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The Panic Attack

Updated on June 2, 2011

Just prior to bedtime, I felt a trickle from my nose and thought -- "oh boy, here we go, a cold coming on". But when I checked in the bathroom mirror, I noticed that there was blood running from my nose. Now this wasn't normal and I thought to myself, "what the heck is this"?

At 2:00am, I awoke on this same night and sat up quickly in bed. Something was awful wrong! I couldn't breathe or at least I felt that I couldn't breathe. Racing down the flight of stairs to the front door, I frantically opened the door and starting taking deep breaths to get air from the outside. To my surprise, I still felt like I was suffocating. My heart was beating faster and harder than I can ever remember before. I was having a heart attack or so I thought, but there was no pain. My head started spinning and felt as if it was on fire. What was happening to me! Do I call an ambulance? Someone Help me! I was scared --really scared. I never felt anything like this before. I yelled upstairs to Judy that something was wrong with me. All I heard back was a really low moan and something like -- "o.k -- nigh night". This was a person that needed 10 sticks of dynamite to wake her up. A little heart attack wasn't going to get her out of bed at that hour of the morning.

And so, I stretched out on the living room couch about 2:30am and just lay there, straight out. My hands and feet were frozen, my heart was pounding, my head was spinning. Was this the end? Was I really going to die?

At 8:00am, Judy and the kids eventually navigated their way down the stairs and then they saw me -- a white sheet still laying straight out on the couch, still with the same pounding heart, cold as a fish and really dizzy. Judy asked me what I was doing there. I just responded with " Oh nothing -- just having a heart attack, but don't worry about me"!

"Well, you better get up because the tax guy was coming in an hour". "What", I yelled out. "What day is today?" Oh, My God! The tax Auditor was on his way over to read through my books. The books were always kept up by the book-keeper so I had nothing to worry about, but ---"Oh My God" - I was never audited before!

My hands were ice cold when the Tax Man arrived and when I shook his hand, he could feel the sweat and clammy hands against his. I thought I saw a little smirk appear in the corner of his mouth like -- "Got Ya!" But everything went fine and when Mr. tax man had gone, I felt a bit of relief, but not much.

Two weeks later, I saw my doctor and told him what was happening to me. The symptons were still there but now not as strong, even though I was still having trouble breathing. It felt like something heavy was sitting on my chest and just wouldn't get off. The Doctor said to me - "I've checked you over thoroughly and you're fine. What you are experiencing are panic attacks". Panic Attack. I've never had those before and asked him if they'll go away. He said that they may in time with a little leisure time, relaxation and trying breathing techniques for this sort of thing. He prescibed something for me called Alprazolam, better known as "Xanax", which at the time was not considered to me a narcotic. Now it is a narcotic and extremely addictive after just a few weeks of taking this pill.

I remember taking half a pill when I got home. I didn't want to take the whole thing because I never had to take pills like this before and so, I took half and lay down on the couch. Twenty minutes went by and I felt this weird sensation come over me. It was like a warm flowing, very pleasurable ecstasy type of feeling that started at the top of my head and began sliding slowly  down to my feet. It was quite a wonderful sensation and Presto -- I was cured.

But alas, it came back the next day and so I took the other half. I was cured. Hallelujah! Twenty-two years later, I'm still taking them but at least I can breathe right.

Now on to Pill #2:

About two years later, I was driving down the street and came to a red light. I stopped and was waiting for the light to turn green when all of sudden, this wave of nausea and sudden fainting like feeling spread over me like a hot blanket and it was as if I was on fire again. "What the Hell is this"! I was still taking the Xanax which was controlling the panic attacks but this was something completely different.

I'll keep this really short now for you, my tired reader and perhaps someone that's going through the same thing right now at this very moment in time. After many more episodes, I was referred to a head doctor, a specialist --alright, O.K. -- a shrink. That's it. I had gone Nuts -- flipped out --off my rocker. Here I come - Mental hospital. But it didn't end up that way. After a year of not being able to drive a car because of the light head, nausea and spinning sensation, I changed doctors. I went to a different family doctor, an Indian fellow who was just starting out with his own practice. I had been reading up on all these symptons and needed a doctor who was a little younger and was fresh out of medical school who was up on all the latest stuff and medications.

I saw a Neurologist, a hypnotist, a throat and ear doctor (dizziness) and my own family doctor. I was doctored out.  An appointment was made with this neurologist because I awoke one morning and thought I had been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat. I could not even touch the hair at the back of my skull without feeling pain. I went through brain scans, blood tests, X-rays, reflexes, they put fluid through my body with dye in it and followed it as it flowed though my veins. At the end of it all, nothing was found --Nothing.

I went back to my doctor and told him I wanted to take a fairly new drug which was on the market now for a few years -- a drug that I had done some research on. The Dylantin I had previously taken had no effect. But then again, that was for seizures and I wasn't having those, so I figured -- alright, I'll try Prozac. This new young doctor I chose said "fine" and I got the prescription. When I went to bed that night, I was hoping something good would happen this time and you know -- something did.

I awoke about 7:00am the next day and opened my eyes. Hmmnn -- I sat up -- hmmnn -- I stood up. You know what -- my eyes didn't feel crossed any more, my head was feeling great and my mood was way out of this planet, This little tiny pill --this miracle drug they named Prozac, had cured me. It had really cured me.

Weeks passed and I was able to drive again and go about my day feeling like I was twenty again. It is now twenty years later and my head is good, my hands are warm, my feet are warm and I feel Great.

If any one of you readers right now is experiencing symptons like I had, I hope that this publication will help. I went through Hell with this but it can be beat, maybe with a little help from a drug, but it can be beat or at least masked in order for you to function again.
What I went through was termed to be a chemical imbalance that was fixed very easily with a little thing called Prozac.

Thank God for Canada and Free Healh Care or I'd be broke and probably in a mental hospital.


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    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 7 years ago

      Yeah, we were on the same wave--just different ends. Different rides, but with great results on both ends, and that's all that counts. Yep--I'm lookin' at a great 20+ yrs, too, and I wouldn't trade 'em for the world! My itching would have had me debilitated, too--I mighta bled to death scratching! Glad you've got a good ride going.

    • ianleverette47 profile image

      ianleverette47 7 years ago from Brinston, Ontario Canada

      Well, you're absolutely right. Prozac doesn't work for everyone. I got lucky. My original doctor refused me prozac when I asked about it and so I changed Doctors to someone a little more open to suggestions. It literally worked for me overnight after I was told it may take a week or so to kick in. I asked my doctor about going off these meds after 20 odd years but he suggested not to. And so, I remain on and I don't mind. Why mess with success? I probably couldn't have written these articles today without Xanax and Prozac or thought up all the great business ventures I've been involved with over the past 20 years. The dizziness and nausea would have seen to that. Today, I can do anything and am the happier for it. Thanks for the great comment.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 7 years ago

      I may have mis-written (is there such a word?). Bad about rambling when on a subject I have studied for 45 years. I am not disagreeing, but rather, agreeing with a number of things, while simply adding to with what I've read, been told, etc. Prozac got such a bad rap when it came to the forefront as an antidepressent in the '90's. I never took it for depression. Depression was not my problem, and in the latter '80's, when the stress level of my job began to take it's toll in itching (nope: not migraines and IBD, but itching), I literally began overdosing on Benadryl to kill the itching in an attack (yes--quite similar and occaasionally, very real panic attacks--my sympathy to you--they are horrendous). I was functioning fine, I thought, but the occasional attacks of itching became unbearable. A physician ruled out all the illness for which itching could be a symptom (I never knew there were so many!), and chalked it up to stress. He sampled me as often as possible, knowing something might not work, but rx'd others, and I don't even remember all I tried. All I know is that on the desk in my office at home was stack of papers I simply could not seem to wade through. A drug would "kick in" and I'd get something done for a little while, but within 24-36 hrs I'd never know I'd even tried anything. Finally, one visit, he said, "I'm almost ready to give up, but I'm going to try one more drug. It's highly questionnable, but it was originally developed in the '40's, and it's been rarely used because of some bad side effects--mostly mental." As we all know, that's where Prozac got it's bad rap. For me? Like you, it was a miracle. I wasn't even aware of it, but about 4 days after I started, I sat down at the desk, and by noon I had cleared that stack of papers, booked appts I hadn't tried in a long time and was on my way! It was a miracle! My point about generics was true, based on science. My insurance now covers Brand Prozac, and while the bi-weekly doesn't work quite as well as daily, it is Brand, and it Does Work! I had an awesome book on Dylantin (which I've never needed) which has always been given my sister in ER's, when her regular anti-seizure med has taken a break, and I'm not as familiar w/it. But you are right--for some people, Prozac is a true miracle drug--whether it be for one need or another; however, as another dr once said, "W/Prozac there is no maybe; it either works or it doesn't."

    • ianleverette47 profile image

      ianleverette47 7 years ago from Brinston, Ontario Canada

      No need to shut up. Good comment. But in my case, I was lucky. I don't suffer from depression but rather, they call it a chemical imbalance in the brain (please see the video included here). Back twenty years ago, my older doctor would not prescribe Prozac to me. It was to new he said (yes, I read your comment) but that's what he said and he also said that I did not require Prozac because I was not depressed. So I changed doctors to someone a lot younger and I asked him for Dylantin. He said "sure". I just read a book that I ordered and it said that Dylantin was also used in anxiety cases. So I tried it. No effect after 3 weeks. Then I asked my doctor for Prozac which I read about and he said "sure" --I'll give you a few mild samples. I took one pill after having this dizziness for over a year every single day and I'm telling you that the next morning, I was fixed -- I mean I was back to feeling normal. So, this thing maybe was a fluke and works on only some people but it my case, it was a miracle drug and I've been taking xanax and Prozac for over 20 years and everything is just fine. So, I don't know what else to tell you but --- it fixed me up and I live a normal life ( yes --on a drug) but hey --the bottom line is -- I can function perfectly in every way.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 7 years ago

      I'm truly afraid to say anything, since I am all too familiar with probably every single aspect of all three drugs mentioned here. #1: Dylantin is Not a new drug. It has been around for longer than almost anything except maybe lithium (two different needs/disorders). Xanax Can be Highly Addictive; it depends entirely on the person. My sister became addicted to Xanax, yet I have been on it since 1987. Very, very rarely have I heard anyone describe symptoms similar to what you had on taking the first 'half.' Those who did, knew then it was addictive. It works better for true panic attacks than almost anything and has a fairly short shelf-life (time in the body). One problem some have (my sister) is not giving it enough time to kick in properly, so they take more (unneeded if they could wait a few minutes). Prozac is not usually prescribed for panic attacks; it doesn't work that way, which makes me wonder if you had/have something going on besides panic attacks. Surprise to many: Prozac came under the gun in the '90's, and most people think it's new; in fact, it came out in the '40's, and I may be wrong, but think it was developed primarily to help troops in WWII. I have taken Prozac since 1987--interestingly, it's not for depression (doesn't do a thing for it). I take it in order to prioritize and do things in a somewhat orderly fashion, and an episode on 60 min years ago confirmed many others use it for the same reasons. It works much like some drugs work for those with ADD. Be careful: generics are not always the same. Generic Prozac does me no good. Three doctors have verified that the only times it hasn't worked since 1987 (and then my dr tried everything else first--stress w/prioritizing workload)--was when I took generic. A physician finally wrote letters to my insurance company so I can get brand. Generics have the same ingredients but are not compounded the same. I need to shut up. Take care.


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