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Panic Attacks - Can They Cause Trauma?

Discussion in 'Anxiety, Panic & Hypervigilance' started by permban0077, Jun 1, 2007.

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  1. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    I thought this was something a bit hard to wrap my mind around. Maybe my therapist can teach me a thing or two... She says to stop her as I know too much about it and she does not want to waste time when she speaks.

    But this.... this was new and it actually made sense once I gathered it. Let me lay it out so not to confuse as I was; hell, I may still confuse

    What causes trauma? One thing is thinking death is imminent. You think you are about to die. Truly die.

    Now we know anniversaries can cause flashbacks, panic, nightmares, all the goodies and again you think you are dying. No doubt you think you are.

    Now your body is reliving all that because of that initial past but when it happens one or two anniversaries before you learn it is an actual anniversary and know you have PTSD what has happened? The "breakdown" and the intense panic attacks that you think you are dying from and not a doctor one thinks you are... That in itself is trauma. So now you have an additional trauma. You never knew you had ptsd, your ptsd flaring up years later can be another trauma all in itself if you never knew you had it and bottomed out.

    You are in your mind faced again with death and not knowing at the time there is reason for it.

    But being prepared and knowing it should not be so hard as now you know beforehand what your body is expecting and most important why. Still working on that but it never dawned on me my break downs before I knew I had this could be in them self trauma.

    I found this quite intriguing. And in a million years would not have thought that. I am starting to like a therapist with PTSD.

    Any input? i would like to hear others' ideas on this.
     
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  3. Monarch

    Monarch I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    I agree, I have nightmares about my suicide attempt I didn't know what was going on, I didn't know what PTSD was I was having panic attacks all day, one right after another and covering them up from everyone. I sometimes have flashbacks about the whole situation, that is why I am writing about it in my diary here, maybe that will help.

    Does anyone else get pissed at their therapist though? He and I had words last weekend during our session and I ended up leaving and being pissed off for the whole day. We were talking about anger which is a touchy subject but then I was looking at him and all I saw was my dad berating me and telling me I was worthless, I literally heard that and felt it and I exploded. Sorry didn't want to hijack your thread it just seemed like a good place to ask this question.
     
  4. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Maybe you need to look for a female (but not to knock women but most are bunk in my experience and a good female is hard to find but a jewel when you do) and ask him for a referral. He is triggering you and hence you are doing a form of exposure therapy you may not be ready for.

    I have had to face my anger but my doctor before the move was trained for as long as I have been alive to defuse people.

    And I do not believe there is such a thing as threadjacking... People don't seem to get a thread should open up new ideas and feelings; issues. Once it is sparked run with it and let it out. That is how we heal.

    I have had a panic attack in office and she shuts the lights low to calm me before every session as for some reason the bright doctor office lights mess me up (keeps a dim lamp on) and we have been in the floor while she talks me down and does yoga then we go on to therapy. She is not the typical therapist. But I went through a few.

    She is even making me a tape since she has such a calming effect on me to meditate to. Her voice on her own time to try to help me rid myself of shame. These people are very hard to come by I know but they are out there. You can find one I am sure with time.

    I did get where I could not speak to my old doc once as he tried to get me to do a form of meditation. He told me I need to fantasize. His mess up he said even if it was sexual if it made me feel better do it. OK, I was abused for so long how in the heal would that type help? Just hearing him say it left me out of whack.

    From my experience find someone who is trained to not openly trigger before ready.
     
  5. Monarch

    Monarch I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Thanks veiled, I don't see me leaving my therapist, I can't see a woman therp. there is a huge trust issue there, I am not to the point of trusting another woman with that much. It is a form of father transferance, it doesn't just happen with him it happens with any man that has power over me in some way, my boss, pastor, etc...I have to figure this one out, it is very wierd. I have been with my therp. for a year now, we have done way too much work to give up on it. Thanks for the advice though, I will keep it in my back pocket.

    Monica
     
  6. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Veiled, what your talking about is exactly what causes PTSD in the first place, continuous traumatic thoughts, panic, living a life in hidden panic basically. This is how we get PTSD to begin with, because what starts out as a traumatic event, begins to build inside us, we manifest that one traumatic event into all the "what ifs" and then panic over those thoughts, and the list goes on.

    What your describing is not new, it is what factually happens to cause PTSD the majority of the time.
     
  7. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    See we can always learn something as it seemed to me it was the trauma that caused it, never thought of it as my later physical/mental/emotional reactions being what causes it.
     
  8. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Well, the other side of the fence basically, those that sufferers often despise for not getting PTSD when suffering trauma, are those that think completely differently about the impact of that trauma upon themselves, ie. they truly can discard it as part of life, they deal with it at the time in their way properly for their mind, etc etc... we manifest the trauma with more issues, thus retraumatizing ourselves over and over basically...
     
  9. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    I am trying right now for here and now to realize it is just my mind (unconscious) and body recalling the past. It is still a hard ride and having panic attacks but I think I am in a better place this round. Not in ER!

    Hubs has been good at telling me this is my mind taking over and let it go with it. I am trying to go with the flow. Not easy but so far not as bad. Just insomnia, nightmares, and a few panic attacks though anxiety is non stop. But that is still a lot better than the last couple summers!
     
  10. Mary

    Mary Active Member

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    Reframing my experience with panic attacks helped me turn my life around. Because of the different natures of different parts of our brains (some parts have language, some do not, all are engaged in this painful brain experience), I used both language (changing thoughts) and sensory (grounding) approaches.

    Verbal/intellectual thoughts that helped me:
    - panic attacks are a thing that I feel happening. They are not part of me. They are an uncomfortable experience that my body moves through, separate from my true Self.
    - panic attacks are wrong about me being in danger. I can learn, gently, slowly not to be convinced and feed that terror. Rather, I will learn to mitigate getting stimulated into them, and when I am unable to head them off, I will observe them, mitigate the effects, and watch them pass without judgement on them or myself. This helped get me started in this (if you want, click through the links): http://www.paniccure.com/approaches/cbt/Intro_to_CBT.htm

    But then I had to engage the part of my brain that has no language--the bit that also is in charge of fight or flight, and which seems to hold the trauma. This is where physical grounding came in handy.
    - if anticipated as likely to go into panic, I would sing a mantra to myself (not in a language I know, so as not to cue the verbal part of my brain) that I meditated on (singing out loud) ahead of time for many hours over many days beforehand-- this nonverbally cues the brain into a calm, centered state and has successfully deeply grounded me before exposure to a known stressor/panic attack cue.
    - if caught very early, a deep belly breath or two
    - if caught early, snapping my fingers near my eyes a few times
    - if unexpected and totally caught off guard, a trusted friend who, knowing the signs, would hold my hand gently but firmly and have me look at their eyes, bringing me back into my body (It helps to have many friends who are not scared by my panic, as panic can feed panic).

    Different people will find different grounding techniques. I am very intellectual/verbal-oriented, and really started to see
    progress when I added in the nonverbal grounding cues. I had to address all parts of the brain.

    Mary
     
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