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Fear, terror, panic, and anxiety

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Petunia   
Petunia

a99 is right, it does get better in time, but we have to figure out how to survive and keep going while that time is passing. The intensity of these symptoms can get so bad for some people that distraction doesn't work, it was like that for me for a long time, not all day, but for many hours of the day.

 

What helps one person, might not work for someone else, so we have to put some effort into finding things that are helpful for us. Sometimes what may help for a while, might stop working and we have to keep searching for more ways to help ourselves while we are recovering.

 

For me, getting familiar with my own patterns of symptoms has helped me to have faith in knowing that some measure of relief is always going to arrive eventually.

 

Sometimes its just not possible to do anything besides lay in bed shaking, or pacing or crying or whatever it is you do. I'm a lay in bed shaking kind of person and the only things which helped/help is to focus on my breath, trying to slow it down, use belly breathing and silently chanting meaningless words to stop any spiraling negative thoughts. Eventually the acute terror would pass and then I would be able to do something distracting.

 

Another thing which sometimes helps me is paying attention to my surroundings, using the sense of touch. I will notice the softness of my bed cover, the comfort of my pillow, the way the bed gently supports my body. I like the way the sheets of my bed feel in between my toes, so I focus on that to bring me back to the reality of the moment and help my body realize that its safe.

 

Make a warm drink and notice the feel of the cup in your hands as you slowly sip it. Or if its a hot day, notice the coolness of a glass or the gentle air from a fan. For me, the only way I've been able to get through these intense, terrifying, acute symptoms is to bring my awareness right into each moment, see it for what it really is... an unpleasant sensation in my body or brain, and not some external threat to my life, which is what it feels like.

 

I've wondered if having a large teddy bear to hug at times like this might have helped, but I don't have one.

 

Sometimes the fear is so overwhelming its not possible to form a rational thought, not for a while until its calmed down a bit.

 

Acceptance is another thing, realize that this is a normal part of the recovery process for some people, once you get through it, you will never have to endure something so difficult ever again.

 

More ideas here:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

 

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Mort81   
Mort81

Geese Blue I can relate to these symptoms. When I get belted with these emotions the only thing that helps Is I keep telling myself this is temporary. Reading the recovery stories on this site has helped so much aswell When I am overwhelmed by fear. People who have gone through the struggles and all of them say it keeps getting better. Its jusst a temporary storm thats all

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aberdeen   
aberdeen

It does get better! I had these symptoms intensely while tapering (much too fast) Effexor, and then for almost a year after wards. The waves of this symptom got milder and milder, until one day the waves brought only the mildest form of this. I still get it in waves but its so subtle I can just say "oh, a flutter of that weird anxious stuff, i remember that!" and i can totally move on with what im doing, its so mild a deep breath or two can almost make it go away. And my waves are a matter of days now, not months. This has been the case for over 2 maybe even 3 years now, so have hope!!! And dont read my signature and say omg she's been in wd for 4-5 years straight...its not like that. I did a lot of silly things in the first year of my wd (because I didnt understand what was happening yet, I raised my dose twice, then came off too fast and took anothe rmed, and then switched again twice more to new meds) then I stayed on Paxil to help the wd (it didnt do anything noticable to help) and then tapered that, so its not a clear picture. My sysmptoms also became very tolerable after about 2 years, they never went back to "crazy" level.

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Patoski   
Patoski

Sometimes my symptoms are so bad they are unbelievable the pain is unbearable ihave to pace up and down just to cope I some times walk round the block as if I'm running away from my symptoms I sometimes pop in a shop so I force my self to compose myself in front of strangers I feed myself positive im formation and deal with the moment in hand I've done this before I came off bensos 28 years ago so I know if I can keep going I will recover to have to do this twice in a life time is really dissapointiing and I've just had an operation under general anaesthetic and it has trebled my symptoms I am now in martyr mode and am determined not to give in I wish you all well remember the prize is recovery

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nz11   
nz11

 

a99 is right, it does get better in time, but we have to figure out how to survive and keep going while that time is passing. The intensity of these symptoms can get so bad for some people that distraction doesn't work, it was like that for me for a long time, not all day, but for many hours of the day.

...................................

Sometimes its just not possible to do anything besides lay in bed shaking, or pacing or crying or whatever it is you do. I'm a lay in bed shaking kind of person and the only things which helped/help is to focus on my breath, trying to slow it down, use belly breathing and silently chanting meaningless words to stop any spiraling negative thoughts. Eventually the acute terror would pass and then I would be able to do something distracting.

 

Acceptance is another thing, realize that this is a normal part of the recovery process for some people, once you get through it, you will never have to endure something so difficult ever again.

This ....

 

Sometimes my symptoms are so bad they are unbelievable the pain is unbearable ihave to pace up and down just to cope I some times walk round the block as if I'm running away from my symptoms I sometimes pop in a shop so I force my self to compose myself in front of strangers I feed myself positive im formation and deal with the moment in hand

and this ...yes i would pace back and forth and then get in the car and drive as if as you say trying to escape the horror.

 

and as aberdeen says 'My symptoms also became very tolerable after about 2 years, they never went back to "crazy" level.'

They didnt disappear but the heat was turned down a little and became almost mostly manageable.

 

Good question. 

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gemini   
gemini

Does anyone have experience with extreme fear in wd? It's like I'm afraid of movement and paranoid

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Jaywill   
Jaywill

i am starting therapy in Aug because I will be three years off and I am starting to feel better physically but my fears are keeping me from enjoying my life. I used to react to so many things that now I am afraid to be out where the bees are because I was told I get bad reactions. I am afraid of going hiking because there have been some bears etc. I still go and do the activity because I refuse to let this medication rob anymore of my life but I am still afraid of things that I know dont usually bother me

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gemini   
gemini

Sorry you are facing this Jay.I have no life now, no more career, complete anhedonia. I have a hard time showering. I believe therapy helps but I know this is protracted withdrawal now from Zoloft. Only time will heal the body and mind. I hope you get well:)

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Petunia   
Petunia

 

I've been dealing with fear/terror since the end of 2010.  It started slowly and then built in intensity and I would say it peaked for a while at the end of 2011 and again through much of 2013.  But last year (2014) its intensity started to decrease and continues to do so.

 

 

I just wanted to post a little update on this symptom for me, now that we are getting close to the end of 2015. I no longer experience anything intense enough these days to be called terror. No more laying in bed for hours shaking, focusing on my breath to get through the minutes.

 

Anxiety/fear still peaks at times, when its triggered by a situation or increased stress, but the intense 'chemical' terror, not connected with anything is gone. I still have a higher than normal level of subtle anxiety in the mornings (cortisol mornings), which lasts for varying amounts of time, but its not too bad and can quite easily be distracted from.

 

Time and acceptance is what has got me through this.

 

Not everyone is going to experience these high levels of fear, or for as long as I have. For most people, it passes much faster. No matter how long it lasts, it will eventually subside.

 

Welcome the fear, the anxiety and thus transform it

June 17, 2015 by Monica Cassani
 
A first step [in remaining open] is to understand that a feeling of dread or psychological discomfort might just be a sign that old habits are getting liberated, that we are moving closer to the natural open state. Trungpa Rinpoche said that awakening warriors would find themselves in a constant state of anxiety. Personally, I’ve found this to be true. After a while I realized that since the shakiness wasn’t going away, I might as well get to know it. When our attitude toward fear becomes more welcoming and inquisitive, there’s a fundamental shift that occurs. Instead of spending our lives tensing up, as if we were in the dentist’s chair, we learn that we can connect with the freshness of the moment and relax.  – Pema Chodron
 
I’ve found this to be true too. And boy does protracted psych drug withdrawal open the floodgates of fear and terror. It’s not like anything natural that occurs before drug damage. But even with this sort of iatrogenic damage I’ve found that the best solution is to treat it like all the rest. I’ve decided that in the end, it’s the same thing as though on steroids...
 

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LoveandLight   
LoveandLight

So happy for you Petu..

 

That happened after dosing with vitamin c?

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alex   
alex

I am happy for you dear Petu, that your suffering is not that intense anymore.

I am on the 8th day of intense wave of anxiety,fear, horrible DP.

I truly believe that I am getting liberated from old habits ond fears myself.

This is tough.

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NoMeaning25   
NoMeaning25

I just woke up in the middle of the night with the following:

 

Severe heart palpitations, dizziness, confusion, sweating, profound nausea, arms and hands pounding/pulsating, ringing in ears, extreme hot flush, whole body feeling weak

 

It lasted 15 minutes and i thought i was dying!!! I just jolted awake. This has happened before.

 

Please anyone know what this is? Im thinking panic attack maybe? Im affraid to go back to sleep now.

 

I cant carry on living like this. Im thinking of starting meds again to see if it helps me. 3 years off and still in acute withdrawal. Im severely worn out

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Petunia   
Petunia

That happened after dosing with vitamin c?

 

I can't honestly attribute this improvement to anything in particular. Its happened gradually. I've been taking 6000mg vitamin c daily for several months now, but I also started supplementing with vitamin d even more recently. Who knows? They may be helping, but its just as likely to be the passing of time and acceptance.

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Cressida   
Cressida

Hmm. I wake up with a version of that most nights am 38 months off. Tends to happen at regular times around 1am 330am and 5am. Used to be really bad with most of my body feeling like it was burning. Now occasionally I don't notice it at all or its a minute or so of mild heart pounding and and warmth in feet or lower legs. I think most people think think they are cortisol peaks and with me are only bad now if I inadvertently eat something on my trigger list. Its also possible you have had a nocturnal panic attack. Very unpleasant been there too. If its cortisol more likely to recur than if it was a panic attack . Although I ve only had nausea with panic attacks. Hope you are feeling better

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Marta   
Marta

I hate when intense fear switchs on....when I am so stressed because of work (as I am now) it expodes in full power.

I feel so bad, every breath is hard and the burden is so heavy, want to escape but no place can heal. I never had this level of how can I say, a "void full of pain" before ads. My brain for sure is changed, I am changed and still I try to accept it.  :unsure:

 

I try to talk to myself: 

"it will pass", "rememember happy moments", "you have still things to do" and my personal one:

 

"at the end everybody dies, so struggles will end for sure, so keep on fighting the years you're alive, always"  (I know it is not an optimistic and bright idea, but for me sometimes works)

 

At least I don't feel alone with this horror, thanks for sharing your thoughts! 

If someone has an idea how to better accept these new "aspects" of our being, please tell me.

 

With love,

M.

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LoveandLight   
LoveandLight

I like that Marta 'someday the struggle will end anyway' but I've got to the point of feeling that I cannot struggle no more but still keep going..the last 8 years on/off withdrawal has been a total nightmare and now I'm starting withdrawal over again..

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Marta   
Marta

Hi LoveandLight (i love your nickname),

 

yes,it's bittersweet ....because it's ok that suffering will end but meanwhile we are supposed to have a "kind of" life for many years from now!

They say the "magic" word is "to accept", as always easy said than done.

It's like we had opened the pandora's box, quite impossible to turn back as we were before....

 

I think you are unbelievable brave, for me it is half year from the w/d beginning and the future is scary.....

 

I just keep to wake up every morning, say "f***k off", suffer and go on....or turn back to bed if I can.

 

Hugs hugs hugs,

M.

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Cressida   
Cressida

Sugar is the biggest. I have cut it out as entirely as I can so no fruit ( became sensitised after trying smoothies) hi sugar veg like carrots, tomatoes etc I eat lots of green veg and white veg like cauliflower. No alcohol sweets cake biscuits. My big treat is a crumpet a day. I check packets out nothing over 6 g sugar so wholemeal bread is fine. No alcohol.mo breakfast cereal. Cereals had too high carb concentrationsd which body then converts to sugar. I eat potatoes and rice but keep portions small. Artificial sweeteners. I don't drink coffee but fine with tea. No dairy apart from skimmed milk in tea no eggs. I eat fish and meat with freshly prepared veg. Avoid any prepared foods. Its quite a healthy diet I have gradually lost a stone and a half and lost the continuous food craving I had earlier in WD . The sensitivities aren't as bad , earlier they caused long lasting waves now tends to be a day or two and the effects are worse if I eat the trigger food a couple of days running. I m fine with gluten.

If I didn't control my food the nasty waves would just go on I imagine. I ve read that 90% of serotonin is in the gut , and sugar/alcohol is the undoubted biggy as that goes straight to the brain. Paroxetine in particular de stabilises sugar control. And giving up sugar is in line with all current health advice. Hope you are ok

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KT38   
KT38

Oh yes, sugar is a biggie!!!  What is your typical breakfast, lunch and dinner?  You mentioned you can drink tea.  What types?

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Cressida   
Cressida

Prepare to be very bored. English Breakfast tea, Earl Grey Lady Grey lots. Get through 4 pints skimmed milk in a week. Drink it very weak.

During day only eat dry toast, one crumpet and one Benecol. Very boring but am never hungry. Meal cooked from scratch in evening meat or fish, veg and rice or potatoes. One bog standard multi vitamin and mineral tablet, one evening primrose capsule and one fish oil. Just normal strength.

Know it seems restrictive but was getting so many flare ups of symptoms particularly anxiety palpitations and burning skin it is a powerful incentive to keep at it. I ve been losing about half a pound in weight each week steadily I don't feel hungry and I no longer have food cravings and feel like I have to eat all the time to keep level energy and not feel awful . This is just what I ve done for myself trial and error there's no recommendations or science behind it

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Cressida   
Cressida

The other thing I ve noticed is cortisol surges are less at night if I eat earlier say 5-6 pm rather than 8pm which is unfortunately when my H prefers to eat

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Cressida   
Cressida

Thank you! I will have to try some of this. I won't try the tea, though, as it has caffeine.

Lol not a lot at the strength I drink it , it just gets a waft of the tea bag. If you are able to avoid all caffeine then good for you. I hope you are able to find some relief. Good luck

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antidepressantsNoMore   
antidepressantsNoMore

I had literally hundreds of panic attacks during my WD. Anxiety is a HUGE part of WD especially for me. It came in all different forms including, worsened OCD, generalized worry, and horrible social anxiety which was crippling. It just had started to get better within the last 90 days. The thing is , it does get better, it just takes time.

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antidepressantsNoMore   
antidepressantsNoMore

antidepressantsNoMore, how long were you off before the anxiety got better?

 

oh, I really don't know if you want the answer to that question. The anxiety was literally bad for the entire three years, were actually coming up on three years soon. It is just starting to really end for good.

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antidepressantsNoMore   
antidepressantsNoMore

Yeah, I hear 2-3 years is when the healing really happens.  I just bought suntheanine (l-theanine) and took about 25mg of the chewable tablet today to see what it would do.  I didn't notice much, but will try 50mg tomorrow. 

 

l-theanine works well for some people. It really didn't do much for me. I pretty much tried all the herbal supplements. Magnesium is descent though, no doubt.

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Mort81   
Mort81

It's weird for me because situational anxiety is what I went on Antidepressants for in the first place. But even during WD it was non existant until about the 12 month period. It hit for about a week than went away for a month. Than it hit for 3 days and went away for awhile. It came back yesterday with vengeance during the evening and its still here. Not sure why it keeps popping up? I had an idiot doctor tell me that crushing depression and anxiety could be permanent from drug withdrawal. And even though I know this isn't true because ive read so many success stories I still get worried! My brain likes to gravitate to doom and gloom even though its ridiculous. Has anyone had anxiety /panic show up so late in WD?? Id like to hear from anybody

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Mort81   
Mort81

Im still going through these intense waves of anxiety. I don't wanna leave the house. Maybe I am worried to much about it and putting too much effort into thinking about how to stop it. I am going to try a complete distraction even when intense. Ill do it for two days see if it works.

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Mort81   
Mort81

So my Anxiety is completley gone! but a bunch of other symptoms are way worse ! 

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manymoretodays   
manymoretodays

Hi Mort, 

 

Completely situational stuff going on here at 12 mos. plus out.  Sometimes.  I can get out of the house just fine and all that.  My associate/kid got up about an hour ago and was banging around so I investigated.  It could be just sleep walking but I immediately jump to the use of drugs or alcohol, and go on overdrive.  Made a call......got him back to bed and now just embarrassed........as I could/should have used text........but not too so.......as the friend I called is younger and has reason to freak out when calls come in at early hours.

 

Also way anxious about these job interviews I am doing........but this last one I did manage to bring it on down by the time of.  Just getting on out of the house often gets me out of my head case.......with a long enough drive and all that.  Listening to music while driving and singing.  Walks.......at least 20 minutes........it takes me that long to feel chiller.  Definitely more difficult when the sadness/tears hit though.......as the tears can't always be hidden.......such as if I have to do human contact/interaction.

 

What did you do for your complete distraction?

 

For me.......definitely a nap later

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Mort81   
Mort81

Hey I focused as hard as I could on everything and anything that brings me joy . Radio , T.V . Sports, for me can work I am a sports junkie. I do realize that If I had to be in public or somewhere that is social it would be tough once Neuro Anxiety kicks in to Focus out. on something. But  I am starting to see a pattern lately with my anxiety. When my body feels better and I am stronger my mind is super fast . much faster than normal. But for instance yesterday my body was really sick.  Everything was super slow it was hard to get out of bed I was in discomfort . energy was low , stomach hurt but when I got settled I could feel my mind was very relaxed and normal. So I know just to keep riding it out.  These WD symptoms are constantly changing , things are coming and going and I am recognising this. therefore I am not afraid of my symptoms latley. Hopefully soon my symptoms will come back with way less intensity and than one day comepletly be gone.

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manymoretodays   
manymoretodays

Yes.  Less intensity.  That's what makes it tolerable.  And they don't linger for days.......the symptoms. 

 

You probably are sick with something Mort.  Tis the season.  Come on cough and congestion of mine........clear uppeth!

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Mort81   
Mort81

Yes less intensity makes a world of difference ! Just going with the punches and looking forward to better days is the only way to go. Hopefully in the new year we all start to have better days

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Trichotomous   
Trichotomous

Since quitting Paxil (paroxetine), I've not been stuck-in-bed crippled by anxiety, but I've had several bouts wherein I'd be afraid to be alone, terrified of the future, and obsessively worried my bosses were out to get me. I quit paroxetine during summer vacation, and I was fine as long as I was home. As soon as school started and I had to be around my evil boss (no exaggeration—more than half the staff is actively trying to get out of the building, even leaving the field of education altogether), the anxiety hit me like a ton of bricks. Again, I'm not stuck in bed or crying all day, but I could NOT stop worrying. I was so worried about work that I couldn't do my job effectively. I've just been getting by.

 

Don't go into education, by the way. Seriously. Even if you're happy as a clam, do not go into education. Do ANYTHING else.

 

I've been trying supplements: Iodine, selenium, magnesium, zinc, and DHEA.

 

I started with iodine. It could calm me down, but was not always effective. And I'd get dizzy spells if I took it every day. I tried balancing this with selenium and magnesium, but continued having dizzy spells if I took it every day. And the effect would get me through the day, but in the morning—always in the morning—I'd be a wreck. I'd always wake up terrified and afraid to be alone. What a mess.

 

A while ago, I started taking about a quarter of a 50mg DHEA tablet in the morning. At first, I was not depressed or anxious, but irritable. The irritability wore off, and I became more certain, less anxious, and much calmer. The feeling of certainty or bravery was like what I had when I was younger. I was able to workout with less pain, and muscles would heal back up the way they would when I was a kid. It has been nice. But I can actually feel DHEA rais my blood pressure, and I get constipated.

 

There's always some kind of side-effect, right?

 

I've also played with Biotin. I bought these 10,000 mcg pills that also cause dizzy spells if taken every day.

 

What I've been doing is alternating Biotin and iodine/selenium/magnesium every other day for one week, then just those quartered pieces of DHEA for the next week. If I use DHEA for more than a week straight, I can't have a bowel movement—so that's a concern.

 

What I'm unable to do now is take just one thing regularly and be done. I have to juggle supplements, else I'm falling over and can't go to the restroom. Again, everything seems to have negative side effects.

 

Oh, one other thing is that I wake up around 3 every morning and have a hell of a time falling back asleep. That started once I returned to school. I miss the days of sleeping until the alarm went off.

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Mort81   
Mort81

Well my anxiety hit me like a brick house today.Both times its come after gentile exercise the day before. For some reason this jolts my system still. My thoughts are fast, pressure in my head and im really uncomfortable. Basically it makes it hard to focus or concentrate om anyone or anything because it's so agitating. Its a real bummer I cant do light exercise. Can't wait for my body to settle down

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reachingforthestars   
reachingforthestars

Mort, do you have akathisia? Is it impossible for you to relax? When i had akathisia i couldn't contrentrate on anything and was so agitated that i couldn't sit still. 

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