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Thread: Temporary Paralysis?
September 5th, 2005, 06:00 AM #1
I'm wondering if anyone has experienced temporary paralysis during panic attacks?
I've been experiencing it lately (I have made an appointment to begin seeing my therapist again, after taking a few weeks break - but don't see her until Thursday). Once it was during a full blown and obvious panic attack with hyperventilation. I figured that my body wasn't getting enough blood and/or oxygen because parts of my body went numb, began to curl/contract and then were temporarily paralyzed. Once I began to "come down" I gained feeling in my face, hands, arms and legs and then could move them again.
However, more recently, I've experienced my muscles during what I think is a form of panic attack a bit differently. I recently had 2 situations (one being this morning) when I didn't feel like I went into a full panic attack, but instead had a bizarre and strong desire to tense my muscles. Sounds strange, I know. Anyway, it feel like I "freeze" or get "stuck". I begin to notice that I'm staring in one place with tense muscles, clenched teeth and eyes wider than normal. I feel conscious, and somewhat aware of my surroundings, but I also feel pretty disconnected. And I am very aware of my thoughts - because they are about my being frozen and staring in one spot with my eyes wide open and how ridiculously strange I feel.
This morning when it happened, I was home alone, but the other time it happened was when I was driving. I was scared that I was going to lose control of my emotions, mind and body. I was concentrating very hard on not allowing my muscles or myself freeze and was trying to talk myself into calming down and "holding on" until I got home.
I know this sounds bizarre, but I'm wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar or maybe has any insight about this. I have PTSD and do get triggers resulting in panic attacks and flashbacks, however these recent experiences are unfamiliar to me.
Thanks in advance.
September 6th, 2005, 03:36 AM #2
Yikes. I wonder if the lack of responses means I'm on my own with this one? I was hoping maybe someone else had experienced this or at least heard of it. Maybe i'm posting in the wrong forum?
I'll try PTSD.
September 9th, 2005, 02:34 PM #3
So, I didn't post this in PTSD, but I did go to my doctor and thought I'd add a quick post - just in case anyone else does hyperventilates during panic attacks.
Apparently, I experience Tetany (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=tetany) due to hyperventilating.
"You can induce tetany in a few minutes by hyperventilating. The increased gas exchange in the lung lowers blood carbon dioxide (as dissolved bicarbonate), raises the blood pH, lowers the calcium concentration, and you are shaky, anxious, with hand muscle cramps drawing your fingers into a clenched fist."
Breathing into to a paper bag. Ya gotta re-breath CO2.
Also, get your calcium checked (I had my blood taken immediately after my appointment) just to make sure everything's ok there too.
September 9th, 2005, 07:35 PM #4Administrator Recent Blog: The Stonehenge Image
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- Mar 2004
- Ottawa, Canada
Fascinating. I meant to come back to this thread, actually, healthbound, because I did some searches looking for any links between PTSD or anxiety and "paralysis" and didn't find much that was helpful.
Thanks for posting this!
September 9th, 2005, 08:16 PM #5
Thanks. If you do happen to hear of anything else, please do post it.
September 10th, 2005, 12:13 AM #6Inactive
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- Sep 2005
I found an interesting article that links PTSD with a paralysis or freezing. Here is the link to the article. Worth the read.
The Neurophysiology of Dissociation and Chronic Disease
P.S. Thanks TSOW for teaching me how to do these links...much appreciated!
September 10th, 2005, 02:54 AM #7
It's actually happening again right now. it started about 15mins ago. i seem to be sort of phasing in and out of it and it's really scary.
when it's done, i'll read the article.
thank you, again.
September 10th, 2005, 08:48 AM #8Inactive
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- Sep 2005
You are welcome Healthbound!
I have a friend who used to experience similar symptoms. We were both attending the same university (for undergrad) and lived on the same floor in a residence hall. When she started to have these experiences I would talk to her about the way the trees were swaying or how the snow was falling...anything to get her mind/body off of wherever it was going. It began to work as time passed. I believe that our bodies have their own memories too.
I hope your symptoms decrease. Best wishes,
September 11th, 2005, 06:12 AM #9
OK - so first of all I'd like to express my sincere gratitude for www.dictionary.com. I don't even know how many words I looked up while reading this article - but I know it was A LOT.
Second, I'd like to express my sincere gratitude to comfortzone for posting the link to this article so that I could have an opportunity to learn more about what's going on with me.
This article was extremely fascinating and validating. While it's true that I had to look up the meaning of words from almost every page, much of the article made perfect sense to me. I identified with many of the connections made between trauma, triggers and flashbacks affecting my mental, emotional AND physical memory, defenses and reactions. And even beyond what the article was proposing, I found it incredibly helpful to read about many of the mentioned experiments (although, I guess I'm sort of saying that I relate to rats and chicks!).
I wonder why I am having an increase in flashbacks now though. And if I think of the Animal Model and agree that I didn't have an opportunity to dissipate spontaneously due to chronic infliction of trauma --- do I need to go back and somehow give myself an opportunity to do so? Will that help me? Seems to make sense. But given my current circumstances it doesn't seem possible to provide an environment where I could even think about dissipating spontaneously. Ahhhh...BUT, I could practice meditation and perhaps take action to deal with my relationship and financial dilemma (both are triggering most of my flashbacks).
Regardless, what does seem clear is that my mind AND body are most definitely reacting to something and my reactions are significant. The trick seems to be figuring out how to induce a *new* reaction to triggers to make new physical/mental/emotional memories. I don't even necessarily need to identify what the triggers are at this point - I KNOW when I'm having a flashback and so if I can somehow even do something very small during those times I might be able to teach my mind/brain/body to react differently. This is WAY easier said than done. Like, I'm on another planet when I have flashbacks. There is no place for logic and even if there was - I can't DO anything when I'm frozen anyways!
....Hmmmm. If I could just find someone to be with me 24/7 who likes talking about swaying trees and falling snow (which sounds beautiful, by the way)...
Anyway, I'm going to do more reading about many of the things mentioned in that article that seem to link back to my PTSD and traumas. I don't want to do what the article suggested happens often - Experience trauma - Develop PTSD - Experience more trauma or never deal with original trauma - Develop hypervigilence or phobias - Then receiving a "new" diagnosis - Now have a new focus - And then overlooking the trauma completely (or at least that's what I thought they were saying). An example of me doing this could even be my posting "Temporary Paralysis" in "panic disorders" instead of in "PTSD". Especially since (and I haven't done a ton of research) I understand panic disorder to not be triggered, but seemingly not preceded by any related stimuli??
Od geeze. I've done it again...I've written a mini novel. Well, as you can tell, I'm still anxious. And to update you...both last night and today I feel like I've been trying to prevent a full blown flashback by actually doing something physical. Today was better - I just kept doing pushups, sit ups and squats - anything - when I felt like I was going into freeze or hyperventilation mode. I felt very anxious all day, but I only had 2 real "almost" panic attacks today and they weren't as bad as yesterday.
September 11th, 2005, 06:14 AM #10
PS --- Do you still have contact with your friend? If so, how is she doing now?