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Author Topic: My Ongoing Battle  (Read 260 times)

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Offline mp6365

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My Ongoing Battle
« on: January 08, 2014, 07:44:18 PM »
I am so happy I found this forum! As we all know these anxiety symptoms are UNREAL and it is so nice to know that we are not alone! I am a 37yo male from MD and I am relatively new to anxiety and panic. I had my first panic attack about three years ago however at the time I had know idea what it was and ended up in the ER as I thought I was having a heart attack. Almost exactly a year later I had the exact same thing happen and again ended up in the ER. These were one time episodes that subsided relatively quickly. Well last week I had another episode however this time I couldn't get the panic to stop. The episodes kept coming one after the other almost to this day (it has been going on 10 days so far). Ive been to the ER and my PCP and both dismiss this as anxiety, prescribe me some Xanax and kick me out the door. Up to this point Ive never experienced fear and dread like this. It is the worst feeling in the world being trapped in your own head wondering about all of the possibilities of things that could be wrong with you. So in order to get through this I have been doing TONS of research. I also made an appointment with a therapist and had my first session yesterday. I must say I felt so much better after my session. What really did it for me was, after I had explained my symptoms, he had asked me if I really believed that what I was experiencing was anxiety? I told him honestly that I didnt know. He proceeded to tell me that THAT was my problem. He then proved this to me by explaining that if there was something really wrong with me that my symptoms would not just switch on and off like they were. That was a great AHA moment for me. I left his office feeling like my old self. When I got home I started feeling some of those anxious feelings coming back however this time I was able to just let them in and ride them out knowing that this was just anxiety and anxiety cannot hurt me . This only lasted for an hour or so and then I went back to normal. I was fortunate enough to have my first anxiety free evening last night and slept like a baby. This morning I woke up to some feelings of anxiety and worry. I tried replaying what my therapist told me in my head and was able to cope however I must say I felt EXTREMELY exhausted and tired all day even after a good nights sleep. This sluggish feeling made me concerned and began to make my mind run with all kinds of negative thoughts. Plus I felt scared that while I wasn't anxious at the time that a panic attack could happen at anytime. Fortunately I came home a little bit ago and just kinda told myself 'I'm SICK OF THIS!' If I'm going crazy then come on panic, lets go crazy!! Immediately my brain switched off and now I feel completely fine. While I know this is going to be an ongoing battle I am hopeful that I am now moving in the right direction. What is hard is that it seems like my roughest times are when I wake up in the morning and when I get home from work. I think I have developed a small fear of being at home by myself
Anyway I wanted to write all of this for a few reasons. First, I am writing this as kind of an outlet for myself as I must say I feel better as I am currently typing. Second, I plan on updating this post as often as I can to try to keep a log as to whats going on. Third, I am hoping this post can help others that have experienced or are experiencing similar symptoms as so many posts on here have helped me so far. I would love to hear some positive success stories on overcoming anxiety as while I know we want to dwell on the negative I know it helps me to hear about the positive side of all of this.
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Offline kconnors

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Re: My Ongoing Battle
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 09:06:27 AM »
Hi . . .glad you came by and shared your experience . . .

I have found logging my days, good, bad or otherwise, always helps me to keep the events in perspective . . . in the beginning, I did see it as an ongoing battle, but it helped me to realize that the anxiety messages were coming from me and that perhaps there was something positive to gain by establishing a rapport with those symptoms . . . now, don't get me wrong . . . .I don't like the physical symptoms but it seemed that the more I said okay, you're a symptom what are you telling me? the more I found out that I was able to process the triggers and that in turn lessened the frequency and the intensity . . . .I still get anxious and I still have anxiety episodes but, thank goodness, I have not had a debilitating panic attack in around a couple of years (I am not keen to revisit those) . . . .I still feel more comfortable at home base, but I do make an effort to get out and get into places that I previously did not like to go to such as crowded shopping malls the day before Christmas . . . it gives me a sense of accomplishment . . . .

Like you, I also used to have anxiety first and last things in the day and I came to realize that, for me, that was anticipation anxiety . . . what will the day hold that might be a trigger and then, at night, replaying everything that happens . . . I have found, again for me and we are all different, that mindfulness, positive thinking, and CBT practices have helped me to move away from those episodes . . . I always perceive my recovery as a process and not a one time event . . . .I don't want to give the impression that my recovery has not been without disappointments, frustrations, etc. because that is unrealistic . . . I have and continue to have and probably always will have speed bumps . . . . but, I seem to be able to deal with them more effectively, especially when I focus on the good things that have happened during a day . . ..

So, my positive contribution is that not only does the process of recovery help me deal with my anxiety / panic, but it also has helped me to decide who I want to be as a person which is a reward in and of itself . . .. take care, kc
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Offline lexie2006

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Re: My Ongoing Battle
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2014, 11:00:50 AM »
Hi imglad to hear that you are finding some closure ur right it is a constant battle with the mist powerful thing you know your mind i have had a lot of the sane symptoms and i know it can be scary if you ever need to talk I'm going through a similar struggle you can inbox me
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Offline mp6365

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Re: My Ongoing Battle
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 08:37:37 PM »
Well thanks everybody for your posts. It does feel good knowing that there are others out there going through the same thing. So its been 2 days since my initial post. Yesterday I woke up and of course started feeling anxious. Actually I cant say really anxious, more just cold and shaky. Of course this started to spawn some anxious feelings. Fortunately I was in a rush to go to work so I left the house and went to work. By the time I got in I was feeling extremely tired. Again I started getting anxious about being so tired then I realized that I havent had caffeine since all this started almost 10 days ago. That kinda helped and I was able to go about my day telling myself that the sensations I was feeling was probably caffeine withdrawal. As the day progressed I felt great. Around 2 in the afternoon I started getting this weird feeling throughout my body and my anxiety started to come back. Ive been trying harder and harder to simply accept these feelings but I must say this isnt something that you can learn to do overnight. Fortunately after I got home I was able to have a nice long talk with my sister who really helped me talk some things out. After that I felt completely fine. This morning I woke up with the same weird feelings I had yesterday I just kinda put it out of my head and ran off to work. I had pretty much the exact same experience in the morning but as the day went on I felt GREAT! Even as I was getting ready to leave (usually one of my anxious moments) I felt fine. I got home, did some chores and again felt fine. About 15 minutes ago or so I just started getting this 'black cloud' feeling in my head (best way I can describe it). Just this feeling of negativity and worrisome thoughts. The problem is that I cant seem to even identify what I'm worried about. The only thing that I can think is that I'm afraid of being home alone this weekend. Work this week has been a great distraction and a good chance to be around other people so maybe the thought of two days home alone is making me worried. Either way Im trying to just at least acknowledge that these are just thoughts and cant harm me, which is helping but I must say its kind of hard when I cant really pinpoint the source of my fear. I guess I just need to realize that whatever Im afraid of is beyond my control and all I can do is deal with it as it comes. If it is a fear of being alone then I guess I just have to ask myself what about being alone is scaring me? I think its the fear of my newly found anxiety and that I'll somehow snap and lose my mind. Its actually kind of interesting as, as I type this, this 'black cloud' feeling feels like it is switching on and off repeatedly in my head. Ugghhh... oh well again I guess if anything this proves that this is all mental and that theres nothing wrong with me. I just need to learn to get my thoughts under control and not to be afraid of them. Again not something that can be done overnight unfortunately. Again I would love to hear from anyone else going through this as well
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Offline i960

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Re: My Ongoing Battle
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 04:01:19 AM »
You're definitely on the right track and should keep it up.

As your therapist pointed out, you must be in full acceptance and awareness that this is 100% anxiety. You'll probably never figure out all of the triggers or what exactly is triggering the brain to think there is something wrong. However, if you just accept that the condition is what it is and instead focus on spotting the anxiety monster when it appears you'll be much better prepared to clamp down on the symptoms. Continually knowing and *believing* that it cannot hurt you, mitigating the temporary symptoms with breathing exercises, and remembering that there is nothing really physically wrong will result in actively retraining the brain to stop playing sympathetic nerve systems games. Let it go so far as into full blown panic attack like symptoms - just actively be aware that it cannot hurt you and do your breathing exercises to keep it under control.

Part of the problem with anxiety is that we look for entirely rational reasons and triggers as to why things happen. When we cannot find these reasons we believe something else is really wrong behind the scenes and start to doubt the condition for what it really is: anxiety. This doubt creates a positive feedback loop which keeps the anxiety going - effectively feeding the monster.

Remember this above all: once you become completely confident that *you* control the situation and anxiety doesn't control you, regardless of symptoms being present or not, you will win. The symptoms will significantly diminish and you'll be back on the path to feeling normal more regularly. Most people are scared to death to challenge their anxiety - believing it has some kind of sentient malevolent mind that will seek revenge for not respecting it. But the more you can actually laugh at it (figuratively or literally) and scoff at the apparent ridiculousness of the symptoms the quicker it will leave. It cannot hurt you, it is not a real force. This is just simply a disconnect between the rational mind and the sympathetic nervous system.
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Offline mp6365

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Re: My Ongoing Battle
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2014, 09:42:15 PM »
Again thank you everybody for your positive support. i960 you are spot on! Actually I've been doing a lot better. I have signed up for this 'panic away' program online and I must say it has been fantastic. Basically it teaches this method of acceptance of all thoughts and anxiety rather than resistance. Anyway, after writing my last post, where I was experiencing that 'black cloud' sensation, I actually ended up falling asleep. The weird thing was I woke up twice in the middle of the night thinking I was having some type of anxiety attack and had some crazy dreams. I woke up saturday morning with this confusion as to what the hell just happened. In addition to that I had my normal morning confusion. I was able to just take everything for what it was and kind of let go. Once I was able to let everything go and dismiss these feelings as anxiety again I felt fine. I was able to go about the rest of my day without incident. I was a little anxious before going to bed because of the dreams that I had the night before. Fortunately I the feelings passed and I was able to go to sleep again without incident. This morning was a mirror of yesterday just on a much smaller scale. Most of my day today has been great. I will say, very similar to Friday night, that I had some thoughts come into my head that definitely started to make me anxious. I applied the same technique, let the thoughts come into my head and tried not reacting to them and just accept them. This technique definitely works to prevent the symptoms of anxiety however they left me feeling kind of depressed. The good news is that I am not obsessing and worrying but now I am wondering if this slight depression is normal (I'm sure it is). Anyway, I guess this is something to bring up at my next therapy session. So again thanks everyone for your continued support and please feel free to share your experiences.
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Offline 2sungo

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Re: My Ongoing Battle
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 06:46:14 PM »
I have the same dislike of being alone, and find work helpful and distracting.  I'm alone as I type this, waiting for my wife and daughter to arrive at the train station so I can go pick them up--my job ends a lot earlier.  TV or some other distraction can be helpful, and I am taking meds to get thru this latest round of anxiety/depression.  It seems to me that depression tends to follow panic or anxiety, they are 2 sides of the same coin. When I review how I have felt prior to attacks, I note that I tended to feel more tired than usual and in my case found the mornings toughest and the evenings better.  Still have that pattern even now, though in the past when the meds worked a bit better I found complete remission from it all. The real depression seems to follow the anxiety/panic, maybe because it is so uncomfortable and it can be so draining.  When you are feeling strong enough, challenge the weird feelings of fearing being alone or if you feel better at home but not so comfortable going out, challenge that too.  I never understood agoraphobia until I had my first panic attack and the attendant anxiety afterwards decades ago.   It all does get better as you feel better.  I'm impressed that you are doing so well on therapy alone and hope it continues to be sufficient, but if you end up needing some medication to help, there is no shame in that, we are wired differently and whatever it takes to overcome this is a good thing. 
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