I've been dealing with severe anxiety, agoraphobia, bi-polar symptoms, and a panic disorder for about 6 years now and eating disorders and a serious medical phobia and hypochondriac my whole life. I have always been socially awkward and worry about everything. I have been on and off a whole range of anti-depressants, anxiety meds, mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics. I don't feel any really solved my problems and the side effects weren't worth it. Currently taking Ativan as needed but I'm hoping to stop when I gain more control.
One morning in may 2006 I started to have panic attacks and anxiety and physically deteriorated from stress out of no where (I already was dealing with a medical phobia so knew triggered panic attacks) I couldn’t figure out the cause and went on medications. I’d come off medications and things would be fine until around may/june I’d crash again, lose like 20 plus pounds. I was hospitalized 2008, 2009 and 2010 not knowing hope to cope and start heavy meds to deal. This year was the fifth time. My panic attacks and really bad anxiety came back randomly the morning of May 27. I have no idea where from, I was loving life pretty stess-free. Instead of going on medications like every other year I am working feeling better a number of different ways like mindfulness, major positive lifestyle changes and drastic eliminations and changes to my diet. I ate and slept horrible. I just started self CBT with the anxiety and phobia workbook by Edmund Bourne. I have noticed improvements with minor changes in the last week. Connecting with the right professionals has been difficult but I'm starting to make progress. It has been a very rough month but these changes (like I'm trying a no wheat, dairy or unnatural sugar diets) take time feel improvements. It has been very hard to stay strong and I need some support.
So I am to looking for a friend with similar problems to talk or email with. It's not easy to find people who can understand severe mental health issues like debilitating panic attacks. I would love to learn what helped you so far and share with you what has helped me. Any help is greatly appreciated!!
I'm sorry to hear about all of your struggles; you sound an awful lot like me. I've had anxiety my whole life, but it really came on full force in 2004. I was put on Lexapro at the time, and it really helped for the longest time. Unfortunately, at Christmastime this year, the same thing happened to me...anxiety came out of nowhere. I went to two months of therapy and the therapist was convinced there's something medically wrong with me, as my anxiety came out of nowhere, I don't have any specific fears, I'm not worried about anything, etc. I'm to the point now where my anxiety consumes me all day every day and I'm becoming agoraphobic. I try to force myself to go places, but no matter how much I do it, I don't feel any better. I'm at my wit's end. My doctor put me on Zoloft last week and I'm not sure if it's just the drug, or my anxiety, but since, I've felt really dizzy and that's starting to drive me crazy.
I think sometimes it helps just talking to somebody who gets it, but as for real solutions, I wish I could help. I've ordered Panic Away, been doing an anxiety workbook, do breathing techniques, etc. and nothing seems to help. Have you found anything at all that provides you with even minimal relief?
Thanks for the reply! I have been making great improvements in my anxiety and I attribute it to whole bunch of things.
First of all, I got a prescription for lorazepam to get through the initial full blown anxiety attacks and having that going into stressful situations now brings a mental comfort. I was using about 1 mg a day (for just over two weeks) when my anxiety was really bad but I would wait until i was desperate to take one. I haven't had one in eight days now.
I took a serious look at my diet and saw I was slacking with nutrition and eating alot of really bad stuff. The better I eat the less anxiety I have. I ate a large fries late last night and felt like garbage this morning. I started doing online research and watched Food Inc. I decided to do an elimination diet.
I decided to do a detox of all bad foods. I cut all refined or processed food, wheat, soy, dairy, anything corn!! (like glucose-fructose, malodextrin etc), all preservatives. I look at every food label but try to eat whole foods without labels. I varied my diet with quinoa, nuts, lots of vegetables especially green ones, good oils, fish. I go to a local farmer to get grass-fed, antibiotic/hormone free chicken and beef. After a week horrible detoxing, my metabolism has increased and my body feels healthier. I made a food diary and wrote down everything and if I reacted in any ways to eat because noticed I am became more sensitive to what I eat now, like I feel anxiety with certain foods like bananas, which I was eating every morning before.
I drink LOTS of filtered water.
I starting seeing a great therapist/life coach. Talking with someone who can listen and give positive encouragement helps. Listen to everyone because great advice is everywhere
I have an absolutely amazing boyfriend who went through really hard stuff already. He gets me out of my really dark depressive cycles I've get into when I just want to take medication and feel better instantly. He reminds me of why I am doing this.
Surround yourself with positivity and happiness. Your subconscious takes in so much more than your conscious mind is aware.
Lie to yourself. Trick your subconscious. Saying out loud I am fine when even inch of my subconscious says you are not fine and you are going to lose control. I say I’m not bothered and smile. I am smarter than my subconscious and there are ways to trick your mind to believing the information you constantly feed it. This is by far is one of the hardest things to do. I feel stupid when I do it because I’m saying opposite of what I’m feeling and know it but if you can do this correctly it will be an amazing tool for everything in life.
I got in touch with my spirituality (not religious specifically but like what is the essence of my being, really deep stuff). I really liked a lot of Buddhist views on stuff like humility. I read the chinese tao of abundance and rejuvenation. I turned my phone off went and meditated in a forest. Somewhere in this time, something shifted and I have this feeling of interconnectedness now.
I found poems and words that I connected with and memorized them. I repeat them in my head or out loud to stop anxious thoughts. Like people who say the lord’s prayer for distraction. I quickly came up with and repeated "I am happy I am healthy I am whole" to begin with.
Sing! Singing is proven to make you feel good and improve mood. When I get sad or overwhelmed I start singing about why I’m sad and how I feel and before I know I’m laughing at myself.
Love yourself. I went online and found natural beauty secrets without chemicals. I used pure honey from my farmers market as a face mask/wash. It was delicious, fun and made me and my skin feel great. Honey is naturally antibacterial and a bunch of other good stuff.
Forgive yourself. Don’t let past mistakes guide your future. If you have a set back or a panic attack, don’t beat yourself up. Focus on the progress you have made even if it’s been one tiny step forward and five steps back. You are the strongest person you know and it can be discouraging at first but if I had stopped with everything crashing down on me and feeling like there’s no hope. I would have never discovered my strengths and achieved what I have in the past month and in my life.
Be kind to yourself. Take pleasure in the simple things like a nice cup of tea and some good music. I made happy song playlists and play them when I get anxious. I put time aside and do stuff that makes me happy as well.
Do breathing and mediation. I downloaded all of Jon Kabat-Zinn's audio books on mindfulness. They are amazing to listen to. I started doing a half hour of meditation right in the morning and before bed. Breathing techniques like counting never really worked for me. They get me more worked up so I just focus on making sure my breath is as even as possible and a have clear non-judgemental mind.
Some of those don’t sound related to anxiety but I found if I focused on me as a whole it was easier. I still have my up and downs each day but it’s getting more stable. I was lucky It’s going to be a slow process but taking not medication every day is worth taking the long road to me if I can manage my anxiety naturally. Hopefully something in there might help you too!
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