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Sleep Terrors (Panic Attacks) Since I Was A Child, With OCD

by Ann

Hello, I am a 29 year old mother of two. Ever since I was young I've always had problems falling asleep. I would stay up many nights and my panic would increase because I would think "now I only have ___ more hours to sleep until I get up" etc.

I can remember my first sleep panic attack like it was yesterday. It was the day before 2nd grade, I woke up and I was panicking because I didn't have anything to wear for school the next day. I was tearing through winter clothes bags and apparently woke my mom who calmed me down and made me realize I went to a private school and I wore a uniform which was already ready. After that my OCD began, it was really bad as a child (light switches would have to be turned on and off four time before it was "safe" to enter a room, etc.).

My OCD has never went away but as an adult I've learned to 'control' it in a way. My closet is still in color order with everything going from strapless to long sleeved. If anyone messes with it I have to fix it. I've learned to control my compulsions and obsessions so that it is hidden (most of the time, sometimes people catch it and ask what I'm doing and I play it off). I've tried every medication for OCD but I had horrible side effects with all of them and currently only take medication for my panic attacks.

Aside from my OCD I began experiencing day panic attacks at that age (as far as I can remember). I would have the general issues that go with panic attacks and still have them today. I see a psychiatrist and am prescribed Klonopin 1mg 3x a day but generally don't always need them because I can control my day ones pretty well, it's the night ones that have given me problems since 2nd grade.

I remember one sleep panic attack that occurred when I was sick and had a fever. In my sleep panic attacks my OCD kicks in. I wake up, I remember EVERYTHING from that point on and can tell someone about it the next day (which is why I am asking this question
because from what I've read this past hour I can't find anyone who remembers their sleep panic attack. I wake up from a dream and 'believe' my dream is true (unless I take a sleeping pill before bed which allows me to not remember any of my dreams the next morning). I stand straight up and know exactly what is happening-I'm having a sleep panic attack. Clocks then freak me out because I have this fear that time isn't what it seems. It's not 'even' with 'even' numbers (my OCD causes me to hate uneven numbers and uneven everything pretty much). If it's minor, I can calm myself down by myself until it goes away after a half hour. If it's a major one, I have to take my Klonopin and 'freak out' for 1 to up to 3 hours.\

The Klonopin will only lessen the episode, it doesn't make it stop. This is my second one this year (that I know of) which is great because I learned that if I take my sleeping pills and Klonopin before bed I can lessen the chance of having one. An odd 'addition' is that when I was pregnant with my son, during my last trimester I had full blown major ones every night and my doctor was forced to put me on Xanax (it took two trips to the ER to get her to agree to this) because they're so bad sometimes I think I'm losing my mind and just want it to end. Vistaril didn't work during my pregnancy and after my son I was immediately put on Klonopin regularly. I did not have this problem with my first child, only right after she was born in 1999.

I do not take any other medications or drugs and they are triggered by nothing, sometimes stress or illness but not every time. I had one last night and can remember everything about it. It lasted an hour. I'm awake but it feels like half my brain is asleep and still in some sleep stage. Can anyone tell me what this may be because it doesn't fit into anything I've found. I can remember everything and I hallucinate with them. I'm a paramedic and my biggest fear is having them at work. Thank you.

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