done in the past. I worry about my wife and daughter a lot, for example, and I often call during the day just to make sure everybody’s all right. I’m not sure where that insecurity comes from, but at least I have and idea of where it doesn’t come from.

Or so I think. The mind is a strange place. I worked through a thing 20 years ago, where I was worrying obsessively about my health. This came on after my father died of cancer. With the help of a shrink, I discovered that the anxiety wasn’t related to his cancer but to my own uncompleted grief over his death. I couldn’t have seen that coming. When I asked my shrink about it, he told me,

“I pulled on a thread. That was on the end of it.”

After that, I concluded that therapy wasn’t worthless.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Just recently my therapist has helped me to uncover the root of my chronic anxiety and panic attacks.
When I was 14 years old my little sister died in my arms. She was 7 and had an extremely rare disorder (which is still extremely rare and really lacks a name). This was 14 years ago, so at the time the doctors really had no answers for my parents or our family. My sister was expected to die within days of her birth, then when she survived, it was months. Then maybe a year or two. Ultimately, 7 years of my childhood were spent waiting for the other shoe to drop, essentially. Every single day was spent preparing for the next Grand Mal seizure.. or worse. Multiple occasions of 12–13 year old little me performing CPR while waiting for the ambulance or while mom is driving frantically to the ER. Of course, after 7 years I started to let my guard down. Living with and caring for a severely disabled sister had become the norm and I was on the phone with my boyfriend talking about going to homecoming. Of course my sister died that day and my entire world turned upside down. Two weeks later my grandfather died unexpectedly.

My therapist believes that 7 years of preparing myself for the worst and then having it happen when I’ve finally let my guard down has conditioned me to maintain that mentality even when it isn’t necessary. I think she’s right. At this point I don’t really have specific triggers, as almost everything sends me into an anxious tailspin. I think a big part of the problem is that every trauma after my sister’s death has loaded in such a way that it amplified and reinforced what was already there. Now everything is blown out of proportion.

Hope this answer was helpful.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@TheOnlyNeffie @IchtheosaurusRex Thank you for sharing. It is good to know that others have been helped to figure out what’s causing their anxiety – it helps me to reduce mine when I know the cause of it.

loser's avatar

Mine seem to be linked to stress and depression.

poofandmook's avatar

I haven’t entirely figured out where mine come from. They’ve happened from traumatic events where my hands were completely tied, or a change/issue where there was no solution. Maybe it’s change? Or maybe it’s me being helpless?

This might seem a little weird, and forgive me if I’m way off base, since I’ve never studied this kind of thing and you have extensively. But I know you feel very strongly about gender, and you’ve said that you identify with neither gender exclusively, correct? Well, the reproductive system is what biologically makes one a male or a female. Going with your theory, do you think maybe there’s a connection that way?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

My anxiety disorder and panic attacks are linked to crowded noisy environments, so I avoid them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@poofandmook Hmm…that’s interesting but, you see, I don’t have a problem with my body or with having a vagina or anything categorized as female. Gender and biological sex are two completely separate things.

poofandmook's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: Which is why I made sure to state that I am well aware I know nothing on the subject ;) But it was worth a shot hehe

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@poofandmook No, I know – it was a really good shot, :)

Vunessuh's avatar

The majority of them are linked to a vomit phobia. I remember my first anxiety attack in kindergarten, only back then, we never knew what they were. I wasn’t put on medication for them until my Sophomore year in high school.
At first I thought it was the anxiety (caused by something else) making me feel sick, and later found out it was my fear of vomiting that would continuously bring on the attacks. It ended up being the other way around the entire time. I honestly think if I conquered this fear, the attacks would disappear.
The fear mainly stems from being in public and getting sick and doing activities that I know can cause others to get sick – like being on an airplane or a boat or sometimes in a car, drinking alcohol, going on rides at an amusement park, etc. Or just simply being somewhere unfamiliar where I know there are a lot of people – I’ll freak even more if I have no idea where a bathroom is ‘just in case’. This shit seriously gets redonkulous after a while.
I’ll usually have an attack the evening before doing any of these things because I can’t take my mind off of how the event will possibly unfold. Will I get sick? If it’s in front of people what will they think of me? Will I be embarrassed? Will I make an ass of myself? And so on and so forth.
All my mind knows is that it hates throwing up so it reacts accordingly…with these awful attacks.
However, there are times when they will increase due to stress and sadness over certain things going on in my life, but when that happens I usually have better control over them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Vunessuh You know, I’m just amazed at all the different things that can get people to have a life like this

tinyfaery's avatar

Well, I just started working on this. My therapist equates my anxiety to something like post traumatic stress brought on not by one traumatic event, but by years of abuse by a father who would snap at any moment, seemingly without any specific cause. She says I am always preparing myself for the absolute worst thing to happen. Any place or activity that I am not 100% sure of triggers my anxiety, and the less I know about something the more anxiety it causes.

After thinking on this for a couple of weeks, I am just starting to get it. I do always think the worst thing will happen and body prepares itself for flight or fight. In my case, I could never fight my father so my first instinct is always to keep myself out of situations where I might need to flee. My therapist has asked me to observe my anxiety instead of reacting to it. I don’t always need to flee and sometimes I can fight.

Don’t know how this helps, but since you asked…

Aster's avatar

I had panic attacks just before and for two years after my divorce. The crumbling of decades of Total Trust was just too much for me then.
Now I have occasional anxiety. Not social anxiety but sometimes a little agoraphobia stuff. I still go out and it continues to lessen. I have no idea why it’s so much better but I do take 4K IU of D3, Resveratrol and sometimes Turmeric. I won’t go into the spiritual activities that really seem to help a lot.
I have never had a LEEP but seems like most women have! If you had abnormal cells, PM me and I’ll tell you one alternative treatment that is Very new
and unusual.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I have had some allergic reactions that are very similar to some of the symptoms of an anxiety attack. My Dr and I had to go through a couple of them and work through the symptoms to make sure they were actual reactions. Possibly there are physical things that may lead to or at least make someone more prone to an attack? Or multiple triggers in some people?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Exactly, that’s maybe what I’m thinking.

BoBo1946's avatar

My brother deals with this issue. His only happens when he get in a car, otherwise, he is fine! He has no ideal what caused this. Plus, it happened after he retired (retired school teacher and coach also). Kind of crazy actually!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

We need to keep pushing for more research on this. I was pretty sure I knew what was going on because my nose was running like crazy, but the rest of it was not anything I would wish on another human. I have a feel for how terrible it must be like for the suffers.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What exactly is a panic attack?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dutchess_III I could tell you some of the symptoms, but I think it would be better to hear from someone that got the full ride.

Aster's avatar

Describing it wouldn’t do the discomfort justice.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Is it a physical thing, or an emotional thing that causes a physical reaction? There have been two times in my life when my heart just started beating wildly, and I couldn’t catch my breath. I had to just sit down, and sit as still as possible. The only emotion I felt though, wasn’t worry over some unknown thing, just whether or not I was dying…..

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m not sure, to be honest. Sorry, I’ve got leave but I’ll be back tommorrow.

poofandmook's avatar

@Dutchess_III: For me, a panic attack starts as a feeling of both very cold and very hot at the same time, that starts in my chest and radiates outward. My heart starts beating so that I can hear it in my ears, and my temples throb. I start breathing heavy, and once the tears start, it’s full on hyperventilation. Can’t breathe, face turns absolute tomato red, loud sobbing, that wheezy gasp at every inhale. Can’t catch your breath no matter how hard you try.

In your ears and your head, it’s just noise. If you could translate the snow on a TV into a sound, and ADD the sound the snow on the TV makes, that’s the only thing you can think or hear, is noise. And mixed in with that, is a lot like the noise on the emergency alert test things on TV.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@poofandmook Oh gosh! I am so, so sorry! No, mine was nothing like that. It was scary but not like that.

poofandmook's avatar

@Dutchess_III: That description doesn’t fully convey what it feels like.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@poofandmook I can’t imagine….just the description was scary enough…

tinyfaery's avatar

Good description poof. I’d just add that adrenaline is pumping and it makes you feel like you have no control over your body.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@poofandmook I agree, that was really a great description. Add in trembling and dizziness, and that would be the perfect description of my average panic attack. I’m also convinced at the time that I am about to die of a heart attack at 28.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@poofandmook @Dutchess_III Definitely like that – it starts in the middle of the chest and gets worse very quickly.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

My parents were really abusive, so I grew up with PTSD, and got depressed, and got in several bad relationships with addicts and one guy who raped me a lot. I got on some good meds, did a lot of EMDR, and got a really good therapist, and now my panic attacks happen much much less often.

Tangent_J's avatar

While I personally don’t suffer from these attacks my sister does, she also has meniere’s disease. Her attacks coincide with problems related to meniere’s.

rooeytoo's avatar

I can’t pinpoint anything specific, but I understand a lot of what is said above. I had the first one when I was standing in line at a drug store in DC on the corner of K and something, I remember because I had to walk back to L where I worked. Anyhow I was waiting for my tuna sandwich and it hit out of nowhere. It was like blackness closing in all around, my heart was pounding and I was terrified but I didn’t know of what, just what was. The whole way back to work I sort of hung onto buildings because I was feeling like I would fall off the earth. The worst was when I had to cross the streets, there was nothing to hold onto. It seemed to get better when I finally made it back to work. But the memory of it could have turned me into a total recluse, except I had to work or starve. I didn’t want to leave the house or drive or do anything by myself. This went on literally for years. It completely ruled my life for a lot of years. I went to an MD and he said it was sinus ????? and put me on Sudafed which makes me nuts. My body cannot tolerate antihistamines, so that made it worse. Then I found the book Hope and Help for your Jangled Nerves, I think it was called. By a lady named Claire or Clara Weekes. It gave these feelings a name and gave 5 steps to deal with them. I was so relieved, I thought I was losing my mind. Up until that fateful day in the drug store I was the most adventuresome person alive, ready to go anywhere anytime. Anyhow that was a long time ago, probably in the late 60’s. That book was the first step to recovery for me, I then found ACOA, I grew up with a vicious violent abusive drunken brother who was 15 years older than I. I also found a pastoral counselor who helped me cope. The rest is history, one step at a time I have moved on. I think the most important aspect for me was that I believe I was afraid that I would die from them and when I learned to say to myself, “oh shit here we go again but I have lived through them so far and I am sure I will live through this one” they started to lose their hold on me. Then someone said it is better than having migraines or polio or some other dreadful problem. Now every now and again, I will get that feeling of impending doom that always precipitated an attack, but I just sort of acknowledge it and it seems to fade away. Thank goodness. I never took drugs regularly although I did take a xanax now and then at different times in my life. I still usually carry one in my backpack but it is about 10 years out of date so I don’t even know if it has any magic powers anymore. But I admit I like knowing it is there, “just in case.”

Maybe you should try to find a copy of that book. It doesn’t tell you why but it taught me how to cope and that pretty much can be a cure.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@rooeytoo I agree with you on the whole knowing that I’ve been through it before and worse so I’ll get out of it soon kind of thing – I know and the people around me know that when I get this way, there are certain steps they have to take – it took many years to learn.

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