This is going to be a long history. I really need opinions, so I am appealing to you in this... if you have the time, I appreciate it. If not PLEASE skip down to the question and try to help as much as you can. Thanks! :)History:
I have had anxiety since I was 12 years old, at which point I tried several medications and ended up on Effexor XR 150mg. My panic attacks were random and took the form of the fast heart beat, feeling "inside of myself," crying, shaking, and discomfort when I was in a classroom or in a place without a quick exit. I was never harmed as a child or anything like that-- it's just the chemical makeup that I was born with. Effexor fixed everything for me.
I ended up taking Effexor until this year (age 25), when I finally decided that I was sick of feeling like I was withdrawing every time I forgot to take a pill. It'd been 13 years since I'd been off of it, and I wanted to try to see who I was as a person without it... maybe I was cured! My husband and I teamed up and gently weened me down via counting the beads inside of the capsule. 5 to 10 mg less per week (depending on how I felt) for 20-ish weeks. It worked AWESOME and I felt great off of it. No withdraws due to the slow ween, and no anxiety whatsoever. This was at the end of February of this year.
Come March 3rd my husband had been asked by his company to go to Adana, Turkey with another co-worker to do the final integration on some of their products. I was worried, as not only are foreign countries not always the safest places for Americans but I'd also never been away from him for that long. In any case, I put on my game face and made it through. Around the same time, however, I started getting these little OCD behaviors. At first it was just needing to make sure that the Sugar Glider cage was closed several times... then it escalated into needing to make sure the ash tray in the garage had water in it and that the stove was (nozzles and buttons). Then it was doubts about the curling iron being off when I left for work, or that I didn't pull the door all the way shut. I would dwell on it, and I'd NEVER used to... I was always sure of myself before. I brushed it off and continued with the behaviors, as it wasn't to a destructive level (and a little bit funny to me). I figured it didn't hurt to be so safe.
Well, April 1st-ish my husband and I made a couple big life decisions. We decided that we wanted to sell the house and move into a smaller condo or house. There's just the two of us (and a few furry kids), so we didn't feel like this big house was necessary. At the same time we decided that we were living a bit of an unhealthy lifestyle by drinking during the week (three to four beers a day) so we decided to stop drinking during the week. It was getting to the point where we were dealing with stress by coming home and "deserving" those drinks, and we didn't want to continue that habit. All was fine and well. We focused on the house instead of drinking, granted it was weird the first couple of days and we had to retrain ourselves to enjoy our daily activities sans the alcohol. All was fine and well.
Well, on Sunday evening of this past week I started feeling like my breathing was odd (keep in mind I'm 26). I'd be breathing normal then all of sudden, every 30 seconds or so, I'd feel like I wasn't getting quite enough oxygen out of my normal intake and I'd have to take a DEEP breath. I brushed it off and went to bed thinking that it was just some weird allergy or something, but woke up at 4AM the next morning surprised that it'd gotten a little worse. Now it didn't quite feel like my deep breaths were hitting the bottom of my lungs, so I'd have to deeply breathe a couple of times. At this point I was a little worried. It talked myself out of going to Urgent Care, and popped a Zyrtec (allergy pill) and went to work. It continued through the day until after work I'd finally had enough. I went to the MinuteClinic (walk in CVS clinic) hoping I'd come out with some piece of mind and confirmation it was allergies... and that's what I got. She prescribed me a Ventolin inhaler (rescue inhaler) and told me to use it whenever I really needed (4 to 6 hours apart), but that the Zyrtec would do the trick in a couple of days. I walked out of there happy, taking a puff of the inhaler.
By Wednesday, after several uses of the inhaler and with no results, I was at my wits end. I'm starting to wonder if there's really something wrong, but am surprised as I'm a perfectly healthy/fit 26 year old. Off to my normal doctor I go. He says it's one of two things: 1.) adult onset of asthma, or 2.) anxiety. Then he says that he's placing 90% of his bet on anxiety because I have a history of it, and that he hears clear airways and no wheezing. He gives me a 20-pill supply of Xanax to take as needed (up to 4 a day, 6 hours apart) but asks that I only start with one and increase only if I don't see a difference. I am to call ASAP if it gets worse, or in 5 days if the Xanax is making it feel better.
Out of his office I go, skeptical but willing to try just about anything.My question/issue I need your help with:
I am not an outwardly stressed person... I don't feel like I'm anxious or anything! If you didn't read the history above, I understand, but basically I'm 26 and I've been having breathing problems. I've had two doctors listen to my airways and both say they don't hear anything (whistling, wheezing, mucus). I'm feeling the need to take a deep breath every 30 seconds or so as I feel like I'm just not getting enough Oxygen. My doctor is 90% sure it's anxiety (since I have a history). I trust him because he's always been an awesome doc, but I'm a little skeptical.
When I used to have anxiety attacks it would be the fast heart beat, shaking, crying, feeling like I'm "inside of myself." I have a hard time believing that anxiety can physically manifest itself in such a way as to not only cause breathing issues, but without me consciously having an anxiety attack! The breathing problems are for hours on end! Has this happened to anyone else before?