Earlier this week, I had the worst panic attack of my life.

I’ve been on a nightly dose of Klonopin for the last couple of years. My psychiatrist put me on this to help with my PTSD symptoms.

A little over a year ago, I tried to come off the Klonopin. I slowly tapered down the dose. The nightmares came roaring back. I woke up one night, drenched in sweat, heart pounding, having had a nightmare that I no longer remember. I got up, and paced around, trying to calm down. A few minutes later, I heard my son sobbing. It was around 3 am. I went into his room, and we sat and talked for a bit. He’s prone to growing pains and was having pain in his legs. I gave him some Tylenol and a kiss, and he went back to sleep. Taking care of him briefly took my mind off my own issues.

Ultimately, I decided going off the Klonopin was not worth the effects on my mental health and I re-started it.

I decided a few weeks ago to try weaning off of it again. It seemed to be going well until a few nights ago. In general, I’ve been feeling better over the last few months.

A few nights ago, I fell asleep just fine, but woke about an hour later. My heart was pounding out of my chest. The tachycardia was so intense, the bed was shaking. I was short of breath. I was convinced I was going to die. I’ve had a number of panic attacks before, but nothing to this scale. I’ve never felt like calling 911 during a panic attack before. But, this time, the thought crossed my mind. Ultimately I didn’t go that route because I didn’t think I could actually speak to the 911 operator and effectively tell them what was wrong.

I managed to take a Klonopin, I put on a guided meditation for severe anxiety, and I also took a beta blocker to slow my heart rate. Eventually, I fell asleep. But for a good 2 hours, I was in an agonized state.

I hate that I’m so reliant on medication to manage my symptoms of anxiety. I’m going to try to power through the Klonopin taper. My goal is to only use it if I really need it, and not default to taking it every day.

I hope I am successful this time around. But, that panic attack really scared the crap out of me. I don’t remember having a nightmare. I’m not sure what triggered it.

I’m hoping by stopping the Klonopin, I’ll have more energy. The sedating effects of my medications could be contributing to my fatigue.

The last few nights since this episode, I’ve slept well and haven’t had a recurrence of the severe anxiety. Here’s hoping it was just a bad night.