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Panic

I’am a 70 year old man. I’ve had migraines for as long as I can remember. I wanted to mention one thing, among many others, that happens to me at times when I feel I first feel an attack coming. I have never heard anyone address this on this forum even though I know it happen to others too.

When I feel the first hint that an attack is coming, I experience what I call a panic attack with fear. I start doing every thing I have learned over the years to stop it. However, the panic and fear seems to take over. I try and do thing to redirect my thoughts but I have at this point not had to much success doing that.  Is there anyone else out there that has experienced this?

In the last two years I have been having double vision when an attack starts. I go to a neurologist that speciallies in the treatment of migraines. His only answer concerning the double vision is to get an eye patch and cover one eye. When I do that I can see fine with the one eye.

Thanks for any comments you would like to share.

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Comments

  • minddoctor
    5 years ago

    Raysword07, I read your post on the date you made it public and it has been on my mind to get back to you ever since; alas, a bad health time period for me, But today, feeling much improved, I wanted to write to you and truly hope this post makes it your way and that you might find it helpful.

    I am a clinical psychologist. I have also had a period of time when I suffered from panic disorder, and I currently have been with chronic post-traumatic migraines for the past two years as a result of a car accident. Though I do not personally experience panic before a migraine headache, I think I have some professional and personal understanding of what you might be experiencing, and I wanted to share some information with you.

    Firstly, from a biological perspective, everything you are experiencing makes complete sense and can actually be viewed as a normal response (fear / panic) to an abnormal event (migraine). The back portion of our brains, responsible for our “animal instincts”, reacts to any threat, perceived or real, with a fight or flight response. Our animal brains see all types of threats in the same way; in other words, the threat might be person aiming to hurt you or a worry that your child hasn’t called you as planned… or, in your case, some symptoms of migraine appear and you perceive them, consciously or unconsciously, and you know from your own personal history that the pain is going to hit soon.

    Whatever the threat, the body responds in the same fashion; our heart rate increases, our breathing gets more rapid and shallow, our temperature rises, our eyes dilate and we become more hyper-vigilant; our thoughts become louder and more clear, even if they are unwanted, such as “oh no, here comes another headache”. This is all the body’s normal way of preparing us to fight or flee from the threat.

    Then our silly intelligence steps in and makes us feel utterly crazy. We start telling ourselves “there’s no reason for my body and mind to be acting this way; having my heart rate increase and my mind ruminating on this impending migraine is only making it worse”. These silly thoughts tend to increase stress and fuel the fight/flight response. Our animal instincts have kept the human race safe for our entire existence, and yet our silly smartness wants to talk us out of having them.

    You are 70 years old and you have suffered from some of the worst kind of chronic pain throughout your life. OF COURSE your body is going to start revving up and your mind will start racing. Your body is simply trying to keep you safe. That doesn’t mean that it’s pleasant, and it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t retrain your body and mind.

    There are hundreds of techniques for managing panic and chronic pain. It’s just a matter of trying out a few different things and seeing what works for you. I encourage you to talk to a therapist with some expertise in anxiety and chronic pain so they can help you find the tools that will work for you.

    I have tried many things in my quest for health. What has worked for me is to recognize that I am not in control, and I allow myself to go limp. I physically picture my body melting like an ice cream cone on a warm summer day and I give permission for the panic or migraine pain to wash over me. This serves to lower my fight or flight response. This calms my animal brain. The panic hits but then it ends… the headache hurts but then it subsides. And I am on the other side.

  • Wayne
    5 years ago

    I, too, have anxiety/preparedness moments when I see the precursors to another attack. I reference attack, because I have nearly constant right sided headache at about a rating of 6 or 7. I become anxious when the symptoms, whether aura and its level of severity, dizziness, blocked or double vision start or increase.

  • Raysword07 author
    5 years ago

    I cannot take Imetrix or any of that family of drugs because of heart issues and high blood pressure problems. I have been through endral therapy, neutron ton, deposited plus u name it. At present I am doing the Botox therapy every three months (31 injections).
    I also use Percocet also however I have used it so long it has little effect. I also use ice packs and hear packs.
    Any suggestions…?..

  • AmyBabee
    5 years ago

    You have to work with your physician to find the appropriate medication that will work for you. Check out this sites to educate yourself more: https://migraine.com/pro/preventative-treatment-for-migraine-overview-and-approach/ and here is another helpful link: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-4-preventive-treatment/
    I am also wondering if you are aware of Medication Overuse Headache. https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/
    I hope you find relief soon. I am currently on topiramate after trying so many things including Imitrex.

  • Val Milo
    5 years ago

    I have an anxiety attack, at times. However, there is no sign of pain yet. I get horribly anxious and fearful long before. That just happened to me today, ironically. I took a sumatriptan when the anxiety got bad. I’m feeling much better now and I think I averted most of the migraine. Also took half an alprozolam! It gets bad! Doctors have told me all kinds of things have nothing to do with my migraines over the years. I don’t listen to them anymore, I TELL them.

  • Adele
    5 years ago

    Raysword07: I totally understand how you feel when an attack is approaching, having suffered from migraine with aura for 58 years. Finding an understanding doctor helps, but unfortunately, at least for me, I just have to get through that panicky feeling, knowing it will eventually ease up. Good luck!

  • Sandra Faulkner
    5 years ago

    As a chronic migraine sufferer it seems like I live a life of anxiety knowing the pain can hit at any moment! When I begin getting the double vision along with other auras I try to prepare for the pain that is on its way. I’ve compared it to people who know a snowstorm is about to hit and the groceries sell out of the stores. Because I never know when the pain will hit or how long it will keep me incapacitated. I make sure my ice packs are in freezer and that I have food that can be easily prepared. I think we all live with similar fears. I don’t know if a mild anti anxiety med taken at that moment might help the panic, but you could talk to your doc about it.

  • AmyBabee
    6 years ago

    Hi Raysword07, what you are talking about happens to most of us. Some who have suffered this disease for a long time and have gotten a hang on their triggers and what happens at the onset of an attack also experience. We are all in the same fear/anxiety/depression boat all because you dont know when the pain will hit; what level of pain; how long it will last or who knows where you will be or what you might be doing when it hits; if the medication will only take the edge off or stop the pain completely, etc…that is what most of our fear is all about. I used to feel that way when I started having migraines 8 years ago. Now at the hint of an attack, I also panic, then I think, panicking/ anxiety will achieve nothing but will rather make things worse; I take my meds (which I always carry with me + a small bottle of water, sigh!). Again, according to articles on this site: a quarter of the people with migraines also suffered from depression; Other research has found that people with migraines are more likely to suffer from other mental or mood disorders, which include anxiety and panic attacks, bipolar disorder, as well as depression. Migraine sufferers develop depression five times more often than people without migraines. Ray, as most members on this forum will tell you, 90% suffer from fear/ depression/ anxiety including yours truly. If your fear and anxiety becomes bothersome as you indicated, talk to your physician. Read what some of the migraineurs go thru as soon as we open our eyes in the morning, which I am sure you have experienced too. http://migraine.com/blog/waking-migraineor/
    I hope you feel better.

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