I've been on Lexapro 20mg for about 10 years now. Within the last year I've been on a downhill slope and now I'm at a point of having panic attacks everyday and an increase in my agoraphobia. I finally took the step of switching medication with the approval of my psychiatrist. Right now I am in the first week of switching where I am talking half of my normal dosage of Lexapro along with a small dosage of Zoloft. Next week I will ditch the Lexapro completely and increase the amount of Zoloft I take.
I'm having a really hard time with anticipatory anxiety and panic attacks recently **EVEN BEFORE MAKING THE SWITCH OF MEDICATIONS**... Even right at this very moment I am EXTREMELY on edge. I've felt like I've been on the verge of a major panic attack ALL DAY. Yesterday and the days before I have had major panic attacks, I have not YET had one today but I feel like I'm just milliseconds away.
My anxiety is centered around health worries, I always fear that I am about to die. My doctor is convinced it's nothing more than anxiety but I haven't had any REAL tests done in YEARS. The only things I've had done recently were the routine stethoscope tests for heart and lungs and a blood test. How can I trust my doctor when he says I'm healthy and that I don't NEED any further testing beyond those basics?
Every single time I have a major panic attack I honestly believe I'm dying and want to call an ambulance but every single time I eventually get back to a state of far less anxiety and feel better (still sick, but undeniably more calm). Why do I get tricked to think I'm dying every single time even though the worst always passes? I always TRY to tell myself that it's nothing and that it will pass and that I'm not dying but it never ever works. I try to slow down my breathing, I try to distract myself, I try everything and I still feel like I could die at any second of any moment.
When I'm at my worst I feel some of, all of, or a mixture of the following (my symptoms are constantly changing or morphing over the course of a few weeks but some core symptoms always stay the same):
-Choking feeling/lump in throat like my throat may close causing me to suffocate
-Chest pressure/discomfort/tightness like I cannot get a deep breathe and I cannot hold my breathe for longer than seconds at a time
-Extreme fear of dying
-Hyperventilation/heavy and fast breathing that I can't seem to slow down (I try breathing techniques but fail)
-The need to take off all my clothes if I'm home (If I'm outside I feel the need to escape)
-I become wide-eyed and unable to focus the same way a scared animal would while scanning their surroundings for danger
-I become very easily frightened by things such as unexpected noises or the like
-Constantly putting my hand to my chest to see if my heart is beating, or if it is fast or slow or if I can feel it at all
-Constantly taking my temperature
-Constantly performing an asthma test (Peak Flow) to see if I'm breathing okay despite never being diagnosed with any kind of asthma
-Constantly sipping on liquids to see if I can swallow or not
-Turning the air conditioning on or opening the window if I'm in the car in an attempt to get more air
-Tensing my muscles/pinching myself/clenching my fists/grinding my teeth/biting my arm/biting my lip
When I'm having a "good" day I usually only feel:
-Stomach aches/extreme indigestion
-Shortness of breath
-Lump in throat
and more but they are to lesser degrees and last all day long
Does this sound like anxiety? Should I demand more tests from my doctor or should I accept his judgement that I am in indeed physically healthy? What can I do for myself when I'm so on edge and nothing seems to work and what can I do when I do get a major panic attack and feel like I could die at any second?