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Thread: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

  1. #11
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    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by ajpowers View Post
    I know the acceptance will be hard for me, but I'm working on it. Same with the not running. I've 100% lived my life thus far not being able to accept that sometimes things are less than ideal (or have to be for a while) and running away from super uncomfortable things.

    My therapist and I started with grounding techniques today, so we've officially kicked off down the CBT road. I'm actually excited to start putting this stuff into practice and trying to wrap my head around it conceptually.

    Ugh, the idleness is such a problem. You're totally right about that. I have an intense phobia surrounding death and dying (I lost my mom to cancer a while back and I was her primary support during the whole process) so being in the middle of COVID-19 and the resurgence of (necessary) attention to the BLM movement makes me feel like I'm surrounded by it all the time.

    I've been trying to fill my time as much as I can. Taking a couple of online courses, doing puzzles, painting, baking...anything that requires focus and concentration.
    Sorry to hear about your Mum, that will of course be an additional complication in your mental process.

    In terms of acceptance, yes it's hard. Try not to tell yourself that though. Lots of things in life are hard, but we just have to get on with it. 'Yeah but'.....is a subtly powerful statement as it's a mental excuse to repeat negative behaviour. That was my experience with it at least.

    There's a fine line between filling your time and not being mindful. Sometimes acceptance just means doing nothing and dealing with the consequences. So if you're sitting around doing nothing and you start to feel bad, say to yourself 'so what?'. What's really going to happen? The answer is nothing, it's just sensation. That's a more powerful reaction than immediately distracting yourself with something else, because in the long run it removes a lot of the power of anxiety.

  2. #12

    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    There's a fine line between filling your time and not being mindful. Sometimes acceptance just means doing nothing and dealing with the consequences. So if you're sitting around doing nothing and you start to feel bad, say to yourself 'so what?'. What's really going to happen? The answer is nothing, it's just sensation. That's a more powerful reaction than immediately distracting yourself with something else, because in the long run it removes a lot of the power of anxiety.
    I think that's where I'm having the most trouble. I'm used to having my medication adjusted and then things usually "get better," meaning my anxiety pretty much goes away, at least for a while. What's happening now is very new and scary to me: not dwelling on anxiety-inducing thoughts and being mostly okay while I'm actively doing something else, but when there's any kind of lull, the anxiety-inducing thoughts come back to the forefront.

    It's scary to me to think that this might keep happening for who knows how long while I really work on myself and handling my anxiety. It's hard to feel anxiety and dread every day in my "downtime"; I'm very much not used to it.

    Would love to hear I'm not alone in my experiences, and that hopefully this will eventually go away if I work hard and learn the techniques and mindset necessary to get a handle in my anxiety. It's so exhausting to try and lasso my panic every day so it doesn't run wild.

  3. #13
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    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    I think something to take away from this might be that medication isn't the answer. I know a lot of people rely on it, and that it may work for them, but if your anxiety keeps returning despite the pills....what's the point?

    So you're left with the same problem as before. Running away from something that you can't run away from.

    The good news is, it's fixable. It still comes back to you being able to sit WITH anxiety, and choosing not to react in the way you used to. So what if it runs wild? It always subsides right? If you have a shitty few hours or few days, it's not really the end of the world. Caveat....I know that it feels like it is, but it's not. I know what it feels like to be so amped up on adrenaline and fear that you genuinely think that today is the day you die....but that's not how anxiety works. It's just sensation.

    Let the lull happen, confront the anxiety. Choose to do the things (in your case nothing?) that create an atmosphere of anxiety. This is the fundamental core of how something like CBT works. Make it your choice to be ok with anxiety and shrugging it off. What's the worst that can happen?

  4. #14

    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Hi all,

    Unfortunately, my morning panic attacks are back.

    Same deal as before: I wake up at about 6:30am, then my heart starts racing and I start cold sweating. I get up, and then my stomach gets super acidic and I usually end up throwing up. I take my meds (including one I take to help with palpitations that usually also brings my heart rate down, but it doesn't do much in these situations) and eat something gentle and try to be kind to myself. I do end up exhausted and feeling sick to my stomach for most of the first part of my day.

    Unlike the last bout I had with this, however, this time I really do know that it's only anxiety. I have bad health anxiety, but I know nothing dangerous is going on. I also started CBT therapy a bit ago, though we've mostly worked on grounding strategies so far, not yet coping strategies. I'm also doing my best not to worry that this is the start of another bad bout (meta'anxiety). I feel like I'm doing everything I'm supposed to - at the very least, putting in the kind of mental effort I wasn't before - but my body still won't listen to what my mind is telling it.

    Would very much appreciate any support, thoughts, or suggestions. Thanks in advance.

  5. #15
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    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Hang in there. Your thinking is in the right place.
    __________________
    I'm still a work in progress.
    Currently working on: World Domination

  6. #16

    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Thanks.

    It's so hard because my heart never stops racing ALL DAY, and that's exhausting. It also means it's hard for me to eat much because my stomach is so unsettled. I also have a WFH job now, which isn't particularly stressful, but it does mean I have to focus and *do* it eight hours a day. And I have no idea how long it will last. Last time, it was a couple WEEKS, and by the end I was ready to check myself into a treatment center.

    Has anyone else had panic attacks last pretty much all day for days at a time? How did you deal?

  7. #17
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    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by ajpowers View Post
    Hi all,

    Unfortunately, my morning panic attacks are back.

    Same deal as before: I wake up at about 6:30am, then my heart starts racing and I start cold sweating. I get up, and then my stomach gets super acidic and I usually end up throwing up. I take my meds (including one I take to help with palpitations that usually also brings my heart rate down, but it doesn't do much in these situations) and eat something gentle and try to be kind to myself. I do end up exhausted and feeling sick to my stomach for most of the first part of my day.
    I get nocturnal panic attacks which can kick in anytime from half an hour after falling asleep (around 11pm) to the early hours of the morning..

    In a non-anxious person the stress hormone, cortisol, naturally increases so that we wake up relatively gently. It's a gradual process. It peaks about an hour after waking and then slowly decreases throughout the day and is lowest in the evening allowing us to be able to feel sleepy. With anxious people - this goes out the window. There is no gradual build up to wakening. There is no gentle 'It's time to get up, sweetie'. What we get anxiety doing a Johnny Rotten screech in our earholes. 'GET THE HELL UP NOOOOOOOOOW ARGGGHHHHHH!!! Our nervous systems are sensitised so we jump out of bed and try to cope with the numerous symptoms of the stress response, like nausea, racing heart, sweating etc.

    How it works with me is that I have an anxiety dream, or my husband farts, and my brain snaps on the fight or flight response. I wake up abruptly at all hours with my body primed to run or beat the shit out of someone, but there is no actual danger. Then, my body is swimming in adrenalin and cortisol - and there is zero chance of falling back to sleep. So I have to get up and burn this energy off. Same applies in the morning when we wake abruptly. This is the time that we need to go for a walk or do some star-jumps to diffuse some of nervous energy.

    Most importantly is to retrain your brain into thinking that it's not a problem, because telling yourself that it is a problem becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - as in - you tell yourself you are going to have a panic attack, and you do - and you fear it. Whereas, I tell myself that it doesn't matter if I have a panic attack because I will deal with it. Plus, I've had that many now - I'm bored of them. But I still have to deal with the very physical response.

    Deep breathing helps me and I can calm my heartrate down that way. Then I imagine myself on my favourite beach taking a walk with my first dog who has long since gone to Rainbow Bridge. Sometimes I'm just way too wired to do this, so I get up and move about.

    Fight or flight is a very normal (and nessercary) bodily response - it's just that it goes out of whack with anxiety and fires when it doesn't need to, and often. We are firing out stress hormones all day long and they remain in the body which is why we have the symptoms all the time. The body is naturally releasing cortisol to wake us up, on top of what hasn't been burned off, so is it any wonder that we wake so abruptly and feeling so crap?

    Also, meds can be helpful, but it's hard to tell what symptoms are side effects from meds and what aren't. I don't take anything because my body won't tolerate them, so I know that what I'm working with.

    I feel like I'm doing everything I'm supposed to - at the very least, putting in the kind of mental effort I wasn't before - but my body still won't listen to what my mind is telling it.
    What you're not doing is understanding what your body is doing and why. This is why you fear it, and all fear will do is keep those stress hormones flowing.

    Also, the mind will resist because fear wants to be in control, and it will cling on like shit to a blanket - which is why you have to keep on with the mental effort, and for as long as it takes.

    Research the stress response and anxiety, and try ginger tea for the nausea - it helps me no end.
    __________________
    There is a light. There is. Look for it. Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past. It was light where you went once. It is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again. ~ Jennifer Worth

  8. #18

    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by NoraB View Post
    What you're not doing is understanding what your body is doing and why. This is why you fear it, and all fear will do is keep those stress hormones flowing. Research the stress response and anxiety, and try ginger tea for the nausea - it helps me no end.
    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I think this is a great point, and I'll definitely do some research so I can better understand what's actually happening. I know that I AM bringing it on because I'm expecting it to happen and being afraid that it will.

    It's strange though, because I wake up and seem okay and go to the bathroom, and it's when I come back to bed and lie down that it all starts to kick in. For some reason, getting out of bed feels like giving up to me. I know it's silly; I just so desperately want to go back to sleep that I stubbornly keep lying there. I'm generally too afraid to get some exercise because I'm so nauseous I just *know* it will make me throw up (and I'm trying to keep meds down that I take first thing in the AM).

    I realize that the above are excuses. I just want to be honest about my thought processes, to write them down and really look at them. And I'm pretty sure this latest bout of anxiety was largely brought on by my psychiatrist telling me that because I was doing so well with my new therapist and my anxiety was down and I was learning CBT, he was going to start bringing me down from one/some of my meds.

    SIGH. I am determined to keep up the mental effort. I am finding it ridiculously hard, but I am so sick and tired of this cycle repeating over and over and not getting any better/easier.

  9. #19
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    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by ajpowers View Post
    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I think this is a great point, and I'll definitely do some research so I can better understand what's actually happening. I know that I AM bringing it on because I'm expecting it to happen and being afraid that it will.
    The way my panic disorder worked is that I could be calm and not having catastrophic thoughts, and - boom - I'd have a nocturnal panic attack, and I was like, really? I had a good day today! Then I'd remind myself that stress hormones linger in the body, and sensitisation is a constant thing which is why relaxation has to be a constant thing in order to de-sensitise. So when I start having the panic attacks again, I take a look at what I've been doing/watching/eating/thinking etc and there will always be something that I've slipped with. Like the other week when I had three whiskies and then had a mofo of a panic attack at 2am when my liver started to metabolise the alcohol. I was in a hotel room at the time, but I dealt with it using the techniques I've learned. A little harder to get up and move when you're in a family hotel room, but I went into the bathroom and jogged on the spot. Once I had got rid of enough of the energy, I got back into bed with Matthew McConaughy (on my Calm sleep app) and got on with my holiday. Compared to the many which we had to come home early... Sometimes it can be as simple as my brain responding to my husband's breathing or a car door being closed. Not fearing the panic attack is key because there is nothing to be afraid of. If you see it as the normal bodily response that it is, then the fear is lessened or removed altogether. You will learn to address symptoms as soon as you are aware of them - most of which are caused by shallow breathing, so you will breathe deeply which sends a signal to your amygdala that there is no danger and it can stop firing out those stress hormones. Then, once your heartrate has steadied - you can work on diffusing the hormones that have been released..

    [/QUOTE] It's strange though, because I wake up and seem okay and go to the bathroom, and it's when I come back to bed and lie down that it all starts to kick in.[/QUOTE]

    Do you mean getting up in the morning? Or in the night?

    For some reason, getting out of bed feels like giving up to me. I know it's silly; I just so desperately want to go back to sleep that I stubbornly keep lying there. I'm generally too afraid to get some exercise because I'm so nauseous I just *know* it will make me throw up (and I'm trying to keep meds down that I take first thing in the AM).
    Staying in bed is futile because your body is swimming in adrenalin and cortisol. Your body is primed to move, which will naturally burn off those hormones. Getting up is not giving in. It's being proactive in getting control over this disorder.

    At my worst, I was retching/vomiting every morning and long into the day. I couldn't speak without retching - my anxiety was so bad. So the ginger tea helped there. I got out of bed - no matter what time it was (I've seen a LOT of sunrises) and I made a drink of ginger, then I did some cleaning. Or sometimes I just paced or jogged on the spot - anything to diffuse the energy.

    I realize that the above are excuses. I just want to be honest about my thought processes, to write them down and really look at them. And I'm pretty sure this latest bout of anxiety was largely brought on by my psychiatrist telling me that because I was doing so well with my new therapist and my anxiety was down and I was learning CBT, he was going to start bringing me down from one/some of my meds.
    Not excuses, so much as lack of understanding that your body is trying to help you, not hurt you. It's responding to your thoughts as sure as if the danger is a real one. It's down to you to learn to control it.

    The prospect of coming off meds is a massive stress, and if it helps you - I was able to get on top of my panic attacks without medication. I could never tolerate the medication they put me on, so I had no choice, but I kept one beta-blocker tablet in my handbag for a long time as a safety measure. One day I realised it was a crutch and I got rid of it. But coming off long-term medication is a different ball game. This will be a very gradual thing in bringing you off them, so try to go with the flow for now and see how your body responds?

    SIGH. I am determined to keep up the mental effort. I am finding it ridiculously hard, but I am so sick and tired of this cycle repeating over and over and not getting any better/easier.
    It is hard. But this is a journey, and as with any journey there will be bumps in the road. The reason you will beat this disorder is because you are so sick and tired of this being your life. You will get better when you understand that you can manage it and eventually control it. You need to teach your brain that these panic attacks are not dangerous, and they don't scare you, and you're just going to get up and do something when they come on. It will get the message, but it won't be an instant thing, and your mind will try to trick you time and time again before it gives up.

    All the best.
    __________________
    There is a light. There is. Look for it. Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past. It was light where you went once. It is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again. ~ Jennifer Worth

  10. #20

    Re: Panic Attacks Wake Me Up in the Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight-mouse View Post
    Thereís no fixed timeframe, just preforming the actions isnít what decreases the anxiety itís the change in mental state that occurs because of those things that does. But itís not automatic, it still takes time and effort from us to change the way we respond to panic/racing thoughts etc, the routine of meditation, journaling and exercise just helps reinforce the changes your making in the way you deal with your mental health.

    Unfortunately thereís no magic bullet, a person can be perfect at preforming all the things in the world that can aid lessening anxiety and still be an anxious mess because without gaining the control to break the cycle itís still nothing more than a performance. Of course not to say that these things arenít brilliant in helping with anxiety for some, itís more the frame of mind achieved while doing them that helps.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Sadly, but very true. :(

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