Date: Wed, 16 Aug 1995 23:19:36 -0300
From: Paul Stewart <stewart.CYCOR.CA>
Subject: anxiety attacks
I went through quite a few stressful situations the past few months:
- I broke my leg, resulting in the loss of a $3500 contract, the inability to pay for diving gear bought for the contract, and a lot of pain
- my partner of four and a half years decided to leave me, very suddenly
- both my cars died (the second one today)
- my unemployment insurance ran out a week ago, leaving me with house payments, etc.
Rather foolishly, I abused myself with alcohol steadily for the first time in my life. I have always been a social drinker, and had my share of parties, but this was a flat-out bender lasting eight days, with little food. I am a non-smoker but the bender included quite a bit of pot as well.
Twice in the last two weeks, once during that foolishness and once four days ago when I decided to clean myself up, I was driving home and experienced what I can only call an anxiety attack. My face flushed, I felt congested, my hands tingled then went numb, I felt confused. Then my heart started racing with a weak pulse, my b.p. bottomed out, and I started to black out. I could not breathe and my chest felt like there was a big fist tightening on it, while my heart felt like it was going to explode. No pain or paralysis like in a heart attack, just deep panic and helplessness. My face was twitching, I was grimmacing, and I couldn't speak properly. After about two hours the symptoms declined and I fell into a deep dreamless sleep. I was, to put it bluntly, scared shitless.
Now, a week later, I still feel anxious two or three times a day. I can't shake my diarrhoea, my hands shake and my heart starts racing involuntarily. My shoulders keep trying to touch my ears, and, even with deep breathing and other relaxation exercises, I can't seem to shake this. What the hell have I done to myself? Is it the onset of a nervous disorder, heart condition, or what? Are there any calming or detoxifying herbs that I could take to get a grip on this, now that I've regained a grip on life? Please reply direct to me if you don't mind. Thanks in advance for any suggestions, which will be taken with the utmost seriousness.
From: Algy and Noodles <sward.FRANK.MTSU.EDU>
> What the hell have I done to myself? Is it the onset of a nervous disorder, heart condition, or what? Are there any calming or
My interest in medicinal herbs started with a similar experience. I had anxiety attacks which aggravated an already nervous disposition. Soon I was agoraphobic. Fear is a powerful teacher. I've had modest success using a combination of valerian, passion flower, panax ginseng, damiana, and hops. All are reputed to be "nervines," calming the nervous system. Valerian is well-known as a natural sedative. St. John's wort (hypericum) is reportedly an anti-depressant, as effective as impramine, which suppresses anxiety attacks (without reducing the anxiety caused by anticipating them). There's been a recent thread discussing that it may be an MAOI (monoamine oxide inhibiter). If true, St. John's wort should be used cautiously if at all as MAOIs interact dangerously with many foods. Everybody's still waiting for something conclusive. (It's not a MAOI - or not a very strong one -- so there's no dietary restrictions whatsoever with SJW. --Henriette) The good news for you is that you've recognized your anxiety quickly. Herbs can be helpful but if your anxiety is intense, professional (psychiatric) help is recommended.
From: Paul Iannone <p_iannone.POP.COM>
: Now, a week later, I still feel anxious two or three times a day. I can't shake my diarrhoea, my hands shake and my heart starts racing involuntarily. My shoulders keep trying to touch my ears, and,
Your Center collapsed, and it sounds like your Liver Yang Rose into the Heart, where it has no business being. Nothing stupendous to worry about, though, assuming that this lifestyle error was of short duration and you are young and can recoup.
Typically, the formula Chai hu Mu li Long gu Tang will effectively sedate your Spirit, settle Liver Yang, Boost the Center, and mildly Dredge the Liver to reestablish balance. See an acupuncturist. Until then, warm foods, three meals a day at least, eggs and soup recommended. No fruit, or stimulant drinks.
[I would NOT recommend valerian for your condition. Try peppermint tea.]
From: Evan Ravitz <evan.DARKSTAR.CYGNUS.COM>
My yoga teacher (whose video Yoga Journal says is the best) taught me a simple thing to do whenever one's center hurts or you feel "bent": Assume the fetal position and breathe and find your center.