Anxiety and Panic Attacks

The following is not medical advice. It is merely my own experience from having to deal with heart, circulation, and anxiety problems.

In 2004, I shattered my left ankle. The lack of use of my left leg and the resulting pain from arthritis prevented me from doing the amount of physical work I used to do. For three years after my injury, the lack of work did not affect me much. But in the fall of 2007, after a particularly hot summer and much less exercise, my blood pressure started rising. The media, friends, and neighbors all seemed to support the idea of drinking a glass of wine every evening to lower blood pressure. I drank very little wine, and only two glasses of beer all my life. I checked my blood pressure before drinking the wine and afterward. Sure enough, drinking a glass of wine lowered my blood pressure to a healthy level.

However, the following night my blood pressure was even higher than the previous night, before I drank any wine. After drinking another glass of wine, my blood pressure dropped to normal level again. This process repeated; with each night my blood pressure kept going higher than the previous. After one week, I could see where this was going and stopped drinking the wine. However, my blood pressure continued to rise each following evening. Within a few days I reached a point where my arteries would have the sensation of exploding just as I was drifting off to sleep. After the third “explosion,” I went to the emergency room at the hospital where I was given a prescription for HCTZ blood pressure medication.

The HCTZ brought my blood pressure down to an acceptable level. At the same time as starting HCTZ, I started reevaluating all the herbs, food, and beverages I had been consuming up until then. I also located foods and electromagnetic devices around my house that affected my arteries. After eliminating things that contribute to high blood pressure, I began drinking dandelion and hawthorn teas. I also began doing some light exercises. After a week, I was able to stop taking the HCTZ and rely solely on the teas and light exercise. My blood pressure settled at a perfect 120/80 for a couple months.

In the middle of December, I went to a Mexican food restaurant and had a delicious dinner and margarita. I love the taste of the salt on the rim while sipping. My blood pressure increased to pre hypertension level, but I did not give it much concern. Two days later I ate a large order of fast food french fries, an eggnog shake, and later had a hand full of candy coated chocolate nuts. That night I was in the emergency room, again, for soaring high blood pressure. This time I had pain in my chest and felt panicky. I was watched for a while and then sent home. Two days later, on Christmas eve, I was in the emergency room again with chest pains. I also had high blood pressure in my left arm, but normal blood pressure in my right arm. I panicked even more because I thought maybe I had a serious artery weakness near my heart.

The doctor ordered a CAT scan, but my heart and arteries were in very good condition. He told me I had “anxiety” and needed to learn to relax. I was also given a prescription for Xanax. This was the turning point for me. I had reached a point where I had developed full blown panic attacks and was losing control of my mind and body. Since then, I stopped measuring my own blood pressure. In this case it seemed the right thing to do since I had just had a CAT scan that verified my heart and arteries were in good condition. It was the stress I had built up over the years that was driving my blood pressure. Just by thinking about measuring my blood pressure, I was subconsciously driving it up.

The morning after being diagnosed with anxiety, I woke up in a good mood and feeling fine. Then I sat at the Internet and tried to respond to a scientific discussion and my panic attack started before I could finish the email. I tried various light exercises to get the panic down, but eventually it got the better of me. I took a Xanax. Just after I took the Xanax, it occurred to me to walk on the treadmill. The first six minutes on the treadmill were panicky and I felt fear. But after six minutes my heart, arteries, lungs, and brain all started working synchronously and I started feeling normal again. This was when I realized that anxiety is only what the disorder looks like from the outside. From the inside, anxiety is really a disharmony of the organs. After years of stress, lack of exercise, and lack of adequate nutrition, my organs were losing touch with each other. The change was more than psychological and had developed into a physiological problem.

There is an important message here. Just as it is prejudiced and bigoted to look upon someone’s race or gender, it is prejudiced and bigoted to describe someone’s condition as merely “anxiety.” The word would not be so bad if there were not such a clear stigma applied to it, which implies the person with anxiety has mental problems. It is true the condition of disharmonious organs is caused from mental stress, and it is true the solution lies in releasing the mental stress, however the condition itself has become part of the individual’s physical condition. The disorder itself is physical. To treat the disorder requires both a physical and mental understanding. If the patient is seeking someone else to be a healer, this understanding is needed by both the patient and the healer.

I chose to heal myself. My poverty helped me with that choice. What I am sharing below are my personal experiences in dealing with disharmonious organs (anxiety) and panic attacks. Keep in mind my age (47), gender (male), that I live alone, and that I have a good sense of self-discipline. You may need to question whether these techniques will work for you, or not, based upon your own situation.