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jellyfish

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all, so Im new here. Will keep it brief as possible. Suffered vicious panic attacks about a year and a half ago. Constant, round the clock fear. After about 2 months I faced the fear, actually said goodbye to all my friends and family in my head before facing as was convinced panic attacks were trying to kill me. But as soon as I faced them they disintegrated, I almost laughed out loud realising it was an illusion and gradually as time passed I got back to normal.
Was fairly happy and healthy....up to 3 months ago. When one night I was eating and choked on food...couldn't get breath for ages, I think in my head I thought "its got me now". Like it was the return of the panic attacks or something...
The next day I realised i was struggling to relax when eating or even drinking. I tried not to give it the attention but it persevered. Tried drinking tea one day in work and it came out my nose and mouth, couldn't swallow properly. The first few weeks were the worst, was barely able to eat or drink. Lost a stone in weight. Tablets were out.
Gradually through forcing myself I managed to eat better but for some reason water and liquids are proving the hardest. Can follow food going down but water moves too fast, Im scared it will go the wrong way or something. So my throat kind of freezes up, it blocks it and I can only swallow successfully when I distract myself very quickly and then swallow at the same time. So I end up taking awkward gulps which are usually followed by much trembling, rapid breathing, tension etc etc but never escalates to full blown panic. It takes an hour or more to drink 4 glasses of water and then i won't go near it again for ages as I experience such intense fear around it. Barely drinking enough each day but its stressful and a struggle. Have to force myself.  
Think my main fear is of just choking here alone...my family are miles away. Also I cant for some reason eat much or drink when I'm out or around people for fear of choking in public. This is making it harder to socialise/work etc. Im reluctant/nervous to take medication for various reasons. Have tried hypnosis, eft, talk therapy, a healer, no luck yet. Suppose my question is: Has anybody ever overcome this and got back to eating /drinking normally? And how? Cant seem to let go this time..at my wits end if I'm honest, afraid of dehydration and afraid to re-hydrate at the same time...help appreciated, cheers 
jenny101

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Reply with quote  #2 
post this in the main forums no noe will see this
kgunst

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Reply with quote  #3 
This is also been a fear of mine as well. Claire Weekes talks about it in her book "Hope and Help For Your Nerves". I highly recommend it.

As far as beating the fear of swallowing/choking what I have done is this....wait for it.... I just keep chewing... It's been that simple for me. Eventually you chew the food so well it just goes down on its own. That is basically what Weekes says to do too.

Also, I have tried to always get food that is hard to show my brain that I can eat anything. So I recommend not avoiding any food solely on your fears. I have had urged to just order soup at restaurants, but I have ALWAYS said no to these urges.

Do the same and it will subside. It takes time though

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jellyfish

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks jenny101...appreciate it [smile]
jellyfish

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Thanks Karl, have been a fan of Claire Weekes for some time now. Its kind of how i got over worst panic attacks. Really grateful for your tips on overcoming the swallowing/choking fear. Doing a lot better now with food and I just keep chewing like you say. But my real trouble has been with liquids strangely..its like they move too fast, my throat almost freezes up and Im gulping instead of swallowing in a relaxed, natural way. When I originally posted here I was really anxious and stressed about it but just recently Ive been realising the fearful thoughts that enter my head when I try to drink are just fearful thoughts and I've been trying to not let them have so much power over me. I just tell myself I can swallow fine really. So its still slow and can be stressful but I do think time and patience play a part too as you said. Im trying to get on with my life, not let this dictate where I go or what I do. Anxiety can really shrink your life. Funny thing too...where some people avoid certain foods, Ive been avoiding liquids. Soup, juice, smoothies etc so I have to quit avoiding these and hopefully things will improve. Thanks again for your suggestions [smile]
jellyfish

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks ElsaGecko, Nice to hear a success story [smile] Gives me hope... I think most people suffering with this struggle with swallowing food, its rare to struggle swallowing liquids but it happens. The first month I had difficulty with both and lost a lot of weight, was already skinny so that wasn't great time for me. But really pushed myself with eating and would distract myself a lot like you mentioned. I still do this a lot when eating but its easier for me now thankfully. Distraction doesn't work so well for me when swallowing liquids, I feel like i have to hyper focus on it or it will go horribly wrong and yet I know theres nothing wrong with my throat or swallowing mechanism and its all in my head i.e.. psychosomatic. However Im working now on relaxing more when drinking and trying a little distraction today too. I find stressing about it, getting down,angry, frustrated or depressed about it can make it worse too.

Ive been recommended medication by some friends and family for awhile now...but i am fearful of medication too. Firstly Im afraid to swallow tablets, Im afraid of side effects, Im afraid when the doctor says it will get worse before it gets better, afraid it won't work and I'll be back at square one or worse...BUT I still think about taking something for it especially when it gets dark and desperate for me or when it worries people close to me. I completely understand why people choose this route and if it wasn't for my fears I would've taken something ages ago, i still contemplate it regularly.  But then I notice minuscule changes happening that give me hope too, like certain foods I couldn't eat for ages Im finding easier to eat now weeks later. And smoothies are a little easier to swallow now. It seems to be very slowly improving but can wax and wane too. 

Anyway thank you so much for your reply, I really appreciate it and Im going to take your advice and try to sip drinks throughout the day too. Usually I focus hard on swallowing a few drinks in the morning..then maybe one or two more in the late afternoon or evening, sometimes gets harder as the day goes on so I just give up and try to get my water from food like strawberries, yoghurt etc. Need to challenge myself more maybe. Thanks again, glad your doing so well, cheers [smile]
jellyfish

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks and good luck with the latest issues, feel free to share whenever, whatever...Thanks again for your support! Much appreciated..
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