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Author Topic: Is it anxiety or something more?  (Read 178 times)

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Offline xtranxious

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Is it anxiety or something more?
« on: December 26, 2013, 04:05:27 PM »
Hello everyone,

I am new here and just came to get a bit of reassurance, and hopefully take my mind off of things while typing.  About a month ago I took myself to the walk-in to see a doctor because I was freaking out.  I was in a store and had to leave after becoming very dizzy from walking around.  I felt like I was in a fog and could not relax.  The feeling did not subside after a couple of hours so I took myself to the doctor.  He said it was most likely I was experiencing severe anxiety attack.  I was talking and communicating fine (except for the crying spell trying to explain what I was feeling  ::) ) and everything else looked good.  I really do hope that is all it is, but these feelings last so long that I freak myself out.  I start thinking things that range from my heart being the problem to there being something wrong with my brain.  The doctor gave me Xanax, and now Atarax.  I'm going to see a therapist next week so they can determine if I need to be on something else.  When I was about 23 I was on Paxil, then Zoloft for about a year.  I haven't been on any medication since (I'm 32 now).  He did blood work and tested my thyroid, everything came back fine.

A few months before ending up in the doctors office out of nowhere I felt my heart start to race I started feeling like if sat still I was going to just die in that spot.  So I got up and started pacing through the house.   I was so convinced that something was really wrong with me and I was not going to make it through the night.  The only reason I did not go to the ER was because I did not have insurance at the time.

I am a constant worrier and over analyzer by nature.  These attacks (if that is what they are) just come out of nowhere.  I was in the movies last night and all of a sudden I began to feel like I couldn't swallow.  I wasn't trying to eat or drink, I just began trying to force myself to swallow.  Then I started freaking out because I was having trouble.  I started drinking water, which goes down no problem, so I can try and calm myself because it reassures me that there is nothing wrong and I can swallow fine.  My dad also suffered from very bad panic attacks at my age.  I got advice from him but because I have always been overly worried and scary diseases and occurrences run in our family: grandmother just died of a stroke, aunt has MS, grandfather had MS, other grandmother had breast cancer, her sister had some type of cancer, my dad had severe panic attacks and is a bit of a hypochondriac.  I have been stressed out since I was younger come to think of it.  All the time when I used to go to daycare I was always so afraid my mother would forget to come pick me up; or start freaking out if she was five minutes late because I was sure something had happened to her. 

Sometimes I just get nervous that it is something in my brain and I am losing my mind.  I am scared to go to sleep sometimes.  I have probably the most unhealthy fear of death one can imagine.  It only comes at night when I am laying in bed, my mind will wander to the thought of death and I freak myself out.  As I type this I feel more relaxed so that is good.  I'm just concerned that this is going to get so bad I will not be able to work.  Which will be terrible, as I am a single parent with a 15 year old, and just bought my house a year ago.  The thing that makes me worry the most about the potential that it is more than anxiety is that lately these attacks are lasting super long.  I have been feeling really crappy most of the day today (but that could be because I didn't sleep well and the Atarax), but I have been doing the swallowing thing all day so far.  My appetite is gone too.  I haven't eaten anything and have no desire. 

Does this sound like it might be anything other than anxiety to anyone?
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Offline kconnors

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Re: Is it anxiety or something more?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2013, 06:45:45 PM »
Hi,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing  your experience . . .please accept my sincere thoughts about the passing of your grandmother . . . this is a difficult situation even for those without anxiety . . .

A lot of your symptoms could be anxiety related . . . you went to your family physician which is super . . . that's always the first step and you are seeing a therapist which is great and that is the second step . . .

It is indeed scary . . . . you have a history of anxiety and it * might * be that there are unresolved issues and something triggered a new episode for you . . . it appears that you may even have a predisposition to anxiety and panic attacks . . . add to that (and this is me also) that you are preoccupied with illnesses and dying . . .given that your family history has had stroke, cancer, and MS, you probably fixate on these issues . . . I have the feeling, and I am not a med professional, but I have a feeling that your grandmother's illness and passing may be a trigger for your current episode . . . and you are overly preoccupied, from an early age, about people becoming ill or passing and leaving you . . .

Personally, I do not think that you are losing your mind . . . .I think that you are struggling to recover from an episode of anxiety where your worst fears have, in a way come true from anxiety's perspective with respect to the health of your loved ones . . . .it is not unusual for anxiety to become more pronounced at night . . . things are quiet, the mind is trying to sort through the day's issues, and anxiety gets to have pretty much a free area to roam around . . .

One strategy, and one you already recognize, is the benefit to externalizing your thoughts and your feelings by writing about them . . . this helps to put them into reality and to start the process of de-emotionalizing the anxiety . . . you also seem to be engaged in anticipation anxiety . . . you are projecting on to the future what * may * happen and this just adds fuel to the anxiety . . .

My suggestions and they are only suggestions are the following: try mindfulness to relax your mind at bedtime so you can get sleep --- lack of sleep increases anxiety for me; eat something even if you are not hungry --- if you do not eat, then the brain does not have the appropriate nutrients and the lack of nutrients may affect the brain's chemistry and enhance the anxiety - even if you have to eat small amounts of food 5 or 6 times a day, make healthy choices but eat; I know that you are probably tired, but get out and walk . . . it can be 5 minutes in one direction and 5 minutes back --- do something for you; keep a journal or come here and check in with us and let us know what is going on . . . get your thoughts out so that they become embedded in reality and you can deal with it; and, this is perhaps the most difficult of all, don't engage in anticipatory anxiety . . . go one day at a time --- be with your 15 year old, rejoice in your house, spend time focusing on the good things that are in the here and now and not what might be . . . we just don't know what the future holds . . . . I know this is difficult . . . it is a process and not an event but you need to deal with your triggers which a therapist can help to guide you and you need to refocus and take the power away from the anxiety . . . you have the strength to recover but you need to embrace the process . . .whichever one works best for you . . .

So, your physical health is fine so now you need to focus on recovering your mental health . . . your Dad's life history does not have to be yours . . . learn from him, by all means, but do what will garner you the best effects for you and your daughter (let her know what is going on so she doesn't think that she has done something "wrong" --- perhaps even enlist her to get you out for a walk . . . it might be a time to share some chatting --- and, by all means, come here as often as you feel comfortable . . .we're a pretty good community at supporting each other . . . take care, kc
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Offline xtranxious

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Re: Is it anxiety or something more?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2013, 07:23:44 PM »
kconnors,

Thank you so much for your response, it really made me feel a bit at ease.  I have been in a panicky state all day.  I am finally starting to relax.  I actually just returned from the walk-in clinic for some reassurance that nothing looked swollen or blocked in my throat due to my swallowing issues  ::)

I have also been having some trouble at work which is probably also contributing to my anxiety.  There was a reorganization and I feel like I have gotten the short end of the stick and been demoted.  They try to pitch it to me as there is more room for growth in my current position, but the manner in which everything happened I'm quite sure it was just office politics and they couldn't fire me for no reason and they definitely couldn't say I didn't fit the mold in the department I was in.  I have been working there over seven years and work my tail off, so it was really a slap in the face.

I keep things bottled up and never like to let anyone see me cry.  I have been through a lot in my life and now that I am finally seemingly stable I am dealing with the worst anxiety, go figure.  You would think the time for anxiety issues would have come when I was pregnant at 16, or trying to make it on my own at 18.  Without child support, or any government assistance (was too proud for all of that I guess).  I worked  hard to get my degree and am stable as I have ever been.  To have to deal with this now after having come this far is just like ARRRGGHHH!!!!  Perhaps this is just a build up of all the years I worked to make it that I never released.

I want to go to the Y tomorrow and start my membership back up.  I gained about 20 pounds in the last year, while still not close to fat I am not comfortable at my current weight.  I start classes again in a few weeks for my Master's so hopefully my mind will be on that more. 
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Offline kconnors

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Re: Is it anxiety or something more?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 01:26:49 PM »
Hi,

I think that you have quite a bit on your plate from disappointment at work to anticipating the future . . . what you are doing, though, is great . . . .

You have achieved so much, you cannot allow anyone to detract from those achievements. You are starting your Master's --- well done . . . .

Since you cannot be fired (which is good because it gives you the power and control), map out your own strategy. For example, focus on your Master's . . . that is a * you * accomplishment; work at your job and do your best, but you owe your company only the time and effort for which you are paid . . . that is a survival issue; going to the Y is super . . . you will find that exercise will take the edge off of anxiety; and, just between us, a good cry in private can be very cathartic . . . you need to get those emotions out somehow so they do not build up . . .cry, write, scream, just decompress (but let people know what is going on so you don't scare them  :P

The 20 pounds will be an accomplishment for you because you can reframe shedding the weight as shedding the frustration, disappointment, and anxiety of the last year . . . with every pound that gets reassigned to muscle, know that you are also redirecting your energy from anxiety to accomplishments . . ..

With everything that you have experienced, you have to know that you have the strength to go forward and not let anyone stand in your way . . . you don't have to be nasty; you simply have to do what is best for you . . . . so, take time for family, take time for your studies, but most of all, take time for you and when you can, let us know how you are doing . . . take care. lc
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