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Anyone Dealt With Spouse With Panic Attacks/anxiety?

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Posted November 26, 2013 - 03:52 PM

So, long story short.

My wife was on Lexapro, I mild anxiety med for about 6 yrs, mainly to take edge off work related stress and to deal with the monthly hormne swings. She had complete hysterectomy Dec last year so figured, no more hormones, she wouldn't need the Lexapro so her and doctor weaned her off this past March/April.

Now to 3 weeks ago....oh my gosh, I am so hating the ER dept. We have been to the ER 3 times in the last 2 1/2 weeks due to high heart rate, high blood pressure, nasusea, sweats, and this morning her BP was 170/110. They put her back on Lexapro a few weeks ago, but takes 4-6 weeks to really feel effects adn take off the edge. Bad part is, I can see her doing this to herself. She gets some thought in her head, then she worries, next thing she is checking pulse, the she gets flushed/nauseated, then her BP shoots up, chest pains, on & on. She realizes she is doing it, but can't control it going out of control.

I don't have this problem and it's starting to stress me out. I can't keep dealing with the trips to ER and I have to walk on eggshells, I have basically stopped talking much around her as I'm afraid something I say will set her into another panic attack. She has low self esteem and I talk a lot in Sarcasim  :D  so doesn't take much from me. She is doing it to herself and I just want to say suck it up and get on with it, but know I can't.

She did finally talk to a great ER doc who actually told her the effects of the drugs she has been taking, how they work, how her body would react, etc. I think this really helped her more than anything so far. He also suggested she learn some self relaxing techniques. I told her she needs to get up off the couch and do some activity to take her mind off of things....house cleaning would be a good start :thumbs:


Well, thanks for reading, just needed to vent to someone since I can't much talk to her right now.

Struggliing dealing with it. They change meds this morning in ER, hopefully this will help this time.



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#2 LilysDad ONLINE  


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Posted November 26, 2013 - 04:00 PM

I have depression which is not the same thing, but you have to understand this isn't something she can "just snap out of". Sarcasm is not a coping tool. The counseling is a good thing and something she may wish to continue.

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#3 PappyH OFFLINE  


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Posted November 26, 2013 - 04:25 PM

Tahoe... I have dealt with anxiety attacks for years and believe me you are so in the wrong on this.  It is a real disease and very hard to treat.  She needs meds and counseling to help her manage it as well as lots of help from you and friends and family.  Please don't get discouraged this can be treated.  I have gone almost six months since my last attack and it feels great.   Bryan

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#4 shorty ONLINE  



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Posted November 26, 2013 - 04:29 PM

I feel for you,I have been dealing with this for several years. It is hard to always be walking on eggshells. My wife was laid up with a DVT when it started. She became very dependant and didn't even want to be home by herself. Little things always got her started worrying and it would go downhill from there. Like you said, high BP and various other things go with it. She has tried different meds without much better luck. What has helped the most, was starting to get counseling from church. It is much better now. But it feels like it could burst out again at any unknown time.

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#5 Talntedmrgreen OFFLINE  


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Posted November 26, 2013 - 04:41 PM

My mother in law suffers badly from this...to the point now where she rarely leaves her house, even to walk the dog.  If she tries a trip to church or the grocery store, an attack occurs, and someone ends up calling an ambulance, mistaking the episode for a seizure.  She has had several incidents at home which resulted in injury, and one that left her with head trauma after a fall in the kitchen due to a sudden attack...Dr's said she had been 'out' for no less than 36 hours when we found her on the floor with a black and blue, swollen face.


It's the real deal....I'm no fan of meds for this and that, and half the time I have to wonder if the managerie of medication she plays in, is the cause and not the cure for her distress.  She's on a seudo suicide watch now...an effort between my wife and I, her mother's neighbors and friends, and a church group.  We're convinced she tried it once, but failed. 


She has spent months in in-patient therapy, in MN and in WA DC.  That helps her work through episodes, but they are 10X more frequent now than they were a decade ago when she was treated.  She will not see a therepist on an ongoing basis, and that's the one thing I think would really help. 


I feel for ya man, and hope you guys are able to work through this successfully.  It's a real witch.

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#6 HDWildBill OFFLINE  


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Posted November 26, 2013 - 04:58 PM

Everyone above is right.  Sarcasm is not going to help and in fact make matters worse.  Like Taintedmrgreen, I'm no fan of med's and I sometimes think they just treat the symptoms instead of the cause.  Find a therapist that your wife can relate to and that she can respect and that he/she will also respect her.  Our daughter deals with anxeity attacks and for a while it got to be pretty bad.  She has since found a therapist that doesn't delve in the past but works with her in the here and now and helps her work for the future.  It took her a very long time and I don't know how many therapist to get to this point.  Have patience with her and when you get frustrated come on here and blow off steam.

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#7 Canawler OFFLINE  



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Posted November 26, 2013 - 05:41 PM

I went through a period about 15 years ago where I was having intermittent panic attacks.  My case was odd in that I'd sometimes wake up from a sound sleep with a full blow attack.  Usually, as mentioned by everyone above, they're something that come on slowly as you're dwelling on stuff you shouldn't be.  Back at the time, I had no idea what was going on as I hadn't even heard of a panic attack.  Most of the symptoms mirror a heart attack and I had a trip or two to the ER.  I got a full heart workup and stress test and it was determined that I had no heart issues at all.  It wasn't until I heard a radio psychology show about panic attacks that I put it all together.  The doc on the show explained in detail what was happening to your body during a panic attack and what to do about it.  Once I knew how the whole process worked it was a lot easier to deal with it.


The key to dealing with a panic attack in progress is square breathing.  Google it for a lot more info, but basically, it involves inhaling to a four count, holding for a four count, exhaling to a four count, and holding for a four count.  Then keep repeating.


The idea behind it is that the physical symptoms of a panic attack can be controlled by controlling your respiration rate.  The symptoms are all the result of an increased oxygen level in your bloodstream and that's brought on by an elevated breathing rate.  A panic attack is essentially your body doing the "fight or flight" response.  The square breathing lowers your respiration rate which lowers the oxygen level which makes the heart attack-like symptoms go away.  Plus the concentration required to keep up the square breathing takes your mind off of whatever it was that started the whole process in the first place.  I admit, the first time I tried it, it was tough to keep your mind on the breathing while you feel like you're having a heart attack, and it took nearly a 1/2 hour to work.  But, it got progressively easier and it even got to the point where I could feel one coming on and nip it in the bud before anything really happened.  Eventually, knowing that there wasn't a real heart problem and knowing that the panic attacks weren't a huge deal, they kind of lost their power over me, so to speak, and completely stopped. 

Edited by Canawler, November 26, 2013 - 05:46 PM.

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#8 superaben OFFLINE  


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Posted November 26, 2013 - 05:50 PM

However you look at it, and whatever is causing it, I know it is hard on you.  We'll be praying in VA for her health, physically and mentally, and ya'll's relationship as you both work around it.  Don't let it get between you and her.


Ben W.

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Posted November 26, 2013 - 05:59 PM

My wife has dealt with depression and migraines since the birth of my middle Child 13 years ago. In spite of the pills, there are days where "napping" is the long term goal for the day. Those days are rough.

I understand the eggshell thing too. Between the headaches, depression, hormones... It took us a long time to find a birth control dosage and makeup that didnt make her Jeckyl and Hyde.

Like you, I tend to be droll when frustrated or don't understand a situation. Karen and I had a heart to heart on this. She asked that I do my best to understand and support her and she would try her best not to rip my manhood off every time I made a smart aleck remark.

I do have a question, but first some information...
About 10 years ago, my wife was taken by ambulance to the hospital with all the symptoms of a panic attack with the additional symptom of contracting and spasming muscles. This happened twice in a year. After lots of test, it ended up low potassium as a culprit.

I assume they are doing blood tests?

Thanks for knowing we would support the two of you and sharing what is going on with you guys. It is a challenging road, but Love will get you thru. Don't discount the power of talking it thru with someone... Clergy, therapy, etc... It may do everyone some good. Karen always knew I loved her, but it was comforting to her to talk about the situation and hear me say it in that context. We talked it out at home, but we (I) was seriously considering involving others.
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#10 A.C.T. OFFLINE  


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Posted November 26, 2013 - 06:30 PM

A panic attack is a terrible thing to happen to anyone. It can happen to anyone of us at any given time. You cannot just shake it off. It is usually a chemical reaction or unbalance of some kind. It does not mean you are emotionally weak


Seek medical help immediately. There are medications that can help, often within minutes. If you cant get to the hospital, I know that Benadryl can help calm you down.


Tahoe, my prayers are with you and your family. This disease is treatable and more common than you might think.

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#11 WNYTractorTinkerer ONLINE  


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Posted November 26, 2013 - 06:33 PM

So she jumps on her 'menstrual cycle' and runs your ass over!?!??!


I can relate...  My wife has been fighting menopause and a hystericalectomy but her doc forgot to put her on hormones for a couple years..  


It was like living with Sybil & her evil twin!


The anxiety just took a big jump yesterday as she got laid off 3 days before Thanksgiving along with everything else..


Patience...  Let the 'for worse' part of your marriage run it's course and be supportive of the woman you vowed to love and cherish....


Hang in there!!

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#12 robert_p43 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 26, 2013 - 07:35 PM

Good Lord, please tell me you didn't actually tell her she needs to get up off the couch and do some activity to take her mind off of things....house cleaning would be a good start.

I know what it feels like, I have one now and then while out shopping in crowds.  When it first started, I took lexapro but don't now.

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#13 Enginerod OFFLINE  



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Posted November 26, 2013 - 07:37 PM

Tahoe I feel your pain, I have been living the same thing as you for a long time. I too am a smartass and come from a family that rarely if ever even took aspirin and just "sucked it up" so my understanding of people relying on medications is limited. As of yet nothing we have tried has worked, I want my wife to try a new DR. but she refuses and this Dr. just puts her on the "latest and greatest" medication. We have recently been talking about parting ways because there seems to be no solution to the misery but we also have 2 daughters 13 and 16 to think about. I wish I could give you some magic advice but I would say you are on the right track looking into alternative medications. Sometimes it helps to hear that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. The guys on here seem pretty understanding and willing to listen. Best of luck.    Bill. 

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#14 oldedeeres ONLINE  

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Posted November 27, 2013 - 02:14 AM

This is a rough one for you, Tahoe, but just imagine what it's like for her to be trapped in there when she feels it coming on and has no weapon yet to fight it with. I know that all you can do is the best you can do, and sometimes that means just getting on here and venting your frustrations. We're hear to listen and try to help you both through this. Hang tough.
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Posted November 27, 2013 - 09:05 AM

Tough deal Tahoe. I have no advice but am a true believer that a lot of mental problems can be treated with physical work. I will pray for you and your family. I imagine it is just as hard on your kids as it is on you.

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