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Panic or Anxiety ​Attack vs Physical Overwhelm

Ever been so physically overwhelmed that it didn’t matter what you called it, it STUNK??? Anyone with almost any illness clearly knows physical overwhelm. We have to stop and deal with whatever. Sometimes panic or anxiety attacks kick in and they are quite different but they cause a physical overwhelm. Sorting it out a little can help us navigate social situations so we are not so isolated while we are chronically ill.

All I did was open my mouth to make today’s video and I realized that I cannot overgeneralize this to the extent that I aometimes do.

Panic attacks are different from anxiety attacks. They are both different than physcial overwhelm alone, or are they??

We all need people in our lives that point out our blind spots. When one of my healthcare providers asked me if my “overwhelm” in social situations is a panic attack, I clearly said no but did not have the words to explain it to her.

Physical overwhelm can show up in many ways. It does not always mean an emotional problem is the root cause.

Don’t we have enough issues while being chronically ill already?? Of course. But when we look into the why behind things, we can know what to work on. Instead of getting stuck in the physical overwhelm, I want to see if there are some answers so I can move through it.

Anxiety vs Panic Attacks

  • There are two shared symptoms: increased heart rate and shortness of breath.
  • While anxiety attacks last as long as 15 to 30 minutes, they are said to be less intense compared to panic attacks.
  • Anxiety attacks may usually have a specific trigger, while panic attacks don’t.
  • Both panic and anxiety can involve fear, a pounding or racing heart, lightheadedness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and irrational thoughts, but the panic attack will be more severe.
  • Anxiety can be a response to a specific worry or fear, leading to an anxiety attack. Panic attacks start suddenly.
  • For a person with panic disorder, anxiety may trigger a panic attack. The fear of having a panic attack can affect a person’s behavior and ability to function in daily life.

Keep digging and learning the difference, it is interesting:

Let’s complicate this even farther with adding the fact that low B6 and iron can be related of the anxiety or panic attack in the first place.

“Patients undergoing a panic attack (PA) or a hyperventilation attack (HVA) are sometimes admitted to emergency departments (EDs). Reduced serotonin level is known as one of the causes of PA and HVA. Serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan. For the synthesis of serotonin, vitamin B6 (Vit B6) and iron play important roles as cofactors. To clarify the pathophysiology of PA and HVA, we investigated the serum levels of vitamins B2, B6, and B12 and iron in patients with PA or HVA attending an ED. We measured each parameter in 21 PA or HVA patients and compared the values with those from 20 volunteers. We found that both Vit B6 and iron levels were significantly lower in the PA/HVA group than in the volunteer group. There was no significant difference in the serum levels of vitamins B2 or B12. These results suggest that low serum concentrations of Vit B6 and iron are involved in PA and HVA.”

~ Low serum concentrations of vitamin B6 and iron are related to panic attack and hyperventilation attack – NCBI

I hope this helps you define what is happening to you so that you can find more ways to be in social situations.

More Confusion Than Help

This might be a first for me. Getting more educated on the subject created more confusion than clarification, for me. I have decades worth of counseling behind me, dealing with the subject. I have had many experiences having to determine the difference between panic attack and heart failure. The last couple days I have tried to find a way to make this simple, no luck.

I clearly fit into both categories, but do not have all the symptoms of both. I physically do NOT have half of the symptoms in both categories.

Waking up in the middle of the night grasping my chest from heart failure is physical, but causes great anxiety which builds into some panic issues. Yet, I am one of the calmest people I know when it comes to a crisis. I have an uncanny ability to calm myself.

Choosing to put myself into a social situation so that I can bust through my isolation is not a symptom of anxiety or panic. I want human interaction!!! I am willing to endure great physical discomfort to be around people. I am willing to be a “dork” while I am physically overwhelmed.

I have Babesia (cousin to malaria) so I have chills and sweats all the time. Whether I am at home alone or in a group or driving or laying still in bed, I have chills and sweats. So how do I compare that with an anxiety or panic symptom???

Nope, for myself, cannot figure it out. At this point I actually don’t want to. It creates more anxiety over the situation.

Labeling everything is not always the answer. More education is not always the answer. Getting to the why behind things is usually very helpful. Not this week on this subject, for me.

What I do know is that the symptoms of what I am experiencing is getting better. I will take that as victory and let the rest go.

Do What We Can, Let The Rest Go

While we are chronically ill we are just simply not going to have all the answers. Situations like this reminds me that not everything needs to be thought out.

Sometimes, simply getting in my vehicle and going and doing is the best way for me to see where I am with the physical and emotional.

Physically it is hard on me to do these weekly drives to this group. Emotionally it is doing wonders to be around other people.

Conclusion, not everything needs an answer or explanation or label. I will use that energy to get to the rest of my group meetings and enjoy the company while my body physically gets overwhelmed.

You may need to figure this out, or not. Do what is best for YOU. If the education reduces stress, you are on the right track. If the education causes you more anxiety than a panic attack, leave it alone.

Watch me stumble over my own words when I realize I cannot define the differences for my own situation. Everything is not black and white. Do what we can and let the rest go. For today, find the baby step we can take to get farther down the road. The rest does not really matter.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE:  In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may receive monetary compensation for links to products from this post. However, I only recommend products that I personally love and use myself. If it is not good enough for me, it certainly is not good enough for you!!

HEALTH COACH DISCLAIMER:  Health/Wellness coaching is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Trained and certified Health Coaches may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care. As your health/wellness coach I do not provide a second opinion or in any way attempt to alter the treatment plans or therapeutic goals/recommendations of your personal physician. It is my role to partner with you to provide ongoing support and accountability as you create an action plan to meet and maintain your health goals.

1 thought on “Panic or Anxiety ​Attack vs Physical Overwhelm

  1. […] figure out why I get so overwhelmed. It would have been interesting to know if I was suffering from anxiety and/or panic attacks or if it was simply physical overwhelm. Sounded like a great idea until I tried to dig […]

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