Hello, I think this is the first time I've posted on this topic. I am such a mess right now that I need to ask for some help. I've had panic attacks in the past but never this debilitating. I think the last straw for me was last May when my mom fell and broke her hip and her arm and is now is a residence for women with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Before that happened, she was able to keep me company and kind of keep me together.
Okay, here goes.....first of all, the panic attacks have escalated to the point that I can't make it through a day without severe anxiety and terrible bouts of crying. The depression has also intensified greatly and I'm getting substantial periods of agoraphobia. But the worst thing is.....
I am so terrified to be home alone that I think I'm losing my mind over it. My husband is a pilot and is gone for 4-5 days at a time and I'm totally alone here. I go through such anguish when he's gone that I'm certain I will die.
I have severe dizziness and feel much of the time like I am on the verge of passing out. I have NO friends or other family in the area so I really am alone.
My doctor has told me to try Lexapro but I'm very, very afraid of the side effects. A few years ago I took Elavil and some others and got the dreaded "brain zaps" so bad that I didn't sleep for a week. They finally took me off all antidepressants and gave me 10 mgs. of Valium so I could get some sleep. I've been taking 2 mgs. of Valium twice a day since then but it's not working very well. I've tried Xanax but it gave me a weird feeling, not a good one.
I know there are many people out there who must share these conditions, fears, and ongoing difficulties. I am almost to the point that I feel I must be hospitalized to try any more medications due to the fact that I am home alone so much, is this a good idea? I don't relish being in a locked unit at all and that's where they would have me, it's the only anxiety treatment available in our area.
I apologize at the length of this post but please, if anyone can help me with suggestions, thoughts, ect., please do so.
Apparently my choices so far are Lexapro or Zoloft, Ativan or Klonopin, what should I do?
Thanks so much, any info will be greatly appreciated.
Well from my point of view it sounds like you have to decide which would be worse, trying a different medication or staying at home and feeling the way you described. I think what you should do is sit down with a psychiatrist and see he what he/she thinks. Talking to a doctor can only help.
I know what you're going through is not uncommon because I'm in a somewhat similar situation. My anxiety has been so bad that I had to leave college and live at home. I've been here for 5 months or so and still fear when I'm home alone for too long. I've recently decided to try medication because I realized this anxiety wasn't going to miraculously cure itself. Anxiety is different for everyone though and it's obviously your decision. Do as much research you can and talk to as many nonbiased people as possible and decide if the possible side effects are worse than what you are going through.
Have you thought about any other medications? I've never been on medication (haven't started my Pexeva yet) but you have to realize that the side effects don't happen to everyone. They put them on the bottle because they are a possibility. I know going on medication is scary though, I was reluctant for months.
I hope you start feeling better. Don't forget that there a tons of people who know how you feel.
You can try taking easy/fun classes at a local community college(cooking, crafts, etc.) They will get you out of the house, and doing something productive to get your mind off your anxiety. You could also volunteer at a church or homeless shelter. I bet you would find anxious people like yourself at these things.
You could also join a gym, or you're too anxious you could get yourself some gym equiptment for your home. I find that excercise really helps with my anxiety, expecially if I listen to music/watch TV while doing it. You should go and buy yourself and Ipod, it's one of the greatest anti-anxiety inventions ever! Heck, I even have an anxiety "playlist" on mine, for the days I'm feeling extra out of it.
FYI: I'm on Zoloft right now... but it's only been about 5 days. Already I have felt improvement, but there are side affects...which I listed in a thread yesterday. You should talk with your doctor about trying another type of medication, or seeing a psychiatrist. Even if you go in crying your eyes out, these people have seen/heard everything so they won't judge you harshly.
And yes, many people share your symptoms...but at least you are attempting to ask for help, even if it's to online strangers. Wish you best of luck, and yes YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
You need medication to get you through this so try the Lexapro or Zoloft. Elavil is such an old drug with strong side effects I can't believe a doctor would actually put someone on that stuff in this day and age with the newer ones on the market that are soooo much better with few if any side effects. In the meantime until that stuff kicks(2 to 6 weeks) ask for an increase in your Valium(you are on a very low dose and it sounds like you need an increase). I know there are other newer ones but Valium seems to work a little better for some people. Don't give up and don't sell yourself short by not trying different things. good luck.
Like the others who posted here I share your fears and your predicament.
From my experience I would say, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SUFFER. MEDICATION DOES HELP. Speak to your doctor and explain how you feel. Going into systematic therapy helps a lot in discovering the true reasons behind your fear of being alone. It seems to me you feel very insecure and are afraid that if you have a panic attack nobody will be there for you. But this insecurity comes from your childhood and the way you were raised. You need to find out what was happening then that robbed you of your confidence. (Was it too much criticism? Not enough unconditional love? Disrespect and bulling from others? Overprotection from parents? etc)
Therefore, because your situation does not look likely to change, eg your mum coming back or your husband changing his job, you have to learn to control your anxiety yourself and recognize the triggers and pre-empt them.
But in order to do this you must first "land your plane safely', by medication and therapy. This will remove the bad symptoms, if not all, and will give you a break to regain your confidence in you ability to handle loneliness. Then, believe me it can happen, you will actually learn to feel in control and ACTUALLY REDUCE YOUR MEDICATION.!!!
Do not be scared of side effects. There is so much medication out there that it is impossible not to find something which will make you feel better. I HAVE.
Do not despair, keep posting. We are here for you. We too feel lonely so many times, but writing here is such a consolation.
God bless you