Stopping A Panic Attack (or Only One Health Issue At A Time)

I’ve been pretty lucky lately with my panic attacks. I was warned that with taking Vyvanse it can make panic attacks more frequent or more severe. But I’ve almost experienced the opposite. My random panic attacks aren’t really happening right now (which I am so grateful for) and my expected panic attacks (like at the dentist) are the most mild they have ever been. I’m very happy with this side effect and it’s been really nice to not have to stress or panic about a panic attack happening.

Then the other night in the middle of the night I had a gallbladder attack. It was pretty awful, but fortunately not the worst one I’ve ever had. But they are pretty painful no matter how mild they get. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really see straight. My vision was going in and out (it almost felt like I was going to faint at times) and I stayed on my bed to stay safe. The pain was so uncomfortable and I couldn’t find a position to put my body in to make things feel even the smallest bit better. And I’m not sure if this is a part of the gallbladder attack or a reaction to the other symptoms, but I couldn’t stop sweating and was having trouble catching my breath.

In the past, my gallbladder attacks have brought on panic attacks. It makes sense to me because you do feel like you are dying when you are having a gallbladder attack. I really was wishing that I would pass out so that the pain could happen without me really knowing about it. I wanted it to end, but it wouldn’t. If I had a panic attack, I would have felt that it was totally normal.

But somehow, I was able to rationalize with myself in that really bad moment. I knew that it was a gallbladder attack and that it wasn’t a heart attack or that I was dying or anything. I knew that it would end eventually and when they do go away it usually is sudden for me so it could be going away any minute. And I knew that I had a choice to go to the doctor’s soon if I wanted to get my gallbladder out and never have to deal with this again (I don’t do that yet since my attacks aren’t that frequent and it’s a surgery that isn’t necessary yet).

I found a way to lay on my bed that was a safe enough position for me (I wasn’t at risk for falling off the bed if I did pass out) and I was working on focusing on my breath. I was trying to do counts for each inhale and exhale and was putting the counts in the front of my mind and not the what felt like endless pain.

Finally, the attack stopped pretty much as quickly as it came on. I tried to get as calm as I could and focus on getting back to sleep. The entire thing was about an hour long and the next morning I found it pretty funny that when I looked at my sleep tracking from my Fitbit, it was clear when the attack was happening.

Sleep Tracking

The pink lines are when I’m awake so you can see that chunk of pink in the middle of my night. That’s when I couldn’t stop moving because of the pain but you can also see that the entire night was a bit restless for me (the restless moments are the blue lines).

I know that I have the option of getting my gallbladder removed, but like I said above the attacks are pretty rare so I don’t think that surgery is a good option for me. I’ve had a couple of ultrasounds in the past and they have always told me that until the attacks are frequent enough that they are affecting my life, I don’t need to have my gallbladder out (the attacks aren’t good but they aren’t damaging my health in any other way right now). I’m just glad that my attacks are rare and they seem to be over within a few hours each time (from my research it seems like some people can have them for a day).

While it sucks that I had the attack, I’m so glad that I was able to prevent the panic attack from happening at the same time. I think that helped me get through the attack much better and I’m thinking maybe it helped it end faster than they have in the past.

Obviously I don’t want to have to go through this again, but I know realistically that it will happen again but I’m glad that somehow I was able to control the panic attack from coming and whatever skill set was in my subconscious to do that is able to be used in the future.

Leave a Reply