I am a 29 year old female, 5'4 114lbs - I have a 3 year old daughter and am a stay at home Mom. My husband works swing shifts and is hardly ever home. I have had anxiety/panic attacks since I was 14 years old. I have been prescribed several different medications to deal with it - including - Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexipro. - None have worked thus far.
I have now developed a HUGE fear of being alone at night while my husband is at work (especially during the weekends when people get crazy), and I have also developed a fear of being out in public by myself w/ my little girl. Everything I do when I'm alone is rushed and I feel so timid and scared that I'm going to just drop dead and have a heart attack (seems to be almost everyone's fear who has a panic disorder) and nobody is going to know until they find me dead on the floor.
Most of this started after I had my little girl...as far as the hypochondriac stuff (I had an emergency c-section) - I have spoken to my husband and to my Mom and everyone is sick of hearing about it and just tells me, you're fine - you just need to chill out. But right when I feel like I'm "chill" that's when it all starts. My husband also always tells me that I need to go exercise - but I'm even scared to go exercise b/c I'm scared I'll have a heart attack while I'm exercising!! It's depression at it's worst b/c I don't even FEEL like doing anything that requires any effort whatsoever.
We have lost 3 people in our family in the last 6 months and I feel that I have handled the loss's of all of them better than I handle everyday life.
Life for me anymore consists of living inside my apartment with my 3 year old during the day...VERY brief walks outside, rushed trips to the grocery store and home, and the constant fear of something happening to me while I'm home alone at night. (which sounds so silly b/c if it could happen at night, I'm sure it could happen during the day)
The ONLY time I'm somewhat ok, is when my husband is home or when I have family/friends over - - the remainder of the time is spent with so much anxiety and stress that I'm surprised my little girl hasn't picked up on it - I try my BEST to hide every emotion I'm feeling inside and play with her and love on her so she doesn't see what I'm really going through inside.
I am not on any medication, seeing that none of them work. Am I the ONLY one going through this?!!
Aw hon, any one of us could have written your post. You are FAR from alone. I can SO relate to the way you describe your day. When my panic was at it's worst, I can remember those mad dashes through the market, grabbing only the essentials. A "leisurely" trip to the store was a thing of the past. I also had a very rough time when my daughter was young. We feel scared and vulnerable as it is with anxiety, but when you add a small child to the mix, it is that much more terrifying because WE are the ones who are supposed to be in control! And we don't feel in control at ALL!
The good news is, yes there IS help out there! Let me ask you a few questions...when you tried the meds, how long were you on each one before a decision was made that it wasn't working? How do you know it wasn't working? What doses were you on at the time they were d/c'd? How did you tolerate the meds? Any side effects?
The other question is, have you tried any therapy at all? if so, for how long, and what was the outcome?
I was pretty much housebound with panic a few times in my life, but with meds and therapy, some hard work and a LOT of patience, I was able to get my life back, and so have a million others! For most of us, anxiety is a lifetime struggle, with ups and downs, but with the right professional care, you can have a LOT more "ups" and be able to manage anxiety much better when it rears its ugly head.
Your family is frustrated. We've all been there too. Cut them some slack, if they haven't lived it, they don't get it. They cannot figure out why we, smart people, can't just "pull ourselves together", or "snap out of it". I'm sure you've heard those kinds of statements numerous times. You also have to think about how hard it is on our spouses. They go off to work, which they have to, leaving us home with the kids, only to be called with us in panic mode, unable to function on our own some days. That's really hard, because they CAN'T pick up and leave work every day to come home and "rescue" us, as much as we want them to, so we become more withdrawn and more helpless.
I promise you you will have better days, but like I said, it's going to take some time and some work. I'm anxious to read about your medication history, after I do, I'll give you some suggestions as to what I think your best next step is.
For now, know you're among friends who DO "get it"...you're not crazy, you won't die, you're just another lucky person stuck with an anxiety disorder. You're in good company (if I do say so myself...lol)
Hang in there...looking forward to your reply!
(Take a minute, click on my username and look through my journals..I've done a good bit of writing about panic and anxiety, mostly from a more humerous aspect, I think you'll really appreciate the writings).
Hello, thank you for you quick response. I was on 150mg of paxil, 200mg of zoloft, and I think 75 mg of the Lexipro - - I took the paxil for a year and still suffered with the pounding in the chest. I took Zoloft for about 6 months and it did nothing for me except give me horrible migraines and made me restless at night. And the Lexipro made me feel like I was completely out of my element. I felt disconnected and I just didn't like the way it made me feel after about 2 weeks of taking it.
When I was a teenager my Mom made me go see a therapist who made me feel like I was less important and the time i spent with him I felt rushed and at the same time I felt so judged. He was writing everything down and it made me feel like he thought I was just crazy and that it was all in my head. I never went back to another therapist/psychologist again.
And yes you are right, I have heard "snap out of it" and "I don't know what to tell you because you're the one who's going to have to pull yourself out of this"
I just feel so frustrated b/c I don't know what else to do.
LOL - thank you for your last comment about my weight - but lately I've felt fragile and have been wanting to put on a few more pounds. :)
Ok, thanks for elaborating about your meds, that helps me to decide what my suggestions would be for you. I was asking because a LOT of times, people don't give SSRI's ample time to really work before they throw in the towel, or they don't get to a high enough dosage to make a judgement. For you, neither is true, seems like you gave them a fair shake. Some people just don't respond to certain classes of meds like others do.
There are still options for you. For one, there are many other SSRI's, sometimes it's as simply as just trying a different one. Some people try three or four meds before they finally have success. Anxiety can also be treated with beta blockers (ie Inderal) which help with the heart related symptoms (do you happen to have MVP, or a heart murmur?). Also, some doctors will try the older Tricyclic (TCA) antidepressants (ie Elavil), or benzodiazepines (ie Klonopin). There are also the newer SNRI medications as well. Point is, there are a lot of options. What you need to do is find a psychiatrist who can discuss with you the options after a thorough assessment. It may take some trial and error runs, but that's okay.
Therapy is crucial too, which the psych can help you arrange. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is very successful for people with panic disorder. I know you didn't have a great experience with either meds OR therapy, but it's time to try again.
This is where the hard work and patience comes in to play. It doesn't happen overnight, but the right combination of meds and/or therapy WILL make a difference for you. You've never really experienced a great success with anxiety treatment, which leaves you feeling that much more defeated. But, take it from a lot of us who can tell you first hand that you can and will get your life back!
As for your weight, I agree you must be a little on the thin side. I recommend you put on 100 pounds as a goal. And, NO, that has NOTHING to do with my jealousy over you being thin!! ;0)
LOL - thank you. I have actively been trying to put on weight...I'd like to weigh at least 125 :)
I will start looking first thing tomorrow morning for a new psychologist - And you're right there are LOTS of different medications out there. The last try with Lexipro when I was telling the doctor how long I had been off my meds etc...I felt so defeated...like..."so this is what I've turned too, pills for satisfaction in life" - - I felt like I shouldn't need the pills to be happy and I certainly didn't want to have to take them the rest of my life! But you are correct there are other options out there that I have given up on based on past experiences. I've been off medication for about a year now, and it's obviously gotten progressively worse without me even noticing it. Thank you for not being judgmental or making me feel like it was just all in my head. I'll keep you posted :)
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