You're always fine

From sudden panic to relentless worry

September 26, 2023 Even Health Season 1 Episode 7
You're always fine
From sudden panic to relentless worry
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever Have your heart race, palms sweat, and a sensation of impending doom wash over you for what seems like no reason? Well, that's our topic for today - the often bewildering realm of panic attacks, their unexpected nature, and their notable differences from anxiety attacks. We share firsthand experiences of these unsettling episodes, including a recent experience of our own Lauren. We shed light on the physical and emotional turmoil accompanying these attacks and provide insights into effective coping mechanisms.
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Live group recommendation based on this episode:

How to overcome anxious thoughts

Date: 9/27/23   Time: 5pm est

Description: Worrying and anxious thoughts can have the ability to control our entire day and consume us. 

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Cabana content recommendations based on this episode:

This week’s source notes:
Anxiety versus panic attacks
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4451-panic-attack-panic-disorder Understanding anxious conditions
https://www.talkspace.com/mental-health/conditions/articles/anxiety-attack-vs-panic-attack-one/
Anxiety and panic attacks how they differ https://www.verywellmind.com/anxiety-attacks-versus-panic-attacks-2584396

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Speaker 1:

Welcome back to You're Always Fine a space to show up for yourself and embrace the mess that lives underneath. Because, let's be real, it's exhausting always being fine. So grab your headphones and allow yourself to listen, laugh and even cry, because you are not alone. And we aren't always fine, and that's okay.

Speaker 2:

Welcome back. I'm your host, Christine, and I'm Lauren. Today we are diving into the world of worry.

Speaker 3:

Let's get started.

Speaker 2:

I am someone who suffers with anxiety but I've actually never had a panic attack. Plenty of anxiety attacks, but never a panic attack. So let's quickly go over the differences because I know, Lauren, you just had an experience that we're going to kind of go over and it made me realize like wow, I've actually never had a full on panic attack on these spirals of anxiety. So panic attacks can come on out of the blue, while in anxiety attacks usually get triggered by like a stimulus or like a gradual build. So like the time difference there is really really big. It kind of promotes the fight or flight response and takes over in a panic attack and physical symptoms are usually much more intense than in its counterpart anxiety attacks. You know, I think correct me if I'm wrong, Lauren, but there's the like going down the arm right, Like it mimics like almost a heart attack and panic attacks, and I know that that's not something anxiety attacks do.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, you can definitely have some symptoms with an anxiety attack, but usually, just like you said, like the physical symptoms are more intense, usually in a panic attack.

Speaker 2:

Anxiety attacks usually bring about that de-realization, the detachment with the surroundings, and the de-personalization, the detachment from one yourself, feeling like you're going to die. I feel like you're losing control. Yes, oh, 100%. So I want to kick it back to you because when we were thinking of a topic for this week's episode, you know you're like I think I have a great one, so why don't you tell everyone what happened?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, a couple of weeks ago I had a panic attack and I do suffer from anxiety and that worrisome mindset. Sadly, over the years I know it's gotten a little worse. I'm not at the point where I mean I've been open with therapists in the past. My first one, when I started, you know, really intensive therapy, not so much for anxiety, but we did address that. She asked me after about a year, you know, if I thought you know that I needed medication. You know she knows I'm a nurse and was like what do you think? And I at that time I said you know, I don't think I'm needing medication right now. I'm still able to, you know, function through my day. And my current therapist, you know, when I addressed anxiety before my panic attack, you know, he asked me the same thing, you know, and I don't. I would like to think, and I don't think that they were asking because they were getting trying to get me to accept like you need medication. You know it's a, it's a open dialogue you know that you have with your patients. And so again I said you know, I don't think I'm at the point where I need medication. And so two weeks ago, you know, I started, I had gone out with friends you know was having a great time and got home, hopped on a FaceTime call with my sister. We were laughing about stupid things and I was starting to wind down for bed and you know, at first it was just kind of like thoughts started racing. You know, I'll be very candid. I am going well, as of today, I just finalized my divorce, so that is a positive for that.

Speaker 2:

I just want you to know that you have a whole family here that supports you.

Speaker 3:

I appreciate that.

Speaker 2:

So, living in a foreign country, you know, immigrating essentially by myself and then getting a divorce, I'm not sure our listeners even know where you're actually podcasting from, so can you give them a little backtrack on that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, of course. So I immigrated to Portugal Porto, portugal a year ago and didn't do it with the help of an immigration lawyer, didn't do anything other than just rabbit hole research is what I like to call it and just put everything together and immigrated successfully and got integrated in health systems, social security systems, everything. I am essentially a temporary resident. I have my equivalent of a green card here in Portugal. I mean a lot of things that just when you're in survival mode, you don't really get to process them Because again, when you're in that fight or flight survival mode, my mode is okay, suppress it down, push, push through and move on. Deal with the feelings later. So imagine my surprise when, about a year later of just you know, I call it my bullshit year. Still lots of growth and lots of ups and downs and twists and turns, but I'm like Elton John said I'm still standing.

Speaker 2:

Was that Friday? You're a came crashing down kind of thing.

Speaker 3:

That Friday, though, it was like doom and gloom, death metal. And so, again, imagine my surprise when I thought, okay, I'm kind of over the hump, I'm settled, you know, for the most part, but those racing thoughts started, and really what it started with was like holy shit, I think I'm alone, I'm about to be alone, and I don't mean alone in the sense where I didn't feel like I didn't have people to turn to. It's just there's, it's me, it's all me. All the years of just not dealing with the things that I needed to deal with and confront are now. It's like, well, you have no other choice. And so those racing thoughts, and then my heart started racing and I thought, okay, it's just because I'm working myself up. So I utilized the things that we talked about, you know, in some of our sessions, where it's just like, okay, let's just do some deep breathing, you know, let's, let's turn on the lights, maybe not be in the dark, and start. You know, looking at five things, I can touch four things. I can, you know, see three things I can smell. It wasn't working. And then I really started like override at that at that time, and I really I started almost hyperventilating. My heart was now really like beating and a nurse. You know, I'm trying to also assess myself while I'm having a panic attack and I even outwardly said to myself in that moment I said, lauren, you are going to have a panic attack. You are in a safe place, you have a hospital literally right across the street. So if you really are thinking you're gonna have a heart attack, one, your healthcare is free. Two, like you could walk yourself right over to the ER if you needed to. That wasn't good enough. So I at that point I was like okay, I need to talk to somebody. So this is, you know, 1.30 in the morning, which Europeans tend to go to bed late anyway, but I'm friends primarily with a lot of American immigrants. They all got bedtimes. So I started frantically dialing through, like recent people that I had just either seen, texted, talked to, like quick dial. You know. I went through about four people and then finally shout out to Delany for picking up the phone because she's got weird bedtimes. And she even answered the phone because everybody jokes I have an old lady bedtime. I'm usually like all right, everybody, I'm out, 11 pm time for me to go wind down. So she answered the phone. She's like hello, is this a butt dial? Like shouldn't you be asleep? And I immediately just blurted out in my shaky voice. I said I'm having a panic attack, I just need you to stay on the phone with me. Luckily, she's an ICU nurse, so that was also like really like serendipitous that she was the one that happened to call or to pick up. And I'll tell you, it's really, when you're a person who's used to taking things on yourself and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and being independent, it's humiliating to ask for help in a vulnerable moment to people that you don't know that well. But I'm so glad I did. I'm so glad I did because my options were to remain in this like panicked state and letting my humility override or saying that's so silly. Like you have people, let people help you, let them show you that they can be there for you, and I, you know. So I stayed on the phone with her for about an hour and a half. I quite frankly sorry, delany, I don't really remember all of what we talked about, but she made me laugh and giggle a couple of times. She told me some you know really funny stories. I do remember that. She told me about some of her own. You know experiences with anxiety. Through the conversation I was still assessing myself because then the chills that was new to me, like the chills started, like I was like shaking and I really did. At one point I think I even said like I just feel like I'm gonna die, and she was like that's usually, unfortunately, kind of a normal feeling with panic attacks, but it was so new to me that you know when you're in that moment and it is, it's scary. So I share this with our listeners because, one, if you've never had a panic attack and you find yourself in the throes of one, hopefully this will help. But two, also, like for anybody that has suffered from anxiety and just having those physical symptoms it's a doozy, it's not fun. But if you have like, use them, because it made me feel a lot better.

Speaker 2:

I have a few questions, lauren, so my first is do you think there's a correlation? I feel like nurses are always needed, they never need. Do you think that there's like some dynamic there that like kind of pushes that forward too, of like not wanting to reach out to your friends?

Speaker 3:

Yes, yes, 100%, because I mean I'm not saying that's like the totality of it and that's like it, but yes, I mean especially, you know, as a nurse who I would like to think I have a pretty good, solid reputation of like how I would practice and once I was taught something, once I, you know, learned some things that like I could move on and like be independent in my practice. So, yeah, I'm used to patients and coworkers even like I'm not saying I'm super nurse, but I mean like you know needing me, you know family members relying on me because of my quote, unquote strength. But when I don't feel strong, I'm like who the hell am I supposed to turn to? Like now I need somebody and I don't know what that looks like. I don't know, I'm learning. I'm learning what it is to let myself need.

Speaker 2:

Do you feel that it there's some sort of threat to your identity when you need something?

Speaker 3:

Yes, I do. I'm not a person that's used to needing anybody, anything, and I find myself in this new chapter of my life you know, as corny as that sounds, I am letting myself be okay with needing and not shying away from that. I want to lean into that more because I think for me, I think that's how you strengthen community. And, like your tribe, you know, like I want, I want to need, but I also want to still be needed, and I want my friends and my family and patients that I may come across in the future, you know I want them to feel like they can rely on me too, you know. But I also that goes both ways, you know and I want to let people continue to be there for me.

Speaker 2:

I think that's such a good point because I think that, especially with anxiety, sometimes I know for me like it can come out like a very slow and gradual thing where, next thing I know, I genuinely feel crazy because like I've lost all control of myself, yes, and then there's like that vulnerability, right, that makes me feel like when I'm then back to baseline, how is anyone going to take me seriously? I just freaked out about, like, moving a piece of furniture and like it wasn't done the way I wanted it to be done. So, like you know, but even though it wasn't just that, it was just like that was just the straw that broke the camel's back, if you will.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I definitely relate to that. I mean, I also am a person who you know I know we talked about this last episode but just like still lives in this unrealistic realm that thinks she has a special and perfection. You know, and it's oh, things just come crashing down and you know it's like you and I have talked about Christine. You know it's like embracing that mess. I mean, it's one of the opening things we've said about our podcast. You know, like embracing that mess because it will sort itself out whether you're able to do it on your own or you have other people singing the cleanup song with you. You know.

Speaker 2:

I love Jeff Barney, clean, clean up, clean up. I find myself, even at work, it's like when I don't know something or I don't whatever. It's like I want to do all the research and I want to make everything into a perfect bow because I don't want anyone to, I don't know, like find out that I have weakness, and I think that that's part of that. Anxiety for me, you know, is just like not having it all together, whatever the heck together is.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, exactly, I'm, I'm. I was joking with my sister and I said you know, like, okay, I'm almost 40, like, and it's not because I'm like I don't want to age. No, I look forward to getting older, I do, um. What I don't look forward to is, you know, not being able or capable, whether that's physically, emotionally, mentally. I want to, like, build this fortress around each of those facets of my life so that, when I do get to a point where I can't any more, like, move or whatever, you know that I, that I at least, have built up that fortress within myself where I'm, like, you know, self soothing, acceptance, um, you know, and and getting to, you know, getting over another hump.

Speaker 2:

You know it's so funny though I think that just everything you said was things that like self soothing, self this, but sometimes self soothing self care is also, you know, inviting other people into that space. Yes, the hard part is knowing when you have to self soothe and when self soothing and self care and everything is Bringing on. A good example is my anxiety around asking you to reschedule. I think we've rescheduled this like three times to record this episode said like, and every time it was so hard for me to be like I don't think I can get on the mic today, I don't think you know, but like that was part of right, like that growing and sharing, but anxiety around having to tell you that I couldn't do something and I wasn't capable of all things was terrifying.

Speaker 3:

I'm sure, and I mean I'm when. I'm just glad that that you did share that with me. You know that you were like look, I'm not at a hundred percent. You know, I value that. I. I Value people that are vulnerable like that, because it it lets me know. Hey, you know what. This is, a person that I can probably share some of my vulnerabilities with, and that's a beautiful thing, you know it's almost like modeling it, you know yeah.

Speaker 2:

But you know, lauren, I were able to do for you all today was to model that. You know. Own every little piece about you, every anxious piece about you, every worry that you have, because you are not at all alone. So until next time, guys, mind your health. Seriously, you're fine. You're fine because you have the power to access your place of peace anytime you need it. However, if you get stuck or right at the palm of your hand to help Check out our show notes for this week's source list, recommended content and cabana live group schedule, we'll catch you next week for a brand new episode of you're always fine.

Exploring Panic Attacks
Importance of Needing and Being Needed
Accessing Peace for Better Health