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Nocturnal panic attacks

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Artmuzz, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. Artmuzz

    Artmuzz Well known member

    I have been through a lot of emotional stress with a certain family member and the stress with Facebook for a few months now but I added more stress by thinking of other emotional situations in my past.

    Anyway, I have had panic attacks during the day occasionally since 2015 but my panic attacks seemed to of got better after reading Claire Weekes book and I managed to get them under control in 2016 and only sometimes get them now and again.

    However, I experienced my first nocturnal panic attack last night. I was sleeping fine when suddenly I felt my heartbeat beating very fast and I started hyperventilating. I then got up I seen and felt everything closing in on me which terrified me and I felt sick, dizzy and my body was trembling. Fortunately, I tried the same Claire Weekes techniques I did with daytime panic attacks by just allowing the symptoms to feed through me without trying to stop them and I did some deep breathing. Eventually by doing this they passed and I felt a little better but this is scaring me as I finding nocturnal panic attacks scarier than day time panic attacks.
  2. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    Sounds not so nice. Sorry, that you are experiencing this. Usually these panic attacks come with a dream. I also can feel really anxious awaking after a nightmare. Maybe you could keep some paper and a pen beside the bed and write your dreams down? It is a bit strange, but actually people remember their dreams better when they know that they will write them down ...
  3. Exxes

    Exxes New Member

    Good way of countering the panic attacks ! Write down your dreams yep, they are telling me every night what I have to journal about the day after .. if the same person or subject comes back you need to journal more about it.

    I had panic attacks, nightmares and crazy sleep paralisys (conscious but unable to move where a guy would grab me and drag me around my bed) waking me up in the last weeks .. just accept and ignore it. It's the side effects of the years of build up emotions purging out.

    Once you open the gates by affirming your subC you are fine with it, things can get nasty for some time. Just let it go and journal it out the day after and it will straighten out.
  4. Artmuzz

    Artmuzz Well known member

    Thanks for the replies. I actually journal my dreams when I wake up using my iPad. The only time I don't journal them is if I've forgotten them. I've been writing my dream down for the past three years since my panic attacks first appeared.
    Exxes likes this.
  5. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    of course - with a Ipad (I am still a bit old fashioned ..). Artmuzz, are you now fearing to go to sleep? Remember, the same technique you used before still works! You seem to have experienced a lot of emotional stress. It is understandable that you react this way. If you have written down your dreams for the past three years, you are in a very good position to recognize patterns and do something about it.
  6. Artmuzz

    Artmuzz Well known member

    Yeah, I am fearing going to sleep. In fact I fear that much that I now sleep on the sofa with the television on or watching a movie until I do go to sleep. I've noticed since this fear and anxiety going to sleep that I suffer from painful cramps in my right calf muscle when sleeping which is probably TMS related.
  7. Time2be

    Time2be Well known member

    That’s not so good ... i felt slot of relief listening to Claire Weekes. You might have tried it. I can assure you that anxiety attacks can stop. First I learned to accept anxiety, then to go through them and then they loose their frightening character. That’s how you win over anxiety.
    I hope your sofa is nice place to sleep ... but I would advice you to go back to your bed. Maybe you keep the lights on or have some water to drink beside the bed.
    Wish you patience and calmness!
  8. hecate105

    hecate105 Well known member

    Rescue remedy drops can be helpful too...
  9. Bawbee

    Bawbee Peer Supporter

  10. Artmuzz

    Artmuzz Well known member

    Hi bawbee, you quoted my post but you didn't leave a reply to my quote. Please advise.
  11. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    I recently began experiencing debilitating panic attacks. They would hit me out of nowhere, including the minute I woke up. I've experienced anxiety throughout my life (even as a toddler, according to my parents), but never knew what a true panic attack was until a few months ago. I would go from being fine one moment to feeling my body shake uncontrollably and fearing that I was dying as well as about to lose control and go insane. Sometimes I didn't even feel real, almost like I was experiencing a negative psychedelic or cannabis trip that left me depersonalized (if you've ever had a psychedelic or cannabis trip that took a turn for the worse, you know exactly what I'm talking about). It was absolutely terrifying. As I had just gotten off Cymbalta, I initially suspected my brain was "out of whack" from a way-too-quick taper off the pills. I also wondered if medical cannabis had negatively affected my brain and made some sort of underlying disorder come to light (my strongest vape is 82% THC, and trust me when I say it's VERY trippy - you're on another planet when you try that kind of stuff). However, the truth was that my amygdala and sympathetic nervous system were simply overreacting from years of stress, and I was able to put an end to the panic attacks myself. I'm doing incredibly well now!

    Ultimately, believing that something was wrong with my brain was only triggering the panic attacks even more. What helped me was the 12 second chill technique (see the attached PDF), as well as learning how panic attacks occur (click here for Michael Norman's "The Panic Mistake" video).

    In a nutshell:
    • Panic "attacks" should instead be referred to as panic mistakes, as they're nothing more than the result of your body mistakenly thinking you're in danger and trying to protect you by going into fight-or-flight mode (very common when one has an overactive sympathetic nervous system, as those with TMS do)
    • Fearing or attempting to "talk yourself out of" panic mistakes will make them worse because your sympathetic nervous system senses your continued anxiety, further sending it into fight-or-flight mode
    • Acknowledging the symptoms you are experiencing and accepting them as a "mistake" made by your sympathetic nervous system that will soon pass is a much more effective way to end them - this is where the 12 second chill comes in for me. Michael Norman recommends trying to force yourself to have the worst panic "attack" ever (click here for his theory), as people soon realize they cannot heighten the physical sensations anymore, and the "attack" ends. However, I personally prefer the 12 second chill method
    • The above is not to be interpreted as a relaxation technique. While some people may quickly feel relaxed after engaging in the 12 second chill, the goal is to truly acknowledge and accept the symptoms, as opposed to actively trying to stop them. Without even thinking about it, you will eventually achieve natural relaxation with full acceptance and understanding of what's going on in your body. You will get better at this with more practice. The genius Claire Weekes, whom you already appear to be familiar with, also touched on this

    I went from wondering how I was going to make it through life feeling like I was dying and not real to functioning much better than I ever have. This has also helped me with mood swings (anxiety, depression, anger, etc. all play into one another for me because I always felt such a lack of control in my life from the anxiety). Other anti-anxiety techniques such as tapping only had a temporary effect for me - I needed to learn about why panic attacks happen and acknowledge and accept them to get 100% better.

    And remember you aren't alone. I've been there and got better. Singer and actress Noami Judd said the following about her nocturnal panic attacks, which I personally found helpful:

    "Panic attacks. They're very, very strange. ... For me, I was awakened usually at about 3:30 in the morning when you're at your lowest brain wave activity, when you're really asleep. And it's insane, it's so hard to describe because I sat bolt upright in bed and I just felt like I was going crazy, hallucinating and your heart's pounding, you're hyperventilating. If it goes on, you feel tingly in your fingertips, you can get some blurry vision and you feel slightly nauseous. And you really think you're going to just die."

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
    Chache55 likes this.
  12. Artmuzz

    Artmuzz Well known member

    Thanks for this. This is extremely helpful especially the PDF you posted.

    My first severe panic attack was during a dull and misty Sunday afternoon in February 2015. I remember it was the day after the night I drank a lot of vodka and cola at a party and I felt a bit hungover.

    Anyway, I remember that afternoon sitting at my computer checking emails when suddenly my jaw felt tight and there was a strange tense feeling in my head as if it was going to blow up and this triggered the worse panic attack I ever had. My heart started to beat fast, I had bad acid reflux, I felt really dizzy, I was shaking like a leaf and I was hyperventilating and worst of all I felt like I was dying.

    I remember standing up and walking about my apartment like a headless chicken trying to fight it off but it would just get worse. I then went out for a walk hoping this would make me better but it didn't.

    This feeling felt like it lasted all afternoon and I started to feel exhausted and my apartment started to look strange as if it wasn't real and I was in a dream which made me feel frightened and that was my first experience of derealisation. I then went to bed and woke up the next day feeling like a zombie.

    For months after that I experienced derealisation, dizziness, physical pains round my body, tension in my head, jaws and ears, nausea, feeling spaced out and I developed a panic disorder. I realised through visiting a psychologist that the cause of this was through years of suppressed anger and emotional stress plus I my beloved mother died of brain cancer the previous year in 2014 which gave me grief.

    I feel I am getting a little better now but I still have the symptoms at times but not so much panic attacks due to learning the works of Dr Claire Weekes and I am starting to understand the physical pains I have is due to suppressed anger and emotional stress after reading this forum about TMS and reading TMS books by Dr Sarno.

    My big problem is that I still dwell on past memories of negative stuff from my past and recent family fall outs is affecting me too. Also I have a lot of bottled anger due to thinking of things that happened to me in the past which isn't helping.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  13. hecate105

    hecate105 Well known member

    The Structured Educational programme on tmswiki really does help to deal with these things. I too suffered panic attacks for a couple of years after a near death major operation - I think i probably had a breakdown - panic attacks, not being able to face people or go out, night terrors and extreme sensitivities to foods and light etc. But it was all part of the tms thing (i think) doing the programme helped me sort thru all the stressors, the triggers, my character and led me to what i had to deal with and how to do it. It is not easy, but it is free, accessible and fit for purpose.
    I thought that once i had healed i would be able to just get on with my life - but i think a 'maintenance schedule' is needed! Although i am pain free now and much better at 'being myself' - the stresses and strains of modern life are real - and I find by checking in on this site, seeing what people are feeling and saying, along with continued meditation and ensuring 'me' time are all ways of doing that.
  14. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    The symptoms described in both of your posts above are absolutely reflective of an overactive autonomic nervous system that predominately operates in fight-or-flight mode (food and light sensitivity, shaking, dizziness, etc.). Autonomic overload ultimately leads to panic attacks because your sympathetic nervous system becomes sensitized and interprets everything as a potential attack. This is a normal bodily response that will occur in any individual whose stress response is heightened (regardless of their health status, brain chemistry, etc.), and there is nothing wrong with either of you (ongoing maintenance check-ins with yourself are 100% OK).

    Ultimately, there really is no such thing as "panic disorder," as Michael Norman says - it's simply your sensitized nervous system mistakenly thinking it needs to protect you. Again, this is normal, and is also a critical component of ingrained and inherited human survival techniques that have evolved over thousands and thousands of years. The good news is that the brain is neuroplastic and always changing, which means that we can retrain the nervous system and end recurring bouts of panic "attacks." That's why discourse around a theoretical "disorder" or "chemical imbalance," as Normal also states, is so dangerous. Per Norman's explanations in the attached Panic Attack fact sheet (I highly recommend you review the entire PDF document, as he beautifully discusses why the body does this and how it's so very normal):

    I prefer to use the general term “panic” or “panic false alarm” instead of “panic attack”... because panic is not an “attack”. I especially try to avoid the term “panic disorder” because it's misleading and can be very unhelpful. Words matter. We will cover this further in Episode 2.

    Contrary to what many doctors like to tell people, panic is not an illness. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support that view.

    Panic is also not a result of any so-called “chemical imbalance”. The chemical imbalance hypothesis is dead in mainstream scientific circles, although many doctors who don’t keep up with the scientific literature haven’t discovered this yet. If you want to learn more about this, one of the top researchers in this area, Irving Kirsch, has written an accessible book called “The Emperor's New Drugs”.

    On top of this, Brett Deacon from The University of Wyoming headed research showing that using the outdated, inaccurate chemical imbalance metaphor is actively harmful... because it increases self-blame, pessimism about the future, provokes a sense of stigma, and convinces people to believe in medication as the best or only solution (even though research has clearly shown that medication is far less effective for panic than psychological approaches).

    In other words, when people are made to believe in the outdated “chemical imbalance” theory, it makes it harder for them to get better, it can be depressing, and it makes everything worse. Fortunately, all the science clearly shows that panic is not an illness, and it’s NOT caused by any mythical “chemical imbalance”.

    SOURCE: Michael Norman (attached PDF)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
    hecate105 likes this.

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