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Thought I was having a heart attack but it's stress!
July 1, 2009
12:37 pm
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Calamity Jane
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I could use some help please. One night I experienced horrific neck and chest pain with pain radiating down my left arm - chest pain more like being squeezed - hard to breath. Finally, after many hours went to ER and ended up 2 days in the hospital undergoing every heart test known to man. Well - long and short of it is my heart is fine! I had to understand that the entire episode was created by my mind. I am an anxious type personality and I guess the stress in my life (the usual-job, finances, when,or even if, can I retire?) helped it happen. Not a classic "panic attack" but close enough for government work. My question to anyone is - I want to learn to control the stress so it does not get the better of me as it did in this instance. I would love to learn of non-medicine related ways to destress - i.e., imagery, breathing, whatever. Suggestions are welcome and thank you for reading this.

July 1, 2009
12:47 pm
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tryingtoheal..
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Hey Calamity Jane,

the soothing music and nature sounds like the ocean are very relaxing. also they have CD's where they have you tense up a body part at a time and then untense and you can really feel your body becoming relax mentally and physically. but you have to follow along with the CD.

it really works and i have always hated these kind of calming techinques but this worked for me.

good luck i hope this helps
trying to heal

July 1, 2009
2:10 pm
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Calamity Jane
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Thanks "trying to heal" - sounds like you've had some experience with incidents like this. It has been suggested that I try some guided imagery. I also plan to try to make some lifestyle changes - like a new job; however, this really scared me and I think the lack of control is, for me, the scariest. I've had two panic attacks but this was something else again and lasted so long. I appreciate your comments. Thanks.

July 1, 2009
8:25 pm
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tryingtoheal..
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Calamity jane,

yes i have had some experience... i use to get them weekly i would have really bad ones and id lose control of my arms and wouldnt be able to feel anything on the right side of my body and i wouldn't be able to breathe and would always shaking so bad to the point i couldnt pick anything up.

that is probably the worst part especially when you don't why its happening becuase that makes you lose more control.

i wish the best of luck and i hope your stress level drops significantly,

(please keep posting saying how you are doing)

T2H

July 2, 2009
11:00 am
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Calamity Jane
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Hello again,

A wise young lady you are! And you nailed it - not knowing where it comes from and not being able to control it - tough!

I fully intend to try the breathing and visualization exercises and I am in search of a new job. Hopefully these changes will help. But - bottom line - I need to learn better control over my anxiety. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks but I hope that's not true cuz this ole dog needs to learn.

Thanks again for hearing me and giving me support.

July 2, 2009
12:07 pm
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tryingtoheal..
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a wise motivated dog can always learn no tricks!

good luck in your search to find a new job.

keep posting how you are doing

T2H

July 2, 2009
12:33 pm
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tryingtoheal..
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wise motivated dogs can always learn ***NEW tricks

July 2, 2009
2:07 pm
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StronginHim77
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I have had debilitating panic attacks, such as the one you described. They landed me in the hospital for every conceivable heart test. Turned out each time that my heart was fine. In some ways that made me feel worse because they were so HORRIBLE and I began living in fear of their recurrence.

Finally, I found a book which has (literally) helped me recover from these attacks. It is titled, PANIC ATTACKS [What they are...Why they happen...What you can do about them] by Christine Ingham. It is currently in print and available in paperback. I strongly recommend it.

- Ma Strong

July 2, 2009
2:36 pm
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Hepburn
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Yes, the book Ma recommended is very good! I have it. Probably need to read it again too!

July 2, 2009
2:46 pm
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truthBtold
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CJ,

I am so sorry for this last episode of yours. I truly am.

Since you asked for suggestions, may I share one?

You said: "I am an anxious type personality" in your first post.

To which I respectfully ask....What if you weren't?

(Think about it.)

Just who would you be instead?

See, labeling ourselves like that in the first place kind of lays the groundwork and can really keep us stuck sometimes - you know?

Questioning and challenging it, on the other hand might help to alleviate it in the future, possibly.

It is kind of like the "What If?" syndrome that I am all to familiar with.

What if this? What if that? Geesh - can make you really nuts if left unbridled and unattended to, you know?

So - what is the worse that could possibly happen?

And if so....what would be your options?

See, this is something that I watched on the Dr. Phil show.

I normally don't watch this program for the most part unless he has on a episode in which I can learn from...and not too long ago he had this poor woman on who was just a nervous wreck. She had dozens and dozens or irrational phobias that kept here paralyzed in her life!

But to her - they were not irrational at all.

Dr. Phil worked with her in exploring the 'rest of the story' sort of speak - if you know what I mean?

To teach here HOW to move beyond that state of paralyzing anxiety and fear by thinking rationally about it in steps under worse case scenerio instead of remaining frozen at just the thought.

I don't know if I am making myself clear here or not or if this even helps any.

On one hand, as humans, we are kind of wired for the fight/flight/frozen response deep within our brains.

On the second hand, also as humans, we do have the ability to tap into and access cognitive, rational thought as well as kind of the flip side of the coin, sort of speak to really examine and question the validity and breadth and depth and scope of the 'end of the world' thinking and anxiety.

It FEELS life threatening....but is it really?

(This is in no way to minimize other folks who might actually be in an immediate life-threatening situation whatsoever!)

For me, what I have had panic attacks, I have 'on the ready' some ammunition sort of speak.

I have a "In Case Of Emergency" cassette tape of very soothing musical compositions such as Claire De Lune & Moonlight Sonata and others which also speak to a very, deeply embedded place in my brain as well and never fail to settle me down and calm me.

Also, like others have said, concentrating on breathing at the time of the attack is instantly helpful.

I also keep on file, in my head, 'on the ready' safe and peaceful feelings and experiences and SPECIFIC INSTANCES in my 'ammo box' as well, so that I might transport my heart and mind and soul to those places and memories when the seas get really rough, as a lifeboat of sorts.

I hope you never, ever have to experience anything like this again, "Calm" (not calamity) Jane 😉

See, labels DO make a difference....

Most respectfully,

tBt

July 2, 2009
3:27 pm
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tryingtoheal..
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Truth has amazing advice. what Truth siad really matters.

also

we all have an emotional mind and a wellness mind. our emotional mind is our negative mind that is automatic. our wellness mind is when we think positivly even on negative situations. and example is instead of saying im always going to be anxious you'd say something on the lines of; with some time my anxiety will decrease.

self-talk makes a BIGGG deifference!

the cycle of anxiety;

triggers -> thoughts |
V
feelings
|
V Physical response <- Behaviors so to not be anxious you need to break the cycle!

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