I developed anxiety with my peri symptoms. That was two years ago. I have not had a period in a year and a half. However, the anxiety remains.
The anxiety has lessened over time. Two years ago, I would not leave the house very often. I did not make plans to see anyone because I might not be able to show up. I have a lot of people in my life that didn't understand this and now are not real happy with me.
I think the anxiety made me believe that I had every dreaded disease that one could have. The symptoms of peri led me to believe this to be true.
As I said, it is a little better now but I am not all the way back to normal. It has taken me a lot of work to get to this point and I have to force myself to get on with my life and resume normal activities.
I was wondering if others have experienced this and how you dealt with it.
If it makes you feel any better, I am right there with you. I have terrible anxiety, mostly health related. I am 44 and I believe my first peri symptoms started when I was 39 when intimacy became painful. Over the next 2 years I developed a constant nagging and sometimes very painful left shoulder blade. I did not and still don't know if it's related. I thought early on that it was bad posture and too much computer time. I still have it. Only now with the anxiety, I make it into many different horrible diseases.
The last 9 months have been pure hell for me. In May of last year my doctor and I started switching around my birth control pills to see if it helped with my dryness issues. From there I went into a complete tailspin. I started having heart palpitations, tachycardia and high blood pressure. It never was high before. I have worn a 24 hr holter monitor, had several EKG's, blood work and an echocardiogram. They say my heart is OK but started me on a beta blocker to slow my heart rate and stop the palps. It works but with terrible side effects.
I am still having periods anywhere from 16 days to 45 days. I had a couple of FSH tests and an Estradiol test. The first showed I was post menopausal at 66.16. 4 weeks later fully functioning ovaries???
Answering your question directly about the anxiety, when I was going through all of the heart related stuff, I literally felt like I was coming out of my skin. I usually have valium on hand for when I fly, but my doctor told me to take a half on really bad days which helped. She wanted to try me on Paxill but I had a bad reaction to it and then I had a full blown panic attack We had paramedics at the house in a severe thunderstorm. Very embarrassing. My heart rate was 140 and my Blood pressure was 158/108! Yikes.
So the Paxill was not going to work so she started me on Buspar for anxiety. Of course now I had medication anxiety and was scared to death to take it. I eventually did, but it did nothing for my anxiety and just gave me vivid dreams and nightmares. So, I started the beta blocker which takes care of the BP, heart rate and palps and it also diminishes the anxiety to a point. I still worry about every new twinge and tingle and I have become a terrible hypochondriac (sp?) I never had the social anxiety though. I find that the more "normal" activities I do, like spending time with girl friends, going out to dinner, shopping etc, the more normal I feel. I also excercise regularly and eat healthy and that helps. But when a peri symptom sneaks up on me it doesn't take much to let the wind out of my sails. I really hate this and for the first time in my life think it might not be so bad to be a guy
I hope this helps some twanger. It scares me to think that I may still have all of this going on 2 years AFTER my periods stop. There's no end in sight.
I can so relate to you and I am sure you remember my postings from before and most of them have centered around Anxiety, Anxiety , Anxiety!! I have , fortunately never had the social anxiety, except that when I get anxiety really bad, I just do not feel like doing anything , let alone socializing. But I do feel as Beachbum does that when I am out with others and try to keep my normal routine it is better for me. I realize when we are getting together with friends, all of the suden that particular twinge I was anxious about or whatever the symptom was, is not there or I am not focusing on it for instance and isn't that interesting I think. It is almost like getting out and doing things with others does get my mind more at ease and I am not fretting as much about every little thing.
Health anxiety is the big thing with me and of course in peri we have so many twinges and aches and symptoms that just do not happen for a few days like when our normal pms did but for a longer time. So I think the anxiety is higher now. I am sorry to hear that you are having this even after you have not had your period for awhile. But I have a friend in the same boat and has not had it for a year and still grapples with being anxious too at times.
You posted to me a response once about the right side twinge or ache near the waist and sometimes upward or downward from there. It is like it is a knot or a muscle feeling , yet other times it feels like trapped gas. I think you described it as such and that it caused you a lot of anxiety...that is the main one for me that causes the most. And gas in general, which I feel ridiculous to even say as guys go around all the time releasing it and they are not worrying at all about what it is!! LOL!! Do you still by the way have that right sided feeling at times?
I feel like you mentioned, that I have every dreaded disease. Or when I see an ad on tv for instance about something to do with a disease , like the colonoscopy that I have mentioned before in a post, I get all freaked out about it and worry that I have not had the test yet. Yet there are others around me older that have not and do not worry a bit. I wonder why is my mind like this that I worry about that and other things and others sail along and do not give anything a thought? It makes me think sometimes I am losing my mind to be so obsessive about every little thing and focus on things so much. Maybe peri makes us more sensitive to feelings we have in our bodies. I know for sure that even 8 years ago I had these aches now and then during my cycle and never gave them a thought!! I have a friend who focuses on heart related things and is in the same boat with that and other things, thinking she should have a stress test as she is over 50 when really she is not experiencing anything to do with that.
As far as how I cope with the anxiety...what you said about forcing yourself to do your normal activities is the way I cope with it. I just try to talk to myself, also, repeating actually things that I have heard on this board that others have gone thru or what I have read. And that is it just hormones, is what I try to remind myself as it seems we are all experiencing the same things. Sometimes I am more successful than other times. Right now at day 14 in my cycle I have had a rough week keeping the anxiety at bay let me tell you, but have done so better than last month. But sometimes I feel I have made no strides!!
Have you ever taken anything for the anxiety? I take xanax when needed for it. Also deep breathing, getting a massage for the anxiety and the aches and using a heating pad on any area that is causing my anxiety. I know my mind is causing most of it but I haven't found a heating pad big enough that will help that particular part of me!! LOL!!
Exercise has helped me also. This month I have done more of it than last month and I do see that has helped , even when I am feeling really low I try to do something if I can. Sometimes I just can't, but when I can push myself I do feel a little better. I take it day by day and sometimes hour by hour.
Also seeing others around me, older that seem to be fine now and reading posts on here from those that have been thru the same things and are doing better has helped. It also helps immensely to see posts where people are going thru the same thing right now, that eases my anxiety greatly.
You have helped me in the past with your posts and I hope this helps you in some way.
I can totally relate to you also as I said in my post to Twanger. My anxiety is mostly health related to the max about every little twinge. Like you said even things I had before that I thought nothing of at the time , now I make into different horrible diseases that they might be.
I was at my height with all this anxiety last year from late Feb, all of March and on and off to May. Then my hormones must have leveled off or something and for 8 or 9 months I was more me. Some regular pms symptoms but not the long ones I had or the anxiety over all of them. Then this year in March I started having some of the same things from last year and started to get very anxious about it and disappointed to the max that I was again feeling these thngs. The only difference has been , I think I now understand more , in part from reading this board and also reading up on peri itself that hormones really do a number on us. Last year I could not connect it. This year I do but I still get anxious that is for sure!!
Are you still taking birth control pills? Low dose ones have been suggested to me to help with some of the symptoms but the gyn said she can't guarantee it will help symptoms (other than regulating the period) or that it will help the anxiety. and I have been too anxious about trying them!!
I am sorry you went thru so much with the heart palps. that must have been so scary. Looking back on all this I think the first symptom in my 40s (I am 51) was heart palpitations and I was tested and I was fine. They told me my electrolytes were off though and to drink more water. I then began carrying a bottle with me wherever I went. It subsided. Now when I do get them it is with a nightsweat and I know that it is normal for this time. I do not get them much at all anymore.
My periods too are still coming : last year mostly at day 24 or 31 and then this year went to day 49 once and then the next one was at day 27. My gyn said that usually people get them wider apart when they are closer to menopause. So this disappoints me greatly as mine are spaced closer together actually. She did say this can happen too and then they will just stop, but it is more the other way when we are closer to meno.
I take xanax when I fly but was given valium one time for a back problem and I started taking that for the peri anxiety a year ago for a bit. But my gyn then suggested to stay with the xanax instead only as needed. To be honest I think the valium helped more. I was given Lexapro when I was at the height of it all last year and I had a bad reaction to that and could not stay on it.
I know this is a long post but one of the things that helps me is to talk to others who are experiencing the same things and your post sounded so familiar to me as I too feel like the biggest hypochondriac there is and sometimes feel like I am losing my mind. I say this as I see others who are gong thru this (some friends I know) and they handle it so so much better. They feel the same things in one way or another as far as symptoms, but they just say "oh, its hormonal" and they get beyond it and do not dwell on it.
I, too find getting out and doing things with friends helps very much and do you notice that when you are doing that , that the symptoms are not as pronounced or are not there? It is like we are not focusing on them and it is such a good feeling.
I, like you have thought for the first time that it might not be a bad deal to be a guy!! My husband is very understanding and says that he would not want to be a woman at all for all we go thru with periods, pms and then peri.
Anyway, I wanted to just write to tell you that your post helped me too, to again realize I am not alone. And also to say hang in there and keep posting. I don't know about you, but it helps me to read how others are faring and dealing with things and helps to express what we are feeling as we go thru this rollercoaster ride.
Thanks. rmc, as far as the right sided gas pain thing. It is gone for the most part. It was really bad for awhile especially during peri. That is when it really flared up. I haven't had that in awhile, but now that I mentioned it, I may. I hope that you have some improvement with it soon.
I agree that when I can distract myself with going places I am so much better. It is just getting there. I am doing a lot better for the most part. I certainly have more energy than I have had for the last two years.
I try to walk everyday now and even joined a gardening class. Before my two years from hell, I had gone back to college and received my B.A. in Paralegal Studies. I was in my last semester when all hell broke loose.
I am ready to go back and start again. I think, in the long run, the isolation helped me to stop and put things in perspective. I am different now. More tolerant of people's differences and hopefully less judgmental of their shortcomings. I have more self esteem because I learned (forced to) that we are not how we look or what we have we are all one in this thing called life.
Anyway, the anxiety about health remains and keeps me from being as peaceful as I would like to be. I was hoping that it would get better.
I don't take anything. I was tempted to many, many times when I was going through the transition. I felt so out of myself. I didn't because I didn't want to have something else to deal with if I couldn't take the medicine.
I wonder how long this lasts.
Beach Bum, thank you for your imput. It is very comforting to hear someone else say that they feel the same way. I guess it's true that misery loves company. Seriously, I found the greatest support on this board through those two horrid years. I ran here every day.
She wanted to try me on Paxill but I had a bad reaction to it and then I had a full blown panic attack We had paramedics at the house in a severe thunderstorm. Very embarrassing. My heart rate was 140 and my Blood pressure was 158/108! Yikes.
Oh my goodness! Someone else who had the same reaction to Paxil as myself. I took Paxil for 7 days without any problems, that I could notice, then on day 8 my blood pressure sky rocketed and my bp was about 140/109. My head was pounding, the room seemed dark and strange, and I felt simply horrible. That day was the beginning of the spiral from anxiety, to panic attacks, to depression triggered by the anxiety. Mine was so bad that I could not work, drive, took a medical leave of absence from work, could not stand to be alone in my house, had trouble going out because of the vertigo and rapid heart beat. I went from dr. to dr, spent a lot of money, tried various anxiety medications and antidepressants. Saw a psychatrist for medication management who kept telling me that something else had to be going on since although my mood had improved with Wellbutrin I still felt tired and spacey all the time. Well, to make a long story short the first hormone patch that I tried go me off the sofa, able to clean to my house, cook dinner, and actually laugh again. Since then I've learned that my estradiol is wayyyyyy below the minimum range, so basically I do not have any estrogen, and my fsh is in the post menopausal range despite the fact that I'm still having a period. I'm also now taking blood pressure medication, and antidepressant, and birth control pills in order to function. If I stop taking my birth control pills I quickly spiral into depression, rapid mood swings, extremely high blood pressure, rapid heart beat, anxiety... you know the rest.
I have alot of symptoms but anxiety for me is the worst symptom of peri. It started almost 2 years ago due to what I now know is peri symptoms, and tho I can manage it pretty well now, for a while I didn't even know the person that was living in my body. I had NO control on when the anxiety would hit, and it seemed like overnite I became obsessed with every little ache and pain and medical report on the tv and in magazines, and trust me I had every disease known to man. And to some extent I am still that way even tho my logical mind knows its not right; I just can't make it go away. Fortunately I have a good doctor who listened to me, didn't call me crazy, did the tests I needed for my "symptoms" and helped me understand that I was okay. I tried lexapro and that only lasted a little over a week before I stopped it due to wierd side effects; I have ativan that I take when it gets really bad and a couple weeks ago my doctor suggested buspar, so I've been taking that with good results I think, fingers crossed. I do have some problems not related to peri, a couple bad discs in my neck that give me arm and shoulder pain, and right now I'm on amoxicillian for a sinus infection for another 2 weeks and my tummy isn't liking that, so I've been taking my probiotics. Next week I go to have a tooth pulled that lost a crown due to deterioration and I'm a bit anxious about that because I don't want to lose any more teeth and I don't look forward to paying for a bridge!!! But I digress...
I once read a quote that went something like "The times I feel the best are when I'm not focused on myself..." like a couple of other women here it seems that the anxiety is better when I'm out with friends or with my family or busy with gardening or cleaning or something.
I still have my periods regularly so I spoz I'm in for a few more years of this stuff. It seems like a vicious circle....experience a new symptom, get anxiety....get anxious, something else goes haywire.... <sigh> I don't know what "normal" feels like anymore, isn't that pathetic.
I had a nasty bout of anxiety when I was 42-43...horrible. There were times I wished I would die so as not to have to deal with it any longer. I never took meds for it. The worst for me was when I had to leave the comfort of my home...trips in the car were beyond painful. DH and I had taken a motorcycle trip to Nova Scotia and by the time we arrived in Maine, it had set in...the anxiety. I dreaded leaving my motel room each day. Day excursions became horrible as I dreaded being away from a bathroom (I need a potty when I'm stressed ) . Thankfully, I was able to enjoy some of the vacation and I thought that maybe it was just being so far from home that set it off. It was not to be....months went on with this. My sister also had something similar for a year or two, so maybe some of it was hereditary. In any event, the going-out-of-the house type of anxiety eventually subsided on its own, but the hypochondria seemed to creep in. From there, the dread of going to the doctor....to this day, any doc appointment has my BP up and my heart racing. It seems so insane that I can work myself up like that...for no reason. The rest of the anxiety seems to have slipped away after I turned 44. I will be 48 in May. I hope it never returns. I think if it comes back, this time around I will probably try meds. Life is too short to feel so controlled and helpless by emotions that we now know are hormonally exhibited.
Good luck to you!
Last edited by kittenlover; 04-29-2005 at 06:12 PM.
I know what you mean by the fear of leaving the house if there is no bathroom. I love to travel places by car because there is so much to be seen. However, my anxiety comes because I hate going to public restrooms and my anxiety kicks up the need to use a bathroom for the bladder and the bowel. I can use Immodium to take care of the last one but the bladder thing drives me nuts. If I can get myself to relax most of the time it dissappears within an hour or so on the road.
Going to the doctor is also anxiety producing. And, because of the hypochondria that has come about it becomes a vicious circle. I hope these hormones flatten out and I can become the way I was before they started to make my body/mind whacko.
It is so true I think that our anxiety affects our bowels and it becomes a vicious cycle. I think I read that you also had that feeling of always having a UTI. I don't get the burning or anything when I get that but I do get that kind of dull pressure feelinig and it is likely to happen when I am ovulating.
Thanks for letting me know your right sided muscle/gas ache thing is gone for the most part. That is hopeful. I used to just have it sometimes, like once or twice a year if that during pms. Now since PMS is so much longer in peri and unpredicatable I think that is why it happens longer. How long did you have it. Mine is not constant, just there enough times to be nagging and cause anxiety. I have to remind myself all the time, that others have it and survived and also that I have had it for a long time on and off and survived!! I do think my back, hip issues emphasize it.
Yes, it is better to as you said distract oneself but hard to do when our minds play such tricks on us. It is also draining too this whole period of time and then the anxiety I think makes it more draining.
I have a friend I talked to last night who said this period of time for her is like when she had post -partum depression after she had her first child, and when one thinks of it , it is all to do with hormones just as that is.
That is great you are walking everyday, I think that pushing ourselves to exercise does help with the energy.
I too find the anxiety keeps me from being as peaceful as I'd like as you put it so well. I find coming to these boards as you mentioned you did those two years helps keep my anxiety from getting out of hand at times,just knowing others are going thru it or have does help.
I just want to feel more like me again and not be fretting over every little thing. I went to Jazzercize today (I do that on Saturdays and go to the gym during the week) and I looked around at this room full of women and many older than me and I felt that they have all been thru this and are not fretting over things.
I hope too that this anxiety issue will subside and I will feel more normal and I hope that for you too. You sound like you have come a long way with it and have made good strides. I know it is just frustrating when it is not completely gone, so I empathize.
Boy when I read your post it sounded like me..I too seem to obsess more over every little ache and everything I am seeing on tv or in an ad about this or that disease and relate it to myself. It was worse last year before I realized that peri causes more than hot flashes which is all I ever heard about. I thought I'd just sail right thru this time with just layering clothing, carrying a fan like a friend of mine did going thru this and opening windows. I have not had one hot flash (nightsweats at times). But the other symptoms of peri made me very anxious wondering what it all was.
My "logical mind" too tells me that I am fine and have been to the gyn and dr. but still the anxiety does creep up on me at times.
The issues you have with your neck sound like mine with my back and they affect my pelvic area as it is all so related so I think that works to confuse me at times and get carried away with how I am feeling.
I know exactly what you mean about not knowing what normal feels like anymore!! It is not a good feeling and I have to try to fight it all the time.
There are a lot of us in the same miserable boat. I am so sorry that there are other people that feel as bad as me. After months of fatigue, depression, ANXIETY,muscle aches and twitches...a gazillion doctors and tests, 4 different antidepressants that my body couldn't deal with, I am finally using bioidentical hormone creams. I still have ativan when I freak out, but I hope getting the hormones balanced will help. I have taken a leave from work...my doc is calling this Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I don't know...It doesn't seem like it matters how much rest I get , so I do think its important to stay busy. Since this started, I am constantly assessing how I feel, which doesn't help. As sad as it makes me, it is sooo helpful reading that I am not alone....RMC, I think my husband found one of your posts months ago and that helped to convince me that I wasn' t dying of some terrible disease, and kept me from sinking even more! Thanks! I'm 45 and still having periods, so I'm trying not to think about how long this will last. It might help if it would stop snowing!!!! Does anyone try to do normal things (like having coffee with a friend) and then feel desperate to get back home? Sometimes I think I'm going to come out of my skin. OK hang in there and keep writing! DWP
dwp, YES...that is exactly how it feels when the anxiety is in full bloom.
You WANT to go about as usual; you know you SHOULD do it...but once you're out there, it seems like you're so vulnerable and ..well...anxious....
The last time that happened I told DH that my health and sanity was more valuable than a cup of coffee with a friend!
After reading these posts, I am worried the anxiety will come back
What does the anxiety feel like to all of you? Does it increase your pain and make you not able to do anything? Do you find that at the end of the day, you haven't accomplished anything except worrying about the newest symptom?
Do you feel your heart flutter and sometimes feel like you are short of breath or maybe even choking?
Do your shoulders and lower back feel tight? And sometimes do you feel like your jaw is tight?
These are all the things that I experience and in addition, sometimes I don't even know how I did something or even if I did something.
It does get better for all of you in peri. I can assure you of that. However, I had never experienced this before and I hope that it gets much, much better.
I don't have that anxiety anymore (thank goodness) but when I did, I would had no appetite and lose lots weight really fast. Because it has always been hard for me to lose weight, it scared me b/c I thought I had some kind of life threatening disease.
When at home, I would want to get out of the house, I felt closed in, paced until my feet hurts even, really nervous, heart racing, sweaty, stomach felt upset, couldn't read/watch tv or do anything around the house. If I tried to relax and sit, I would be zombie like. Then when I go out, I want to go home. I would try to do my routine of walking my dog and running errands and everything around me would freak me out, I felt spacey, things looked blurry, couldn't focus or pay attention to anyone who is trying to talk to me, all I could think about how I'm freaking out again. I couldn't drive during my entire peri-time. As a passenger, I would want to get out of the car and go home. I tried driving once and I went thru a red light.
I think some of us are just unfortunate to have to experience the peri-anxiety. With me, I didn't have any "unresolved issues" or "baggage". I've always been one to speak my mind and I live a pretty stress-free life. I just started feeling really weird, really fatigue, dizzy, felt like I wasn't all there, really different, and going to so many drs. and not feeling any better at all day after day would put anyone in fear which also brings on the anxiety. I remember trying to relax, taking big deep breaths, even got anti-anxiety tapes that I would listen to at bedtime trying to get my mind off of how I was feeling. It helped somewhat. It was the worse time of my life! Hated it!