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Panic Attacks In The Middle Of The Night


I'd like to share a little about my past, as I feel it may be related to this issue.

When I was in the 7th grade, I began fainting. Sometimes it was in class, sometimes it was at home or elsewhere. I was checked for heart problems, epilepsy, diabetes and low blood pressure. After being diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia (probably due to menstruation) I was put on supplements, and gradually got better and stopped fainting. Before I was diagnosed, my mother the hypochondriac was very upset fearing I had some deadly disease. She has always been an emotional mess/alcoholic. Also around this time, we had watched Schindler's List in class, and for the first time I began being aware of death. Between the realization and my mother freaking out, I was understandably upset, and any time I felt the slightest bit dizzy or disconnected, I would panic and think I was going to faint and embarrass myself in school, or even die. I began waking in the middle of the night thinking that I was going to die. I was afraid to fall asleep in the first place for fear that I would not wake up again. It got so bad that I would wake my parents so that one of them would sit up with me until I calmed down and finally fell asleep from exhaustion. I never slept well when I did sleep. My parents never took me for psychiatric help, in fact they got fed up with my state and didn't coddle me further. I never thought to ask anyone for help, I just went with it. I had to just suck it up. Eventually, they panic attacks went away for the most part, only happening once in a great while. I pretty much had to tell myself: if I die, I die. I can't do anything about it so I may as well try to live in the moment and enjoy the "now".

I am now almost 30 years old. My husband and I have been together for about 9 years, and in that time, I would very rarely wake in a panic, perhaps twice a year. Recently, as in the last couple of weeks, I have been having them about 3 times a week. It has been several nights since the last episode. When I awaken, it is not from a scary dream, and it never has been. I simply wake up feeling the most awful feeling of doom and I suddenly think about how one day I will die and my heart starts pounding so hard and when I reach the worst of the feeling, I usually cry out, just a whimper. It's really pathetic sounding and embarrassing to think about as I type this. My hubby knows what the sound means and always wakes up and holds me and is never impatient about comforting me in my distress, and never upset about waking him. It only lasts a minute. His touch anchors me again and I relax and fall asleep again. I do not have this fear of death in waking hours. I have not had a panic attack during waking hours in fact, since I was a teenager. If anything, our life has become considerably less stressful in the last 6 months, so this problem is kind of confusing regarding effects in the physical.

I am reaching out for some thoughts on this problem. Could I be receiving some type of information unconsciously that I am unable to remember when I am awake? Since this all began as a child along with the 'realization' of death, I wonder if there is something to it?

I have lots of minor happenings where I will suddenly know something out of nowhere. Sometimes it is a subtle premonition, sometimes it is an answer that didn't come from my own mind. I could go on and on about my little abilities, but for the sake of sticking to the point I will just say it is never anything evil, and certainly never anything that makes me feel the terrible feelings I have when a middle of the night panic attack comes about.

Thanks for reading.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Paws, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

Kaavs (2 posts)
12 years ago (2011-12-01)
Realization, in your case, is rather a self-inflicted trauma or a pychological wound. So, in my opinion, the next step would be conquering this fear, or rather, realization, that death, in it's very essence, is the next stage of life, not the ending of it. You should try getting a palm reading, regarding your life expectancy. That should give you peace of mind regarding your fear of sudden death. After that, you should just accept the death as a part of your life cycle, not as something that's disrupting it. And I know it sounds simple, but, as the matter of fact, it is simple.
losdog77 (1 stories) (4 posts)
12 years ago (2011-11-30)
I am sorry to hear that you are going through this. Know that you are not alone in these experiences. I have talked to my primary care phsician as well as mental health counselors about a very similar condition that I have. I too will awaken in the night sometimes 30 minutes after falling asleep some 2-6 hours after sleeping in a full panic (heart racing, clamy skin, feelings that I am not in control of my thoughts, and feelings of unreality as well as Fear beyond my control). They have tried to attribute to a food I may have just eaten or an LSD flashback - as a result of a bad college experience where an ex-girlfriend drugged me. Unfortunately the only solace I have found was through as needed medication. I urge you to continue to reach out to understand why this happening to you and I hope you have some peace in knowing that you are not alone in these experiences.
Paws (3 stories) (16 posts)
12 years ago (2011-11-29)
Thank you for your replies. AnneV, I think I have been to that site before, and I love reading about people's spiritual experiences. It makes me long for my own moment of bliss and assurance and knowing some day. I want to be able to connect with my higher self/guardians/guides so badly. What you say makes a lot of sense, and I appreciate getting an outside perspective. I agree with what you have to say about this thing we call life. I believe it without much proof, but with a deep feeling of just kind of knowing it is correct.

Thanks for your replies!
Becky666 (124 posts)
12 years ago (2011-11-29)
people fear the unknown and unfortunately for you the unknown is death. I would recommend a meditation course.
AnneV (4 stories) (1064 posts) mod
12 years ago (2011-11-29)
We may consciously grow out of a condition cultivated by our parents but subconsciously some of it is still there. I must commend you though on your realization that regardless of anything, we all die and living in the now is the key. But that obviously isn't helping you in these recent episodes.

So from the 7th grade through early adulthood you've been on and off again living a psychological hell. Your parents got tired of it and disengaged themselves but you continued on living mental anguish until it waned over the years. You can't erase all of that that even with conscious thoughts. It is still there in the layers of your being (chakras and aura) and will crop up from time to time. Things may be smooth in your personal life but it doesn't take a social or political scientist to see the world is in a state of chaos and further degrading. There are escalations and disasters at home and abroad. This would trigger those old wounds. And what are your old wounds? The idea of death and it touching you. So yes, I think you could be picking up information subconsciously. You are going to be hit harder by this than most because of your background.

There are two courses for you. One is to ignore it and let it play out however that look like (more panic attacks, ignore it, resignation). The other is to push yourself to incorporate a deeper belief into your core being that there is no such thing as death. Death is a graduation. Death is freedom. Death and life are hand in hand. It's one thing to consciously agree with this but it's another to live that belief so much so that even your dreams go along with it. People sometimes ask me, "What will my afterlife be like?" And I tell them to look at their dreams. Lessons truly learned are reflected in your dreams.

A site I love to read is about near death experiences because they bring back so many amazing insights. Http:// If you take the time to really read through it, you'll find death for good people is a wonderful entry into a realm of beauty and love. That is noting to be afraid of if you ask me.


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