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Anxiety after stopping breastfeeding
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Anxiety after stopping breastfeeding

Hi everyone,
I am new here and I'm looking for some advice. After I stopped nursing my first child at 3 months old, I had a severe panic attack (textbook) and called the ambulance and went through the entire ER checkup only to be told it was a panic attack...I had been fine up until this point. I continued on with life and never had anything other than that episode..not even generalized anxiety. I had another child (My kids are 21 months apart) and I nursed this child for 9 months. As soon as I stopped..like 3 days after..I had another panic attack out of nowhere. Ambulance/ER workup..the whole deal. Again it turned out to be anxiety and since that time ( 8 months) I have been having episodes that vary in severity..plus generalized anxiety throughout the day. During these episodes I have the tingling arms, floating sensation in my head, dizziness, un real feeling, etc. When I feel this way, I am not worried about dying, but I am severely worried about passing out. I have passed out before in my life from low blood pressure, and that is what I am most worried about..losing conciousness. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I am a stay at home MOm and I am terrified that my young babies will be alone in the house hwile I am passed out....its a terrible way to live! I dont want to drive anywhere because it has happened while driving and im afraid of driving alone with my kids and this happening.I am also afraid to take the Xanax because I have to be alert enough to take care of 2 babies.  My husband travels for work so I am alone a lot and I am looking for advice on 3 issues:

1. Does anyone actually pass out from anxiety?

2. Has the placebo idea worked for anyone? (taking a tums and telling yourself its medicine and it will work in a minute or two)

3. Any advice on how a stay at home Mom can cope when she is afraid to drive the kids anywhere to get any activities done...

Thank you!
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Avatar_f_tn
The panic attacks after stopping breastfeeding are a real mystery to me. The only thing I can think of is that might have been a severe hormonal imbalance, but that is just a guess. Did you ever talk to your OB or regular doctor about this?
Check out the Breastfeeding Forum and see if any other women experienced any  anxiety issues when they stopped nursing.
I would suggest you begin with a really thorough medical check up to rule out any organic reason for your symptoms. That you passed out once before from low blood pressure would be an issue I would definitely discuss with the doctor. Talk about your anxiety issues and ask for a referral to a good therapist. Being a stay at home mom is an incredibly stressful, more than full time job and with a husband who is gone frequently, that is a massive responsibility and could possibly be a part of your anxiety. That you have a very understandable fear of passing out, leaving your babies unattendended, or passing out while driving with them in the car.........good Lord, just the stress of thinking about that would do me in!
As to your fear of taking the Xanax, I can understand that as well. Perhaps the next time your husband is home, you could try a dose and just see how it makes you feel. That way, if you found it too sedating, at least your husband would be there to take care of the kids. Or you might find out that you are very capable of taking care of things while on the Xanax...........but the anxiety/panic will be gone. Win/Win. I hope the Xanax has been prescribed on a PRN basis! (As needed) Taking Xanax on a daily basis would involve an entire seperate post!
So my advice is to see your doc for a good vetting. Some therapy to get to the root cause of your anxiety.........it's coming from somewhere! Figure that out and deal with it and hopefully you could toss the Xanax!
Get on some of the great forums here for moms.........there are many for different aged children. Perhaps just talking with other moms will help you not feel so isolated, which was a huge problem for me when I stayed home with my kids. Check out the Breastfeeding Forum...........your answer might be there.

Now for your questions:

1. Does anyone actually pass out from anxiety?

I suppose it could and probably does happen, but it's EXTREMELY rare and if you read a thousand posts here from people with crippling anxiety and panic, NONE of them report passing out. I really don't think you should worry about this. Going back to the one time you did pass out, it wasn't from panic, it was from low blood pressure, which is why I recommend the doctor visit to keep tabs on your BP.


2. Has the placebo idea worked for anyone? (taking a tums and telling yourself its medicine and it will work in a minute or two)

Well, the placebo effect has been medically proven many times, but whether you can "fool" yourself is a question I can't answer. I can only say that I doubt it would work for ME. I can "fool" myself into thinking my jeans don't make my butt look big, but I don't think I could take a Tums and pretend it was going to make my panic attack go away. But, far be it for me to say that it wouldn't work for you. You can certainly give it a shot.


3. Any advice on how a stay at home Mom can cope when she is afraid to drive the kids anywhere to get any activities done...

You must not allow this fear to turn you into an agoraphobic! And my advice holds that you would be doing the best for YOU AND YOUR KIDS by getting into some therapy to deal with this. If you allow this to take over your life, it won't just be you that suffers, think of all the things your kids will be denied because mom is afraid to drive! Being a mom does require that we sacrifice a great many things but that does NOT include our mental health!

You are obviously and intelligent and articulate young woman, so use those attributes to seek the help you need and enjoy your family the way you deserve to!
Please let us know how you're doing, OK? And post anytime you need to talk!
You CAN beat this!
Peace
Greenlydia  
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Avatar_m_tn
Yeah,passing out from panic attack is extremely rare,so many lightheadness i experienced yet never pass out(thanks god) because when ur in panic state ur bloodpressure tend to rise a bit which make passing out impossible because to faint u need an extreme drop of bloodpressure,anyway get ur BP check out by your doctor.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the informative post!
To answer some of the questions-
I saw my GP right away hoping for a medical checkup to rule out a medical cause, but I really didnt get one. They didn't examine me too thoroughly (perhaps becuase bloodwork had been done in the ER) and just prescribed an anti depressant which I did not take. I charted my symptoms to see if it appeared to be linked to the menstrual cycle, and my Gyn barely would look at it, instead just handing me a script for an anti depressant, which I did not take. I went to a counselor and notably, at the time I was seeing the counselor my symptoms were improving. Because they were improving, he did not go into teaching me any coping mechanisms or any CBT. We just chatted about life and that was it. I havent seen him in a couple of months becuase I could not afford to pay that much to just chat for an hour. Clearly, looking back now it did help in some way becuase I was able to drive alone at those times.

The Xanax has been prescribed on a prn basis, and I have never tried a dose yet, but will consider the idea of doing it while someone else is home. I have researched a little into the Hylands nerve tonic and the Rescue Remedy...all I have read says they have no side effects the way that Xanax does..do you have experience with these?

I think I am going to go back to the therapist...I am not concsiously aware of any issue that could have brought this on...aside from the life change of becoming a parent...but maybe there is something buried there that I can figure out, deal with, and get moving on.

I feel like if I can just get past the passing out fear, I would be able to deal with this better. That is what gets to me and I start to worry every time my husband is about to leave. I just have to keep telling myself that these attacks are raising my blood pressure..which may be a good thing haha!

I have seen my GP for blood pressure, and I am going to the cardiologist again in Jan. I am supposed to actually increase my salt intake and also drink tons of water to keep it up and thats all that they say is needed right now.

One more question- I don't exercise and Im wondering about peoples experiences of whether it helps the generalized anxiety symptoms.
Thanks!
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I have just started experiencing the same thing. I passed out on my 5th day back to work. I still exclusively breastfeed my 6 month old. To me it feels like an anxiety attack of sorts because it's happened before in a familiar situation. It's always when I am waiting. Waiting on a concert to begin, waiting in line at a store, waiting at work for a hearing screening to complete, and when I was pregnant, even waiting for myself to finish the dishes. It's like I get anxiety about something being over and start to get dizzy, loss of sight, and pass out. But I don't feel anxiety. I feel more just scared that I may pass out and either embarrass myself (which I have) or like you, leave my little one alone. I also have been extremely tired. Now that I passed out just the other day, I walk around thinking about passing out all the time and almost feel as though I make myself lightheaded. I am going to my doctor to get my vitamin levels checked, but I really feel like it has something to do with anxiety. It's really scary!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi - I am a mom of 3. When I stopped breastfeeding my first child I suffered from anxiety related nausea. At first it matched up with PMS but then it eventually became all the time. After a year of steadily losing weight and energy I was eventually diagnosed with post partum depression. I was tested endlessly for all sorts of things in that year and came up with nothing. I think that after a year of illness I was depressed but that in the beginning it was just anxiety due to hormonal imbalance. After meds and 6 months of talk therapy I  was mostly better. The anxiety came back after stopping breastfeeding each of my other children but the depression never did. As soon as I felt remotely anxious I went back on my meds and continued to function as a normal happy mother, just without the anxiety! I am on the lowest dose of an anti anxiety med and am very happy to be well. It did take a long time for me to come to terms with the fact that I needed to be on the meds as I had no history any extended anxiety or depression prior to my pregnancies.
Sleep and exercise are so important but not easy to get when you have a small baby. I cannot stress how often I have heard this but it isn't easy to achieve.
I found Xanax extremely helpful - you could try a 3rd of a tablet or 1/2 tablet at bedtime and see if it helps how you feel the next day. It may just allow you to get a better quality of sleep that you are lacking.
I wish you all well. Anxiety can be overcome with CBT, talk therapy and/or meds. My advice is to get some help earlier rather than later.
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