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I posted this on the prayer oratory form but thought that I'd also post it here because it is a health/medical question of sorts.

Again I humbly ask for the prayers of the good people on this forum.  Dark times have again rolled into my life.  About every four years I go through a period of doubt, nervous disorder, and constant panic attacks.  This condition (which is triggered either by nerves or something I'm not sure of) just comes on all of the sudden.  The first time I had to deal with it was as a senior in high school way back in the fall of 99.  Then again it came around the fall of 2004 and now it has yet arrived to torment and plague my life again (apparently).

The symptoms are constant worrying, a sometimes nervous, shaky feeling that will overcome me, mental anguish, and sometimes a pressure of sorts in my head.   This may last up to several months but usually goes away.  For instance it first started around Labor Day 99 and lasted till around February 2000.  It is not continuous and does let up in severity during some days (oh thank the good God for those days).  This is somewhat good since it is not a continuous thing but when I do have it (usually the worst is at night and sometimes in the mornings when I wake up). 

For the life of me, I have no idea in the world what could cause this.  I hope its not demonic obsession/oppression of some sorts (i'm not kidding).  This is what I originally believed it to be although I constantly try and put that idea out of my mind as too crazy to think of.  Maybe I should have tried to get help for it last time but when it finally goes away, I'm so happy that I just do not want to think about it anymore.

Has anybody else ever experienced something like this?  I feel crazy for even trying to tell other people(I kept my mouth shut and just endure it as much as possible the other times).  However in my life I have learned that it is sometimes better to talk to other people about issues like this then just keep it bottled up and fight it out alone.

Please, please pray for me.

Bob
Bob, please go see a doctor. Don't make excuses why you can't, money, etc. Not knowing what this is likely causes you even more stress and anxiety.

*edit to add: Yes, I'll pray for you, in my own limited, poor way.
Once you get panic attacks, you are more susceptible to them and they tend to reoccur.

Yes, I have experienced it.  I had my first panic attacks because of a medical condition that they couldn't diagnose for almost a year.  I thought, quite literally, I was going to die or at least had a terrible illness. I ended up on Paxil, and that helped.

After a year on Paxil, I wanted to get off of it.  So my doc let me.  About six months later I was under a lot of stress and started having panic attacks again.  So, back on the Paxil.  I've been through this drill a few times.

Every few years I try to get off of it.  I've been off of it a year now with no panic attacks -- the main stressor in my life is gone, which it wasn't on the previous tries, so I expect I'll be more successful.

There are two ways to manage panic attacks: drugs like Paxil or management techniques like therapy or stress management (e.g., breathing techniques, etc.).  But, it can be helped.  You just need to talk to your doc.

Now about Paxil, it works.  It really does.  But, the withdrawal off of it has been described as worse than heroin withdrawal.  I never used heroin, but I can tell you Paxil withdrawal is a nightmare.  Some people can never get off of it because they don't have the will to make it through the withdrawals.  I am willful to a fault, so I've been through it a bunch of times, and it is hellish every time.
So, my suggestion is to avoid Paxil and anxiety-reducing SSRI's if possible, but take them if you need to because they do work.

Go to the doc.  Seriously.  This can be fixed and/or medicated so you can get on with your life.

Adding:  This is not demonic, put that out of your mind.  These are classic symptoms of stress and panic attacks.

QuisUtDeus Wrote:Yes, I have experienced it.  I had my first panic attacks because of a medical condition that they couldn't diagnose for almost a year.  I thought, quite literally, I was going to die or at least had a terrible illness.


This is precisely my story as well.  It happened to me also in the summer before my senior year of high school and was triggered by an intense, constant vertigo.

The vertigo went away (for the most part) after quite some time, but it left panic attacks.  I haven't had one in years, but that is because I avoid situations that make me want to have them (driving on big highways, flying etc.).

I haven't found a particularily good treatment, but I can tell you that it is almost surely anxiety/panic attacks and nothing more.  You should see a doctor about perhaps get on some constant medicine or a tranquilizer that will help calm you down in the moment if you feel you are going to have an attack.  Sometimes just knowing that you have these pillls for those moments helps calm your nerves throughout the day.  You can also get on some programs that help you learn to cope and get over the fears that lead to panic attacks and the fear of panic attacks themselves.

I understand how absolutely horrible this condition can be.  Understand that it is a tool for great redemptive suffering, but also know that you must treat it.  Don't be alarmed.  You'll be just fine, but you'll want to speak with a doctor just so you can find comfort again.
Robb,

it's true...like Dr. Bombay said don't make excuses NOT to go to the Doctor.  I was on meds for about 3 years (Zoloft, mostly), and gradually the Doc weaned me off.  For the most part, I'm pretty much ok!!
You need to get yourself to a doctor. I had panic attacks for years and had no clue as to what was happening to me. I ended up in the ER a couple of times, convinced that I was having a heart attack or a stroke (I had very real symptoms). I couldn't even stay asleep at night; I'd wake up in a panic and have trouble breathing. I was afraid that if I went back to sleep, I'd never wake up again.

I finally told an online friend of mine (a former Fisheater) about my symptoms and she told me that I was probably having panic attacks. I didn't believe her at first, but then decided to go to my doctor and suggest it to him. He put me on a very low dose of Paxil - and voila - no more panics attacks. I took Paxil for about two years and it got me through a VERY rough patch in my life. I don't take it anymore, and I'm fine.

I don't like taking meds but in my case I would have lost my mind if I hadn't gotten my panic attacks under control. I couldn't function at all.

Praying for you!  [Image: prayer3.gif]
Quote: But, the withdrawal off of it has been described as worse than heroin withdrawal.

I was on the lowest possible dose and had no problems getting off Paxil at all.
Robb, there's some fantastic advice in this thread.  I've only had a few of them myself, but I've worked with people who have had them for years. The best thing for you is to go and see a doctor who has experience dealing with this sort of things, and who will not just hand you some pills and send you on your way.  It's important to get some coaching on how to handle panic attacks - build awareness of your physical processes, learn ways to respond, etc.  You will be more secure if you have a 'panic attack plan of action.'  Meditation really helped me in this regard - I first learned from a doctor who controlled his own Parkinsons seizures that way.

Get some referrals, from a priest if you can.  If not, just make sure the person you see is licensed and don't be afraid to ask lots of questions.  Go with a list.

I'll pray for you, and if you have further questions feel free to PM me.

My mother suffered the same symptoms for quite a while, and she still does from time to time.  She was always looking for a natural cure, in terms of herbs or teas that might cure her, but she was ignoring the fact that it might be linked to a disorder that she might have or another reason that will not mention, but is a psychological distress.  Please seek help from a medical doctor.  Remember that the more you plead your case to a doctor the more they will believe you.  If you say you are alright, they will take your profession at face value.  That is fine, because Doctors are not Criminal Investigators.  They rely completely on feedback from their patients.

May God bless you and keep you, all the days of your life.

Thanks to all for your advice.  I am really starting to believe that these symptoms are really just panic attacks.  I guess when they first appeared back in my high school days, I had been reading heavily the Summer before on Catholicism (including Fr Martin Hostage to the Devil) and stupidly thought that they were demonic in origin.  So when they came back several years latter that was also what I thought.  I have to admit that I have suffered since childhood from (then) small bouts of depression, though these ones would last for a few weeks at the most.  It seems like they come around every four years. I already knew that it would eventually return. Is this something that I can expect to have all my life (or does it go away when you hit a certain age).

I really hate having to deal with this type of thing.  It's true that we all have our crosses to carry but I unfortunately have a few others to deal with already.  It's hard for me.  I tend to have a very active imagination and my mind is constantly wandering day and night.  It's very hard for me to focus at times and not be thinking about something.  This combined with my constant worrying, can really cause a trigger in behavior like this.

Thanks again for all your help and input everybody. As a man, it's difficult for me to come out and talk about a problem like this.  I was raised by working class/lower middle class people who tended to suppress any personal or emotional problems they had and just "deal with it" in a private matter.  This belief was passed onto me.  Unfortunately I have realized that this situation is really impossible to handle all by myself.  It is something that I'll have to get help for.

Bob
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