Soooo I came home from work and had my 1st panic attack.... | allnurses

Soooo I came home from work and had my 1st panic attack....

  1. 0 I had generalized anxiety for a few days after that. My doctor gave me a script for clonazepam low dose prn. The general anxiety is under control, but the days I have to go to work...just preparing and getting dressed gets me anxious. Side note: since the panic attack, my blood pressure will shoot up to 150/108 while at work, away from work it's fine.....anyone have this experience and know any coping skills?

    It's not an easy place to work as far as patient load, etc. also I think a lot of it just has to do with pressure to get my meds passed on time and take my vitals, etc. Yes, total care.
  2. 16 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  virgo,student nurse profile page
    I had the same exact problem. I learned through counseling to be able to shut out some of the distractions, and concentrate on the task at hand. It takes some time, but it does get better. A lose dose of Ativan has worked for when I really feel overwhelmed. Good Luck.
  4. Visit  OttawaRPN profile page
    Benzos will help with the symptoms but not with the underlying problem. Is it just work that has you stressed out, or life in general? Do you have a good balance b/t work, play, and downtime? What about family support? Are you eating well and exercising? What about therapy to work through any personal issues?

    It's hard to take care of other people, when you're not taking care of you. If it's strictly work related, might be time to explore other avenues.
    VivaLasViejas, elkpark, and prmenrs like this.
  5. Visit  itsmejuli profile page
    I've also had my fair share of anxiety and panic attacks. Here's some methods I use to control my anxiety.

    Learn to recognize when you're feeling anxious. Identify the feelings, sense the trigger, and then breathe. Deep breathe, concentrate on your stomach moving in and out...breathe. Many times when we're anxious we start taking shallow breaths and make ourselves a bit light headed. Concentrate on breathing deeply and slowly to make this feeling go away.

    I also listen to music in the car and at home. I have my very favorite cd that I put on when I need to relax. I know every word to every song on that cd. I sing my heart out in the car. This helps me to relax my thoughts and to breathe.

    If you have insurance to cover therapy, do it. Over the years I've been to a few therapists for different issues, some are better than others.

    The worst mistake I made was years ago getting on an SSRI and a benzo. The SSRI did nothing to help me and the benzo is "habit forming". It took me over a year to get back to my normal self after getting off the SSRI. The benzo I developed a psychological dependence on. I'm still in the process of fighting that battle.
    DizzyLizzyNurse likes this.
  6. Visit  classicdame profile page
    take advantage of employee assistance program if offered thru your medical insurance. Sometimes you just have to vent. I got some good tips from the chaplain who had worked with the army in Iraq. Trauma is trauma he says. Good luck.
  7. Visit  RevolutioN2013 profile page
    I had anxiety issues post-partum and my psychologist gave me this tip to help get through them - couldnt' take meds because I was nursing...
    You know how when you're freaking out your mind seems to run and run in faster and tighter circles until it's like brain overload? Well what she told me to do, and I SWEAR to you that it does work, is take a book and start reading out loud. Doesn't matter what kind of book, magazine, whatever, but start reading out loud. I don't exactly understand the mechanism that makes this work, but essentially, your mind can't run in circles when you are both reading and speaking what you are reading. Maybe carry a tiny little book - a bible if you are religious? - in your scrubs pocket and if you start to feel that feeling coming on just take yourself off for a moment and read aloud until you've settled back down. The other thing she told me to do is to learn to recognize the trigger. She had me do the reading thing and then sit down and figure out right then and there was I was actually doing when the anxiety came on. Was it a specific activity that brought on the anxiety? Was it thinking about something that brought it on? Once I identified the trigger she had me talk about WHY that particular activity or thought would make me anxious. So let's say my infant daughter started coughing and that freaked me out. Why did it freak me out? Am I afraid she's going to stop breathing? How likely is that to happen? What is my plan if it does happen? Going through the thought process helped me calm down, be rational, and get past the feelings.
    Good luck to you!
    elkpark, VivaLasViejas, kessadawn, and 1 other like this.
  8. Visit  SlightlyMental_RN profile page
    The biggest help for me has been to master time management skills. I religiously use a time grid, and chart as I go, so as to not have the anxiety of everything piling up on me last minute. If I keep myself organized, the anxiety just isn't as bad. On the ride home, have good music to sing along to and allow you to leave work at work. Indulge yourself in bubble baths and other self-care items. Good luck, hon.
  9. Visit  Kitty Hawk profile page
    Yes, and mine were work related b/c I'm not experiencing them now. Since I've switched units, it's turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise. I'm lighter, laugh more with the patients...completely different. I was getting panic attacks on my own time, in malls.

    I started to get periods of vision going fuzzy and getting black around the peripheral and that "doom" feeling. I started to cry before I left the house not wanting to stop hugging my husband goodbye. I had attacks while driving where it felt that I was losing it and was going to pass out and I had them w/increasing frequency. So basically I was killing myself for somewhere that was making me miserable but I was determined to succeed. I'm seriously glad now things turned out a different way.

    I learned the "call panics bluff method" supposedley you cannot have a panic attack and faint b/c you're bp is supposedly high during an attack. I wouldn't know that, I've never seen mine abnormal and shockingly, I have really good bp. The theory is once you realize you can't drop dead or faint it will give a sense of calm. I'm not so sure about that, and you sure can't do that in traffic!

    The thing that helped me the most was in a book called Don't Panic, and it talked about allowing your brain to relearn not to panic in certain situations. For example if something starts to freak you out ask yourself what is about the situation that's causing the discomfort? Tell yourself it's okay to feel that way for kind to yourself that everything will be okay and eventually you retrain your brain to not go from 0 to 60 in panic mode. Right now that's all it knows, situation is rapidly seen and interpretted and then knee/jerk...panic follows. There's no pause to assess what's really going on.

    I don't take meds either. I just don't want them for myself I do take a natural supplement L-theanine that works for me..others may need meds, nothing wrong with that, the important thing is to find something that works so you're not wrecking havoc on your body.
  10. Visit  artistnurse profile page
    Thanks everyone for all the suggestions! I'll try all of these. Glad to know it's just not me and I'm not going crazy. I think it's just the patient load and making sure everything gets done on time, and I start thinking about that even before I leave my house to go to work. Thank you all.
  11. Visit  RevolutioN2013 profile page
    Please let me know if the reading aloud thing helps you!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  12. Visit  kessadawn profile page
    I have had problems with panic attacks and anxiety as well. I have tried meds, which did help a little, but they also made me very drowsy, and as a nightshifter with over an hour commute, well, that was just dangerous, I had to come off the med. So I have had to learn other coping mechanisms, deep breathing, identifying my triggers and avoiding those situations if possible. A good deal of my anxiety was not work related to start, but would leach it's way in during a crazy shift as I was already anxious when I got there. One of the biggest things that has helped is the fact that I work with a very close-knit group, and I know I can depend on them if I feel like I'm getting overwhelmed. I still have my days, but I know I need to stay in focus. I'm a big advocate of therapy, it's amazing what could be causing your anxiety that you don't even realize until you talk it out with someone, especially someone you know is completely unbiased and is there to help you figure it out.

    I wish you the best, anxiety is a difficult thing to work through, but IT CAN BE DONE!
  13. Visit  Blackheartednurse profile page
    yep,I started to suffer from them I arleady had 3 but I dont take meds for them-the third one happend at work while I was giving a shot!! I felt like I was choking and I swear I though I was going to l pass out and die,I barely could hear people's voices,everything was so distant,it was really scary...
  14. Visit  nursel56 profile page
    The most helpful book I've ever read on this subject is Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes. It's not new, and it doesn't use the most current DSM-IV terminology, but it's easy to read and simple to understand. Basically it's sort of a "self-talk" as mentioned by a previous poster in reference to a different program. Her approach is to break the panic attack cycle by training yourself not to freak out if you feel the symptoms starting.

    For me, talk therapy and/or pharmaceuticals weren't the ultimate answer for day to day use because for me, I think my brain was wired that way, and my mom had the same problem. Everyone is different, even in anxiety disorders.

    It's always a good idea to go easy on the caffeine, don't let yourself get prone to crashing blood sugar because for me hypoglycemia alone could cause my "trigger" to get a lot more sensitive. Some OTC decongestants can increase susceptibility, too.

    As someone else mentioned, plan your time so you have less reason to run around like a crazyperson, thinking omg no gas! OMG! I'm going to be late! I found it helpful to get to work a bit early to calm and focus myself.

    If it helps at all to hear this, I'll throw this out, most nurses with anxiety issues are also high performers and dot all their "i's" and cross all our "t's". Sure our motive may be sort of OCD and fear of getting fired but it's true just the same! Best wishes.
    jrwest and surferbettycrocker like this.