Insomnia induced Panic attacks & Anxiety - and how it stopped
First of all I would like to say a big thank you to Beyond Blue as it has helped me immensely over the past few weeks, including talking to people in the middle of the night on the phone service. I also found a lot of comfort in reading all of the posts in these forums and seeing the support and understanding that happens here.
My story occurred over a very brief period of time and has made me feel like a 'tourist' in this experience of panic attacks and anxiety (hence my user name). I caught the flu about a month ago and was actually sicker than I thought and due to the symptoms only slept a few hours a night for about 4-5 days.
As I live alone and have secure work with sick leave entitlements I just did the usual things and thought Id be able to ride it out. And then I didn't sleep at all for one night. This is when the anxiety and fears of not sleeping began to happen. The fear of the fear of not sleeping then caused me to not sleep for another two nights at all and I started experiencing what has since been diagnosed as constant panic attacks and a severe anxiety disorder on and off for almost 4 days. I thought I was going mad and losing my mind.
A visit to my trusted GP resulted in some medication being prescribed and a relative travelled from interstate to stay with me. The panic attacks slowed but the constant 24/7 anxiety symptoms remained and I thought my life was over. I couldn't stop it happening as much I fought it with breathing techniques, distractions, etc.
However at 3 in the morning one day when I awoke in fright I was reading the forums here and saw someone mention Dr Harry Barry and Claire Weekes. I watched Dr Barrys 13 minute video called 'Dr Harry Barry: Overcoming Panic Attacks' and followed the advice to not fight the panic attack- but let the symptoms flood over me. I was back asleep 30 minutes later.
I used his techniques over the next 3 days (and the very similar approaches by Claire Weekes) and have now had 2 days of 'normality' and excellent sleep and am starting to wean off the medication. Its early days but this seems to have worked well for me. I will continue to also have some counselling, but as a 'circuit breaker' and a potentially long term management technique this has given my life back after only a month when I thought it was all over.
I'm not a doctor, but wanted to provide my story to help others, just as all of your stories helped me when I needed it at my darkest moments. Thank you all!
Thank you for sharing your experience. The forums are a place to share and help others, I'm glad that Beyond Blue was able to help you and it's very considerate of you to share your story to help others!
I often struggle to sleep when I'm stressed and then spend the days worrying about whether I'll be able to get to sleep the next night, so I can understand why you felt like you were going mad. Visiting your GP was a great idea. For me, speaking to my psychologist has helped me understand why I get so anxious. I'm keen to watch the video you have recommended the next time I'm struggling to sleep.
Your story has provided me and surely will provide many others with hope. I hope your excellent sleep continues.