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How can I deal with these terrifying panic attacks?

I don't know what to do anymore. I got a sudden panic attack in church 2 weeks ago Sunday August 14, 2016. Rushing to ambulance in the car with my dad I felt like I was dying. A series of EKG and vital tests from the ambulance and ER (Dallas Regional) have told me it's just anxiety/panic attacks. My symptoms vary and include some or all of: tightness of chest, slow/fast heart rate (heart palpations), tingly sensations in my left neck, jaw, and head, and terrible fear. I got admitted to Children's hospital that week for 3 days and they did bloodwork and a CAT scan of my chest, they discovered I have an anomaly where my right coronary artery comes out the wrong spot. My primary doctor and the doctors and cardiologist at the hospital said that anomaly wasn't the cause of my symptoms. Keep in mind I had terrible constipation the week before this all happened and that gave me chest and abdominal pains, but it wad relieved by the end of the week (I ate too much candy or something). I had eaten lots of sugar and slept late prior to that Sunday so when I felt the pain in my heart/chest in the middle of church, I foolishly thought I was having some type of cardiac issue. There was a tingling in my jaw and head and then my heart raced. So that is what led to the series of emergency and hospital visits the week of August 14-20. I ruled out anything making me anxious in church until that feeling came. I'm sure it's a panic attack that took hold of me out of the blue. I'm 16 and never in my life had I experienced the event before, occasionally in my life my heart would race for no reason but I ruled it as normal and I usually had a bunch of caffeine and lack of sleep with that. This I discussed in the many ER's and with the doctors and cardio. They said all that was fine. The issue is how I've tried to cope with the ongoing panic attacks since Sunday the 14th. I could not sleep at all that week because of my racing heart (at home) and the pulse monitor (when in the hospital). I was released from Children's on Wednesday of that week, went back to the Dallas ER Friday morning and they transfered me over to Medical City. They told me the same stuff, cardio was fine and it's just anxiety/panic attack. The doctor there out of kindness prescribed  a 15 MG bottle of clonozepam (Klonopin) to help with my anxiety and suggested I start with half a milligram with that being before I sleep. I had a terrible panic attack on the way to getting the medication that afternoon and took a whole MG which kicked in 30-60 minutes later (I guess clona is a slow action benzo) and I felt extremely drowsy and couldn't walk right. The drowsiness wore off after some hours close to 8 pm and I wasn't feeling the symptoms of my anxiety although my dad insisted I sleep, so I went to bed but woke at 4 am and my dad gave me half a MG and I slept until 9 am that Saturday last week. Keep in mind my dad has been upset with me since this all started because of the costs to the trips to the ER, hospital and how I'm reacting to my attacks. School wasn't a stressor that contributed to the initial event but I started school the 22nd, I'm dual enrolled meaning while still a highschool student I take full time classes on this community college campus. I know the work load is heavy but I wasn't worried because I had taken summer classes there this year and did well. I saw a psychiatrist only one time and that was the 2nd day I was in the hospital at Childrens. She taught me breathing techniques but lately they are failing. My prescription of 15 MG says take it 3 times a day but I have been irregularly taking half a MG whenever I feel an attack coming (at first I would take it in the morning before school). I know I'm being really confusing but I'm so lost. I don't want to be hooked on this clonozepam and my dad has been yelling I shouldn't be taking it regularly. Sometimes when I do take half a MG the feelings return in less than 8 hours (i deduced since the prescription calls for 3 times a day that's how long it's supposed to last). I haven't taken and clona since last evening around 6 but close to 11 pm and all the way til now I feel even worse, the symptoms hit me hard and I feel sharp chest pains that scare me. I'm so conscious of my heart stopping. I even called 911 today and they said I was fine (the ambulance did). I also had thoughts of suicide in the last 2-3 days. My dad isn't being real supportive and I desperately need a solution to my panic attack issue. I reached out here I believe yesterday but wasn't as organized and specific. Oh and I saw a neurologist the first week of the issue and he claimed i can injured my neck in church and prescribed gabapentin which was totally wrong and I only took a single pill of it. This first week of school was a trainwreck because of my panic attacks causing me not to concentrate in class. (this week was just prep too, my actual college courses start on Monday). Yesterday I had to step out of history because the attack almost came full force while in class. While outside I took half a MG and sat for 20 minutes. I'm coming to a close of the 2nd week of this issue and it's driving me crazy. Being in a room full of people can sometimes trigger it, going up stairs ALWAYS does, and I can't get my mind off this which I know just makes it persist. My dad just doesn't know what to do and neither do I. Because of the cardiac anomaly they found the first week, I have a check up with the cardiologist September 13. I don't feel I can make it and going on like this is awful. I keep thinking I will die. I don't want to be hooked on amxiety meds. My mom is a nurse but she isn't helping that much in my opinion. I'm putting my life out here and I'm sure anyone reading what I've been experiencing since August 14 would advise I seek therapy and other types of treatment, maybe even a different medicine/dosage. My phone, TV ,resting, pacing all fail to calm me down. I think half the time I'll die of a heart attack and the other times I feel constant dread from these attacks. From what I've mentioned, what should I do? Im so scared, even now as I type this the attack is coming full force. Forgive my disorganization, I'm just spilling my mind since 2 weeks ago.... Could I have or be on the fast track to developing panic disorder? This came at the wrong time now that school is in session
2 Responses
Avatar universal
"Because of the cardiac anomaly they found the first week, I have a check up with the cardiologist September 13."

I didn't read all of this since I read most of it on your other thread, but the above is likely not something you should worry about because these guys like to be sure so they will often rebook you for follow-ups just to cover their butts, and also to make a buck. You said there was no cardiology issue that would cause you any problems before, so I am assuming that has not changed.

it would be nice if you could get some support, but family members who have no anxiety issues might not be able to relate as seems to be occurring from your post. There may be others you can confide in though it is something you have to overcome in your own mind - but on the other hand you never know what the effects of someone else's view of something will have on your anxiety. When mine started years ago I would see the doc whenever I thought I was going crazy with fear and she would calm me down for a day after she explained how things worked.
You haven't mentioned if you have had any therapy or talked to the doctor about the choice of medication as posters recommended - has anything happened? Or do you have a family doctor?
It is natural for the attacks to hit out of the blue, but if you can find a calming idea then you might be able to push the fears off the table just as quickly. Your diagnosis is nothing wrong with your heart to make the pains, so the crux of your problem is that you are not accepting that diagnosis and instead are worrying. I am not passing judgement with that statement, just pointing out known facts for you to ponder. Think about that and see if you can come to terms with the idea that the diagnosis is correct so you have nothing to fear about your heart.
My primary doctor is actually retiring soon. He hasn't been much help with the issue but referred me to Children's. I only saw a therapist once there. The medication Clonozepam was prescribed at a different hospital by a doctor for me.
Please read this, don't ignore the majority of the thread because it's similar to that of what I wrote 2 days ago.
Is there  a distress center available to call? You must get away from the suicide thinking, and they can help.

There are Lt meds that usually take a month to kick in (if they actually work for you) but I hesitate to recommend them - I'm not a doc anyway so don't recommend anything other than seeing a doc for this kind of thing. If they work, it is a constant even keel you will be on instead of the roller coaster when the Clon wears off and you fight it for a while before you take another.

Paxiled seemed to agree with me that Clono is not appropriate for a first time ST relief seeker, and I mentioned the dizziness and weird behavior is not something you should be risking yourself with, so I think you need to see a doc for a different script. Is there no campus doc or counselor for students at the college you are attending?
I haven't inquired at the health center at my college for my issue yet. On Monday I will. Lt meds? Elaborate please
They build up in your system and have no effect for weeks sometimes 8 for the full effect. You take the same dosage daily until you make a decision with your doc to go off them, likely 6 months minimum.
The one you try might work for your neighbor, but not for you so the patient sometimes has to trial a few to get something that your brain likes. Not like benzos that work much more dependably fir most people I believe, and not with the wild side effect you are experiencing.\

I have read conflicting reports that say they don't even work and it is all a matter of positive thinking, placebo effect, but it sure did the trick for me (prhaps I should say it seemed to be what worked for me since the researchers would claim that the right positive thinking happened at the time I got relief)  and a pharmacist said he has seen lots of success stories, so go figure. Something like 8% of people are on antidepressants from what I heard, and there can't be that many true depressed people so the studies could be including all the ones that the doc prescribes for just to get them out of his office. I am done digressing.

You need a real doc to keep track of your issue and decide with you what is the best plan, not someone in ER that you will never see again. That is another urgent project, considering your doc has not been of use to you, per your claim.
Have you looked for a Distress Line? They are anonymous. I am also thinking you need to level with your mom about the effects Klono is having on you including the suicide because I bet she would head straight to Er to get you a substitute - doubt your father would be hard on you if he knew the full story - but you have to weigh that one to make your decision.
Avatar universal
Tell your Dad to read through the archives on this forum.  Get him to understand what you're going through so you can get him on your side.  Anxiety disorders are a pain, no doubt about it.  You're pretty young for medication, but if you do turn out to need it, don't judge yourself for it.  You wouldn't judge yourself if you needed pain medication for a broken leg.  I think the best thing for you right now is quick intervention with a therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment, somebody who can explain how your brain is triggering reactions in your adrenal gland that make you feel out of control, even though you aren't really.  Breathing exercises are usually best for short term relief; meditation is best for long-term relief.  Exercise is important as well.  Do you have friends you can talk to?  Sometimes in life our best family is the one we make for ourselves, not the one we're born into.  Get support where you can find it.  Get joy where you can find it.  Do fun things.  If the therapist thinks you need medication, he or she will tell you.  And we're here too.  You are not alone.
I appreciate it. I really don't think my dad would want to read the archives and I definitely don't want him reading mine. I really don't have friends that I can rely on because of how strict my dad is. I will definitely seek after therapy.
You go to church so can you talk to the minister? Even if you have to phone him.
What does this mean? "I will definitely seek after therapy."
I meant I would pursue getting therapy. Although I overheard today this morning my parents arguing and my dad has refused my idea of seeing any type of psychiatrist or psychologist. He thinks I could be mad and should be a mental patient. I didn't even go to church today, remember that was where this all started. I stayed home and took my medication and laid down, then my family came home and I hear my parents yelling at each other.
You are not mentally ill, unstable or weak just because of a few weeks of panic where you have not got very good relief from the Klono.
90% of the loaded muskets retrieved from the Gettysburg battle had been unfired because the soldiers could not come to grips with killing their fellow man. If the commander found one he would think he had a weak soldier but if he found 90% he would come to a different conclusion.
Your father does not realize what you are going through either, and in fact no one can, so it isn't surprising that he has the wrong conclusion. Your brain has sort of processed an event it doesn't like and is stuck on it for now but that doesn't make you ill. Rockefeller had a complete nervous breakdown in the middle of his career - his brain couldn't come to terms with something for a while but in the end he outfoxed most businessmen he faced all over the country.
Hopefully these examples don't bore you too much, but if so, try to catch some badly needed sleep.
Thanks for all the help, I'll just have to cope with the issue I'm having since my parents won't allow me to get professional help.
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