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Learning to recognize anxiety attacks


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Hi all...

I recognized an anxiety attack last night and was able to take xanax before it overwhelmed me. I am happy about that, but I just wish I could stop the thoughts about all the irrational "what ifs" that bring on the attacks. I just keep going on and on...what if this or what if that, and before I know it I am shaking like a leaf and dizzy, feeling like I need to sleep.

I wonder if I will ever be able to stop the what ifs. I need a good distraction. I tried coming on this site but once I started reading about other's troubles, I started thinking too much about that and it made it worse.

I don't want to live my life depending on xanax. I have no other choice, though.


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You may not have a choice, at the moment.

To quote Kansas, "nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky."

As long as you're alive, you can learn.

Are you in therapy? One of the goals of that would be to find you new ways to cope, both before you get too triggered (changing the what-ifs) and after (learning things like meditation and breathing exercises), that help calm a person down once an attack happens. In fact, some of this can be "self-administered", because the information is available online. Not everyone can put it into practice without help, but it's worth reading about.

You should also, if you suffer from PTSD, consider restricting what you read. It is possible for some people to get triggered by reading about someone else's experience. It's important for you to gauge whether that would happen to you, and consider avoiding those topics until you have a bit more resilience.

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Well, the thing that triggers the what if's is my over active imagination. For instance, the other day at a BBQ, there was someone target shooting and you could hear it from where we were. It sounded closer than it should have, so in my irrational head, I kept thinking about the what if's...what if he came out from behind that house waving the gun? What if it is closer than I think...things like that. Then, in my "hyper vigalence" I start planning on how I can get my kids to safety quickly if it happens, and on and on. Pretty soon, everything around me makes me anxious and I had to take a xanax.

Other things that get me going are news stories that repeat over and over in my head. Kids falling out of windows, people hurting their own kids, kids getting kidnapped. I have a huge irrational fear of something happening to my kids. I know, easy fix - DONT READ THE NEWS. Right? In my obsessive compulsive world, I read online news repeatedly all day long. Can't help it...its what I do.

I am in therapy, I have had on session so far.

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Hi Greenmama (you wouln't happen to be Kermit's mother would you? :-), I like how lucid you are about the compulsive thinking, I think it's an indication that once you get some tools to help you retrain your thought processes, it will get better. Lately I've been doing that obsessively thinking about something to, rolling it over and over, and across and sideways... it's exhausting. Sometimes I am able to catch myself before I really start being fascinated by it all, and I choose to think about something else and just don't go there, cuz I know that if I go there it ain't a good thing :cool:

I'm certain you will find many insights in therapy to help you feel better. I raise my glass to your journey.. :)

Edited by Symora
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