Powerful Experience...need to share

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JP, Oct 11, 2002.

  1. JP

    JP New Member

    Wow, did I have the ride of my life a few days ago. I had my first full-blown, trip to the ER, panic attack. I am the type of person who is calm in the midst of hell; all around well-adjusted, not much shakes me kind of gal. I have always been an over-achiever, always moving, doing, into career, living a fast life and finding a balance that included family and friends. I was actually proud that I could do it all.

    This attack really turned my lights on. I thought I was pretty conscience and self-aware. Did I ever miss the call on this one. I had no idea the price I would pay for being such a calm, seemingly well-adjusted person. I am not exactly sure what happened to bring on this attack, and I think it was and accumulation of diverting anxiety into tasks, or other methods of diversion. When the top blew suddenly, I thought I was dying.

    Before the attack, I was outside doing some light yard work on a beautiful day. At a very sudden moment, I felt like I had over done it physically. I came into my home, drank a glass of water, jumped in the shower and then began to vomit...I got very dizzy, had to sit. I was able to dress myself and get to the sofa with a phone. I sat there for a few moments trying to talk myself into being okay. I wasn’t okay. For the grace of god, I was able to connect with my doctor (who I adore). She was able to get me to check my pulse and kept talking to me. She wasn’t sure what was happening and knew I needed to get to the hospital. My head was also pounding. I was shaking, sweating, felt slippery, electric shocks up and down my body, hot/cold sensations, shortness of breath and more. I was sure I was dying. Her staff was able to connect with my partner (5 minutes away) to come home and take me to the hospital.

    This was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. The attack lasted over an hour. My doctor called ahead to the hospital and spoke with the ER doctor, which she knew. I was well cared for and could not have rounded up better angels to help me through this experience.

    My point of sharing this is that I am so masterful at dodging my anxiety and keeping myself distracted that I was barely aware that I had anxiety. When the top blew, it was pretty terrifying.

    I now have an opportunity to work with my anxiety in a healthy way. I am clear that I do not ever want to experience this again, as long as I live. I was able to meet with my doctor yesterday. She spent 45 minutes with me. She is so amazing. Anyway, I was able to ask for help. I am finally ready to talk with someone about what I am experiencing right now. I will be meeting with a local MSW who specializes in chronic pain and anxiety. The strange part is that I met with this MSW about 10 years ago, during a rough time in my life.

    Since the attack, my FM has been pretty bad and I can say it! For me, it will be important to learn to express what is going on in appropriate settings. I was trying to do it all on my own, not letting my family or friends have any insight into what I have been experiencing since my disability began. Not letting them in was based on the anxiety of losing their love or burning them out.

    Anyway, if anyone reads this long post, I thank you for taking the time.

    Thanks for being here...
    Jan
  2. JP

    JP New Member

    Wow, did I have the ride of my life a few days ago. I had my first full-blown, trip to the ER, panic attack. I am the type of person who is calm in the midst of hell; all around well-adjusted, not much shakes me kind of gal. I have always been an over-achiever, always moving, doing, into career, living a fast life and finding a balance that included family and friends. I was actually proud that I could do it all.

    This attack really turned my lights on. I thought I was pretty conscience and self-aware. Did I ever miss the call on this one. I had no idea the price I would pay for being such a calm, seemingly well-adjusted person. I am not exactly sure what happened to bring on this attack, and I think it was and accumulation of diverting anxiety into tasks, or other methods of diversion. When the top blew suddenly, I thought I was dying.

    Before the attack, I was outside doing some light yard work on a beautiful day. At a very sudden moment, I felt like I had over done it physically. I came into my home, drank a glass of water, jumped in the shower and then began to vomit...I got very dizzy, had to sit. I was able to dress myself and get to the sofa with a phone. I sat there for a few moments trying to talk myself into being okay. I wasn’t okay. For the grace of god, I was able to connect with my doctor (who I adore). She was able to get me to check my pulse and kept talking to me. She wasn’t sure what was happening and knew I needed to get to the hospital. My head was also pounding. I was shaking, sweating, felt slippery, electric shocks up and down my body, hot/cold sensations, shortness of breath and more. I was sure I was dying. Her staff was able to connect with my partner (5 minutes away) to come home and take me to the hospital.

    This was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. The attack lasted over an hour. My doctor called ahead to the hospital and spoke with the ER doctor, which she knew. I was well cared for and could not have rounded up better angels to help me through this experience.

    My point of sharing this is that I am so masterful at dodging my anxiety and keeping myself distracted that I was barely aware that I had anxiety. When the top blew, it was pretty terrifying.

    I now have an opportunity to work with my anxiety in a healthy way. I am clear that I do not ever want to experience this again, as long as I live. I was able to meet with my doctor yesterday. She spent 45 minutes with me. She is so amazing. Anyway, I was able to ask for help. I am finally ready to talk with someone about what I am experiencing right now. I will be meeting with a local MSW who specializes in chronic pain and anxiety. The strange part is that I met with this MSW about 10 years ago, during a rough time in my life.

    Since the attack, my FM has been pretty bad and I can say it! For me, it will be important to learn to express what is going on in appropriate settings. I was trying to do it all on my own, not letting my family or friends have any insight into what I have been experiencing since my disability began. Not letting them in was based on the anxiety of losing their love or burning them out.

    Anyway, if anyone reads this long post, I thank you for taking the time.

    Thanks for being here...
    Jan
  3. Kathryn

    Kathryn New Member

    Hi Jan,
    It sounds like you are in good hands with a knowledgable doctor and a partner who cares. Hope you are through the worst and on the road to a long remission.
    Kathryn
  4. Carlacat

    Carlacat New Member

    It is very scarey and I felt like I was actually dying or having a heart attack. I've made two trips to ER in the past two years, after they did the emg on my heart they said I was probably experiencing a panic attack. That was before i was DX with FM and I thought oh no their gonna think I'm a crazy person. Now I understand and sometimes I can help prevent one when I feel it coming on by taking deep and slow breath and telling myself to relax and it has worked so far. Whenever I feel my heart starting to pound faster then normal then I know to try and take control. I know exactly where your coming from.
    Take Care
    Carlacat
  5. teach6

    teach6 New Member

    Isn't it amazing how our bodies operate with these DD's? I'm glad you are taking the steps to learn to deal with your anxiety, and your illness. You are lucky in being able to return to therapist you know.

    My therapist was theeh one who actually dx'd me.
    After hearing my symptoms from week to week one of them clicked and she said, "I think you have what I have!" She was right. It's great to be able to talk with someone who is going through the same things I am."

    Now our doctor refers many of his patients to her. Unfortunately with the CFS and FM together she has had to cut her hours back a lot. But she is lucky in having the type of job where that is possible.

    I hope you are able to sort thorugh the changes brought on by these DD's and then help yourself deal with them and consequently improve your overall health.

    Barbara

  6. JP

    JP New Member

    Thank you for taking the time to read my long post and respond. I value your words of kindness. It makes a difference...

    Jan
  7. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    I, too, had the experience of being sick & finding a therapist (coincidentally named Jan) who dealt with people with chronic illness, & she was the one who first said "are you sure you don't have fibromyalgia..?" I had never considered it. During my search for doctors & treatment & ways of coping, she was the best thing in my life! A real advocate for me. I think you are very wise to connect up with this MSW therapist, and it sounds like the other medical people in your life were really there for you in this recent crisis. I have never had the kind of full-blown anxiety attack that you describe, but I sure have had many mini-anxiety bouts, for me almost the worst part of this disease. I hope this latest flare gets better for you soon, it certainly sounds like you are on the right path. Best of luck, Jan!

    Pam
  8. annrenee

    annrenee New Member

    JAN,

    (((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))) to you!!
    hang in there thank you for you messageI will keep that inmind as I go along trying to live and tell others what i have I have only been dx about 3 weeks.thanks jan
  9. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    A big hug from me too! This is one of the worst aspects of these DD's, and the one which is most likely to result in withdrawl and agoraphobia as it continues. That is why I hope you will go to a Cardiologist and have an echocardiogram, if you have not already. 75% of FMSers have a Mitral Valve Prolapse, which can cause panic attacks all by it's itty-bitty self, regardless of how you deal with your anxiety. The therapy is a great idea, but you may need this too. Besides, if you do have an MVP, you need to know it so you take proper precautions when having dental work or surgery. 30-40% of people with an MVP have panic attacks at some point. Here's a tip that docs don't often tell you. If you go for an echocardiogram, be sure to drink as little as possbible for 12 hrs. before the test. Minor prolapses sometimes don't show up in a well-hydrated patient, and the degree of prolapse has nothing to do with how likely you are to have panic attacks. The leaking valve itself is just a genetic "marker" for an imbalanced ANS (autonomic nervous system), not an indication of how serious that imbalance may be. If you do have an MVP, drinking at least a quart of water daily for each 50 lbs. of your body weight is important in minimizing symptoms. 60 mgs. of COQ10 daily can also help. It took 12 yrs. of suffering these attacks and 4 echocardiograms for my prolapse to finally show up, and only then because by that time I had read about MVPS (Mitral Valve Prolapse Syndrome, the name for the dysfunctional syndrome of the nervous system, which includes both MVP and FMS as a part of it's symptoms) on the Internet and I knew to spare fluids before the test. I don't want you to go through what I did!!!
    I took Inderal for awhile to control the attacks, but now I use Xanax, and I never go anywhere alone without my special "911 MobilePhone" (can't afford a cell phone).
    My heart goes out to you,
    Klutzo
    [This Message was Edited on 10/11/2002]
  10. garyandkim

    garyandkim New Member

    shaving my legs. At least we didn't have to clean up the mess. I did know what caused mine. My Now Ex and the our P's. I was going into hospital for tests for 5 days and they kept the what if it's this and so on for a week. That was in 88. Gary gets them and it is horrible. Our little one gets so upset and I have to leave Gary alone and take our littlest out of the area. It makes me feel so guilty that I can't split myself. I do run back and forth between the 2 of them. He is getting them less and less now, but it was almost every day for 3 years. His Mum tried to hypnotise him out of the attacks and it did help reduce the freqency. He is much better now.

    We are so glad you had help ASAP. Take good care, Kim and Gary
  11. fibolady

    fibolady New Member

    the next to last paragraph almost made me cry. that is my problem, but no one really cares (except my spouse because he sees my suffering) about me having fms, because they, like most, are uneducated and don't believe fms is anything. yes, i have tried to educate them. they don't realize that every day of my life i hurt and some days are almost unbearable.

    i have tried to let them in, they just refuse to acknowledge it, you know the ole saying, well you look so good. no wonder we suffer from anxiety. is it that stress is the by product of anxiety and stress makes fms worse. no wonder we are in such a state.

    the only one left for me to burn out is my spouse and that almost happened this summer, we separated for a short period. i don't have any friends, they all left long ago, my relatives must think i live a wonderful life because they never ask. avoidance with the dd seems to run the norm.

    this has been a rough week and have woken up yet again knowing today will be another day to physically challenge myself to get through with a "better" attitude. it would just be nice to have some support once in a while.

    that is why i am so grateful to have found this board. there is no telling where i would have found myself (bottom of a very dark hole) if not. sounds like i need to go over to the depression board this morning.

    my meds have not kicked in and i think the sun will be out today, so later on today will be a better day. sometimes it is good to get the raw feelings out before everything else starts. i am going to counseling too, i will just count this as a free session. basically, that is all he does anyway, listen to me rant......

    thank you for your post jan, it was powerful and a lot gained from reading it.

    warm regards, fibolady
  12. JP

    JP New Member

    I did not expect a single reply from this post...if affirms that we are not alone. I so appreciate all of your kind words of relatedness and support.

    It has been 3 days since my first and hopefully last panic attack. That was the longest hour of my life...anyway, my FM is still in a rage. I have had flutters of intense anxiety and have been able to calm myself and just breath. I think the flutters are fear of having another. I had no idea that this could happen from keeping everything inside and trying to manage mostly on my own.

    Again, thank you...I hope that this note finds you all on a good day!

    Love,
    Jan
  13. vloga

    vloga New Member

    I get panic attacks from time to time. Didn't know what had hit me at first, because they come out of the blue. Weird, some years I don't recall getting any. A work colleague who got them regularly helped me a lot, by rationalising the situation. I've had them again recently, and no amount of self-talk seems to help. I do yoga - when I can - and am used to visualisation and deep breathing, but these techniques don't help when it's bad. Sometimes it's related to sugar levels - if I feel panicky and bad tempered, I know it's time to get some decent food into me - but not always.

    If you find out what causes it, please let us all know.

    Best wishes
    Vloga