I am 17, and I had my first anxiety attack about a year and a half ago, but they havent been bad up until about 2 months ago. I went to the emergency room: my heart was racing and I was having heart palpitations and hyperventilating, the entire left side of my body went numb, and I was completely convinced I was going to die of a heart attack. I was given an EKG and heart x-ray, nothing showed up. I was put on .25mg of Xanax, which I took about 3-4 times a week, but the past two weeks have been almost unbearable for me. I am having anxiety attacks at the very least once a day, up to three. Last week, my doctor rose my dose to .50mg and on put me on Zoloft, and today he switched it to 1mg Ativan. I've also begun to see a therepist/counselor, and have an appt. to see a psychiatrist in Feb. (soonest date possible)
Day to day stuff...
I have headaches every day, trouble sleeping and wake up in the middle of the night often, sometimes immediately thinking about my anxiety or having an attack. Sometimes while almost alseep, I'll jerk awake, often a few times in a row. On occasion, my jaw locks up while sleeping, which is incredibly painful, but it does not wake me up. I have an intense fear of death. Even if death is mentioned in conversation, gets me nervous. My chest has been tight almost non-stop for a week now. I also have constant aches in my upper back, left arm/shoulder (which worries me of my heart) and left leg (worries me of strokes/neurological problems, since both are on left side) and am usually lightheaded. Because of my fear of heart problems, I avoid too much physical activities, and try to stay within an hour of home. My appetite ranges from barely eating for days on end, to eating normally. My mouth gets very dry sometimes as well. I find myself clenching my hands and clenching/grinding teeth during the day. Sometimes, the tinyest, irrational things will get me very irritated and cry and feel hopeless about my condition. It interferes with my life: Some days, I cant go to school or have to leave.
I get almost obsessive about talking my pulse, because I have a constant fear of heart attack or stroke, and afraid of death. I also get numbness in my hands, feet, and sometimes face. In general, I am really worried of having an anxiety attack, and usually unsuccessfully try to talk myself out of them.
Having an anxiety attack...
I have intense fear of dying, and think I am having a heart attack. I feel as though I am going to pass out, my hands and feet get very numb, and everything feels completely out of control. My chest has pain and is tight, my heart beats hard and fast, and I have trouble breathing correctly. My throat also gets very tight. I know the heart attack/stroke thing completely irrational, but when I am freaking out, I just can't shake the thoughts.
Last edited by rachhel025; 12-08-2009 at 04:22 PM.
I know how you feel and I will wake up in the morning with fear. I feel so alone when I wake up at 5:00 a.m. I guess what worked for me is changing my thoughts. When you have anxiety and panic you have trained your mine everyday to feel fearful. It also could be a chemical imbalance. I don't take medication because it makes me feel dizzy. I do meditation, take walks, and acupuncture has helped me alot. There are workbooks you can buy that really help. It eventually passes for me when I really concentrate and keep the negative thoughts out of my head. I changed my diet - no more sugar and caffiene. I also got into yoga. Just know your not alone and it will get better.
I would focus on learning some coping techniques. There are a number of breathing techniques, pressure points you can press, and mental exercises you can try that will reduce your anxiety.
Also- you should not avoid exercise. Exercise is a proven method of reducing severity and number of panic attacks and can help you relax. At your age, it is extremely unlikely you would have a heart attack from exercise or from anxiety. Avoiding exercise is the wrong thing to do.
When I started having panic attacks at 21 is when I started exercising. Long hikes and running were very helpful to me.
Oh- and if you don't already, avoid caffeine, diet pills etc like the plague. Caffeine, ephedra, ephedrine, guarana will all increase your anxiety levels, blood pressure and heart rate. Alcohol will too. Avoid all these substances.
I am 26 years old and I am going through the exact same thing you are. About a year and a half ago it all began for me as well. At first I just had trouble taking deep breaths and would wake up suddenly every night over and over again. At that point in time I thought maybe I had sleep apnea and was afraid I was going to die in my sleep. And of course this multiplied the amount of times I woke up throughout the night by ten. After a couple of months of this it began to stop, as I began to convince myself that I didn't have sleep apnea and I was waking myself up.
Of course that wasn't going to be the end.....
I started to feel like I had pressure on my chest and my hand would go numb (left) and I freaked out and went to the emergency room. I too had an EKG and that, along with my blood pressure, was normal. I went home and tried to be rational about everything, but my constant fear was getting in the way. Everytime somebody mentioned any disease I had it! Things calmed down for a while and I felt like I was doing ok, besides the occasional thought of "what if I have that."
All of this ended about a year ago but the real anxiety started about four months ago....
I was on vacation and I started to have tingling in my left arm, hand, and the left side of my face. My jaw was tight and my back felt like it was full of knots. I was having pressure in my chest along with sharp pains, and my legs felt sore. I was convinced I was having a heart attack. My sister, convinced me to not go to the ER.
Since this attack I have had 3 more and the everyday constant fear of death. I too, like you, check my pulse constantly. My jaw will get tight from clenching and I have a hard time convincing myself that its just anxiety. "What if they aren't checking because they are convinced I am having a panic attack." Its a daily struggle.
I am currently on .50mg of Zoloft and in one week they are bumping me up to 100mg. I am also talking to a therapist. Sorry my response is so long, but hearing that someone else is going through the same thing definitely helps. I came on this website because I was feeling anxious and hearing your story helped me, and I hope my story helps you.
If this helps you, your symptoms described me perfectly when I have an attack. I too, feel like I have sleep apnea, I have trouble breathing, I get dizzy, my heart races, my chest gets tight and I develop a dry cough (then I think it's lung cancer or heart troubles), I wake up several times a night, I jerk awake and gasp for breath, I get hot flashes, then after an attack I tremble (feel like I have severe cold chills/shaking), I have random pains in my upper back (shoulder blades, which I always, again, think it's lung cancer), tingling hands/face/legs, hot flashes in my face/back of neck, heachaches, ..... the list goes on.
My main problem is at night and I try to talk myself out of it, get my anxiety workbooks out, distract myself, I'll rearrange the furniture, make some cookies, curl up with a blanket and watch a fun, happy movie - I even try my breathing exercises and light exercising (because strenuous exercising also makes me nervous - my heart palpitates or I get out of breath and feel like I'm having a heart attack). All of it is really tough to do when going through an anxiety attack.
What really helps me is a good cry. I get so worked up during an attack, I always think "this is it. this is it. i'm going to pass out now." And then when I don't, I pace and then I break down and cry because I feel so helpless. Believe it or not, it's really a stress release. It helps me calm down every time. At least, rather, it gets me out of the panic state to where I can begin thinking rationally again. I guess not fighting it helps.
But I feel for ya. Every night this happens to me and I cry to my husband begging him to make this stop - desperately trying to figure out why this is happening and what to do to prevent it.
Last edited by tiffanyhope12; 12-10-2009 at 08:06 PM.