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Anxiety attacks, but not feeling anxious?

I've been having spells where I can't catch my breath or take a deep breath, then my heart gets palpitations and I just generally feel unwell. Monday I was grocery shopping and another bout of breathing problems hit me and I started to get light headed so I finally gave up hoping it would just go away and asked my husband to take me to the ER.

They listened to my lungs and monitored my heart and decided I was having anxiety attacks. Now, I don't FEEL anxious, I'm not generally a worrier, I didn't think I had anything overly stressful going on right now to make me have an anxiety attack, so I'm frankly confused as to why I am having these. I'm seeing my PCP today and will go over this again with him and see what he says.

The ER prescribed me Ativan/Lorazepam and the risk of addiction and some of the possible side affects are really concerning. People have told me to figure out my triggers, but so far as I can tell they are completely random. I'm just really confused by it all. Can you really have anxiety attacks without feeling anxious?

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Asked by Xynyth at 10:13 AM on Feb. 8, 2012 in Health

Level 16 (2,659 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • That is super odd

    in the grocery store what was going on? I'd think maybe there was an underlying stress you didn't even realize? Sometimes in the grocery store for example I worry about my card being declined (either money or the magnetic strip) or accidentally holding the line up and being a bother to people

    are you sleeping well? what is your caffeine intake?

    Answer by hibbingmom at 10:16 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • Nothing unusual was happening in the grocery store. Just food shopping lol. I had my kids with me so the "grocery-shopping-with-kids" stress I guess could be something, but it's not like they were misbehaving or anything. They are generally pretty good in public. I have been extra tired lately but I thought it might be because I wasn't able to breathe well sometimes. And I cut down my caffeine a LOT because I thought that might be making the problem worse, whatever it is. It's just weird!

    Comment by Xynyth (original poster) at 10:20 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • I have them in stores as well. Mine are full blown panic attacks though. My anxiety attacks are less severe and sort of build up. My panic attacks hit out of no where when triggered. In stores I'm fine if there are very few people in the stores. I don't shop at stores I know are crowded or at times I know they might have a lot of people in them. Heaven help me if there are screaming kids in the store. I have to leave immediately. That type of noise sets me off if the parents don't stop them. You may want to start paying attention to sounds and smells when it happens. Those can trigger you. Once you can determine those it will be easier to remove yourself from the situation before it gets too overwhelming.

    Answer by admckenzie at 10:25 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • I agree that it probably wasn't your kids. I have three kids and I can deal with their noise and behavior. It's usually something you don't deal with on a daily basis that triggers it.

    Answer by admckenzie at 10:27 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • Yes, I've had them, there is always a reason, I thought mine were just random too, I wasn't able to identify my triggers, it took 2 years of counseling to pinpoint what was going on with me, I refused medication, you can't just throw a drug at everything that goes wrong, get to the root of it, there IS a reason, trust me. If you'd have asked me before counseling, I would have told you I had a great childhood because that's how I remember it, but some important things went down that reared their ugly head later on when adult problems came along, it isn't easy or fun to weed through it all but anxiety attacks aren't easy or fun either and I am forever grateful I had a counselor to help me find my way out of all that.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:29 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • See, I don't feel overwhelmed, or nervous, or anxious or anything really. I never would have picked anxiety attack as what was wrong with me, but I took the Ativan all day yesterday and didn't have the physical symptoms so there must be something to this. It's like my brain is fine, but my body is deciding to have an anxiety attack or something. There is a complete disconnect almost.Or so it seems anyway.

    Comment by Xynyth (original poster) at 10:30 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • Don't want to be a doomdayer, but that sounds alot like heart attack symptoms as well.
    I hope your PCP could help you figure this out.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:30 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • I'm the first anon..I guess I didn't articulate myself well, I was trying to say that I felt the same way as you when my anxiety attacks came on, I was running errands or doing some mundane task and didn't have any stressful thoughts in my head. It's like the body remembers, it reacts to things our heads prevent us from allowing in. I think it's our minds way of protecting us. I can only speak for myself, but I have made a valiant attempt in my life to be happy, I ignore the bad and focus on the good, but the bad had a way of getting to me anyway..does that make sense?

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:47 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • Ah, I see. It does make sense. Thanks for replying :)

    Comment by Xynyth (original poster) at 11:02 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

  • You can have anxiety attacks without feeling anxious. I've had attacks that wake me up in the middle of the night. It can be random. You should follow up with our primary doctor before starting any meds. Most times they do want to monitor you when meds are started.

    Answer by MrsMWF at 11:18 AM on Feb. 8, 2012

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