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Suddenly, panic attacks?

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  • #378740
    Maria
    Participant

    Hi there,

    I’m Maria, and I’m new here. About four weeks ago, I had the first panic attack in my life. That was…overwhelming, I’d say. The problem is it happened in an ordinary situation. I was at home with my husband resting. Then all these PA symptoms came. I checked my heart, thyroid, and CBC. Everything seems normal besides maybe light pernicious anemia. I’ve had two more PA after that. All of them happened in different situations not connected.

    A bit more about my life: I took up fitness 1,5 months ago. I started eating almost healthy food. I have a great job which doesn’t give me any stress. My life is really calm and happy.

    I’ve read lots of different forums on panic attacks and how to deal with them. I think I can now take care of them. But having them continues to bother me because I analyzed everything that could have been a trigger. And I found nothing. The only thing I can think of is a problem with my neck. On fitness, we do some exercises for the neck. And the first panic attack happened right after the day we did some exercise which was quite hard for me. I’ve always had tinnitus and slight headaches. What if it’s the problem that gives me the PA? What should I start with? And if you have any more ways on how to keep calm when having a PA, I’d be glad to know them. 🙂

    #378741
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Maria,

    welcome! You’re saying you’re leading a calm and happy life, and have a great job which doesn’t give you any stress. The first panic attack happened when you were resting with your husband.

    You took up fitness and started eating healthy about 1.5 months ago. The only possible cause you can think of is the neck exercises a day earlier which were hard for you.

    What comes to me is that perhaps the neck exercises, which were difficult for you, awakened a memory (perhaps not even a conscious one) of some difficulty and pain you’re suppressing. You otherwise live what seems to be a perfect life, and now, with fitness and healthy eating, you’re making it even more perfect. But what if there’s something underneath the surface that is calling for your attention?

    I know this is a wild guess, but do you feel there might be something to it? Is there something you’d need to deal with, which you’re refusing to?

     

     

    #378762
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maria:

    Welcome to the forums. You shared that your job is great, not stressful, and that your life is calm and happy, that you always had tinnitus (a condition in which a consistent noise is heard in the ear in the absence of an external source of sound, commonly referred to as “ringing in the ear”, the most common cause of tinnitus is hearing loss due to loud noise exposure) and slight headaches.

    A month and a half ago, you started eating healthier food and started exercising. About a month ago, you did some exercise that included your neck muscles, an exercise that was hard for you to do. Right after that, you experienced your first panic attack while at home resting with your husband. You had two more panic attacks since. A medical checkup and everything seems normal except for perhaps a light case of pernicious anemia (a condition in which not enough red blood cells are produced due to deficiency of vitamin B12.

    You are wondering in the first panic attack happened as a result of the exercise involving your neck and what you should do about it.

    My thoughts/ suggestions: (1) take vitamin B12 supplements, (2) if you haven’t so far, have a hearing check up, perhaps you suffered some time ago from hearing loss and a hearing aid (modern hearing aids are almost invisible) can significantly lessen the tinnitus, and because tinnitus is significantly linked to anxiety, hearing aids, if needed, will lessen your anxiety, (3) do not engage in any exercise similar to the exercise you did a month ago, involving your neck, and have an X-ray of your neck taken, (4) take on the practice of Mindfulness every day, such as listening to guided meditations with emphasis on mindfulness, so to lower and keep your every day stress level minimal.

    I hope to read from you again.

    anita

    #378803
    Maria
    Participant

    Dear TeaK and Anita,

    About my perfect life – it’s not perfect, of course. But it’s improved since the last year as I started caring a bit more about myself. Teak, as you suggested, I might have something which I can’t solve. So, yesterday I found a therapist and had the first consultation. And surprisingly, it went great! I was afraid at first that we wouldn’t get along. But no, she’s the most understanding woman I ever met. 😀

    Anita, yes, B12 will be the first supplement I’ll buy. I had a tinnitus checkup, and everything was okay. I found some physical therapy exercises and asked my husband for a massage. After that, I finally slept like a baby. My next steps will be some meditation sessions and a neck checkup.

    Thank you both for the advice. I appreciate it a lot!

    Maria

    #378805
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Maria,

    you’re welcome. I am glad you acted quickly and already found a therapist and had your first session – that’s amazing! I hope you’ll be able to get the clarity and support you need in dealing with your issue. Write again whenever you feel like it, I’d be happy to hear more from you. <3

    #378820
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maria:

    You are welcome. You wrote in your original post: “On fitness, we do some exercises for the neck. And the first panic attack happened right after. What if it’s the problem that gives me the PA?”

    In your original post you also wrote: “My life is really calm and happy”, and in your second post: “About my perfect life- it’s not perfect, of course. But it’s improved since the last year as I started caring a bit more about myself”

    Maybe you suffered from elevated anxiety in the recent year, only less than in the previous year, so in comparison, you felt calm in the recent year.

    There is a connection between neck discomfort/ pain and anxiety. Calm clinic. com/ anxiety/ symptoms/ neck pain (no spaces), Anxiety and Neck Pain: Causes and Solutions reads:

    “Neck pain is a frequent and common anxiety symptom.. Anxiety often causes the pain itself through muscle tension.. For some, neck pain may also be a cause of anxiety, fueling health fears or distress…

    “When you suffer from anxiety, you constantly put your body through long-term stress.. it generally means it is releasing stress hormones (especially adrenaline and cortisol) that create muscle tension…

    “Neck pain is one of the most common physical symptom of persistent anxiety… anxiety can cause people to fixate more on negative sensations unintentionally. This can make the neck pain feel more severe than it would to someone without anxiety… those with anxiety may be more prone to having greater degrees of neck discomfort than those without anxiety”.

    Psychology today. com/ when panic attacks are pain in the neck, reads: “Panic attacks can be understood as catastrophic misinterpretations of physical sensations… Devon Hinton’s ‘A unique panic disorder presentation among Khmer refuges: The sore neck syndrome’… In short, attention is drawn to the neck and neck sensations are particularly concerning..”

    As I understand it, it happens this way: (1) an anxious person feels a new discomfort or pain or some other unpleasant sensation in the neck, (2) the person’s attention is focused on the sensation, (3) the person is alarmed and thinks: what is this? what is happening? will it get worse? etc., (4) the person’s neck discomfort or pain feels more severe because of the focus and worry, (5) the person experiences additional discomfort outside the neck area: shallow breathing, muscles tightening, etc., (6) the person’s anxiety elevates further, culminating in a panic attack.

    All this applies to me because I too focus on unpleasant sensations in a certain area of my body. When I am very engaged in a social activity, I am not at all aware of sensations in that area. When not engaged, it takes me effort and patience to remove my focus away from that area again and again, and yet again.

    anita

     

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