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Author Topic: How to deal with HA alone?  (Read 262 times)

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Offline NightBlizzard

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How to deal with HA alone?
« on: March 05, 2014, 11:11:34 PM »
Hey guys, I know I posted a few hours prior, but I had a little breakdown and this is really the only place where I can 100% speak my mind.

I have my family that knows I have HA currently, but most of the time I try not to bother them because of course theres only so much they can take before they wave off my fears (my mom especially).

Currently, my biggest fear is just .. something being wrong with my brain. And that has been my fear for a few months now. I get ''twinges'' of pain in generally speaking ''random'' part of my head. Sometimes its in the back of my head, sometimes its in the front of my head, sometimes I can't tell where the pain is coming from. But it will only last a few seconds, and than go away. (Sometimes it will come and go but usually for no more than 30 seconds).

And I know I have tension in my shoulders and neck.. I can feel it sometimes being there, that tingly/burning sensation. And I know that there is a good chance that either my anxiety or the tension is causing these twinges - but how do I deal with the symptoms when they occur without freaking out? (Like right now.) I've gotten to the point where I will experience the pain, I feel myself freaking out and I'll just whisper ''Please go away, please go away'' just begging myself to not only calm down but to try and plead the pain to stop so I can try and not have another panic attack.

I don't take any medication for my anxiety, nor have I really ever told a doctor or a therapist or anything like that, that I suffer from anxiety. Usually when I have my symptoms, I'll keep it to myself and try to stifle my fear, or if it gets really bad I'll walk into my mothers room and spend some time with her (for some reason it calms me down.) But at the moment I'm having a tough time dealing with all of this by myself, and I don't have enough money or any means to go and talk with a therapist or to get medication for my anxiety, I'm just really lost and scared.
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Offline NightBlizzard

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Re: How to deal with HA alone?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 02:04:17 AM »
Anyone have any suggestions?  :( I'm trying very hard not to relapse into my intense fear of Brain Aneurysm's. I'm telling myself that since all this started I've laughed, cried, stressed out (things that raise BP ect, ect.) and nothing has happened and that I shouldn't be freaking out but I'm just having an awful night with my anxiety. 
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"Grant that my hands be steady, my aim be true, and my feet swift. And should the worst come to pass - grant me forgiveness"

Offline tobito

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Re: How to deal with HA alone?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 02:26:56 AM »
I'm having the exact same problem you are tonight. I've got some weird headaches going on, and it's freaking me right out.

I mostly deal with my HA alone, too. My family knows about it (we all suffer from some form of anxiety), but I never really go out of my way to ask them for help, except for doing the exact same thing you do: I go hang out with my mom. I've tried therapy a handful of times, but I get really uncomfortable talking about it, which in turn just raises my anxiety levels, so it usually does more harm than good.

Here's the deal with aneurysms: random twinges of pain throughout your head probably aren't indicative of one. If you've got insurance, I promise you it's well worth it to go to the doctor and have either an MRI or a CT scan performed to put your mind at ease. I did this about a year ago, in the middle of the night in the middle of a really bad panic attack, and I've only had one other aneurysm scare since. I went to urgent care for that one (had to talk myself into waiting to go urgent care in the morning, rather than the ER in the middle of the night), and I felt better as soon as the doctor explained to me exactly why I was fine.

Pain and tension go hand in hand with HA. I have symptoms like that all the time, even when I'm not freaking out. Sometimes my chest randomly gets really, really tight, or I feel like I can't get a good, deep breath. I have to remind myself to relax my shoulders, because I usually keep them tense. I take a lot of long, hot baths, which really does help. Exercise and stretching help as well! If I'm right on the verge of freaking out, I like to find distractions. There are lots of "calming" games on the Internet. Lately, I like playing those a lot more than just watching something, because I have to focus on them, so it really helps keep my mind off whatever it is that's making me freak out.

Another thing you can do is circle breathing. Inhale through your nose, fill your belly all the way up, holding it for 5-10 seconds, then exhale through your mouth. Do this about five times, and it should help, at least a little!

The fact that you've laughed, cried, and stressed out means that you're fine; stressed, but fine! Another trick I like to use is time. Things like aneurysms happen quickly. Your first post and your second post are several hours apart, and nothing happened in those few hours, right? Try not to keep looking at the clock, because you might start to feel like you're timing your own demise, but just every so often glance at it, and you'll realize it's been two hours, or four hours, or six hours, and you're still okay. I used to be absolutely terrified of allergic reactions to food, and this was how I got over that.

I think this is about all the help I can give you! :( Hang in there.
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Offline NightBlizzard

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Re: How to deal with HA alone?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 02:48:18 AM »
Oh bless you! I think I cried a little bit reading that, it's a relief to meet someone whose going through the same type of situation. Trust me if I could I would love to get a CT/MRI to put my mind at ease. However, my mother won't even entertain the idea, partly because she doesn't have the money, and partly because she fears it will just make things worse.

I had been doing better for a while but tonight just made me really scared as I got a headache that recurred (I'm used to getting the twinge, than it goes away. But this one twinged, went away, than came back in the same location and my anxiety was having none of that lol!) , than when I tried speaking to my family about it - I got the cold shoulder, so I felt incredibly scared and I just spiraled (to be honest I think I believe the HA has made me Depressed as well).

It is very discouraging. About 2-3 months ago when my HA started out, my only symptom was vertigo... and I was bedridden for weeks before I decided that the dizziness was not going to control my life and I started being more active and ignored the dizziness ... and it got better and I was feeling like I was taking back my life but now here I am - present day - and I feel like my life has been stolen again but my HA, and that it's harder to ignore because it is pain, not just a benign sensation.
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"Grant that my hands be steady, my aim be true, and my feet swift. And should the worst come to pass - grant me forgiveness"

Offline tobito

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Re: How to deal with HA alone?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 03:30:14 AM »
Ahh, it's really no good to have your family give you the cold shoulder like that. My mom does the same thing to me sometimes. I usually get as far as, "Hey, do you ever--" and she knows immediately I'm going to ask her about some strange symptom I'm having. If I complain about it, I get a lot of, "You're fine, don't worry, I've had the same thing." Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't!

The other day, though, she told me a story that might help. When she was younger, she had a spontaneous growth right inside her nostril. Kind of gross, but hey. It wasn't doing anything bad, but it was definitely something, so she went to the doctor. He told her it was a cutaneous horn, lopped it off, and that was that. Then she asked me, "Have you ever heard of a cutaneous horn before?" and I said, "No." Her point was that sometimes we get things -- perfectly benign things -- that we've never heard of before. We might have a symptom that absolutely terrifies us, but the underlying cause is either perfectly benign or very easily treated.

When my HA first started, I was terrified of my appendix bursting. Every stomach pain, I was absolutely certain it was just going to pop, and nothing could convince me otherwise. This went on for years. I went to dozens of doctors, and was told countless times that there was nothing wrong. I even had an ultrasound done when one doctor thought it might be gallstones. It wasn't gallstones, and everything else on the ultrasound was completely normal. I still wasn't convinced. Then, one day not that long ago, I realized, "Wow, I haven't thought about my appendix in a while."

I'm not saying that I just spontaneously got over my HA. I wouldn't be on this forum tonight if I had! But I was somehow able to move on from a symptom and a fear that had plagued me for a quarter of my life, because nothing bad ever happened. My appendix never burst. I still get stomach pains from time to time, but I barely think about them.

The same thing happened with blood clots. I have been absolutely terrified of blood clots for probably a year now, ever since a dear friend of mine (who notably has a clotting disorder) decided to roll up his pant leg and say, "So, I've got this blood clot," and then never show up to class again. (I did eventually see him at the start of the next semester, which was a huge relief.) I took a road trip, fell asleep in positions that would be absolutely awful for circulation for several hours, and was pretty dehydrated for the whole trip. It's something that I'm able to look back at and say, "Well, if I didn't get a blood clot doing that, why would I have one now?"

HA can be kind of a rollercoaster, I think. When we move past a certain fear or symptom, we're ecstatic. But as soon as a new one comes on, it's crushing, especially if it's been a while since your last. Try to remember that pain can absolutely be benign, and that pain does not necessarily mean, "Something is seriously wrong." If it did, my stomach would probably have eaten itself by now! Also, for aneurysm fears specifically: take Advil. Both times I've gone to the doctor for this, they've asked me if I took Advil. If I had, and the symptoms had gone away, that would have almost confirmed there was nothing seriously wrong, because an Advil isn't going to block the pain of an aneurysm headache. The ER doctor, I remember, told me specifically that most patients with aneurysms come in by ambulance.

I can absolutely understand the depression side of HA as well. It's something I really fight against as hard as I can, because, for me, if I let the depression get the better of me, then my health anxiety absolutely skyrockets. This has happened to me twice before, and both times resulted in me going home to my parents because I could no longer live properly by myself. Exercise is a wonderful tool to fight against depression (and HA!), as are eating well and getting enough sleep. Finding a hobby, something you're really passionate about, also makes a huge difference, because it can give you something to look forward to.

Making the decision to not let something control your life is, by itself, huge, and something you should be really, seriously proud of, whether you've fallen off the wagon or not. But, if the headaches you're experiencing are rattling you that much, they're worth addressing. Try to bring it up with maybe just your mom, to begin. Explain to her how much it's scaring you. She might have gone through something similar, and can offer you some advice! It might also warm her up to the possibility of a doctor's appointment. Not necessarily an MRI or a CT scan, but a doctor who can explain to you why the symptoms you're experiencing probably aren't aneurysm symptoms. Try to keep in mind that doctors don't always know why we get headaches, and that not knowing the cause does not necessarily mean there's a bad cause.
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Offline clippergoodwill

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Re: How to deal with HA alone?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 03:42:03 AM »
I completely understand how you feel. I'm also going through very similar symptoms and don't take medication for it either. I have been told that I have anxiety, but my physician and neurologist agree that it does not require medication. I do take medication for vestibular migraines. I've had both a CT and MRI done, and even though they bring some relief, you still have to convince yourself of it. There's times, during my worst attacks, I wonder if the doctor's missed something. Or the thought, that if I'm so freakin' healthy, why do I feel like this? Right now at the very second as I type this, I've just had a sudden surge of tension/numbness  go down the left side of my neck. - Things like that never fail to get my anxious thoughts going. Sometimes it's tough to convince myself that I've been tested up and down, and that I'm fine.

It's good to have someone to talk things over with. My family appears to just 'tolerate' my anxiety, they don't seem to want to hear about it, and to be honest, I don't really feel the need to talk with them about it anyway. I have tried to discuss it with my mom, since she's an RN, but she thinks its something I can overcome by just changing my mind.

I've found a few ways to overcome these symptoms, drinking water seems to help. Controlled breathing exercises are also very effective, basically you take breaths so deep that it takes mental focus to avoid gasping or exhaling air rapidly. Late at night, after a long day at work, I have a small scalp massager that does wonders to relieve headaches.

Good luck, and stay strong. You're definitely not alone in your suffering, what we go through is very misunderstood and finding solutions can be trying. You've definitely coming to the right place.
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Offline terri

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Re: How to deal with HA alone?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2014, 09:45:38 AM »
drink lots and lots of water! i gave up drinking EVERYTHING BUT water three years ago. this has actually dulled my HA somewhat. and even though i am married, i deal with this alone. he is in the navy and is deployed ALL the time. so i get it, when you mention going through it alone. it scares the poo out of me!
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Offline colorlessideas

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Re: How to deal with HA alone?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2014, 11:16:34 AM »
I don't take any medication for my anxiety, nor have I really ever told a doctor or a therapist or anything like that, that I suffer from anxiety. Usually when I have my symptoms, I'll keep it to myself and try to stifle my fear, or if it gets really bad I'll walk into my mothers room and spend some time with her (for some reason it calms me down.) But at the moment I'm having a tough time dealing with all of this by myself, and I don't have enough money or any means to go and talk with a therapist or to get medication for my anxiety, I'm just really lost and scared.

If you go to just your regular doctor and tell them that you're dealing with severe anxiety, they will be able to help you.  You don't have to pay money to go to a therapist, if you go to any clinic at all and tell them you're feeling panicked and it is affecting your life, they will help. There is only so much you can do on your own. Many people who have HA have biochemical reasons for it. It's just like having any other type of medical problem. Don't underestimate how much anxiety can do to you. You can try the lifestyle modifications others have suggested, but you and your family need to treat anxiety like a problem just as bad as another disease. There is still a taboo about mental illness being something you can "get over," but that isn't the case for many people, not because they're weak or don't try hard enough, but because they have imbalances.
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