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Waking up suddenly and feeling like I'm dying while falling asleep


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I have been serching the Web  for help . . While I am a sleep all of a sudden I feel like I am in a black whole and I am being sucked away from this world and wake screaming thinking I am drying . Sometimes walking around my roo m making sure I am still alive . Of course after this I go into  a panic attack but   I do go back to sleep right after though . My daughter has heard me scream many times . I have them about once a month for a few years now . 

   So last year I had a sleep apnea test and I do have it .I wear my mask ever night . Thought finally  yes this is my answer these episodes will be gone . No they are not ?.. I talked to my sleep Dr  about it he said it's just a panic attack . No it's not . I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks all my life and I have been on Xanax and Celexa . So I really don't believe its anxiety . I am not even having a nightmare it's just like all of a sudden I am fading away . Scares me so much . 

  I was on another web sites about PoTS  . Wondering if this  is my issue . Does my blood pressure drop while I am sleeping ? 

   Has anyone else have this issue and found any help ? 

 

 

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jt I used to get something where I would feel like I was jumping (falling?) in my sleep and my heart felt weird. It would scare me but I never asked about it. I recently found I do have sleep apnea.

It happened before I started taking meds.

I don't know if that is what you have, but when I got the cpap they went over the benefits of treating apnea and it is important.

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10 hours ago, confused said:

I used to get something where I would feel like I was jumping (falling?) in my sleep and my heart felt weird. It would scare me but I never asked about it

Same thing happens to me, but not every night.  it is rare in me (now), but I know I have felt like you do with regards to the jumping/falling (Idk which) and my heart feel like it was going to jump out of my chest.

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17 hours ago, Angela said:

I have been serching the Web  for help . . While I am a sleep all of a sudden I feel like I am in a black whole and I am being sucked away from this world and wake screaming thinking I am drying . Sometimes walking around my roo m making sure I am still alive . Of course after this I go into  a panic attack but   I do go back to sleep right after though . My daughter has heard me scream many times . I have them about once a month for a few years now . 

   So last year I had a sleep apnea test and I do have it .I wear my mask ever night . Thought finally  yes this is my answer these episodes will be gone . No they are not ?.. I talked to my sleep Dr  about it he said it's just a panic attack . No it's not . I have suffered with anxiety and panic attacks all my life and I have been on Xanax and Celexa . So I really don't believe its anxiety . I am not even having a nightmare it's just like all of a sudden I am fading away . Scares me so much . 

  I was on another web sites about PoTS  . Wondering if this  is my issue . Does my blood pressure drop while I am sleeping ? 

   Has anyone else have this issue and found any help ? 

 

 

Hmmm. Makes me wonder if Celexa is the culprit.

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  • 2 months later...

I go through the same exact thing and its beem getting worse amd worse. Ita definitley not your remeron bc im on no medication besides once a day mens vitamins. Its a horrible feeling amd it will sometimes happen to me 2 or 3 times before i finally get to sleep fully. Im going to my doctor tomorrow and ill keep everyone updated. 

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  • 8 months later...

Neil D. or Robyn, you both describe exactly what happens to me!  This has happened to me maybe once a month for a period of years now. Like I'm at the last stage of death, about ready to cross over. And somehow my body pulls back. And there is this fear of the permanently, inevitable fact of death itself. And the concept of forever. It sends me waking up screaming in terror. I too feel that if I let it go any longer then I would too pass away and not wake up. Also, I have the feeling that this will eventually happen. Like, how many times can I get that close and pull back from the clutches of death?  I think it is anxiety related. I have always had fears of dying and deep thought about whats out there and why and all of that. I do have diagnosed sleep apnea. I thought it was me just stopping breathing and dying but last night it happened while my mask was on!  Also, I have just suffered an injury and I am now on pain medicine. I have noticed that it has gotten worse while on the medicine. Just reaching out to try to talk with people with similar or identical experiences. Please get back to me or email me at vealscallopine@roadrunner.com 

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Hello! My first post, so please go gently while I learn how things are done around here...

From your description I wondered about night terrors, which are more common in children but can occur in adults, too. There's a suggestion in the Wikipedia article that it might be related to hypoglycemia, and I def found Celexa and Lexapro amplified the 'feelings of doom' that can come with low blood sugar.

Sounds pretty gruelling -- hope it eases up soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/21/2017 at 3:15 PM, Vealacallopine said:

Neil D. or Robyn, you both describe exactly what happens to me!  This has happened to me maybe once a month for a period of years now. Like I'm at the last stage of death, about ready to cross over. And somehow my body pulls back. And there is this fear of the permanently, inevitable fact of death itself. And the concept of forever. It sends me waking up screaming in terror. I too feel that if I let it go any longer then I would too pass away and not wake up. Also, I have the feeling that this will eventually happen. Like, how many times can I get that close and pull back from the clutches of death?  I think it is anxiety related. I have always had fears of dying and deep thought about whats out there and why and all of that. I do have diagnosed sleep apnea. I thought it was me just stopping breathing and dying but last night it happened while my mask was on!  Also, I have just suffered an injury and I am now on pain medicine. I have noticed that it has gotten worse while on the medicine. Just reaching out to try to talk with people with similar or identical experiences. Please get back to me or email me at vealscallopine@roadrunner.com 

I just had an episode an its so scary because i really feel loke im going to die its like soon as i get comfortable to doze off to sleep it happens its almost as if im in my head saying get up get up an i jump up in a real bad panic it takes 15 to 20 mins to regain myself an i sit up till i so sleepy i cant take it anymore an thats usually almost when the suns coming up i dont know what this could be but i prayed to god to please stop it its terrifying an it makes me scared to go back to sleep after ot happens is there anybody who can help please lord fix it o thought i was gone this morning now ive had them but this one was over the top somebody please help

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  • 5 weeks later...

Hi guys,

I created this account just so I can share my experience with you. I googled this exact thing and came across this thread. You have described what is happening to me to a t. I don't really need to describe my experience as you already have even better than I could. It had happened to me a few times in the past and I attributed it to anxiety attacks. But I recently started on 7.5 mg of Mirtazipine or Remeron. It happens every single time I try to fall asleep. Most times multiple times. Every time I wake myself up from feeling like I am dying it happens again when I try to fall back asleep after gaining the courage to. It has happened so many times now that I am actually becoming used to it. It freaks my wife out and she assures me I am not dying. At least now I am less scared to fall asleep. I know it's going to happen, and it always does, but eventually I can breathe through it and fall asleep(typically to terrifying strange nightmares attributed to the Mirtazipine). I take the meds for sleep and weight gain and they are helping with that, but these constant episodes are draining and terrifying. But I have so far survived every episode which has probably been hundreds of times, so it is a little reassuring. Just wanted to let you know I feel your experience and you're not alone!

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3 hours ago, jamieclon said:

Hi guys,

I created this account just so I can share my experience with you. I googled this exact thing and came across this thread. You have described what is happening to me to a t. I don't really need to describe my experience as you already have even better than I could. It had happened to me a few times in the past and I attributed it to anxiety attacks. But I recently started on 7.5 mg of Mirtazipine or Remeron. It happens every single time I try to fall asleep. Most times multiple times. Every time I wake myself up from feeling like I am dying it happens again when I try to fall back asleep after gaining the courage to. It has happened so many times now that I am actually becoming used to it. It freaks my wife out and she assures me I am not dying. At least now I am less scared to fall asleep. I know it's going to happen, and it always does, but eventually I can breathe through it and fall asleep(typically to terrifying strange nightmares attributed to the Mirtazipine). I take the meds for sleep and weight gain and they are helping with that, but these constant episodes are draining and terrifying. But I have so far survived every episode which has probably been hundreds of times, so it is a little reassuring. Just wanted to let you know I feel your experience and you're not alone!

I understand you so well. Those "attacks" are terrifying to say the least. Fortunately, since I started this thread things have improved for me. I don't think I've had it happen for the last several months.

Since I've started this thread, there have been a lot of people say that it happens to them and many found this thread through Google. So the problem seems to be fairly widespread and not limited to just us.

I hope yours improve like mine did. You've already learned that you probably won't die from them even though it feels that way. Also, realize, that you are more likely to have problems during the day if it is a real heart problem (say) than when your body is relaxing at the beginning of sleep.

But they are certainly terrifying ... .

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  • 2 years later...
On 1/31/2018 at 4:03 AM, jt07 said:

I understand you so well. Those "attacks" are terrifying to say the least. Fortunately, since I started this thread things have improved for me. I don't think I've had it happen for the last several months.

Since I've started this thread, there have been a lot of people say that it happens to them and many found this thread through Google. So the problem seems to be fairly widespread and not limited to just us.

I hope yours improve like mine did. You've already learned that you probably won't die from them even though it feels that way. Also, realize, that you are more likely to have problems during the day if it is a real heart problem (say) than when your body is relaxing at the beginning of sleep.

But they are certainly terrifying ... .

Has anyone figured this out yet? Im sooooo tired. It started happening to me just over 2 weeks ago. It happens about 3 times a night, EVERY NIGHT.... its awful. When I finally snap out of it, it takes me another hour or so to fall asleep. The more sleep deprived I'm getting, the worse these "attacks" are getting.. (I had covid-19 a few weeks ago, and also quit smoking about 3 months ago, not sure if its related)

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/13/2014 at 3:46 PM, jt07 said:

Usually, I wake up, sometimes I emit a weak or not so weak scream, and maybe a few seconds after that. I think altogether 20 seconds or less.

i have the same thing !! it is so scary ..furthermore , i have to run to my children to feel the sense that iam still alive . i dont know what it is & i have been living with this for years now & its affecting my sleep 

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  • 1 month later...

Is it painful? I believe I’m going through the same thing or something like it. It’s terrifying and it’s been going on for a little over a year now. It’s gotten to the point I feel like I’m plunging as soon as I start drifting off to sleep. Every time. I take a lot of sleep aids now to knock me out and that’s really the only way I can get any sleep. I also stop breathing like there’s no air getting into my lungs. I have been through dozens of tests and still nothing. I wish I could find answers and make this stop. It’s hard to function some days. Nobody around me can understand what I’m trying to explain. I can’t even explain it very well.

Edited by Vicki langietti
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  • 6 months later...

Neil D’s description is spot on. What he experiences is a carbon copy of what happens to me as well. It’s good to know that I am not alone. And, despite the horrible feeling of impending death it usually doesn’t end in death. Reading how others experience these episodes repetitiously for years without incident is very comforting.  

I actually had my first episode in 3 or 4 years last night. Mine have come and gone for at least 25 years. However, the feeling of impending death only become part of my experience the last 6 or 7 years. For me they don’t seem to be tied to stress. I only say this because I haven’t had any occurrences during periods of elevated stress. In fact, my episode last night came at a time when I am actually experiencing a period of personal peace in my life. 

Many have stated that it might be related to snoring and/or sleep apnea. This could be the case however I am snoring less these days after losing some pounds over the last few months. I would be surprised if this is the cause. Of course, I could always do a sleep study but the likelihood one would occur during the study is highly unlikely. They just don’t happen often enough.

I read a few places online where doctors were indicating these events might be tied to some sort of brain misfire during the initial falling sleep stage. Or, maybe a brain seizure of some kind. To me these make more sense in my case but who really knows.

One last thought, I recently recovered from Covid. Spent a week in the hospital. During my follow up with my doctor he stated that I may experience strange occurrences over the next 6-12 months. Neurological issues like feelings of disassociation or being out of body. I did experience this a little bit just after recovery but always happened upon awaking in the morning. I’m wondering if this is the true culprit. Although it doesn’t make sense that I have had episodes several times in the past. But none over the last 3 or 4 years until getting Covid. Just a thought. 

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