Does anyone ever have panic attacks associated with the sudden death of their spouse? I watched my husband die and all I see is him grabbing at his chest and telling me he had a bad back spasm. Now every time I feel anything in my chest or back I panic. While I have been diagnosed with PTSD and panic disorder associated with this and take medication, sometimes I still get panicky and watch the clock to see if I am going to live (I look to see if I will make it past the 45 minutes he had between his first symptom and death, if I make it past that I generally fell better). Does anyone else have these symptoms? Any techniques help you get through those moments of panic? I want to avoid taking xanax and the other meds they have prescribed all the time (this happens weekly) but it has gotten so bad I have ended up in the Urgent care center for the panic attack thinking I'm dying.
Any similar stories or advice would would be greatly appreciated.
Its been 4 months for me and I still suffer from panic attacks and no sleep. I stay up all night with the recurring thoughts in my head that I can't shut off. I stay on the computer all night to try to keep my mind busy to keep the thoughts away. Finally in the wee hours of daylight I will finally drift off but only for about 3 hours. I'm exhausted and no one will help me. I've been to two Dr's who both told me I'm suffering from PTSD but they won't give me anything to stop the panic attacks that make me feel like I'm dying or having a heart attack. So I suffer everyday. I finally got an appointment with a Psychiatrist but it's not for three more weeks! I'm hoping he can help me somehow but I don't have a lot of hope. I don't know how long I can keep suffering like this. I pray that I don't wake up from my short naps. I am ready to go. I am so tired and worn down.
I've had panic attacks my whole life, and I'll have periods of time (years, months, etc.) when they are intense, and other periods of time when they completely go away. Since G died, I've been having panic attacks again. Totally sucks. I feel ya.
I feel for all of us who experience panic attacks following our spouses death. They are downright frightening. The last panic attack landed me in the ER with chest pains. To complicate things I have lupus and had gotten overly tired and was not drinking enough water so my potassium level was low. I have had generalized anxiety disorder with PTSD for almost my entire life. It was the result of extreme neglect and abuse in my childhood. I have gone into therapy on and off during stressful periods in my life.
I found the anxiety and panic symptoms increased tremendously following my husbands sudden and unexpected death. My family physician gave me a few pills to get me through the worst. I wanted to avoid the medications so I called my therapist and got back in with her right away. She is a clinical psychologist who works with PTSD patients. I find talking things through with my therapist and practicing some of anxiety/stress reduction exercises she suggests has helped.
It has been 14 months since my husband died and I continue to see my therapist on a regular basis. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications but I would advise anyone who has panic attacks that are overwhelming to find a clinical therapist who specializes in anxiety/panic attacks and PTSD.
Heath - So sorry for the tragic sudden death of your wife, and of course you as an EMT thought you should be able to save her.
Those here understand what you are going through, and we are all on our own journeys. I'm sorry you could not find help for your depression, but please do not give up, there are many sources of help. Have you found a grief group to attend in your area?
Please continue to post here, if you find it therapeutic. There is also a chat room where people are often chatting. Sometime just being able to know you are not alone, and not crazy, will help.
Hugs to you.
This is a normal feeling, especially since you're so new to this.
You are still marking times in weeks. (I do it in years now.) I hit my "absolute" worst/lowest point when I was at about 16 weeks.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Stop and catch your breath as you need. Keep posting too.
Heath, I just read your post and I am truly sorry that you had to lose your wonderful wife period, but especially in such a traumatic way. As I have read through many posts on this site and as I myself experienced, many of us had to attempt CPR to try to save our loved ones to no avail. Like you, I replay those final moments (and in my case the final weeks leading up to my husband's death - he had cancer) over and over again. Someone told me that seeing a psychologist, rather than a counsellor, who knows about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can be helpful to work on changing the thoughts focused on the negative to something less damaging. I'm not sure it will work but I'm going to try it in the next month and see.
Like others have said, you did everything you could and I am certain you are an excellent EMT as you stepped in right away to act in the face of personal trauma. Many people would probably freeze up, I think. You did you absolute best and that's all you can ask of yourself. Eventually you will be able to cut yourself some slack, at least that's what people tell me. I'm hoping to be able to do the same. I'm sure you've told yourself this and maybe you can't believe it at this point, but even the most skilled EMTs, nurses, doctors, surgeons, etc lose patients sometimes despite giving 100%.
It's pretty awful not having the answers and not knowing why we or God couldn't have saved our spouses. I'm told this is something we have to learn to live with. I'm not sure I can (I'm only about 3 weeks since my husband passed).
Please hang in there, take it one hour at a time and keep posting if you'd like support. We are all in this terrible, rocky boat together.