View Full Version : anxiety/panic attacks and med school
11-28-2004, 03:08 AM
any of u know of someone who had to drop out of med school due to severe panic attacks and anxiety. I had to take a leave of absence but it extended too long cause my parents dont 'think its a real disease and only a mind thing' . I guess i cant expect more they not from america and they never finished anything past high school and i guess they think pyschiatry is only for the crazy. Anyhow my anxiety got sooooooooo bad and worse since my leave of absence because instead of getting medical and financial support from my family to get treatment they pretty much just all looked down on me like some loser. I even get looks of disgust like go get a job instead of sitting here and sleeping and bla bla, as if its in my hands. I seriously cant explain why this is handicapping me so bad and i dont have the energy or even feel the benefit of trying to explain it more to my parents cause it wont go anywhere. My mom thinks rest will get me better and my dad just doesnt want to spend a buck on me. I didnt expect much since i lived on my own since 16 and was financially independent and had to go thru alot of obstacles in my life on my own and wasnt used to depending on anyone for anything. But i seriously cant get myself out of this anxiety/panic attacks, its the most horrible thing that happened to me, i think i had it b4 but i repressed it and ignored it so long cause i used to think the same that its nothing but a mind game or just stress everyone else gets or bla bla, but it peaked out to a point where every small thing puts me in panic and anxiety, i cant sleep for the life of me, i overstress everything, instead of facing stuff i just get into total panic mood and try to sleep it off. I feel like i am getting worse everyday, and a year + already passed and i feel like life is passing me by quick. I cant even explain it to my friends or tell alot of them cause i feel embarrassed, i feel so ashamed almost , i am broke, out of school and have this huge problem of anxiety and panic attacks that my family doesnt even think is a real disease or didnt help me get thru it and life is passing me by. Any advice ,similiar stories, or help anyone can offer what so ever, it would be extremely appreciated.
11-28-2004, 07:33 AM
I think you definitely should seek some form or support. How about using the guidance counsel office at the medical school you attended as a resource for finding the help you need. Or doing a google search for resources in your area that would be able to help you.
11-28-2004, 07:48 AM
I'm sorry to hear you still aren't feeling better. I remember from your previous posts that you were taking some meds. Are you still on medication? Are you seeing a therapist?
I have had panic attacks for 15 years. I take an SSRI which keeps them away for the most part. I know first-hand how devastating and relentless panic attacks can be.
It is a shame that your parents don't understand the medical basis of your disease. However, there is a component of the disease which is 'in your head' as your parents say. You may not be able to control the anxiety at times, but you can control the way you react to it. It is so hard to learn to do this and keep anticipatory thoughts of 'what if' from intruding.
Your mother means well, but restng all day will not help you recover. The way to find your way back to a normal life is to start doing things again. Make a plan of what activities you need to be able to do in order to live a normal life. Break it down into babysteps and make a calender. Each day do something and don't give into the anxiety. At first it will be very difficult and anxiety-provoking, but with repetition it will get much easier. The anxiety will always pass and it will not hurt you physically.
It is important for you to work with your physician and/or therapist. If your medications aren't working, talk to you doctor and look into other meds. If you are feeling depressed, let your doctor know. Depression is often linked to anxiety disorders and can make it difficult to remain motivated enough to tackle the anxiety issues. Lastly, if you ever think of hurting yourself - call your doctor or go to the ED.
For me, I found that being on meds was not sufficient without a plan to reprogram my brain. My brain still thought I would have panic attacks in certain situations were I had had them before. It is like touching a hot stove burner and then trying to convince your brain to do it again and that it won't hurt this time. I also found hypnosis and self-hypnosis to be very helpful.
11-28-2004, 08:15 AM
I was on meds for a month or two but couldnt afford them after that. My school is not in my home town, state or even nearby to get support for free. I plan to do stuff and plan to work or do X Y and Z but my panic attacks let me do anything to avoid any every day things like opening my letters fearing of more bills, and it makes me avoid everyone in general, like i rather sleep in my car and be away from my brother who i live with and his wife cause no one understands me or gets what i am going thru. Its like i cant even explain why i act to myself and get angry at myself once the anxiety fades away, i get soooooooooo angry that i cant control it and why i cant do the simple stuff like carry my life on search for other free help, i cant even call my mom who lives out of the country to check on her cause the fact of her not understanding and keep telling me to sleep it out and just drink lemonade stresses me out more and makes the anxiety worse. It seems like i avoid anything and everything cause i am scared it will trigger my anxiety more. Its like i cant do anything, its so wierd to me and makes me angry cause i can see the family fustration, i mean they dont see a tumor on my head or a broken foot so they dont understand the physical and mental effects that disable me, which even makes it worse, sometimes i wish i woulda had cancer rather then this at least then i can say hey i have cancer , u guys see, now please support me and help me thru it. but this its like one hour i am normal so my family thinks i am healthy a moment later my anxiety triggers from the smallest stressors like a bill or mail or anything that has to do with financing or this anxiety.
11-28-2004, 01:06 PM
You may not be able to control the anxiety, but you can control how you react to it.
Giving in and avoiding situations only reinforces the panic. It affirms in your mind that there is a good reason to feel scared. Panic disorder takes work to overcome. Sleeping and avoiding things will do you no good.
Please talk to your doctor and start some sort of treatment plan. I remember from a previous post that you were on Lexapro which is very expensive. There are other meds available that are less expensive. Talk to you doctor and discuss the options; maybe there is an appropriate drug that would be less expensive. With or without meds, you need to find some support in your area. There are often support groups for people who suffer from panic disorder. There is also an online site with forums called Tapir (www.algy.com/anxiety/ ) . Support groups and online support can be helpful, but can be scary because you will talk with people who are much worse off than you. Although there is strength in hearing stories of others who have recovered, you must be careful not to project the negative aspects of other people's disease onto your own.
In addition, it is wise to avoid alcohol. To many people with anxiety disorder self medicate with alcohol and then end up with two problems instead of one.
11-28-2004, 07:00 PM
I am sorry to hear things are not going so well. I have had anxiety problems but they haven't bothered me since I started taking antidepressants. I strongly suggest you see someone and get on some medications.....they help. The money thing is an understandable issue. You should find a doctor and explain the situation. Most docs are very sympathetic to med students and they can give you samples of lexapro for free. Another option that you may try is Kava Kava extract. It is suppose to be identical in effect to xanax which is great if you are having an anxiety attack.
Anyway, keep your head up.
11-28-2004, 07:25 PM
I was on meds for a month or two but couldnt afford them after that
Well I haven't done it personally but I have heard really good things about hypnosis and similar forms of therapy as an alternative to meds for treating anxiety. If paying for a few sessions of hypnosis is also out of your budget then there is also lots of info out there on self hypnosis. I think it takes more time to learn to do it than if you go to a professional but its supposed to be very safe and easy to learn. Hypnosis is based on putting yourself in basically a very relaxed state and offering suggestions about how to deal with life etc. I'm actually taking a class next semester on self hypnosis offered by my really traditional med school so it seems like it really has some merit.
Well good luck and know that you are not alone. An awful lot of people are going through really similar stuff. Mental illness is a lot more common in people who go to med school than most people think. I coming out of a pretty nasty bout of my chronic depression myself. Ironically it was anti-depressants that led to my relapse so don't feel to bad that you can't afford meds. They have some really nasty side effects that can be much worse than the illness itself. Feel free to PM me if you need to talk or have any questions.
12-02-2004, 08:51 AM
thanks for all the pms , ideas, and advice its really helpful and i am so much in need of this help, support and ideas cause my life is a living hell to say that least, there isnt anything worse then having the potential to do so much but being handicapped so bad by something so strong and disabling as the panic attacks and anxiety i experience, keep the posts and pms coming i appreciate all and any feedback, help, advice , etc... i really dont have anyone else to depend on.
12-02-2004, 09:04 AM
Apparantly, acupuncture can be helpful. The hypnosis idea isn't bad either. Just curious, are you physically fit. Do you excersize. That might increase your parasympathetic drive and calm your overactive adrenals a bit. I don't get panic attacks but with regular cardio my resting heart rate is around 42 and I feel much more calm in general. Good luck. :)