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smirkymonkey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-22-07 08:41 PM
Original message
Work related (I think) Panic Disorder
Hi - lately I have been out of control w/ panic and anxiety. I can barely cope w/ it - the other night my roommates had to call 9-1-1 and the Paramedics came because I was having a Panic Attack (I thought I was having a heart attack/dying - it was terrifying) and after they tested me and reassured me that I was not dying and that my heart was fine,etc and that it was probably just a panic attack, I realized that I really need to make some changes in my life.

My job is out of control stressful - it's just a stupid corporate job in NYC and I am finally realizing that I am not cut out for the corporate world or for NYC (probably) but I am 43 years old and very afraid because I don't know what to do w/ my life. The only time I feel calm here is when I go to a remote part of Central Park and just sit and listen to the birds chirp. I don't have any money saved- well except for a few thousand in my 401K and maybe a few thousand in savings, but I realize that this lifestyle is killing me.

My question is: Has anyone had this experience before? (mid-life freak out, stress-related panic disorder?) And can I get short-term paid leave or disability if I have to take a little break due to work stress? (I am seeing a shrink once per month to monitor medication - most of which I have had to go off due to side effects).

I feel too overwhelmed and stressed out to look for a job, but I know it's what I need to do. I feel like I really need a long break - like a few months to sort everything out. I only have a few vacation days until the end of the year which I plan on taking and I am going to Europe for 10 days in the fall (which I am living for) but sometimes I don't even feel like I can make it until then. Can anybody offer me any personal stories of hope?
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fizzgig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 02:14 AM
Response to Original message
1. my job will occassionally trigger attacks for me
nothing as severe, though, as what you experienced the other night. i always carry my bottle of ativan with me. i never use it a work (it slows me down a tick and i can't have that at work), but it reassures me just to have the bottle with me.

i try to do just some deep breathing/stretching at night. if things were particularly bad that day, i will take an ativan before i go to bed.

i know that might not be much help, but i can give you a :hug: as well.

take care of yourself
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DemExpat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 07:46 AM
Response to Original message
2. So sorry to hear of this escalation in your problems, SM.
While waiting for your appointment, maybe try to get hold of this book - my Panic "Bible" that I carried around with me for a period of a year or two while I was learning how to keep anxiety from becoming a full-blown panic attack.
For this (preventing anxious sensations and thoughts from becoming a wipe-out attack) is what we all need to be able to do under stress - besides finding ways to reorganize our lives to better fit out temperaments and goals, as you are aware of in you own situation.

There are tons of books out there on panic and phobia, and each one probably resonates with other people with better results, but Inghams way of talking about panic, and her tips on what thoughts and attitudes to take while confronting the panic physiological process and trigger situations (for that is "all" that it is, and once you really see this, it takes all/most of the power out of the process) - and with focus on calming breathing rhythms - gives you some tools to overcome this.

I, after more than 20 years since my last full-blown panic attack, still carry one anxiety pill with me when I travel or do something stressful, but its presence, along with my mastery tools I learned then, is enough to assure me and I have not needed to take it for all of this time.

At least you know here that there are many others who share your experience and your need to overcome/manage its negative effects on our lives.

:hug: :grouphug:


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AngryOldDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
3. This is probably a stupid question....
Edited on Mon Jul-23-07 12:08 PM by AngryOldDem
...but can you take any kind of "personal leave" or sabattical that would not affect your accrued vacation or sick time? People take leaves of absence for many valid reasons, and mental health (I would think) is certainly among those reasons.

Can you talk to your boss and lay it on the line about how you're feeling?

On EDIT: I know what you're talking about. One job I had gave me blinding migraines. Another stomach problems to the point of fearing ulcers (or worse). For me, exercise helped some but the ultimate answer was getting the hell out and finding a new job. I also realize, unfortunately, that it is easier said than done, as I am now beginning to have serious morale problems at my current job. If it helps, just know you're not alone here.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-23-07 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
4. When I had my first (and really last full blown) panic attack,
I thought I was having a heart attack, too, and went to the ER. The doc figured it out and gave me a shot of Valium and I was astonished that I wasn't dying!

But, that was good information to have. Because then I could start looking around for what I could do to prevent my anxiety from escalating into hyperventilation and a full blown "attack". And I worked with my doc to find the meds I needed to support my nervous system when my DNA tried to mess with me.

For me it was mostly learning how to "listen" to myself, but once I got on anxiety meds and learned a few tools I could use before, during and after an anxiety attack, my whole life changed.

I went back to school, got accepted to Berkeley, just did better in a profound way that might never have happened had I never "come down" with panic disorder. Life can be strange like that, lol.

A leave of absence sounds like a much more reasonable option (if you can get it) than the added stress of looking for a new job. The smaller the step, the easier it is to manage while learning to keep your balance.

Keep the faith, SM. Thankfully, this is 2007 and not 1987 - when panic disorder wasn't so widely understood. :hug:

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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. I had my first anxiety attack in the mid-70's with ER visit Not work related
but they stopped when I divorced first husband in 1979. Hmmm....

Sounds to me like you might want to explore some therapy--if not with the shrink
that's prescribing your meds--at least with someone who can help you develop
some insight and awareness of what's causing your anxiety before
it develops into a full-blown panic attack.

Good luck.

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terrya Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-24-07 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. I know exactly what you're going through.

I'm going through the same thing. I'll get on the train, headed to work, just almost paralyzed with fear. I'm in this job I hate and despise, yet I feel I'm not cut out for. I feel so inferior to my coworkers. I'm scared that I'll be fired, yet I'm not even close to ready for look for another one.

I can only offer you my encouragement, my support and my best wishes to help yourself.
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Digit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-25-07 10:39 PM
Response to Original message
6. I had the same problem
I even posted about it on here..I was dealing with sexual harassment. I quit that job and went to one even WORSE that paid LESS!

Yes, I had the panic attacks and also began suffering from IBS. A co-worker had some wild mood swings and would just yell at me all the time.

I applied for some other jobs and found one that I LOVE and I am making more money than I ever have before.

Oh, and I am an overweight older woman and believe me, I did not think I would find another job.

You WILL find another job, and you can make your life less stressful.

In the meantime, meditation might be helpful.

Best of luck to you!

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SCRUBDASHRUB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 08:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I experienced bad panic attacks at a couple of jobs. I made
an appt. with a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Along with therapy (it helps), there are medications out there (Xanax, etc.) that you can take; you shouldn't have to suffer.

Good luck. :hug:
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Pharaoh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-07 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
9. I had a similar situation
with anxiety and depression, there were 2 times when my doctor gave me orders for 3 months sick leave , it was blissful. Do it!

Go to you doc and lay it on him, send him this thread by email, whatever, and pray for guidance. Good luck ;o)
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Tripper11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-11-07 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
10. Cross post from Career Help and Advice Group
This is my current dilemma. I think I screwed up...can I fix it?

*incidentally, we see a psych for my son and she's really fantastic and is all about our whole family mental health not just the main subject, our son. Anyway, I will discuss this with her briefly this week and see if she has any ideas, suggestions etc.
I am being encouraged to power through by friends and family, and being reminded that I had these anxieties when I started at the original station...but damn, it sucks! And ultimately for my own well being I need to be as happy and comfortable as I can job/career is worth this imho.
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AZBlue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-13-07 10:00 PM
Response to Original message
11. My suggestion would be to take it one step at a time.
Edited on Mon Aug-13-07 10:01 PM by AZBlue
It sounds as if the greatest stressor in your life is your job. Find a new one. I know a little of what you're going through - I hate my job. No, I mean HATE my job. I have the MOST awful boss. Not only is he a really bad boss, he's a despicable person. Since I've been at this job I've gained 60 pounds - 35 of that in just the past year that this boss has been around. And, so on...much more to tell but this is about you and not me.

My point is that I've been thinking a lot about this and I've realized that a lot of things in my life will be better once I get a new job. We spend too much time at our jobs and it's too big a part of our lives for them to not be more tolerable situations. I don't know about you, but I know I don't make nearly enough to put up with the stress and pressure I have at work - and I can find a job paying at least what I make now, probably more, with far less stress. As you know, stress is bad for us, physically and mentally - and the stress from our jobs spills over into other areas of our lives too.

So, I'd suggest trying that - attack your first stressor head on and if things don't improve as much as you'd like, take on stressor #2, and so on. You don't need to add stress by trying to change everything at once and maybe you'll find out that you don't really need to change everything.
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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-19-07 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
12. If it's gotten to the point of medical intervention
I don't think that there is any room for doubt that you have a Panic disorder.
People throw around the term "panic attack" but it sounds to me like you have the real deal.
A fast acting benzo like Xanax or Lorazapam will have you functioning in less than a half-hour. SSRI's work for some people but cause more anxiety in others, and if your job is at risk you cannot afford to wait 1-5 weeks for an SSRI to work.
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Cetacea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-19-07 09:16 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Also..
many doctors are afraid to offer "benzos" because of the potential for abuse and fear of being targeted by the FDA. However, these meds were made for problems like the one you are experience and you have every right to insist upon receiving the best medication for your body/mind.
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Tripper11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-20-07 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
14. Same for me..close to your age
I'm 42 and just recently changed jobs. It was for better opportunities. I didn't have an issue with my former job and actually left on very good conditions(good enough that my boss told me if it didn't work out to call back)
I have a co-worker who literally puts me on the very edge of destruction. I get all hyped, up, anxious, nervous, sweaty..the whole shebang!

my previous posts on this subject

I started on lexapro to take the edge off and spoke to my son's psych yesterday. We had a good talk becuause I want to make sure I am not taking out my stress and anxiety on my family. As aware as I am of the situation I still can't stop my brain from putting me into this thought mode. I hate coming to work now. I cringe as each mile passes on the road.

Today, for example, I found out that this co-worker will be out for the rest of the week and as I read the note, I literally felt a wave of calm drape over my entire body!

For me smirkymonkey I have talked to friends and family and it has helped a little, but, I also beleive that we can be strong enough mentally and physically and our bodies and minds will help us overcome the panic, sort out a solution and help make it happen.

Easy for me to say I know...but as cornered as I feel right now, I also believe that deep down, this will resolve itself, one way or another.

Not sure if this helps, but know you are not alone, whether you are in NYC or, like me Seattle.

Stay strong my friend and I will do the same. :hug:
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Tripper11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-20-07 06:07 AM
Response to Original message
15. Ok..laughing at myself, please join in!`
I just realized I had already posted to this earlier!!!!!!!!!

How messed up am I??? :crazy: :P
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atomic-fly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-18-07 09:42 AM
Response to Original message
16. Just went through a similar experience
Edited on Thu Oct-18-07 09:48 AM by atomic-fly
Sorry to all who deal with this, it really sux!

This past weekend, I did a mountain bike race. I rode pretty hard and did good. I felt a bit
crappy afterwards from breathing all the dust. (I'm wondering if the dust might have contributed)
THe next day at work I had a massive sucking air/chest heaving panic attack.
I walked out side to see if I could calm down.
I got to my truck and felt even worse. I figured maybe I was having a heart attack.
I got scared and walked into a group of workers and told them I felt funny and to keep
an eye on me.
They ended up taking me to the ER.
The staff took there time and I began to calm down by stretching my legs out.
But as soon as I sat back down, the reaction would return.
THey eventually gave me a sedative.
Later THe guy came in and saw me laying down and said "at least your not trying to push to wall down
anymore" (pushing on the wall to stretch).
They gave me a prescription for some Adivan.

Yesterday I went to my doc and got an ekg. Everything looked good.

So now I am back to the place where I fear the next one. I have not been like this for about
15 years. I've never took pills before, but if I have to keep them with me, then so be it.
I will get this under control again.
But It might mean job change for me also?
At least now I am the fresh freak in the building.

Good luck all.
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