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TMunday 04-05-2006 11:56 AM

? Anxiety Attacks ~ Panic Attacks ~ Depression ?
Hi. I know these boards are not medical boards and so on. But I thought I would ask others about this. I was not exactly sure where to post it so I just posted it here.

I am struggling with anxiety and panic attacks. I also suffer from depression. But I fear storms (all), rain, snow, dogs, travel (to places/areas I have not been before), and others things too.

I was thinking about trying "St. John's Wort" for these issues. I heard it is good for depression, but I am not sure if it will help with the anxiety and panic problems. Has anyone tried this? And what did you think?

Do you know something out there that would help with these issues? My family thinks I should see a new doctor. But I really don't want too. So I was thinking about natural remedies or what have you first.

Also, is anyone else totally terrified of storms? If so, when the storms are in your area what do you do? This is my BIGGEST problem. I can't stop pacing the floors back and forth to each window looking at the skies, and back to the computer to check the weather radar, and the weather channel on tv and so on. It gets bad.

Thanks in advance. :)

LadyFirelyght 04-05-2006 12:40 PM

I am also very scared of storms. My fear (though I don't know where yours comes from) is actually the result of a bit of a traumatic incident.

A couple of years ago, I took my nephew to one of the pools in our apartment complex. It was cloudy, but since when did clouds hurt anybody? I told him that if it started to rain or anything, we were coming right home! So, we swam for about 10 minutes, we were the only ones there. All of a sudden, the leaves on the trees in the pool area started falling all around us. The wind was gusting horribly. I told Jordan to get out of the pool, quick. We quickly ran over to grab our things. As we were getting our towels on, the umbrella in the table we were at picked up and flew right above our heads and onto the other side of the pool area. I shouted for Jordan to go faster. We had almost gotten all of our things when we heard a sickening CRACK followed by (for me) pain. The very large tree that our table was sitting next to had let loose one of its largest branches, and it grazed my hand and leg, leaving blood trailing down each part. Luckily, I'd shoved Jordan to the side, so all that happened to him was that the leaves of the branch whipped his back. I ended up getting an infection in my leg that took something like 2 weeks to fully go away.

So now, whenever it storms, or even just gets windy, I get panicked. If it's a thunderstorm, I often run to my bed and throw the pillow over my head and try to think happy thoughts.

I have no clue about the St. John's Wort thing, but I would definitely follow your family's advice on seeing a new doctor.

branbrown 04-05-2006 12:51 PM

I know exactly what you are going through. When I was younger I had a really bad drug problem. When I stopped , cold turkey, I had a horrible time. I had panic attacks everyday, all day. I was very depressed. I was terrified to leave the house. I stayed in for 4 months solid. My panic attacks were so bad that I would go to the hospital atleast 3 times a week. Sometimes I would just sit in the waiting room and never check in, because I felt safe there. My biggest problem is that I developed a fear of ANY medication or herbal remidies. So, what was I supposed to do. It has been 7 years since I went through that and I am just now where I can live a somewhat normal life. It took a long time but with lots of prayer and just knowing that my life was in God's hands I got through it. I still can't do things some people do though. I know my limits and what might bring on a panic attack or what to do if I start feeling that way in order to prevent it from happening. I would suggest however that you do see a doctor. I do know a lot of people who have the same problems and are on medication and it seems to work well with them. Whatever you decide to do I hope that your problem will soon come to an end.

TMunday 04-05-2006 01:19 PM


WOW! I would be freaked out too! I am sorry you had to go through that. I do thank you for sharing the story though. I am trying to think back to remember if something happened to me. I can't remember to many things to make for these episodes though. However, many people don't remember things like that, at least not without help. I am working on this though. So maybe I will remember something and be able to fix this.

TMunday 04-05-2006 01:25 PM


Woah! That is unbelievable. But I can understand just sitting there and not checking in! It is amazing how our mind gets working and makes us feel!


I have seen my doctor before kind of on this. I can't remember for sure what happened. With the depression he said it was just mood swings and left it at that. But with my fears, phobias, anxiety, and panic attacks issues, I can't remember what happened.

I think I am going to haul my butt back in there (as soon as the next storms pass of course - tomorrow and Friday) and see what happens. I need to be careful even with natural remedies because I am asthmatic and I do take migraine medication when needed. So I can't mix things that shouldn't mix. But I will go straight in and be seen as soon as the weather allows.

Thanks so much for your help here! I do appreciate it.

aphil 04-05-2006 03:59 PM


I have always suffered from anxiety disorders-mainly anxiety attacks, depresion, and OCD. I don't fear storms-but I do have an insane fear of WORMS (yes, I know... :lol: ), and deal with the anxiety attacks and all of that-and my compulsions from the OCD.
I did try St. Johns Wort, but I didn't really notice anything at all. I have never taken any prescriptions for it.


TMunday 04-05-2006 04:48 PM


First of all... long time no see and CONGRATULATIONS on your baby!!! :) I bet you are on cloud 9! :)

Worms?!!?!?!?! Yes, you have me laughing.... kind of that is, only because some of my fears people think are funny too. I have been ignorning this for awhile now. So I have been checking out different ways of taking care of this. I got a book from our library today called "The Truth About Mental Illness". So hopefully that will give me some input too. I didn't think St. John's Wort would do much of anything. Glad I didn't waste my money. Thanks and nice speaking with you again!

Marciet 04-05-2006 09:57 PM

Tracy-I have a weird phobia, too. I fear other people throwing up. I have had panic attacks relating to this since I was 5. Now I'm 34, and I have 3 kids, so it's not something I can run away from. I resisted telling anyone for a long time, because it is such a weird phobia, and I was too embarrassed. About 5 years ago it got to be too much to handle. I was always terrified my kids would get sick. I would check on them all night, even waking them up if I thought they might possibly be sick. I finally went to the doctor and "confessed" my fear. He put me on antidepressants. I have been on one after another since. They don't do much for the depression, but they do help me get a bit of a handle on the panic. I still take Xanax when I get panicky, but it doesn't happen as often. When it does, I want to die. So I know what you are feeling. If your doctor blows you off, go to another one. It's too important to let go. I'm now diagnosed as having a form of bipolar, and just started a new med yesterday. I am hopeful it helps with both the depression and anxiety. Yes, meds can be scary, but living with panic attacks and depression is much worse.

We are here for you whenever you need us. I always feel so alone when I am panicky, and I know it helps me so much to be able to come here and post.

TMunday 04-05-2006 10:12 PM


Thank you so much for your post! I sure do appreciate it. I don't know how you have hid it for so long!!! Especially since you have children! I can't imagine having your phobia and having kids... and if they are school age! I can imagine how you must feel on a daily basis.

I am thinking about seeing my doctor one more time about all of this. I don't want to be set on the back burner again! Something needs to be done to help! I don't think my doc is much for handing out pills. Which can be a good thing. But there comes a time when you just have to try something! Hopefully he will see this as the time!! If not, I may need to head to another doctors office instead.

I wish my family could understand how I feel when a storm is coming or is here! They don't get it! They pick on me and laugh and giggle and so on. It makes everything so much worse! They admit to understand my fears but there actions are oposite. Like now, I can feel my body tensing up because a storm will be here tomorrow! :(

Anyway, thank you so much for your post!! I sure do appreciate it!I do feel it helps to speak with others that suffer with the same issues.

Marciet 04-05-2006 10:32 PM

Tracy, I sent you a pm.

campbellredhead 04-05-2006 11:31 PM

Hi Tracy,
I too have depression,and anxiety, about 8 years ago i took St. Johns wort for depression, and Kava Kava for anxiety, i was pretty happy with the results.....but then after talking with a psychiatrist she told me that true medications are much more studied and safer than the herbs. Just because the herbs are "natural" doesn't make them safe, they are still drugs...just like marijuana and opium-they are natural too.

So i opted to stop the herbs and do true medications, but i believe that medication alone isn't enough. I believe we also need counseling/phsychotherapy, we need to get to the bottom of the causes of our fears and sadness, and our issues...gosh i have so many issues.....*sighs*

There are so many things we don't share with our family, and friends, that we can be brutaly honest with a counselor, and if you find the right one, accompanied by medication, they can really make a world of differance.

God Bless

campbellredhead 04-05-2006 11:32 PM

And Tracy,
if you dont' like your doctor, or don't feel they are working with you, etc..
look for another one, you will find one, who really wants to help you.

Glasgowgirl 04-06-2006 06:09 AM

Dear Tracy,

I agree with everyones comments especially campbellredhead...when you have anxiety disorders and things along that line its important that you have a health care professional in any stream that youa re completely comfortable with. I have had Chronic anxiety disorder for about 10 years now...mine gets so bad sometimes that I will hyperventilate and pass out..usually I only get them now when I am upset...but they used to happen all the time in stores and everything, I got so I could barely leave my home at times. Ive tried Kava Kava and it took the edge off a little and I also tried some chamomile tea at night to relax me so that I could get some sort of sleep. But all the drugs, drs, and meds will only help you manage the issue, it wont really solve the problem. Everyones situation is different I understand that and you have to do what works for you. Personally, I had to rearrange my life..I had to come up with strategies that would help me function daily without causing me stress (such as making my lunch the night before so I am not rushed and flustered in the AM)..I know that sounds so stupid and elementary but changing small things really helped me get organized and take control. I also had to eliminate things from my life that made me feel out of control. I wish you all the best, I know its a struggle...but please hang on this is not an easy thing to go through...but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Take care of yourself.

aphil 04-06-2006 07:54 AM

I agree so much with campbellredhead's post-on the issue that it is just as important to deal with the therapy aspect of this, as well as the medication. I don't personally think it is good to just hand out the medications-simply because you aren't doing anything at all about the problem-you are just treating it.

This would be equivalent to a heart patient having a bypass surgery, but continuing to eat shortening and butter and never get off the couch.
If you do go with the medication route, I think it is very important as well to talk with a counselor or therapist that is familiar with anxiety disorders. Depression is pretty common and most therapists deal with that, but anxiety disorders-anxiety and panic attacks, OCD, bipolar/manic depressive, and other things are a whole different ballgame. You can't just go to a counselor who is used to dealing with marriage issues, you know? :)

For instance, with my OCD and the compulsions that I have with it-my parents would just tell me/beg me to "quit stressing out" and to "relax". For those of you who don't know me-my obsessions aren't the classic "everyone can see them-handwashing-germaphobe sort of thing."Mine have to do with symmetry/organization, things being "just right", perfection, numbers, listmaking, repeatedly checking things, order of items, etc.-and then the phobias/fears. As a professional dancer, and as a seamstress/costume maker-they thought I was just overworking myself and being too much of a perfectionist in my work. They thought that if I just "worked less" and took some time off that I would be fine. :rofl:

I literally had to explain to them, that if I wasn't up all hours of the night hand beading a costume piece perfectly for 7 hours-that I would be walking around instead picking lint and cat hair off the carpet by hand until it was all gone, and sorting a bag of M&Ms by color. :rofl: They just didn't "get it". The anxiety is there, and in my case, it has to be released in some way.

Anxiety disorders of all types are very similar-even though someone having phobias or panic attacks alone may not think they relate right away to someone with OCD. They are exactly the same. The only difference is the result of that extreme fear. It is also very common for someone with any type of depression, anxiety disorder, or related illness to have more than one-since the same chemical imbalance causes them.

The only real difference between them, is that someone with claustrophobia alone may have a panic attack in an enclosed space or in a crowd. Someone with OCD may have a fear/phobia that is very similar, and as a result of that, they just develop a ritual to ease that feeling of anxiety. For instance, I have a fear of getting to the cash register at a store, and not having the means to pay for my items. Stupid fear, I know, but it is what it is, and that means the ritual I developed is to check my purse for my cash/checkbook/debit card before I leave the house, again in the parking lot of the place, and again in the store before I check out. I have done this since I was a teen. That is how a "checking" ritual gets started. You simply don't trust yourself enough that you checked right the first time. It is the same as a tv protrayal of someone with OCD checking to see that they locked their door 17 times.

I have a great sense of humor about it, though, and I laughed my tail off when I watched "As Good As It Gets" and "Monk" because I can totally relate-especially to Monk. :lol:

I have learned little things to do to "ease" some of my stress, and cut down on some of my rituals. One of those things was to buy my clothes hangers in all the same color/style. I used to "sort" them in the laundry area by color-and now, since they are all white, I can't do that any longer-and it is no longer a trigger for me. It is a tiny thing, but that is 1-2 minutes out of my life each day that I get back. It is all of the little coping mechanisms that help you through the day.

I am glad that there are so many here with similar issues to talk with about these sorts of things. It is nice to know that someone understands. :D

Misti in Seattle 04-06-2006 08:27 AM


Just a thought... but have your thyroid checked! I went through this and thought I was going NUTS. Turned out I had a thyroid tumor. After the surgery and getting my meds adjust to right level, it stopped! Completely!!! I found out that doctors do NOT check this usually unless you specifically ask them to.

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