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Author Topic: Things keep getting worse. How do I know when it's more than just anxiety?  (Read 325 times)

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Offline White Rabbit

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I had my first panic attack about a year ago when I was working an overnight job and not getting enough sleep, which sent my anxiety levels through the roof. I figured it was just a situational thing and it would go away once I quit the job and got back on a regular sleep schedule, and they did for a while.... I mean, I had my days here and there, but nothing too serious. Lately though, I keep having these days where everything just feels off. I can't sit still, or breathe right, or function properly and often just end up curled up on the floor terrified that I'm going to go insane. I usually take klonopin when I feel like this and it seems to help, but other times I'm not so sure and just take more (which lead to an accidental overdose because I mixed it with alcohol and I know how stupid that was. Don't worry, not doing that again.)
I had another full panic attack yesterday. It was the first time it happened again since that job and all I could do was gasp for breath and sob and think about how I'll never be able to lead a normal life if these things keep happening. I live with my boyfriend, and having him around helps, but he's far from knowing how to help me with this and doesn't even trust psychiatrists...
Is this just how it starts? How do I keep a normal job when sometimes I won't even go outside to water my plants because I'm afraid there will be people out there? 
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Offline MobileChucko

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Hello White Rabbit...  Welcome to Anxiety Zone!  My name is Chuck, and I am one of the Global Moderators here on the site.

You are now a member of our community, where you will find support and advice from other members in similar situations.   It's always nice to find someone else who understands, and to know you're not alone.

We have sections in the forum that address specific concerns, so feel free to post or start a new topic in the section that best fits your situation.  Feel free to explore the rest of the forum.  You may find the other topics helpful, and you may be able to offer advice or support to someone else.

We also have a chat room for members over the age of 18.  Once you have made three meaningful posts, you will be allowed access to the chat room.

WR, anxiety and depressive disorders are often times chronic conditions.  Unlike situational anxiety/depression, you can't just pull yourself up by the bootstraps and go on your merry way.

I see a psychiatrist for my mental health needs.  Psychiatrists are medical doctors, so they can provide you with a diagnosis, prescribe medication if necessary, and tailor a treatment plan specific for your needs.  My psychiatrist has me on anti-depressant medication for my panic disorder and panic attacks, and it has worked wonders for me.  I also see a therapist (psychologist) who is teaching me cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  The combination of medication and therapy has turned my life around.

I highly suggest that you consider seeking professional help.

Again, welcome to Anxiety Zone, WR.  The very best to you!...  Chuck :grinning-smiley-003:
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Offline Julie A. Cook

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White rabbit, I, too, habe suffered for awhile now with panic disorder and it can lead to depression.  You can't just gut this out yourself.  You ned to be ouner the care of a doctor who will diagnose you, as Mobile Chucko said, and put you on the appropriate medicine.  This takes time, patience and courage, but itf you work hard and get on the right medication, you shold be able to come out of it.  I have numberous times in my lifetime.

Life is worth living.  You're just not feeling it right now and you're terrobly scared.  This is normal.  There are people here on this site who understand and can help you with their experiences and their stories.  ALso, they give you a lot of support.  Sp do get on to he chat room.

Everyone I've met is wonderfu and they are my firends now.  I turn to them in times of need.

Please do not mix alcohol and klonopin.  A dangerous combination.  I know the pain is great, but you will come out of this.

Best of luck as you recover,

Julie
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Offline White Rabbit

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Thank you both, Chuck and Julie.
I do understand the importance of having a good doctor. I had one that I trusted for several years, but my insurance recently changed and I've only seen my new doctor once. He seemed to make a lot of incorrect assumptions about my past and behavior and I just don't know how much I can trust him. But I guess now isn't really the time to be hopping around looking for someone different.
And I definitely agree about the alcohol and klonopin. I feel silly about it because I know better than to do something like that. Luckily, I have a caring boyfriend who was able to take care of me and not freak out about it. I still feel terrible about putting him through that...

~Alice
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Offline Never-Quit

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I agree with the above posts, and you have a lot of support here  :happy0151:

I can relate, not only have I gone through this for about 13 years, but my wife also had this.

Having a supportive boyfriend is very valuable, and I don't blame him for not trusting psychiatrists - after seeing over 15+ of them throughout the last 20 years, they can be very supportive to extremely rude and out of touch with the latest medical research.

You are already taking Klonopin, a benzodiazepine (with the longest half-life), so you must be seeing a doctor, I would assume?

You may want to speak to your Doctor about a faster acting Benzo, and I would definitely get a referral from your Dr. to see a psychiatrist - yes, I know it will take effort and a lot of patience - but you will find one that will at least get you stabilized for now.

Life is too short to give up control of your life to some disorder, I personally lost 13 years of my life back when I was younger, I wish there was a resource like this back in the early 1980's to help me.

Please let us know how you are doing!

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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."   ~ John Wooden

Offline Lunatone

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In my experience, you know its no longer just anxiety when your primary symptom is no longer "overwhelming terror." Panic is a special level of fear that can only exist during panic, nothing else can cause it. So if you have that, that's what it is.
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Offline White Rabbit

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Yeah, my new doctor is a psychiatrist. I barely even use primary care any more. I'm also on wellbutrin and effexor for depression and those have worked pretty well. I don't really know what has changed to increase the number of bad days, but that is good to know what you said, Lunatone, that as long as it's just terror, I'm just dealing with panic attacks and nothing else.

I just... I get so scared sometimes though. I'm 22, dropped out of college because of depression and anxiety, had to quit my dream job because I could barely function with the hours, and now I'm barely getting any hours at some part time retail job and relying on my boyfriend for support because I can't even get past the anxiety of applying for another job.

It doesn't stay like this forever, does it? I'm afraid by the time I get any of this under control, I'll be living with my mother with an unfinished degree and a resume full of part time minimum wage jobs.
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Offline Never-Quit

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Your story is my story... I got to the point that I dropped out of college due to panic attacks in class - always felt the urge to run out of the classroom with terror.  I took awhile before I had the courage to overcome my panic attacks without the help of meds to find a job...  It was a dark time.

Good news, those days we didn't have access to technology and resources we have today.  So you are taking Wellbutrin, Effexor and Klonopin.  I have taken all three of these medications, and Effexor worked well from my depression and so-so for my panic attacks, Wellbutrin did nothing for me - It was prescribed to offset sexual side-effects of the Effexor.  But Klonopin did work VERY WELL for my panic attacks at first, after complaining to my doctor, he increased the dosage at bedtime and my Panic Attacks quickly stopped to very few if any after a month.  We always need the Therapeutic Level of any medication, which in my experience changes quite often over periods of time.

It starting to sound that the Klonopin (which I also used) is either too low to successfully block your panic attacks, you might need to speak to your Dr. about increase the dosage or switching to the newer faster acting Benzos,.

Anyways, just a thought...  Don't allow this disorder to ruin your quality of life and getting a better education!  It happened to me back in 1979, I had to drop out of college, and I regretted it - I was only 2 years away from my B.S.  :traurig001:

Don't allow this disorder to take over your life - your deserve better  :happy0151:
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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."   ~ John Wooden

Offline White Rabbit

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Funny enough, I have the wellbutrin for the exact same reason. It didn't do anything for my depression, but it helps counteract the sexual side-effects of the effexor, and man do those suck. lol

I think you're right though, I need to talk to my doctor and find something to control the anxiety better and in a way that is more than just for emergencies when I feel like I might have a freak out.
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Offline forever young

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never quit how long did you take the klonopin and what does was you given at night? I have been given klonopin too and have never taken it. I need to over my phobias. I can't go out of town. I am also switching from celexa to Zoloft so I am having increased anxiety. I have been having bad weak spells from going off Prozac, do you still take medicine?
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Offline Kavenchols

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Go to a professional psychologist if needed. However, consider your options carefully before taking drugs. Medicine may increase ***** rates and can actually make the problem worse. Sometimes people have been given higher doses because people complain of the problem worsening, when in fact the medicine was causing their problems to worsen. It can also be addictive, and permanently alter the brain's ability to generate its own feelings of well-being independently of drugs.
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Offline Never-Quit

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Hi "Forever Young" - Regarding Klonopin - It was given to me back in  1992, I found a Psychiatrist working with a research team that specialized in this area. The Doctor quickly diagnosed me with "Severe Panic Disorder" and also a condition called "O.C.D".

Klonopin - will stay in your body the longest, and it worked very well for me since it provided "a shield of protection for the whole day" - I was having at least 2x panic attacks and 6 or more anxiety attacks during the day before, especially when driving on a freeway, or on elevator and especially in when we had company staff meetings.
 
Klonopin - Worked best at night to prevent "Nocturnal Panic Attacks" or "sleep terrors" - it really helped me sleep and would wake up without anxiety.  I was started on the starting dosage of:  .25 mg at bedtime.

The following week they started me on Prozac, which in my case tends to make me a little edgy at first but worked great once I had taken it for a month.  So my Dr. bumped the dosage to .50 mg at bedtime to offset the Prozac Edgy effects.

I was slowly weaned off Klonopin - when the Prozac started working to prevent my panic attacks.

The only concern I would have with Klonopin and Valium is that they stay in your system, and you may wake up groggy - so you want to make sure you are alert before driving in the morning.  I did not have this issue, the opposite for me  - I was RELAXED and Anxiety Free !!

Since I have used all the main benzodiazepines - the advantage of Klonopin/Valium is the one time dosage vs taking Xanax or Ativan 3X per day and having to worry that it wear off during the day and have a panic or anxiety attack.

----

You mentioned you are switching from Celexa to Zoloft?  Any reason why?  And you were on Prozac before..?  I have taken all three of these meds. 

My reason for switching to different antidepressants - was the "unspoken sexual side-effects" that are very common for these type of meds...

I am currently for the last 7 years - settled back to the best meds with the fewest side effects:  Prozac (Brand name - not generic) 20-40 mg per day and Valium 10 mg at night.  Also have drastically increased my Omega -3 supplements to 2,000-3,000 mg per day based on new promising research that the high dosage of EPA in Omega 3 acts very similar to Prozac and other antidepressants.

I Hope this helps...  Happy to share my experiences...  :happy0151:

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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."   ~ John Wooden

Offline forever young

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thanks for your reply never quit. I am like you a long time veteran. I had my first panic attack in 1976. I developed bad agrophobia and almost house bound. I was put on imipramine in 1987 and got a lot better but never faced all my demons. I took this medicine until 2011 where I decided to try the newer ssris. I was told Prozac was good by a friend as she took 60 mg and got over her agrophobia but she also took klonopin with it and still does. stupid me I took Prozac for a year and went off it slowly. I was trying to buy health insurance and thought I should be off medicine to show healthy. I had s terrible weird spell 2 months after quitting and they got worse and I got scared of them and I became a mess. I tried getting back on Prozac but the insomnia was horrible and I became afraid to that. so I tried celexa I took it for about 6 months and it doesn't seem to be doing all it should as I am having still bad weak spell . I have switched to Zoloft as I tried it but never stayed on it that long as I thought Prozac was the best. I am just 5 days in to switching. I have started having bad health anxiety right now I am focused on my heart. the spells I get make me feel very weak and light headed and tight in my chest. I can't get it out of my mind that something is wrong with me. I saw I pdr 2 wks ago and told him about my fears and agrophobia that I need to work on. he gave me the klonopin. I live in a small rural town with not much medical care and if I had to have severe medical care I would have to go out of town and at this time it would be very hard for me. I was wondering if the klonopin would help with panic when facing ones fears. I feel like I can relate to you being a long time suffer. I wished I hadn't gone off my medicine I was feeling really good. I hadn't had a panic attack in 30 yrs. I feel I am on the bottom right now. I hope the Zoloft helps me.
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