Holiday Stress, Panic Attacks and Catastrophic Thinking???

  1. So some of my PF friends know that I have been with under a lot of stress lately with a host of bad luck events in my life, the most recent of which is my dog (she was suddenly paralyzed a month ago with what the vet calls "Coonhound Disease" ).

    And for the first time since my divorce 5 years ago, I am having panic attacks again.

    They seem to go hand in hand with "catastrophic thinking"- what set me off today was that I took a bite of really hot food and burned the $%*! of my mouth. I was instantly dizzy, felt faint, heart racing and pounding: I just "knew" I was going to die from this stupid burn.

    I turned off the stove, found an old Xanax tab and sat down with my laptop.

    After reading so many other threads about similar anxiety I just wanted to reach out. ..

    anyone else super stressed at this time of year????

    any tips for getting past this???

    (and OUCH my mouth hurts :sad:)
  2. OUCHIE!

    Yes, I get incredibly stressed out. Sadly, my docs won't treat holiday anxiety with anything other than "suck it up!" prescriptions, so I've become a hermit. I didn't go over to DH's Mom's yesterday because of his actions, I wanted to wait til after a certain relative left and he demanded I go right away.

    We just tend to take on too much during the holidays, and between the stress of family, money and everything, we tend to forget to take care of ourselves.

    Try (if you can) drinking some milk to take the sting out of your mouth, and see your doctor as soon as you can if this continues.
  3. ^^^ so true

    My Dr doesn't like to give anti-anxiety meds (my Mom gave me the Xanex yesterday).

    After my ex and I split up, I saw an amazing psychotherapist that really helped me get through and past the divorce. I need to go see her again I know-- but there is just NO TIME. She did lots of EMDR work that was unbelievably effective.

    I have a 60 hr a week career, a large dog on full-time nurse care(she can't walk), two other dogs that need attention and exercise, and I used to have a great life with my new DH :heart: We used to go out to dinner, trips to Napa, SF, all kinds of stuff.

    Now I am hard-pressed to get enough free time to go running for 45 min just three times a week. I never get to the gym anymore, much less a long-forgotten yoga class.

    A sweet PFer got me this wonderful "Day Off" gift basket with bath stuffs and soaps and salts and all kinds of things designed to help you relax.

    I am off work this week and thought I'd have time, but now all our spare time is gone (still cleaning up after yesterday), family obligations today, Saturday, and Sunday.

    Gosh, and then when I whine I feel sooo stupid: my life is fine-- why can't I just chill???
  4. Well, honey, part of it when you think of each and every individual stressor, it makes it all seem insurmountable and never-ending.

    What's EMDR work you mentioned? And are you in Northern California? I see you mention Napa and San Fransisco.

    I bet you are also like the way I was before I became bedridden... had to do it all myself. I finally started giving little chores up so I could spend some of my time caring for me!

    Hang in there honey, and just because you have a blessed life doesn't mean you don't get a chance to whine! You aren't saying your problem is worse than anyone else's, but it IS your problem! Just need to learn (or is it re-learn?) how to chill out again.
  5. Yes, I am in the Bay Area :yes: You???

    EMDR = Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

    In my lay-person's terms the integration of brain activity when (rapid eye movement or tappers held in the hand) while processing painful memories helps the brain let go of that memory-- not that you remember it less, but that you remember far less painfully.

    So for example when I was going through the divorce I had all kinds of memories that would cause me to just breakdown and cry for hours. My therapist helped me work through this so I can remember those things now with more clarity and without the emotional baggage. Along the way I discovered all kinds of mental "links" I had made that were also free'd up. It was revelatory.
  6. Sounds like good therapy...I think we all have those times when we have those terrible thoughts. I sometimes feel that way especially when the year is about to end.....It's like I'm already worried about 2008.....I try not let it take over my life!

  7. Yes, this seems to be when I am most susceptible too, in December....

    It doesn't help when life throws a curve ball and helps either:

    a couple of weeks ago DH was riding home from work in the rain on his Motorcycle. I just *knew* that he had been in an accident. When he got home, sure enough: an SUV had hit him!!!! He was ok, but I hate that I had affirmation of those terrible 'whatif' thoughts :push:

  8. I have had incredible panic attacks the last month, never had them before. My psychiatrist has given me some drugs, but I prefer to not take them, and deal with them normally. I found taking walks and baths seem to help.
  9. oh i feel your pain. on top of all the holiday stress/first holiday without my brother we are in the middle of buying a house/moving. i was down to one panic attack a month (from 8/wk when my brother died last february) but i've had two in the last two weeks. still much better, but not fun. thankfully i'm under the care of a wonderful therapist and psych. nurse practictioner.

    is there anyway to take your lunch break to see your therapist? i find mine always has good perspective....and sometimes all i need is to hear from an outside source that everything i'm doing is normal and healthy. also, if you're having panic attacks your GP should be giving you something for them, no matter what the stress. we all know how self replicating they are.....the more you have, the more likely it is you'll have more....if your GP won't acknowledge that given your history, you need a new one.

    for me, my biggest problem/trigger is my brain running senerios over and over in my head until they get so big it's overwhelming. for example, the one i'm blocking today is goes as such: our downpayment is due on the 31st. no ifs ands or buts. my finiancial advisor is out of the office until monday (the 31st). i have a 15 day hold on my check unless i can prove that i have 8K in a particular bank account that i don't have online access to. i have a reciept somewhere in these boxes....i know it's here but i can't find it. and if the money doesn't clear we have to start our whole loan process over. so i'm kicking myself for not listening to my gut and doing this weeks ago (dh: "ooooh there's plenty of time, they don't need it yet." :push: ) because if it falls through, so do my mom's plan to buy a new house. all my fault, horrible person, so irresponsible, etc. etc. bleh.

    anyway, so when my brain starts on its rant i do my best to switch it. i make a cup of tea, log on to tpf, watch brainless TV (home shopping channels are my favorite....they're so chatty and warm). i also make sure i keep my hands occupied....knitting, silly putty, playdough. anything tactile to get some of my nervous energy out. it helps a lot. i've even made a batch of bread before just for something to knead. if that doesn't work, i take a xanax. i also have a longer lasting benzo for days when i wake up with that knotted/chest heavy horrible feeling for no reason....that might also be something to ask your dr. about.

    i'm sorry things are so hard for you. i hope they get better soon.
  10. Same here!!!

    My Dr won't prescribe any anti-anxiety meds :sad: What is Benzo?

    LOL, I burnt my mouth AGAIN last night :push: (on a crappy fondue that I have no idea how I managed to mess up)

    And I woke up at 3am, wide awake freaked out.

    If I could have gotten up and made bread I totally would have. :p I had no way of breaking that thought groove without waking up the entire house. I probably should have, instead I was up all night -- stressing.

    My New Year's res is to get back into my therapist ASAP. Clearly I am not handling the stress of my life in a productive way. Sigh.

    And to get back into Yoga.

    And to WORKOUT (something I haven't had time for this last week).

    And most of all - to take some time for ME while I am caring for everyone else.
  11. ^^great advice for yourself!! Exercise, therapy and something tactile like ilzabet posted work for me, chopping vegetables or kneading dough is very rustic and therapeutic for me too.

    here's to a much better, happier and healthier 2008!!!!
  12. (Sorry I didn't get back to this thread sooner!) I'm in Mendocino (NoCal) now, but I was born and raised in the Bay Area.
    Ah, ha. Okay, now I know what you mean. There was a drug that I used to take that they said does something like this, doesn't make the memory go away, but does make it less painful if administered in a certain time frame after the incident. I can't remember at the moment what it is called, but when I do, I'll post.

    It woould be great if we could get our brains set so we don't get so fricking emotional about everything!!
  13. Ok guys, I have some excellent tips for you....

    1. Vitamin B12!!!!!!!! 500mcg's a day and you will not believe the difference in yourself. Here's the deal...

    When you are stressed out your body goes into the "flight or fight response". While it's in that "mode" it uses Vitamin B12 to help get itself out of that mode. If your reserves in your body are can't get out of that mode.

    2. Drinking enough water and just doing even very light exercise. Helps to regulate the serotonin in your body and brain and causes you to get more of the "feel good" feelings.

    3. You've got to adjust your attitude to realize that if you don't take a break once in a while and do something just for one else is going to do it for you. Work and stress takes a toll on the body and as you get older it manifests itself in different ways. You have got to take time to smell the roses and realize that at the end of the day...that's all that matters. It's not easy to get yourself to think differently but your the only one who can do it. You've got to make a conscious decision to be different and take life a little slower to better your mind and your health.

    I hope you will be feeling better soon!!!
  14. Excellent tip!!!

    I'm guessing that ice in the bottom of my cocktail didn't really count as water???? :shame:

    LOL, so yesterday I thought, "I need to break out Traci's super cool gift basket!!!". I turned over dog-duty to DH, broke open the basket, set up some candles and music in the bathroom, and run a tub of bubbly green tea bath salts :woohoo: --- only when I put my damned foot into the water: COLD :wtf: My hot water heater apparently decided that I was unworthy and it refused to product the appropriate HOT water.

    I swear I was almost in tears :push:

    Finally, I just started laughing, took my book into the bedroom and read alone until I felt better.

    Sigh. And here I thought 2008 was the Magic Bullet :p

    Thank you so much for the gift and the well-wishes.

    I think that my two week Christmas vacation backfired on me: I took it as an a hall pass to not work-out and to eat & drink myself into a carb/alcohol stupor. :shame: I took yesterday to detox and drink only water. I am feeling soooo much better today, back to work, back to a healthy routine.

  15. :flowers:D. I used EMDR after my divorce and found it worked so effectively! See if you can find the time to maybe get some refresher work done to fight the panic attacks.
    Is there a way you can take some short exercise breaks if you can't take longer breaks away from Lexie?
    You have got to take care of yourself or you won't be there for anyone else