So, 3 years into my battle with anxiety and with the exception of a rare occasion(hangover usually), I no longer have panic attacks and am not on medication... Considering I was housbound for almost a year with agorophobia, its definitely improvement. I would definitely advise people with that level of anxiety, to keep a positive outlook, because it can be fixed. The key to mine was associating the breathing pattern with the panic and secondly succumbing to the idea that it's anxiety / not some deadly disease. I was so bad at one point, that the second I stepped foot outside my house I would have a panic attack. If I made it to my car, which is a big if, I would get the worse tunnel vision driving and would frequently have to pull over to let the panic attacks(Or heart attacks as I thought at the time) pass. Lost a marriage over it, but thats another story.
Having said that, a handful of the dreaded mental and physical symptoms are still around 24/7. For example, I wake up everyday and the first question in my mind is how do I feel? I would venture a guess that 80% of my time throughout the day is spent wondering about these physical symptoms. I can't remember the last day I didn't think about how I feel and now I'm afraid I may never live another day health worry free. My other big issue is my breathing. I feel like my lungs are damaged from years of hyperventilation and that I now am only capable of taking in a fraction of the oxygen into my lungs that I should. Finally, I have this head tension, which is relentless. Its almost impossible to describe, because its not a headache, but rather like I have lack of blood flow to the brain and as a result I have a slightly mild haze/ odd head sensations. Hoping someone has the key to get rid of these lingering symptoms. I feel so close to recovery somedays, knowing where I was in comparison to where I am now, but these symptoms still make life difficult, knowing what truly being healthy feels like. Anyone that can relate?
It sounds like you have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). I've had a few panic attacks but generally suffer mostly from GAD. I always know that if I am constantly evaluating how I feel I'm not doing well GAD wise. Have you tried seeing a therapist? I see a therapist & am also on a SSRI.
So sorry! I know the feeling! If 80% of your day is spent thinking about the physical sensations, then I don't doubt you have them. Let the first thing that goes through your mind when you first wake up in the morning be .... "what a great day" or "I'm going to feel wonderful today" instead of "I wonder how horrible I will feel today". I know this sounds so stupid but it works. If you continue to overanalyze the sensations, they are not going to go away. Venturing out is a good thing and when you are successful at going a little farther, don't concentrate on how horrible it was, concentrate on how successful you were in doing it. It's baby steps, one at a time. I had all your symptoms. When I started to exercise I made sure I did it when my husband was home because I convinced myself that walking on the treadmill was going to kill me. I had had a physical, nothing was wrong with me but I kept hanging on and hanging on to the thought there was. I hung on to those sensations until I was sure I would go completely nuts. My every thought was negative. One day when I was here by myself, I went downstairs, got on the treadmill and walked for 40 minutes. The first 15, it was like waiting to keel over. I was so extremely nervous but I kept going. When it was over, I was elated. I had conquered that fear and I was on to the next one. Good luck!
Easier said than done, but I appreciate the feedback. I've long suspected GAD, but didn't expect the symptoms to be 24/7. I guess everyone's symptoms and their regularity are different. Do you still have symptoms separate from panic?
Sounds to me like you are suffering from GAD, and possibly OCD. I have both, along with panic disorder, PTSD, and depression.
Yes, there is a constant state of being highly aware of every little thing, that you feel is not normal, within your body. Every little twinge, tingle, pain, etc... sets us off into a "what if" state of mind. What if it's this, or what if it's that.....
People who have anxiety disorders tend to have an increased awareness of all the little things that go on in our bodies, NORMAL things that happen to everyone, but we tend to take and twist these things into some life threatening illness, and then dwell on them. "Obsess" about them, more or less.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a constant state of worry, and anxiety over things that one would not normally worry about. It is totally seperate from panic attacks. Although it is VERY common for people who do have an anxiety disorder to suffer from panic attacks.
I hope I helped to answer some of your questions.....Fox
Life is NOT like a bowl of cherries! It's more like a jar of Jalepenos...... what you do today might burn your A$$ tomorrow!
Last edited by Foxxii; 02-14-2012 at 08:23 PM.
The Following User Says Thank You to Foxxii For This Useful Post: jd7253 (02-15-2012)
I did a lot of research on anxiety. I paid no attention to the doctors and psychiatrists that push drugs. I enlisted the help of a professional who is also a friend and believes in total drug free recovery. I spent months reading and researching the true anatomy of anxiety working on my own anxiety, learning what causes it and changing the way I thought about myself. I got educated on what anxiety really is and what it is not, and eventually stopped fearing it. It's all about fear .... nothing else. Today, I'm fine. I don't have anxiety anymore, or should I say, I don't have over anxiety anymore. Everyone has anxiety, it's built into us for a reason. I no longer have the unjustified fear that causes GAD. It is easier said than done, but nevertheless, it can be done. It take courage to commit to getting well. Drugs will never make you well. It took me a long time to over-write my hard drive, but I finally did. In the process, I learned all the coping skills that I had never been taught to begin with. I'm happy now and feel very well adjusted! It's the only permanent cure! Be well!
That's exactly how it works, "the fear of the fear" or the "anxiety about having anxiety" that turns it into a continuous loop. The key is to break that loop, and you do have to just accept your feelings for what they are. If you accept them and know they won't hurt you, eventually you can break the cycle. Is it easy? Not one bit. I know exactly what I need to do but still sometimes my mind gets caught up in it. "Hope and Help for your Nerves" is a great book I've read about this.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to reallylovesdogs For This Useful Post: jd7253 (02-15-2012), ScaredOne620 (02-15-2012)
Exactly .......When I was recovering I started looking at what caused the horrible GAD. I realized that my intense fear of the anxiety had become a habit ...... almost like getting up in the morning to have that first cigarette because you don't think you can do without it. I had formed a habit of negative thinking! My mother was a huge over-reactor. I remember when I was young and she would over-react, I used to think "hmmmmmmm, maybe there really is something to be afraid of". Who knows how anxiety initially manifests itself, but once a person convinces themselves that they should be afraid, even though there's really no reason to be, then the fear just takes over completely and a person's adrenal gland just goes into over-drive. What a mess I was. I'll get a headache today and just take a couple of advil and go on about my day, but there was a time when a simple headache would have sent me into a tailspin and the next thing I knew, I had convinced myself I had a brain tumor and then I would get dizzy, have chest pains ...... omg .... it was awful. Sounds ridiculous to me today, but it wasn't ridiculous to me then. Every bodily sensation scared the crap out of me and the more fear I had and the more adrenaline pumping through my system, the more sensations I had. What I notice today are the bodily sensations that come from good thoughts, like hearing a favorite song and getting goosebumps. My body is responding to my thoughts about that song. It's the same thing with negative thoughts .... the body will respond to those as well and most times, it's ugly. I finally realized that the more I fought the anxiety, the worse it got, so I quit fighting it. I just let the waves of anxiety happen telling myself that it's just fear, nothing more .... I'm not going to die. Today, if I get a heart flip (which is normal during menopause), I don't freak out about it. I've stopped thinking that every little sensation is cancer, or a heart attack, or some dreaded neurological disorder. It took a long time but I figure, I didn't get that way overnight and I'm not going to get well overnight either. I can't take the SSRI's so I really had no choice, which today I view in retrospect as a good thing. My anxiety doesn't control me and I'm not depending on a drug to do it either. I know that drugs help some people, but I just wanted to convey that there's a way out without them as well. I wish you all the best!
Thank you for all of the responses. I agree 100% with what you are saying and that's why I have not let the doctor put me on drugs. I guess I just neglected the issue for so long that now it is so engrained in mind that I am experiencing 24/7 symptoms. I am in my early 30s, but can remember as early as 20 feeling at the time manageable, but unneccesary worries. I guess the fact that I never dealt with them then has lead me to where I am today, which is damaged mentally. I keep in my mind trying to think positively, but these negative thoughts about my health always get the best of me. They aren't even "I'M Dying" thoughts, but just rather I'm tired of these 24/7 symptoms.
The following user gives a hug of support to 4getaboutit: jd7253 (02-15-2012)
Read the book that was suggested to you "Hope and Help for your Nerves" Also read the book "Feeling Good" and "Waking the Tiger". Knowing it all and applying it are two different things. We can know something will work, we can understand it, we can think it makes sense, but applying it is altogether different. It's like a diet lifestyle change when someone is overweight. We know it makes sense to change the way we eat, we know that we will never be physically healthy unless we do it, we know that exercise is good for us, but how many people actually apply it? They don't because they are caught in their eating habits. Habits control everything! These little poems make perfect sense to me!
I have a little robot,
That goes around with me.
I tell him what I'm thinking,
I tell him what I see,
I tell my little robot,
All of my hopes and fears.
He listens and remembers,
All my joys and tears.
At first my little robot,
Followed my command,
But after years of training,
He's gotten out of hand,
He doesn't care what's right or wrong,
Or what is false or true.
No matter what I try now,
he tells me what to do!
I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me
and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed -
you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people;
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great,
I have made great.
Those who are failures,
I have made failures.
I am not a machine,
though I work with all the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin -
it makes no difference to me.
be firm with me,
And I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me,
and I will destroy you.