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Let’s Talk About Panic Attacks

I don’t think enough can ever be said about the anxiety that can come with having migraine. I want to share a story with you all about my first panic attack. I am terrified about the possibility of getting a severe migraine out in public, and I came up with a funny solution to get myself out of panic-mode.

Watch the video to get the full story:

You know, after filming this video I’m realizing the irony of having a panic attack in public based on the worry of having a migraine attack in public. Thanks, body—great solution! (Gotta have some humor).

If you are looking for resources on panic attacks or anxiety, here are some helpful articles on this site:

I would love to hear if you have ever had a panic attack or anxiety and how they’re connected with your migraine experience?

 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • CharWeis
    10 months ago

    I also suffer from both panic attacks and migraines. My first migraine was in high school and my first panic was soon after. I’ve always been a nervous person but a panic attack is unworldly. It was almost like an out of body experience. Now, I have noticed that the migraine and panic attacks come hand-in-hand. Only thing I noticed that has worked for me is keeping the panic attacks at bay with medication and I don’t have near as many migraines. Hope this helps someone.

  • Kristy
    2 years ago

    Hi Lisa,
    I have had chronic migraines now for about 16 years. I also suffer anxiety and panic attacks. My first panic attack 7 yrs ago was not related to my migraine but my mother was deathly ill and in ICU, I won’t get into that here. Now I notice when I get overwhelmed with my meds that may or may not work, which to take. And if I have any plans to go anywhere. The fear of unknown and being out of control tends to trigger panic for me. I find myself having them more often now attributed to the Migraine disease. I was calling doctors yesterday to get an appointment and was told they only accept new patients with epilepsy, I was floored, but also so upset panic set in. My illness is not worthy of care, what is wrong with doctors. Without knowing more about my case to flat out say no, and I was a prior patient and previously worked there. Society seems to just write off Migraine sufferers as people who don’t really have an illness. Since I have filed disability, I have gotten worse and its harder to find adequate compassionate care.

  • Joanna Bodner moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi there Kristy,
    Thank you for sharing your personal & emotional journey with us. You have and continue to contend with a lot and we know just how challenging this must be. I struggle myself to comprehend the lack of awareness and understanding by many within society for those that live with migraine. I am also sorry to hear that it has also become more difficult since filing for disability.

    If you are continuing to have difficulty finding a doctor, I thought I’d share this article as it provides resources and a search feature that may help in your search!

    Wishing you all the best and please always feel free to reach out for support! We are always here to lend an ear.
    Warmly,
    Joanna (Migraine.com Team)

  • Sylvia Reed
    2 years ago

    I have had migraines for 66 years (I am 78), and they are currently chronic to intractable. I often get panic attacks because my mind is muddled or I cannot remember words – or sometimes anything. Recently I was having physical therapy on a knee that needs replacement. The PT was trying to show me a particular exercise, and I had a frightful migraine and just could not understand. I heard every word he was saying, I could see what he was doing, but my brain refused to understand. I got so panicky I was about to start crying, and the PT said we could do it later. I left and went home and went to bed. I tried the exercise by myself later, and it was simple. Then I go through the beating up on myself because i had embarrassed myself – again. It never seems to get easier and sometimes I want to avoid being around people at all.

  • Amanda Workman moderator
    2 years ago

    Sylvia Reed –
    I promise you that you are not alone! Part of having a bad migraine can affect our ability to understand something or even our ability to express ourselves. I have been at work and been completely unable to figure out something so I give up and end up going back to it the next day and it was right there in front of my face! But it is definitely no reason to beat yourself up about it. I promise you that it happens to all of us and you are not alone. Try to remind yourself That lady. Hugs
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • LGuiser
    2 years ago

    I have had migraines for a very long time; at least thirty-five years. I cannot tell you what came first for me, the depression or the migraines so I’m not sure from which the panic attacks arose. Now, of course, they are all intertwined and I only seem to get the panic attacks when I am at my most stressed and feeling the most out of control. With work and life that can be a few time a year if I’m not constantly working at it. It’s very tiresome.

  • Amanda Workman moderator
    2 years ago

    L Guiser –
    Panic attacks can be hard to handle and scary all on their own. It does make sense to have them when you feel stressed. Have any of your doctors done anything to help you with your depression and panic attacks? I know I am currently seeing a psychiatrist and therapist to overcome my panic attacks and depression. I want you to know it is okay to go those routes to see if they help you. Best wishes
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • thisisendless
    2 years ago

    I have had migraine for about 5 years now but they have been controlled for the last year or so. My panic attacks started last year, I think in reaction to the Nortriptyline I have been taking for years, when I foolishly used St John’s Wort at the same time.

    Since then it has been med after med (non-narcotic) trying to control the panic attacks but they all have side effects or negative reactions. I have to wean of the Nortriptyline so slowly that I am only half way through my taper down, almost a year later. My body seems to hate every med I try to put in it. Except the benzos of course, which I have been using very judicially as to not cause dependency.

    But I mostly wanted to comment because that is a REALLY CUTE KITTY you have there. S/he looks like our kitty who also has long black fur. We just call her Floof even though her name is technically Aslan.

  • Amanda Workman moderator
    2 years ago

    thisisendless –
    Her cat seen there is super cute; she has two running around. I always find it cute when they made an appearance!!
    Most doctors do try to prescribe benzos very sparingly these days. Have you tried a therapist? I currently have started seeing one to see if they can help with my anxiety, panic attacks, and night terrors.
    Amanda Workman (migraine.com Moderator & Contributor)

  • Paige
    2 years ago

    I’ve had migraines since 2nd grade but they became chronic after my total hysterectomy at age 47 in 2013. I had one that lasted 3 wks and ended up in hospital for 3 days. I wanted to die the pain was so intense! I remember being sap scared! That’s when my panic attacks started. Not knowing what caused this severe one I was afraid to do anything, go anywhere or eat anything for fear of triggering another 3 wk long one and I just couldn’t handle that. I’ve left the house bf and made it 3 miles down the road and had to turn around bc of my panic attack. Other times I’ve been in Walmart and just had to leave my basket and bolt out, feeling guilty for leaving my basket. (Unnecessary guilt!) I still have them and spend most of my time at home. My safe place. Thanks for sharing your story! It helps knowing I’m not alone!

  • GavMitri
    2 years ago

    Thank you Lisa for sharing. I suffer from both migraines and panic attacks… I just think and worry too much, my brain won’t shut off and my life if full of stress. Neither is fun but I think I can tolerate a panic attack much better than a migraine.

    Love the kitty in the background. 🙂

  • Luna
    2 years ago

    few words PAUSE few words PAUSE and it was pretty exhausting and I’m sure many of you have been there PAUSE and on it doesn’t go.

    Why videos?

  • Luna
    2 years ago

    Yes, I agree that sometimes it is nice to listen rather than read except when it takes forever (LOL) for the video to finish a sentence. I forget the first part of the sentence by the time the rest gets spoken. Some websites have a video and a transcript so people can choose how to get the info. I’m one that likes any video that has speed settings. Most people talk too slow for me and I need to speed them up. I don’t do facebook so won’t check that out. Thanks. Am so glad my little foray with panic attacks only lasted about three months after trying medical marijuana that didn’t help with my migraines. Wish we could put emoticons on here. Courage!

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Hi Luna,

    We’re so sorry you’re having trouble viewing the videos. I am sending your feedback to the people who post them and hopefully it’ll be better in the future. We’ve only recently started to incorporate videos into the site so it may take awhile for it be run better across all devices. If it’s helpful to you, videos are usually posted to our facebook site a day or so after this site, so you could try watching there: https://www.facebook.com/MigraineDotCom/

    To answer, “why videos?” I personally am incorporating them as there is something in oral storytelling that can’t always be said in writing. I also know some people have trouble reading due to migraine, and it’s nice for them to have another option.

    Thanks again for your comment, as always, Luna.

    -Lisa Benson

  • Sarah Hackley
    2 years ago

    Lisa, I have panic attacks. I’ve had them for a very long time, and it’s difficult to know which condition reared its head first: migraine disease or panic attack disorder. (Comorbidity problems-hahaha.) However, I have realized that if I don’t manage to treat the panic attacks the minute they happen, then I ALWAYS get a migraine attack immediately after. The panic attack is a major, major trigger for me. The main preventative I’m on now is supposed to work as a dual preventative, so I’ve been playing with that. The panic attacks are fewer, and I have a rescue for those when they happen, so hopefully they won’t set off a migraine attack. The head pain I experience with my migraine attacks is also less severe now, but the aura and the dizziness/vertigo are significantly worse. Anyway, I hope you can find a new solution to your migraine-related anxiety. Panic attacks are no fun!

  • Lisa Robin Benson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Sarah, thanks so much for sharing!
    -Lisa

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