I'm a new member and posted my story n the Introduce Yourself section, but know I will find more direct support in this topic area. I have recently been diagnosed with anxiety along with panic attacks, which seemed to come on out of the blue at age 37. I am struggling to come to terms with this, as well as to conquer this and get my old self back! I miss her! I used to be so confident and rock solid, and now I am soooo not. Now I have recurring feelings of panic more and more frequently, especially when I have down time and should feel better. I am sometimes scared I am losing my mind because this feels so foreign to me. I can look back on my childhood and see that I had generalized anxiety and separation issues then, as well as unnecessary fears of getting ill or hurt. But by puberty these things were long gone. I had nothing even remotely resembling anxiety until the last 2 years, but at first it was infrequent and I thought it was something I ate, dehydration, sinus, whatever. Finally I went to my doc who said, you have anxiety and sent me to a very nice therapist who agreed, and said I also described having panic attacks perfectly. So I have both.
My Symptoms: What I experience is the sudden flash of extreme jitteriness, like adrenaline just shot out of my adrenals and is rapidly zipping through me. Sudden rush of fear - thinking am I losing it? Tingling hands and feet sometimes, frequent tingling or "crawling" or tight/pressure in my scalp, especially on the top of my head, muscle tension (neck and jaw and shoulders), dizziness, weakness and lightheadedness so I feel like I could get either full-blown vertigo or faint (never have though), and the sense that I am super aware of my heart even if it is behaving normally. Dr. says I tend to hyperventilate so I am working diligently on breathing. Usually my heart does not really race, although sometimes it is beating faster than it should and it does freak me out. In addition, my blood pressure can vary between 105/70 sometimes to 133/93, and I can be experiencing anxiety in both conditions. Weird.
I am reading a few anxiety books, trying to get back in a regular pattern of seeing my therapist since the feelings are getting worse & more frequent, and I am trying every day at least 2-3 times to work on my breathing. Problem is, I have gotten in a habit of waking up after a lovely nights' sleep thinking, "Am I feeling it coming? Will I get panicky today? I can fight this!! Go me! Wait, can I really do this? Not sure...there goes my tingling head....oh no, here we go again, another day." So I know I am totally perpetuating this, right, by these thoughts? I am essentially setting myself up for it. I am at a loss for how to break this bad mental habit.
Any thoughts would be appreciated on all this. Thanks. I am happy to have found hopefully a good community to discuss this, as I never have really talked about it outside the therapist's office before.