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    Thread: Panic Attack when lying down to sleep

    1. #1
      Out of the Matrix Neo Neo's Avatar
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      Panic Attack when lying down to sleep

      This was strange for me because I had never had this happen before. And I just had a couple panic attacks before and they were preceded by genuine stress, this one at night just happened out of nowhere.

      So here's what happened. I was lying down and was feeling tired, and was on my back then turned over to the side like I usually do. I started to space out and thought I was seeing hypnogogia-like hallucinations. However I opened my eyes and things were strange. I started seeing wavy patterns across my vision and this circular object that was darting back and forth in the center of my sight. Keep in mind it was almost pitch black in my room. I was thinking, wow this is weird and interesting and everything but I need to get sleep, so I closed my eyes and tried to relax. But my heart rate started to increase a lot and my tiredness/fatigue suddenly was gone. I didn't feel tired anymore and was beginning to feel a tingling sensation in my arms. Then I felt this wave of panic spread through my body, and I was getting concerned if I was in any danger physically. This was also at like 4:30am in the morning. I had stayed up this late before and this never happened, but I had been repeatedly staying up late so maybe that had something to do with this. I also had some stress during the day and week but nothing out of the ordinary. And I kept getting hallucinatory feelings and sights so I don't know it was generally freaking me out because I couldn't calm myself down. And since I didn't have any reason to be having these sensations or heart rate increase, that's what made me freak out more than I would have. Since there was nothing really that set this off other than my body involuntarily raising its heart rate, and perhaps the hypnogogic hallucinations earlier.

      The next day I realized it was a panic attack, and found stuff on nocturnal panic attacks. So it appears that this isn't rare, but maybe out of the ordinary and not life-threatening. It is motivating me to get to sleep earlier that's for sure since it wasn't fun at all. I had been wanting to experience sleep paralysis, but I didn't ask for panic attacks. Just thought I'd share this and report this experience.

      Edit: And I was able to eventually calm down and sleep after I walked around some and got some more water. I was sitting upright for a while and talking to a friend which helped tons, and I realized what I was experiencing was more psychological than a physical threat. Although it still took a while to sleep and I had to ride out another wave of panic/increased heart rate but it eventually subsided as I focused more on drifting into a dreamstate.

    2. #2
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      <span class='glow_FF1493'>DawnEye11</span>'s Avatar
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      I don't think I've experienced that type of panic attack before where I see things but I know how annoying anxiety can be. I'm glad that your feeling better now though. ^^
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    3. #3
      Out of the Matrix Neo Neo's Avatar
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      Yeah those hallucinations were strange, since I've never got them before on the onset of sleep or just lying there! The hypnogogia I'm used to just deals with faint images with my eyes closed and nothing like what I saw or physically felt during this experience. And thanks I've been getting to sleep earlier and have been anxiety free the past couple nights
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    4. #4
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      Sounds like REM Atonia to me. The hallucinatory states are caused by sensory cells destabilizing and becoming fully uncoupled, allowing anything flowing freely from your mind to spill and pour right into your vision, sound, tactile sense of touch, even "knowing", smelling, and tasting too. Your mind organizes sensory input in a top-down fashion that allows it to organize and expound on perceptions you already have in this ability. You see a dog walking down the road, your eyes just successfully filtered out any "hallucinations" as far as the mind can tell, and so you recognize, dog, furry, cute, big, small, dangerous, etc. It does this with everything. When it no longer filters out false-sensory input this destabilization grows even more wild, until it can affect your entire waking reality and whatever seems to be inhabiting your reality with you at the time.
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    5. #5
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      I totally understand what has happened to you, Neo Neo. I have had many panic attacks during the day in the last 13 or so months but before that I often experienced nocturnal PA. They are no fun at all and they often make you feel wide awake when in fact all you want to do is get to sleep! They also sometimes make you dread your sleep - which is truly awful, especially since you are finding your day exhausting because of the PAs...
      Anyway, like you said, it is useful to remember that these feelings are only occurring in our head and whilst our body is partly affected (heavy breathing, sweating, feeling panicky etc) there is no immediate danger to us.
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    6. #6
      Out of the Matrix Neo Neo's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by snoop View Post
      Sounds like REM Atonia to me. The hallucinatory states are caused by sensory cells destabilizing and becoming fully uncoupled, allowing anything flowing freely from your mind to spill and pour right into your vision, sound, tactile sense of touch, even "knowing", smelling, and tasting too. Your mind organizes sensory input in a top-down fashion that allows it to organize and expound on perceptions you already have in this ability. You see a dog walking down the road, your eyes just successfully filtered out any "hallucinations" as far as the mind can tell, and so you recognize, dog, furry, cute, big, small, dangerous, etc. It does this with everything. When it no longer filters out false-sensory input this destabilization grows even more wild, until it can affect your entire waking reality and whatever seems to be inhabiting your reality with you at the time.
      Yeah, I'm just curious as to what triggered this for me, it may have been my persistent lack of sleep over the course of a few days, but not sure why I haven't experienced this before. Tried looking up REM atonia now really quick but haven't found the info you posted, so will dig deeper later. Thanks for that info though! In retrospect, yeah it makes sense, since my mind/body was feeling all kinds of messed up with not sleeping regularly during that period. Stress too probably, so could have offset/unbalanced my system for this condition to manifest? And recently I've been "normal" for me when getting to sleep, and haven't experienced this since. That's so weird that this can happen though.


      Quote Originally Posted by clumsydreamer View Post
      I totally understand what has happened to you, Neo Neo. I have had many panic attacks during the day in the last 13 or so months but before that I often experienced nocturnal PA. They are no fun at all and they often make you feel wide awake when in fact all you want to do is get to sleep! They also sometimes make you dread your sleep - which is truly awful, especially since you are finding your day exhausting because of the PAs...
      Anyway, like you said, it is useful to remember that these feelings are only occurring in our head and whilst our body is partly affected (heavy breathing, sweating, feeling panicky etc) there is no immediate danger to us.
      Oh geez, have you found a way to cope with them? I was reading a forum on another site, and someone was overcoming panic attacks by changing the way they think. Of course it was over a longer period of time, and involved thinking positive thoughts and knowing it wasn't physically dangerous, but yeah. I was thinking those exact thoughts, especially about dreading sleep. Its like stress can snowball, where I was like "omg I don't want to go through this everytime I lay down to sleep!" which makes the issue unnecessarily bigger. What has been helping me is resolving some stress and starting to establish a better sleep routine. And also reading or meditating some before sleep, and not going directly from computer gaming to sleep. Got a music audition done helped to alleviate some stress as well haha.

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      Well I did a variety of things. I took up mindfulness meditation which is great help. I made changes to my diet, talked to a herbalist and started taking natural remedies against anxiety and I also saw a psychiatrist for about 3 months to do some CBT and together we worked on what you described as "changing the way you think". All these things made a world of difference and for me personally knowing that anxiety or a panic attack are awful experiences which aren't going to hurt you was very helpful. Another big help came from trying to "relax in the moment" and "being present in the moment" even when you're not feeling well has also helped me reduce the number of PAs by a lot. I still experience anxiety but I feel that I am on my way to feeling all right once again..although sometimes it is a struggle!

      Specifically to night time, if I have a nocturnal PA I sometimes get up a get a glass of water then go back to bed and make sure I am thinking relaxing thoughts and I control my breathing and focus on it, counting each in and out breath until things get better.
      One of the reasons why I am getting into LD is to try and stop having such vivid nightmares and hopefully resolve some inner conflict and find more peace in my waking life. I have been exposed to a couple of traumatic experiences in my life and that has made my anxiety quite significant and I see LD as a chance to look inside my thoughts and try and make sense of them.
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    8. #8
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      hi NeoNeo, I have mini panic attacks just before falling asleep from time to time. if I doze off while reading or watching tv, I'm fine, but if I just try to sleep I usually begin thinking too much and then the panic starts with rapid heart rate, a strange tingling feeling all over and then fear. I realized it was worry and over thinking stuff, but as soon as you realize what is triggering it, things get a little better.
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      You know, I experienced something similar to you, Neoneo.

      I woke up in the morning and opened my eyes to an ordinary white wall. But then I fell asleep again or something clicked which reminded me of sleep. And this rush of chest-tightness overcame me. It wasn't Anxiety per say but I am used to chest-tightness and consider it very related to anxiety and it definetely surged my body with a sense of fear; which I am sure we are fully capable of disconnecting from. But my ordinary wall was now covered with a highly intensely coloured grid with the whitest of white center boxes that I have rarely seen in my life. I'm not sure if I got panicked and consciously removed it or what happened here but it was over in just a few seconds. Lol, I liked it very much!
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    10. #10
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      I have anxiety a lot of times, but never a Panic Attack.
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    11. #11
      Out of the Matrix Neo Neo's Avatar
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      Thanks for the input so far everyone! Even though these are, for the most part, unwanted experiences I appreciate everyone sharing them.

    12. #12
      Out of the Matrix Neo Neo's Avatar
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      Update on this: I am now sure that these attacks are the result of stress in my life and getting to sleep too late. Started getting some last night, but after knowing about them I didn't freak out and was able to get to sleep after a long while. No hallucinations either, just some tingling/sleep paralysis-esque feelings and the increased heart rate again. Felt a wave of panic but didn't flip out like the other time I posted. I'm still not sure why I've been getting them now, just because of the fact that I've had so many stressful situations before but never these night panic attacks. Weird, yet it seems like I've got a handle on this for now.

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