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Anxiety at church
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Anxiety at church

Does anyone have anxiety when attending mass.  I have been handling my anxiety pretty well except when I go to mass.  I begin to feel faint, become hot and get an upset stomach to the point of nausea.  It drives me crazy.  This week my daughter is making her communion and I want to get through mass without an attack.  I take my lexapro before I go but sometimes that doesn't seem to help.
Tags: Anxiety, church, breathing
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I once passed out in church and went to the emergency room. He told me that most people who go to the emergency room from passing out were attending mass!  I do not know why, but you are definitely not alone.

Is it possible to get a prescription for a tranquilizer like Xanax or something to make it through the mass?

After passing out, I always had the fear of doing it I used to bring grapes with me to church.  I would pick on those to keep my sugar level up so I didn't get this was all definitely in my head, but the grapes mentally made me feel better!

Most likely the mass will go off without a hitch.  You will be too busy focusing on your "angel" making his/her communion (congratulations!!!). and you won't have time to focus on yourself...

Also, try to sit on an end seat...this way if you feel a little sick you can go and get fresh air....this will also help you mentally because you know you have easy access to an exit!!!!

Hope this helps and God bless you and your family!
I don't know much about how a mass goes, but do you stand up alot?

Did you ever notice that people pass out at weddings alot?  And people say "don't lock your knees".

That has to do with standing still in one spot for a long time.  You tend not to move much in church and you are very still.  This often leads to what is called a vaso-vagal reaction.  All the blood pools in your legs and can't pump it back up to your brain as efficiently if you don't move them.  Pair that with being in a hot church, possibly hungry, and if you are tense at all you are not breathing efficiently and that all equals a big fat pass out.  At least, that's how i understand it and I've done it too - healthy nonsmoking 31 yo too.  

First you want to break it down to what caused you to pass out.  It may be purely biological like what I just described (vaso-vagal).  I would be willing to bet it is.  Happens all the time.  So you want to remind yourself not to be anxious about it because you will undoubtedly start pairing mass with anxiety and then can't go to mass anymore due to anxiety.  Experiment first with these tips like the above comment:

1) Stay well hydrated.
2)  Don't go hungry.
3)  If standing, try to move your legs/ankles like twisting them and not locking your knees.  Sit down every now and then to  change your circulation and don't cross your legs for a long time (seems to bother my circ).
4)  Breathe lower into your abdomen.  A newborn baby breathes like this:  inhale - belly goes up, exhale - belly goes down.  This is much more efficient breathing and helps my anxiety.  Inhale count to four and vice versa.  I realized after being "taught" how to breathe that I was breathing up in my shoulders!  Weird.
5)  If you ever feel like passing out, put your head between your knees - works for me.  Whatever keeps oxygen flow to the brain:)

As far as the lexapro - it is an antidpressant and my understanding is that it takes a while to build up in your system (so depends on how long and consistent you've been taking it).  It's not something you take to make you feel better in a few minutes but an overall effect over time.  I take valium if I feel anxious/panicky.  Ativan or xanax works for a lot of people too.  Hope some of this helps.  Don't let it stop you from going, even if you have to sit the whole time and eat grapes!

TAke care
You are definitely not alone.  I have anxiety in EVERY social situation imaginable.  For some reason, attending church sends my anxiety into overdrive.  I have stopped going all together.  Obviously, this was a poor choice on my part, as you would not believe how my spiritual life has suffered.  As a result of my deteriorating spiritual life, anxiety has continued to expand, invade, & conquer each and every area of my life.  Now I find myself paralyzed by fear - basically refusing to even try to attend again.  Oh, how evil can get its foot in the door & drag you through the mud!  God help us all.

I know my comments above do not offer you much help, I think I just needed to say all that.  So, thank you for the opportunity.
Well I don't think God or Satan is to blame for you feeling the way you do in a church. I would go along with the crowded place that can involve standing a lot and sitting in the one place for a long time. Christ it can get boring as hell. Enough to make anybody with a roaming mind begin to think things over and over in their heads. The last time I went to a full mass I seriously began to fall asleep. So if we are looking for a way were meds are not going to be the answer. Can you stay near the back of the church? Closer to the doors. The deeper you get into a church the more trapped you might feel. I do know that communions can pack churchs out. Little bit of planning. Back of the church if it possible. Bring a camera with you. Take a lot of pictures. Normal for a communion. Be a great form of distraction too. Not being Mr Religious at all, I know I would bring my MP3 plater with me. That's just me. Just another form of distraction. If you are into the whole God lark I know it is all about praying and what I have just said is the eight deadly sin. Just another opinion though.
I have always had the 'church anxiety' thing.  When I was a child, no one paid much attention. When pregnant fainted regularly (the fasting was main problem).  Changing to episcopal church after divorce didn't help much ....but got easier as I had a group of artistic type friends, who were fun.  We usually sat together.

The formal rituals like a communion service are even more stressful: longer service and you may feel more trapped as your child is involved ...therefore you are as well.
Does your family know you have difficulty with this?  If so, they can be helpful.  Letting you sit near back of church and on end of you can make a quick get away if needed to visit restroom.

Good luck!
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