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Panic attacks when lying down trying to sleep

11 posts in this topic

Posted

So this has never happened to me before, and it was gross and scary so I'm just looking for reassurance and suggestions. I lay down to sleep about an hour ago and I had a really bad panic attack. I have never had one come on so suddenly, or when I was trying to sleep. I hadn't had one in about forever, and I have no idea what triggered it. But it was awful, I was hyperventilating and crying and woke up my boyfriend. I felt like I was going to be sick for sure, so I dry heaved for like 20 minutes and my throat hurts and I still feel awful. Now I'm scared to lay down in the dark in case it happens again. So I think I'm just going to stay up until I can't any longer.

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Posted

Funny, same thing happened to me last night. Well, it didn't last as long as yours but it was quite a surprise. I have never had a panic attack at night...always during the day, mostly driving. Nevertheless, last night it hit me like a wall. I didn't want to wake up my husband, so I just listened to the music in my phone until it went away.

Eventually, I did fall asleep and the rest of the night was ok. I'm ok so far today. I hope it doesn't happen again. Hang in there, panic attacks are definitely not one of my favorite situations.

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Posted

Talked about this very problem with my pdoc.

I'm hypervigilent most of the time, and I hate going to bed. When I do relaxation exercises, sometimes I get triggered.

Doc says that when we relax our filter drops lower. IOW, when I'm hypervigilent my filter is set pretty high, and I'm screening out a lot of internal cues, thoughts, memories, in order to focus on what I need to be doing. But when relaxation comes, the filter drops and doesn't screen out all the intrusive thoughts and memories.

My brain learned that relaxing wasn't safe. So I have to retrain it.

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Posted

Likeabowloforanges, have you been able to take a CBT class? It trains you to address exactly this kind of feedback loop.

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Posted

When I try to lay down and go to sleep, it's like a switch turns on in my brain, and I start getting flashes of horrible and stressful things that could happen to me. I can't control them, and they come out of nowhere. I'll be almost asleep and then BOOM! A flash of an image (example:my husband loses his job). Sometimes they trigger anxiety in me, sometimes I can talk myself through them.

Lather, rinse, and repeat throughout the night. Ive basically taught myself to never go to bed unless I'm absolutely exhausted, so I can fall asleep in less time than these flashes have time to occur. It's led me to fighting sleep tremendously, and to frequently suffer from insomnia.

My daughter (11) has physical attacks when she's trying to sleep. We are trying therapy and a light sleeping aid to calm her down. So far, it's been working better since the addition of the medication.

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Posted

I'm sorry it happened to you Yara, must have been a bad day for the universe yesterday. I think the thing that got me most was the whole, it doesn't usually happen at night, or when I'm at home just relaxing. The filter thing is interesting Miracle, I wasn't feeling particularly defensful. I'm on uni break and I don't have a lot of stress right now. I think I may have subconsciously been worrying about meeting my new pdoc on Monday. Gizmo that must be so tough about your daughter. I already have bouts of insomnia that I've learnt not to let them get to me, as I know there is not that much I can do to force sleep. I ended up staying up all night because I was scared it would happen again. I'm lying on the couch now in the daytime in the hopes that I can nap without getting freaked out.

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Posted

Oh crtlms I have done a lot of CBT about relaxation and thought stopping etc, I just always forget to put it into practise until I'm way over my head. I should do that more, thanks for the reminder!

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Posted

Like a bowl of Oranges,

The fastest intervention that I know of, is to count your breath and lengthen the exhale.

E.g. 2 secs in / 2 secs out (typical for me), just count 3 seconds to exhale.

Then when you're breathing 3/3, just count 4 seconds to exhale.

Etc.

When you're exhaling your parasympathetic nervous system is in control. That's the restorative part. When you lengthen the exhale, your brain gets the message that danger has passed (in as few as 3 to 5 breaths).

I learned to do this immediately after being startled and it has helped me a lot.

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Posted

I hope this doesn't continue to be a problem. Have you tried any meditation?

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Posted

Me neither! I take the max dose of Wellbutrin for anxiety. I don't take sleeping pills, because to be honest they never really helped me much and made me feel perpetually hung over. My pdoc said I was too young to be on benzodazzipines of any kind, also I'm kinda wary to even start.

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Posted

When I try to lay down and go to sleep, it's like a switch turns on in my brain, and I start getting flashes of horrible and stressful things that could happen to me. I can't control them, and they come out of nowhere. I'll be almost asleep and then BOOM! A flash of an image (example:my husband loses his job). Sometimes they trigger anxiety in me, sometimes I can talk myself through them.

Lately I've had insomnia and my brain gets to thinking about things when I'm trying to fall asleep. Every single night, I have these thoughts about horrible and stressful things that could happen to me, and thoughts of really terrible ways to die.

Also, I have anxiety issues lately, when trying to fall asleep. It seems like I just can't shut off my brain from thinking, and then I start paying attention to every tiny thing my body is doing and start freaking out, etc.

When/if it gets really really bad I will take a Lorazepam and that usually solves the problem within a half hour. It really helps for falling asleep and taking away the anxiety and bad thoughts. I just wish I could take it every night, but I don't want to build up a tolerance to them.

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