Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fibromyalgia, Stress, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks-- OH MY!

My first panic attack came on quickly and awoke me from a deep sleep a few years back.  I experienced tunnel vision, paranoia, I felt like my skin was crawling, I couldn't breath, and I was having chest pains.  I was terrified and confused.  It was late at night, but I called a friend in a different time zone and she helped me through my attack.

It had been quite some time since I had felt that way and I thought my days of feeling scared and alone were gone, until today.  I've had an attack that has lasted all morning and it's now taking up a huge chunk of my afternoon.  Researching has helped a bit because I now know that about half of the Fibro patients out there suffer from panic attacks.

These attacks can be sudden and you may experience nausea, diarrhea, choking sensations, shortness of breath, tingling, headaches, paranoia, claustrophobia, tunnel vision, overwhelming fears, confusion, and even agoraphobia depending upon how much your mind races during the attacks.  I've been lucky to feel all of these symptoms during my severe attacks.  They don't happen often-- which is a good thing! Because I tend to feel like I need a rubber room with a huggie jacket for some of those symptoms.  YIKES!

Once I knew what was happening today, I stopped to rest and started to meditate, pray, and utilize some breathing techniques.  These seem to help a bit, but the attacks are lasting a lot longer than I ever expected.  I did take some Sam-e which has helped in the past with my anxiety issues, but it's not working fast enough.

Anxiety is usually brought on by stress and Fibro patients can suffer from both.  Our serotonin levels are mostly to blame for this, but lifestyle changes help.  Once you and your doctor determine you suffer from anxiety, you should try to eliminate as much stress as you can from your life.  It is impossible to avoid all stress, but removing yourself from a stressful job, situation, or even people, can help.

Another thing you can do is to incorporate enjoyable activities into your life.  Yoga, hiking, or any other physical activity is a good start.  Taking up a hobby like sewing, gardening, or fishing are other options.  These types of activities will get your mind off of worrying, a common trigger for anxiety.

Writing is my worry reducer.  In fact, I'm starting to feel better already!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley  
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