My story... sorry so horribly long.
I have lead an almost completely unremarkable life for the last 33 years. Other than... It's said my younger sister and I were kidnapped by my step-father and step-uncle when I was about 3 and *supposedly* held at gun point until I was given to my mom the next day or so (my step-dad somehow managed to obtain custody of my 1 year-old half-sister and I never saw her again until I was 13).
I was also inappropriated touched by a friends father when I was 13 and a retarded uncle had me act sexaully inappropiately with him when I was about 14.
My family was verbally abusive and my dad (mom's 3rd and last hubby who adopted me at age 4 and has always been my "dad") who had a very heavy had toward my brother.
But as bad as it all sounds- it wasn't... except for the constant day in day out insults dished out by my folks mostly to each other. I grew up in an extremely emotionally heated home so I retreated into my head. To help mold myself into a peacable person who was well liked by all and who could mediate the troubles, I was a full-fledged "cutter" by the time I was 13. And, for the most part, it seemed to have worked.
When I was 22 or so, I had had 4 kids by one husband but he left us and I became a stripper for 4 months. I "disassociated" the entire time, was involved in countless "relationships" and would have died if I hadn't met the man I'm now married to.
I had never gotten my drivers license until the year before we met and having driven (a minimal amount) for about a year and a half total my entire life, hubby bought an RV while we were in New Orleans and I drive it home to WV.
And that's when I started to truly notice these panic episodes...
Again, sorry this is so long...
I noticed the troubles mostly when I was driving, because the RV is about 40 feet long and I started falling asleep behind the wheel. Only, it seemed that before me was two "realities"- a dream (which was the strongest) and the road behind it. I came to compare it to watching images behind a movie screen while a movie is playing. But eventually I would fall completely asleep and ***k awake in the nick of time. Doing so would produce a surge of adrenaline that I felt mostly around my mouth outwards and at my fingers. The surge was very short lived and I'd fall into more bouts the longer I'd drive. This would happen even if I was wide awake before getting behind the wheel. If hubby was up front with me and would try to talk to me, when the attack struck hardest, my voice would be slurred, my head would sort of loll and I'd be incoherant... then I'd have a surge and be okay for awhile until the next one.
I thought for sure I had narcolepsy/cataplexia and it's what eventually drove me to seek help. Hubby likes me to drive when we travel. He's 30 years older than me and just can't do the things he'd like.
Then I started having disabling pain a MONTH or more before a trip with breathing problems (no matter how deeply I'd inhale it felt like I could never fill my lungs). I saw a doctor who thought I was bipolar with anxiety so she referred me to a pdoc who says I'm not bipolar but have problems with anxiety. Since around 2003 he's been treating me for anxiety, PMDD, problems concentrating and excessive daytime sleepiness. For the last several years (at least 3) I've been taking 18 mg Strattera, 30 mg Lexapro and 200 mg Provigil.
But I'm not happy with "problems with anxiety". I still have symptoms (namely, the adrenaline surges and tingling of my face and hands) despite the meds- though to a tolerable degree. **BUT** 90% of the time, I have NO mental distress/anxiety only PHYSICAL symptoms. When the surges strike I KNOW I'm in no danger. I don't think I'm dying or fear looking foolish or anything. I KNOW it's all in my head.
So why the heck do I STILL have problems with it?
I've been off Lexapro for about a month now (first because I mismanaged my money then because I fell in love with my newly discovered libido lol).
My physical anxiety has been through the roof but cutting out ALL caffeine has helped somewhat. But now I wake up feeling like I'm in danger. I forgot, I used to feel that way in my teen-hood and until I became medicated.
Any thoughts? I have to run out the door right now, but I'll be back in about 3 1/2 hours.