Friday, November 12, 2010

Panic Attack....What I'm Not Stressed!

As some of you know I started having panic attacks a little over a year and a half ago. For about 9 months we had no idea what was wrong with me and of course my imagination took off with that! We thought I was pregnant, had salmonella, was hypoglycemic, having heart name it! Of course this didn't help with the panic attacks. Finally after the Dr ruling out most of my "self diagnosis" and Frank urging me I finally saw a therapist. This was not completely out of the blue, I have also been diagnosed with anxiety (whole other post!) and we thought maybe a recent switch in medication was the cause.

So I go to this therapist, and she thinks I am having panic attacks. The first thing out of my mouth was I am not stressed and whatever is happening is real not in my head! Then we start discussing my eating habits...what does this have to do with anything? So I tell her I drink 3-4 diet cokes a day, have a very big sweet tooth and usually skip breakfast I know not the best diet in the world and apparently the worst diet for someone that is predisposed to panic attacks! SO she tells me cut out ALL caffeine, any of you who know me probably don't want anything to do with me pre-diet coke in the morning! Also eliminate most sugar, WHAT now I am feeling stressed! And make sure you have breakfast with a protein and carb in it...I have never eaten breakfast. At first I am thinking, I know more than her, this is ridiculous, I am not going to stop eating sugar and drinking diet cokes! It only took one more attack for me to change my tune. It took me a little over a week to completely give up caffeinated diet coke, I would like to thanks Frank for not leaving me during this time! The sugar part was hard and I still eat a little just not a bunch at once. Started eating breakfast, usually peanut butter on a graham cracker. And miraculously I went from having attacks 2-3 times a week to having one every 3 or so months! Maybe the Dr did know what she was talking about!

So for a little info on panic attacks and what they really are. They are an unprovoked release of adrenaline and other hormones due to your fight or flight instinct. Only problem is when you are not in danger and this happens you feel VERY sick. Some people think they are having a heart attack, I never personally felt any heart palpitations. Others feel lightheaded and nauseous, this was me. So a lot of people who suffer from panic attacks also develop a fear of public places. They are afraid that they will have an attack in public and everyone will know their little secret, so they don't go anywhere. Can you imagine how debilitating that would be.

I was fortunate enough to be able to quickly identify my target, large crowds. SO the combination of the foods I was eating and the places I was going or planning to go would put me into a panic attack. I am very fortunate to say I was able to get a handle on my problem as soon as we identified the trigger. I now don't fear going out to eat, family gatherings or stores. It is still amazing to me how a release of a hormone at the wrong time can make you so sick!

If anyone is interested I have a good resource on panic attacks.

1 comment:

  1. I am so glad you have these under control now =)