Igiveupsotornupinside's picture

I am sorry I am posting not totally about a step issue on this topic but more so about Anxiety/Panic and PTSD. If you read my past posts you know how I developed this disabling disease.

Its hard for me to ask or post questions about it but I do on here because I value what people say on here and I don't feel like finding a whole different forum for anxiety when it is all step based to begin with and I have come here about the main issues.

My question is basically to see if anyone out here has the similar situations as me. It helps me to understand and helps me in the way of not feeling so alone in this.

My anxiety/panic is sometimes 24/7. I can sometimes have it a day here and a day there but it always lasts a long time. My symptoms are many but the main ones is the off balance feeling, feeling sometimes like I want to faint. Feeling like I am going to die. Chest tightness, shaking in the hands, hard to breathe. I almost ALWAYS get these symptoms while driving a car, being in a busy place such as a grocery store and I get them every time I shower...yes shower...this is driving me nuts. I feel I have to adapt and I hate it. For the car, I stick to the town I am living in unless DH is with me. For the shower, I either wait till DH gets home for lunch for me to hop in the shower or I do it at night while he is here and then the next day I will just wash my hair in the sink to get rid of bed head. I hate this because before I got anxiety (which came from a combination of dealing with horrible SD19 combined with a tick borne illness) I never had issues like this. The thing that really ticks me off is I used to LOVE driving, so much that one of the reasons I was a police officer for so many years was due to being able to drive for 8 hour shift if I could. I loved driving! Now I cant stand it because of the way it makes me feel. I used to love long hot showers now they are reduced to the minimal just so I can get out. Sometimes I panic so much that I have to get out without shaving!!! This is driving me up a wall. Today it just got to me again.

I have had a big work up and nothing else is wrong with me that they found except that I have secondary anxiety and panic and due to having a ton of symptoms of PTSD, I have that too. I am in therapy. She is trying to teach me to emotionally detach from SD. I have only been to one session so far though. I am on alprazolam .25mg up to 3x a day as needed. I know there are many other pills that would probably be best for me but my doctor tried 5 of them and because I am so sensitive to medications I had to be just given the alprazolam as its the only thing that works for me. I am a weird one, even have to take extra salt in my diet due to too low of blood pressure haha. Ugh. Anyways I was wondering if anyone else has these issues. I know last time I posted I had a lot of feedback. I just want to know maybe because even after 2 years of it and being checked and scanned for everything under the sun medically, I wonder if they missed something. I highly doubt it since most the time I get really bad its because there is a trigger like the other day being warned that SD19 will most likely be at the family Christmas. I haven't seen her since June and don't want to see her. We may not be going. I don't want to get into that though because right now I am more concerned about my anxiety, panic and PTSD and wondering if it will ever go away or if I will be like this forever.

No I am not suicidal when I say this BUT I am thankful God gave me my babies otherwise I honestly don't think I would be here today. The disease hits me so physically even more then it hits me emotionally and mentally...its so physical. The doctor said it is debilitating anxiety and panic. This is killing me, I just want a normal life. Before this I was a up beat happy person who was full of energy. I was pulling a high GPA going back to college, had a baby while being in college and still functioned 100% that is the way I ALWAYS was even if I was going through crap. I was always good under pressure even when I worked as a cop but now I am a mess. I fall to pieces easily and I can barely function. I do a good job of hiding it now for my kids and really doing the best I can. I don't share this with many people in my life. I tend to let everyone looking in think everything is ok. Its not. I live with this horrible thing daily. My kids are what keep me moving and so does DH...we have our issues like a normal couple but he is wonderful to me and I am so thankful for that. Even stands by my side through this disengagement crap with SD19. Ok thanks.

Honeysuckle's picture

Hi Catmom2 - I agree that exercise is great for anxiety - but just keep in mind that too-strenuous exercise can actually ramp it up if you are sensitive.....on my anxiety forum, it's generally suggested that around 30mins of gentle to moderate exercise is good and to not do it too late in the day if possible.

As I mentioned in another reply- the dread and fear of anxiety is enough to bring it on. The mind is incredibly powerful and for me, on top of exercise, regular visits to a counsellor or therapist (CBT in particular) and daily mindfulness practice are the key. Meditation, nothing more complex than paying attention to your breath is also wonderful for getting out of our heads for a little while.

I've also spent many years elf medicating with alcohol- in fact I did it on Sunday for the first time in a LONG time and I paid for it later that night and the next day with through the roof anxiety. Thankfully I do it less and less as I am learning to manage and regulate my emotions better.

Igiveupsotornupinside's picture

I do drink wine, not every day but lately at night I like to have a glass. It does help. I am more of a light weight these days though, since I got sick I seem to have a lower alcohol tolerance. Still enjoy a glass here and there though.

Normally my blood pressure being low doesn't affect me but it has lead to bradycardia before but they think that had to do with one of the medications they tried. It was sertraline. I was on it for a couple days and ended up in the ER so my doctor stopped it. She was trying to get me off of the alprazolam since it was more of a PRN. I ended up trying mirtazapine and that was a hilarious night as DH handed it to me, I took it and in the time it took him to pop us some popcorn for our movie I was passed out. It knocked me out for 24 hours (No Joke) and it was at the lowest dose it comes in, then I tried a few others and had reactions so my doctor is keeping me on alprazolam and I am happy with that, I take it as needed mainly just 2 times a day. I know when I need it, I can feel it so then I take it.

Exercise does work for me, however I am horrible at keeping it up. I am so busy all the time that I forget to do it. I usually when I do, do this one where you end up walking 4 miles by the time you are done...its a Leslie Sansone video or I do the treadmill until I get tired.

I just wish I could get my driving fully back and the showering that would be nice. Basically if that off balance feeling would go away but I am afraid as long as I panic it wont.

Honeysuckle's picture

Hi KQ- I often feel the same- to not deal with skids is to leave SO. But I know that once I get rid of one trigger up will pop another.

I'm sorry to hear your story with anti-depressants too. It makes me SO angry to read so many stories like yours of Doctors ignornance about what these meds can do to some of us and in reality, for a lot of people, it's their meds making them sick and the doctors just saying it's not possible and making you stay on them or throwing more drugs at the symptoms to try mask those new symptoms that were caused by the meds in the first place.

It astounds me that the drugs are allowed to be advertised - no such thing here in Australia thank goodness.

I think it tough enough dealing with skids - let alone on top of physical and mental health issues. I am learning to pick my battles but for me, its easier said than done at times.

Igiveupsotornupinside's picture

I am so sorry you are on so many medications. That has to be hard on you. I am kind of glad I cant handle many. I have never been the type to take much for medications at all. I wont even take Ibuprofen unless I REALLY need it. It was hard to even take the alprazolam but I was in an ER and they made me take it to calm me down (that was when I had the tick disease and I felt I was really dying and was freaking out) the doctor and DH convinced me to take it and it worked right away for anxiety for me. I went from freaking out to smiling in like a 5 min. period. So that had me convinced on it.

I hate the physical side effects of stress and how it causes my anxiety and panic. I can have a wonderful day and then BAM I am hit with it. The mention of SD's name alone sometimes will set it off. I hate it.

Anyways, my heart goes out to you.

Honeysuckle's picture

Hello from a fellow anxiety- sufferer (I hate that term but don't know what else to use right now) and sorry to hear you are going through this- it's not much fun, I'm very aware.

I have lived with an anxiety disorder (with phobias) and BPD for my entire life.... medicated for 16 yet to a certain extent still have my issues that brought me to meds in the first place. Meds absolutely have a place in some people's lives (I'm thinking of bipolar 1/schitzophrenia, major depresssion) but imho they are not the answer for anxiety. They can be helpful *in the short term* but please be aware that with drugs like ativan you develop tolerance very quickly and are highly addictive and can cause huge problems trying to come off them later down the line.

I'm in a way happy to hear that you are sensitive to meds as tbh meds are NOT the long term answer for anxiety. They are are short term solution (both drugs like short-acting benzos and the longer-term SSRI's like Paxil, Lexapro etc). You will always have to deal with your original issues causing your anxiety.

And the good news is that you can ABSOLUTELY gain control over your life and your anxiety..but it's not about making it go away- rather learning to not fear all these awful feelings that feel so very scary and threatening. In reality they are just thoughts and feelings and cannot hurt you, despite how much they try and tell you otherwise.

I have a tonne of info I can give you- I am currently withdrawing from 16 -years use of Paxil and the hell I am in trying to get off it has been in no way worth staying on them for this long. I have an amazing online support network of others who are also in the same boat as me- saw a Dr for anxiety/normal situational depresssion/ ibs even- put on a drug that *changes the structure of your brain* told it's fine and non- addictive and then left to deal with the fallout all these years later. In truth, no one,not even the drs know how these drugs work, there is NO such thing as a chemical imbalance in your brain when it comes to anxiety. It's our thoughts and feelings about these (very real) physical sensations.

Though this group of people and combined experiences that have been shared for 15 years- the collective knowledge is amazing. I have learnt more about anxiety and how to live with it than anywhere else. And if I can share a little of what I've learnt then I'd be happy

So I don't make this an essay long post, I'll just start off by saying that it's the fear of your anxiety symptoms that is your biggest problem. Imagine if you could just let these feelings happen and not let the second fear set in? I know that's an insanely scary thought right now but it can be done- trust me. You are doing the right thing by being in therapy. CBT /ACT and mindfulness are known to be much more effective than meds in the long term. You will have to deal with what originally brought you to where you are now.

Anxiety is not something that goes away with rest - though we do need to set limits and be kind to ourselves. We have to keep moving and not let it take over our lives. You *can do this* - you just need a bit of guidance through the terrain. ((hugs))

Sunflower1's picture

You make excellent points, I disagree on the medication issue however. There are some drugs, such buspirone out there that have very mild side effects and are not highly addictive. The stress that an anxiety attack puts on your body isn't good for a person either, I choose the lesser of the two evils. I have very low blood pressure normally usually around 100/80 or 90/70 range) when I have an anxiety attack it shoots over 140/110. Long term this will do more harm to me than long term low dose medication.

Honeysuckle's picture

Hi Sunflower- yes I'm aware a lot will disagree on my views on meds.... I'm burned and have not had a good experience (and have too many forum buddies going through the same thing) so I'll be the first to admit that I'm biased and my views will not be shared by everyone.

I'm not experienced with Buspar as it's a different class of drugs that I'm familiar with so I won't comment on it - and also acknowledge that every single person's journey is their own and I 100% respect anyone's decision to take meds for anxiety. It's just not what *I* choose to do.

What's important to me is making sure that people are 100% aware of the risks of taking any medication. And the fact they don't cure anything. Meds can manage symptoms short term, and that's it. They are rarely a forever drug. (which is why so many people are switched from drug to drug when one stops working) My belief is that anxiety is *not* an illness like diabetes that needs insulin. I'm sick of hearing that. You cannot die from anxiety attack.

Paxil was touted as non-addictive and while the withdrawal not physiologically is different to coming of heroin, for example and a simple matter of 'clearning' it out of your system and then getting on with it- in a way its worse, as SSRI's change the structure of our brains, the way it works and it takes a long long time for it to reach baseline again. And each and every time you reduce a dose it protests. But at least doing it slowly gives me some quality of life.

Thousands of us were never told the hell we'd be in trying to come off Paxil and we are paying for it now with side-effects you would never wish on anyone. The other option is staying on it as it's just so hard to come off.

Again, I have no problems with anyone taking meds for anxiety- I'm just passionate about making sure that before you decide to swallow that pill be sure you know of ALL the risks along with the potential benefits. I still have to take the occassional 2mg valium when my anxiety goes through the roof - and it does at times- but I know that there are much more effective long term methods of dealing with it. Sometimes we are so tired and so desperate and in so much distress a tablet is a very alluring option.

This is what works for me: learning to not fear the anxiety and accept it, a good therapist, regular exercise, minimising triggers (contact with SD's) meditation, a healthy diet and lifestyle - all these things have done much more for me than Paxil ever did.

I also agree Sunflower that symptoms of anxiety- while are not dangerous to us at the time of an attack (ie; won't cause a heart attack) are not good for your longer term physical health and it sounds like you've thought about and weighed up what works for you and benefits vs risks of meds. A lot of people don't even do that so you are one step ahead of many Smile

thebrokenrecordmachine's picture

Hi HoneySuckle, I am currently going thru the withdrawal from the MIRENA IUD...Dr's do not believe that it can cause anxiety but believe me, it has caused severe panic attacks all directly related to my cycle. I have an online support group I joined in as well, that helps. I had it removed in january this year, after being on it for 4 years...I want the recognition that this evil device, is a nightmare and I am a total advocate of an ANTI-MIRENA world. I also warn women do not get this IUD, you do not want the come down of it.
I now thoroughly research any potential medication and I am afraid of taking any medicine, even vitamins because I have a fear it will cause me anxiety.

I hope your withdrawal heals soon!

Igiveupsotornupinside's picture

Thank you for your knowledge. I have an amazing doctor who respects my feelings of not wanting to be completely medicated. She is really a great doctor. I like that she lets me stay on the per needed drug and its the lowest dose of it. I do not want to be on it forever but for now and through the holidays she agrees that I need it. My therapist is doing the CBT with me and she is going to teach me how to emotionally detach myself from SD. I am so looking forward to Monday when I get to see her again. She is the perfect fit for me as a therapist.

I would rather come on here and talk about it and get advice because it does help tremendously, even just to type my feelings out, it really helps. I just feel like a failure sometimes. I can be having the most wonderful day and then BAM its there, and its so damn physical I hate the way I feel.

I also see a chiropractor and he is amazing. There are times that I go in there and I tell him, I am having a panic attack and as he is adjusting me, I feel better already. Sometimes I think it lies in my back too, I have a mild form of scoliosis and when I am stressed it all goes to my upper back and neck and it gets so stiff and then I get a little more off balance but as soon as the adjustment I feel better. Only issue, I cant go in everyday for an adjustment haha so I pretty much go once a week but if anxiety is bad then I go twice a week.

I try to do a lot with my kids now, partially to make up to them for the way its been with SD and me being sick. They have fun and that takes my mind off of stress and then I do fine. Its just those times when I am left to think. I hate those times. My mind just runs.

I have a good support system, DH is good to me and I have a couple friends that I can share this stuff with who are there for me and I owe them the world for that. So thankful and of course I have step talk. The best group ever in my opinion.

Wickedess's picture

I'm a fellow anxiety sufferer too. Been on Paxil for 12 years and still on it. I agree that you should stay off the meds if you can because trying to get off of them is hell. Sometimes meds are the only thing that can help you concentrate until you can get control.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can really help. Learning to overcome the anxiety is possible but it takes a while and is really exhausting, but very worth it in the long run.

I'm sorry you're going through this and learning to disengage from your SD will definitely help.

This is not the rest of your life, you can get better.

Igiveupsotornupinside's picture

Thank you and yes I agree about the drugs. Even with the low dose I am on, my doctor said it would take a few months to wean off. She wont let me just quit them.

I know I got this, I am working hard at it, my therapist is going to do the CBT with me. I just fall sometimes.

Wickedess's picture

I know. It's hard. I will go so long with no issues and then all of the sudden it hits me and I feel like I'm starting all over.

Hang in there Smile

sandye21's picture

I was diagnosed with PTSD due to an abusive childhood, 26 years of discrimimation in a governement career, adopting older troubled kids, toxic Mother, and dealing with SD/DH issues which most of you have dealt with. I truly believe if we have had to deal with abusive SDs and DH B.S. for any length of time we have some level of PTSD.

I have suffered from panic attacks for years, although luckily they were not too frequent. But it left me with a terrible self-worth problem. I was constantly trying to please others sacrificing my dignity. DH held me hostage with temper tantrums and threats to leave. When SD had her meltdown 3 years ago DH ran out the door instead of supporting me. He actually shoved me away from him and said, "I don't want to be in the middle." Something in me snapped.

There is a saying about hitting bottom before you find the courage to fight your way out. I went to a wonderful therapist who used EMT (Eye Movement Therapy) where you answer questions about your life from birth to present while your eyes follow a rythmic, lighted device. Or as I did, you hold devices which vibrate alternately in your hands. I had 6 treatments - it worked like a charm. No drugs.

It is very rare that I get a short panic attack. And things drastically changed at home. SD is banned from my home until DH can tell her in my presence that she is to respect me as his wife. DH has threatened a few times to leave and I have told him, "Go on then!" so he now knows it won't work anymore. DH also has more respect for me. And for the most part, I am happy. Don't know if this treatemnt would work for you - just a suggestion.

Igiveupsotornupinside's picture

I am happy that you are happy for the most part now. I am sorry for what you went through. I think you are right, I have hit rock bottom and I am getting stronger its just that I fell again, just get so sick and tired of the physical parts of anxiety and knowing how I was before all this hit me 2 years ago. I miss the old me so bad. I see parts of the old me when I spend time with my daughters but then out of know where the attack comes.

I am a constant pleaser also and that is what has gotten me in trouble. I feel I could use a few lessons on becoming a bitch. sorry for the language but I am, I am way too nice to people who don't deserve it and I am the type of person who has too big of a heart and cares way too much. I am always trying to make things go easy. I need to learn to stand up for myself. That has always been my weakness.

I have never heard of that treatment but I will mention it to my therapist.

Igiveupsotornupinside's picture

Thank you to all of you for your suggestions and sharing with me your stories. It helps to not feel alone and gives me ideas. Right now I would do anything to get my life back.

I wish I could find someone who has the driving and shower issue. Its seems rare. I don't know.

thebrokenrecordmachine's picture

Hi...I have posted on your blog before and yes Anxiety is life changing and debilitating...I have read about lyme disease causing anxiety as well. I feel so bad for you, because I too have been dealing with those physical symptoms mine are mainly tachyarydia, heart flutters etc...this has been going on for a year like this. I have deveolped hypochondria now because I cant ACCEPT that this is from ANXIETY because it feels so physical, it feels like im dying. Some days I do not get attacked then BANG it happens...Mine seems to be triggered by my cycle and the cause of this was the MIRENA IUD.

I think the STEP LIFE can REALLY EXACERBATE our anxiety...especially when our partners do not realize that THEIR baggage is destroying us mentally(i wrote a blog about this earlier this week)...I do not have it as bad as other people do, but just the whole skid and bm thing can really get to me...even though I too have a child that my partner could consider a "skid"...I set up boundaries with my ex(mind you he has never overstepped them) and I do not appreciate it when my BF tries to keep the peace when BM's being a B or when his son tells my daughter to "be quiet and stop talking" shes only 5. They're teenagers.I came to the realization that maybe this situation is not healthy to my mental well being and told my partner that on monday among other things.

So he told me what I wanted him to do, it sounded controlling as hell and admittedly i was pissed when i said this, but I said, "BM doesnt need to see the place where we moved in, she doesnt need to come in."-she has been requesting too and its her way of going after him for more money. I cant believe I actaully said to him, "Once your kids turn 18 i hope you dont talk to that bitch again."

Anyways, I think CBT therapy will do you wonders I have heard that it is more effective than anything. Also, you mentioned that you were a cop and I am sure during that period you saw some horrific things that may be haunting you currently. It seems like you have and still do, "Major Ambition" being pregnant working and goign to school at some point, perhaps all the past stresses are contributing to the anxiety besides your SD.
I am an over achiever in someways and I know that stress has also contributed to my anxiety.

BEST OF LUCK and remember you arent the only person going thru this...if it helps post as often as you need...I know I do!