Wednesday, December 1, 2010

[Article Blog] Panic Attacks

I've just read about some of the most common symptoms of panic attacks, and found myself intrigued because used to experience all of them, but no longer experience any of them.

  • Rapid heart beat, pounding heart or palpitations

I experienced this frequently between the ages of eight and sixteen.

  • Excessive or inappropriate sweating

I experienced this frequently as far back as I can remember (around six years old is as far as I recall well) until the age of nineteen.

  • Shaking visibly or inside

I experienced this often throughout my life, but the most often was between the ages of nine and fifteen.

  • Choking sensations or lump in throat (Globus Hystericus)

I experienced this a lot in my life, but mostly between the ages of eight and fifteen.

  • Smothering or shortness of breath sensations

I experienced this very often between the ages of seven and seventeen.

  • Chest pains

I experienced chest pains on a nearly daily basis from the age of nine to fifteen, and around twice a week from sixteen to eighteen, and around monthly at the age of nineteen and twenty.

  • Nausea, bloating, indigestion or abdominal discomfort

I felt this on a daily basis from the age of fifteen to seventeen, and on and off between the ages of eighteen and twenty.

  • Dizziness or unsteadiness

I experienced this nearly constantly from the age of eight and twelve, and quite frequently from thirteen to seventeen, and every now and then at eighteen.

  • Feeling light-headed

The sensation of being light-headed was nearly constant for various smatterings of time ranging from a week to a few months at a time throughout the ages of nine to sixteen.

  • De-realization (feeling unreal or dreamy)

I felt this so often from six years old to twelve that both my parents and my teachers seriously wondered if I was all there. It was speculated that I my have an autism-spectrum disorder, or some other learning disability or handicap.

  • Depersonalization (feeling outside yourself or like you don't exist)

I felt this especially intensely from nine to thirteen and from fifteen to sixteen.

  • Fear of losing control or going crazy

I had an acute fear that I was losing my mind from nine to eleven. This makes perfect sense when you consider everything else I experienced during this time period. I began to come out of that at the age of eleven (ironically) because of a guy I met online (twenty years older than myself) who I began to have a several-hour long weekly conversation with. Having an adult to consult with who was outside of the situation, who was my friend (and not my teacher or parent) and who I could have innocent fantasies about, to confide in helped me pull out of my suicidal tendencies. Counselors, teachers, and family just couldn't pull me out of it.

  • Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) in face, extremities or body

This was frequent in my feet from before I can remember until the age of fifteen.

  • Chills or hot flushes

I had chills and flushes of heat frequently, but it's hard to say that these were not confined to times when I was most certainly ill or not, since I was ill so often.

  • Skin losing color

It was often remarked that I looked "pale" or "sick" or "pasty" by teachers, family and 'friends' up until the age of seventeen.

  • Blushing or skin blotches

This occurred often from the age of ten to thirteen.

  • Urgently needing to urinate or defecate

This was very common for me throughout my life, and I didn't have much control over it (despite trying to hold it as long as I could many, many times to help 'enlarge my bladder') until the age of nineteen or twenty. Although this one I still moderately experience to some degree, it's no where near to the degree I used to.

  • Inappropriate/Disturbed thoughts

Disturbed just doesn't cover it. My thoughts were morbid and obscene and frightening and often entirely out of control from the age of nine to fifteen, and often disturbed before and after, even if not to the same degree. Sometimes, on rare occasion, I now have a bout of 'disturbed thoughts' but they are not very intense and my newest treatment for them (raw chocolate banana pudding with no added sweeter whatsoever) is highly effective.

  • Muscle pain, especially in neck or shoulders

This began in earnest when I was in eleven, and didn't improve at all until I was nineteen.

I'm curious as to whether or not there has ever been a connection drawn between diet and panic attacks before.

These symptoms were often in combination with "stitches" in my side (sharp pains running through the sides, somewhat forward from the direct middle of my sides).

When I told my mom about some of these symptoms she became very concerned. I told her about it at length at the age of nine, I believe. She told me that chest pains could be very serious, and that if I ever felt them I should sit down immediately and calm my breathing. She told me that if I didn't, it was possible that I could die (depending, of course, on what the pains meant.)

I grew up believing more and more firmly that I had a serious disease that I would die from at a young age. Around the age of eleven my mom began to suspect I had lupus, but the doctors wouldn't credit her theory.

At the age of sixteen I told my mother that I didn't really believe I'd live past the age of twenty-seven. The number "felt like" it had "significance," and I believed that feeling meant I would die at that age. Secretly I hoped that meant that I would find prince charming at that age, because after-all, that would be a much more enjoyable outcome even it meant waiting so many years for it to happen.

As it turns out, when I began to change my diet at the age of sixteen many of the symptoms began to go away. The dizziness came less often, and the splitting headaches began to lessen, the side pains lessened.

I became encouraged to do more food research to see if I could eliminate some of my symptoms. Today, after six years of altering my diet in stages (based on more and more continual research on a nearly daily basis for several of those years), I never randomly feel dizzy. My heart doesn't just begin to hurt out of no where anymore. I don't suddenly feel like I can't breath anymore. As well as many other issues I used to have dissipating.

This leads me to believe that many other people with "panic attacks" could be cured the same way I was. Through food.

If changing the diet of someone with Panic Attacks as completely as I did over the course of the past six years doesn't cure them, then -- and only then -- would I consider it something they would have to permanently live with.

Although, if it were me, I'd still keep searching for an answer through exercise, food and mental/emotional techniques.

To read more about the horrifying chronic illnesses I had throughout my life, and how I recovered from them, click here.

On a related note, something else that has helped me besides diet is an excellent book I read, The Art of Happiness. I wrote a blog entry about that. Click here to read it.



  1. Yes, I have reached the same conclusion; I have had much more success in the past two years with diet change, than I ever did in 7 years of trying various medications for anxiety & panic attacks. It's truly a shame doctors don't know about this! (And some don't even believe it when they are told.)

  2. @Pixx -- Indeed! Doctors can be such knuckle-heads about the effects of food even though they know we're making millions of cells each hour and that those cells can only be made up of what we eat.


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