I think waking up in a panic attack is one of the worst things about having a panic disorder. My medication causes vivid dreams which most nights I enjoy but once in a while I have a very vivid dream that throws me into a panic attack while I am asleep. This wakes me up and then I spend all day trying to shake the dream. It’s as if my head is stuck in the dream and I just can’t get myself all the way awake. It is s very strange feeling. The first time it happened it scared me which only intensified my anxiety for the entire day resulting in several panic attacks.
Now that I know what is happening I have learned to deal with it. The waking up in a panic attack is still pretty scary but the stuck in a dream feeling is something I have learned to fear The feeling usually lasts most of the day but its ok. It’s not that scary anymore, It’s more like a hungover feeling and feeling spacey at the same time. It makes it hard to focus so I am not able to accomplish much those days. I am thankful they only happen a couple of times a month now instead of daily.
How Did I Learn to Deal with It?
Simply, I researched my disorder and my medication. I learned everything I could about what were side effects and what were not. Once I understood that it was a side effect of my medication (Zoloft), and not something else, I was able to accept the fact that on those days that I woke in a panic, after the initial panic attack, I would feel out of it most of the day. I understood that it was nothing to be afraid of it was just a fact. I know that the benefit of the medication outways this and since it only happens once in a while I can handle it. As part of my disorder (PTSD), I know that there are good days and there are bad days. I have to accept this and be okay with it. It has been hard because I am such a perfectionist and a control freak. I have had to learn to just accept and be ok with it. There are days that I am not okay and that is okay. With acceptance and letting go of perfection comes fewer days that I am not okay.