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Panic Disorders Message Board

Panic Disorders Board Index

Hi All. I figured that if I detail my history of panic attacks (which, by the way, are back full force), perhaps I can help someone else suffering from the same symptoms, etc. Maybe you would like to add your own story to this thread in the hopes of helping others.

i am a 43 year old male, and thinking back on my life, i would guess that when i was between 10 and 12 years old, i begn suffering panic attack episodes, although back then, i did not realize they were panic. although it was 33 or so years ago, i can still vividly recall awakening in the middle of the night thinking i couldn't breathe. i would wake my mom and dad up, in a panic, and they would calm me by sitting with me in the wee hours of the morning at the kitchen table until the fear left me.
those episodes finally left me at around age 18 or so. then, in 1995, at the age of 35, suddenly, one day, out of the blue, my heart begins to race, i feel i cannot breathe, and am sure i am having a heart attack. i go to the er, one of many trips, and am told nothing but anxiety. well, this is when panic disorder really takes hold. i miss 8 months of work (i'm a police officer), as i suffer daily with severe panic phobia of heart disease develops...i lose weight, am afraid to eat anything tha may clog my arteries, and begin cognitive therapy. i amgiven xanax but will not take it as i am afraid of the medicine. my daily symptoms are: chest pain, choking, unable to breathe, fear, fear, fear, of dying...i get all kinds of heart tests but nothing convinces me otherwise.....finally, in august 1996, the attacks start to subside. i return to work, and leave therapy, and actually begin to exert myself and excercise again.

i am doing quite well, still have some very limited heart phobia, but no attacks, up until this past july. the trigger: my dad (77 yrs old)...i take him to the er after he tells me he is dizzy. they diagnose heart block, and say he needs a pacemaker. suddenly, in the er, in my prescence, he stops breathing.....they have to shove a breathing tube down his throat....thankfully, he is doing quite well today, but the damage to me has already set in....then, to pt icing on the cake, last week, i have my yearly physical exam...i knew i would probably have to start high blood pressure treatment for my mild hypertension, but when i go to my doc, just the site of the blood pressure cuff sets off a very severe panic attack to me. the nurse is giving me an ekg during the attack....i tell her i think i am having an attack but she ignores me......well, guess what, the ekg reads abnormal (no kidding-of course my heart rate was up), and they tell me get on this medicine right away, etc.,etc.
so, i start the bp medicine last calming down somewhat, but heart rate is still elevated, and all panic attack symptoms have returned: chest pain, chest pressure, heart palps, plus the annoying obsession that all i think about ALL DAY LONG is my heart. i even got a secong opinion by a top cardiologist who assures me that my bp is caused solely by my panic, but do i believe him----hell no!!!
so, i am pondering possible hypnotherapy to releive my fears and phobias of this dreaded, disease called panic disorder.
thanks for listening, and if anyone wants to chat, let me know...God Bless all of you----Jerry

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