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About a year and a half ago I had a panic attack out of the blue one night while I was making something for my son's preschool class. I didn't know it was a panic attack, I had never had one and was convinced it was a heart attack. The months that followed I had CLASSIC anxiety symptoms( I see that NOW--didn't back then); derealization, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, basically felt VERY off and very weird. I have never had an anxiety problem or history of panic, stress or anxiety. My first cardio called it at anxiety and gave me xanax and then Lexapro. I tried about a week of xanax and felt horrible afterwards and about four months later tried the Lexapro for about nine months. The Lexapro never took care of my chest pain/weirdness.
I have had 3 cardios and most recently spent a good deal of time at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. I saw an internal med doc, cardio, endocrinolgist, gastro and ENT doc. My workup seems to be clear.
The problem is that I am having a left sided chest weirdness that often goes to a spot on my back. It is only left sided and when it happens it brings a sense of panic with it. I would be lying if I said I wasn't feeling anxiety at this point. I have medical bills out the wazoo and still have no definitive diagnosis and most importantly, still feel crappy.
Can an out of the blue panic attack (and I mean that seriously) bring on anxiety symptoms that change or specifically target the left chest area (giving me a heightened heart awareness)? Can this type of anxiety (with no KNOWN cause) be successful treated? What treatment would you suggest knowing that Lexapro did nothing for the chest issue?
Thanks so much. Sorry for the long post, I'm just at my wits end here.
The problem with anxiety is that once it starts, you become hyper aware of your body, and symptoms like you describe can be created out of anxiety, and persist because they represent anxiety. Assuming all your medical tests are negative, what you should do now is not rely on some specific medication, but seek a consultation with a psychiatrist who can both prescribe medication and also talk you through this and figure out exactly what is going on.
I did, thanks. I've had it done three times during all this. The levels were .67, .64 and lastly (at the Mayo Clinic lab) 1.26. No one has been concerned by those levels even though I thought the first two were on the low side of normal.
I am just wondering if I triggered something in my head that would allow all this craziness to start happening when I had that first panic attack. The body is so amazing in so many ways and a mystery in just the same.
I almost hate to "complain" about what is happening with me because it seems so minor in comparison to what other people are going through (my sister-in-law with progressive MS and a family friend with stage 4 brain cancer at 38) but it affects my life, everyday. Everyday there is some sort of chest discomfort, twinge, ping, pang, SOMETHING that makes me have to fight off the panic.
Thanks so much for replying and letting me rant a bit!!
You have a sister in law with MS and a family friend with brain cancer. Do you think that being surrounded by this might be playing into your anxiety?
Whenever I hear about some celebrity or some person on TV getting cancer, my anxiety catches up with me. When they anounced that Farrah Fawcett got anal cancer last Oct, it triggered difficulty swallowing in me. I was already experiencing anxiety for a lot of other reasons and a little difficulty swallowing, but these "anouncements" makes it worse. I have a fear of cancer cuz my father died of cancer when I was 17, that might have something to do with it.
I almost have to chuckle when I say I have unexplained anxiety, it must sound ridiculous to anyone reading thes. I know under the circumstances, it sounds like there are lots of explainations. The problem is it has been happening since before all those things started.
Even today, I felt great and even said to myself, wow, things are different today. Not even an hour later, it's back BUT the chest discomfort started first. I get a twinge and then get that warm, weird feeling in my chest and then my gastro system gets all whacked and I have to FIGHT, seriously fight off the horrible feelings that accompany it.
I have had such a GREAT cardiac workup, that should be enough to get rid of this craziness. Why isn't it? That is what is driving me insane.
I have dealt with Panic/Anxiety/Depression since 1994, and your description brought back so many memories for me. I, too, thought I was having a heart problem that started from my first experience with a panic attack. After much blood work and cardio tests, they found 'nothing wrong with me'. This led to more frustration and an increased panic disorder. For 6 months, the military doctors almost daily gave me an IV and said that I was 'dehydrated' as an explanation of my dizziness and weird blood pressure going up and down. After finally learning what a panic attack was, I was put on Prozac, then changed to Imipramine, then changed to Zoloft, then changed to Xanax, then changed to Klonipine, then changed to Lexapro, and Paxil, which I went through such withdrawls that I could barely function. My advice to you is to learn as much as possible about Panic Disorder and attend as many support groups as possible before starting the long and treacherous road that I followed. I found that I could deal with my anxiety through learning how to use relaxation tapes and eventually walk myself through a panic attack. (It was no cake walk, but they are few and far between now) Until I learned about it, though, it scared me to death.Don't get me wrong, it is a long and very hard road, but you CAN control your anxiety. I let these drugs control mine, and until I went off of Paxil and experienced the withdrawl symptoms, I never realized how much these drugs controlled me. And above all, I learned over the years to trust in GOD, who can bring me through anything!
I touched on my experiences with Anxiety Disorder in another thread, but found this one after, and it is so ironically similar to my experience, that I wanted to comment. I was having symptoms so bad, that I thought I was having a heart attack. I was in denial, but my father and uncle had both died young from heart disease, so I didn't want to go and find out I was about to die.
But, they finally got so bad, I'd try to go shopping, and I was so afraid I'd pass out in a store, I'd end up going back to the car and trying to settle down. Finally, after extensive testing, including a cardiac catheterization, which came back perfect, I 'snapped out' of it a few days later. I realized, and KNEW, that the symptoms were anxiety, and not a heart attack. For me, that was all I needed to beat back the negative feedback loop that sent me into panic attacks.
My doctor also gave me Xanax to use 'as needed', which ironically helped me to not need it. I can usually just stop, and reason through it. I will occasionally get palpitations, and I'll take a Xanax for a day or so, and get back on track.
Am I 'cured'? Technically, probably not, but I have fewer panic attacks than headaches (which I rarely have, either), and I've never been able to reason myself out of a headache. So, as far as I'm concerned, I'm cured. For me, anxiety proved to be 'all in my head'. This was almost 15 years ago. I hope this helps you in some way.
I'm a hypochondriac with anxiety. And let me tell you, I really believe that you can become too acutely aware of any little twinge, pain, burn in your body that you think something is wrong with you...and you actually feel it. Long story short...Had panic attack out of the blue 2 years ago, took Lexapro, which made it worse. Got pregnant, panic attacks stopped, got divorced, anxiety started and back come the panic attacks.
Because of the intital panic attack, I thought I was having a hear attack too, I stared to become super-aware of my body. My stomach hurt...I've got cancer, my head hurts...I'm having a stroke. I wasn't really aware of the hypochondria thing until I read that having General Anxiety and Hypochondria aren't uncommon. So the past 9 months, my stomach had been bothering me, acid reflux, heartburn...I was told I had an ulcer. I got 5 different kinds of acid reducers which none helped. I even had a gall bladder ultrasound because I had pain in the same spot as if I had a gallstone. I was reading some info about GAD and then about hypochondira...and it's like lightbulb started to glow. I made an appointment to see a Psych and he perscribed me clonazapam for the panic attacks and anxiety. Funny thing, like the person who posted just before me, just having them makes my anxiety better, most of the time I don't need to take them. And my stomach problems are gone!
When I read your email I thought I was reading about me all over again.
That is almost what is happening to me only it is my right side at is affected and goes numb and cant even pick up a pencil when that happens to me. My neck gets so painful that I feel like crying and I believe it is from the stress of n ot being able to breathe.
There is a very good book out and I have been telling some on this web about it and one is called "Adrenal Fatigue" by James L. Wilson and the other called "the 90 days Immune System Makeover by Janet Maccaro. Phd. CNC, Wilson has three titles behind him. They are excellent in understanding the problems which I think "we" are having. These books have helped me greatly in that I am building my immune system up (I need to something for myself) and the Wilson's book I am understanding the symtoms more and not thinking I am making this up and beginning to accept it and work with it for the better.
My chest and heart on the left side are also affected as well as my arms, legs, head but especially my right side which I cant even use at times. Sometimes I just cant walk, but have to stay put and just breath. Very scary but realizing now that I wont die.
Could say lots more but am tired but is nice to VENT as well. I know exactly how you feel. Sure nice to have company. I dont think I am crazy nor are you.
I have been reading the Adrenal Book today and somethng popped out at me for you if yours in anxiety (which I think it might be). And there is a way out of all of this..it is just finding the right "way". The Adrenal book addresses that "the way out" and it would be good if you could read this book as it brings hope. I had read only the part up to the tests to see if one has adrenal gland problems (hypoadrenia) and just today reading further with "what to do" about it. Of course is lifestyle and dealing with stress and other is foods but there are supplements that are to very much help with this problem. You were talking about the "heart symptom" where anxiety seems to come from and I have that in my left side as well.......mostly from my heart ...dont know if yours is or not.
Anyways when I was reading the book I thought of you and the "Results" and does "this stay with me forever" and I know it doesnt. There is a way out. Go on the web site as well...adrenalfatigue.org and the book can be ordered at Amazon or Random House. The more info we get the better we can help ourselves.
Hope this helps.
Ps the book talks about why we get hypoadrenia and about why doctors cant find it on tests.
Hi, my name is dave, i live in the UK and work in the Royal Marine Commando's. I've read over the comments you have put and they seem very similar to my own.
Since around 3 months ago ive been suffering with shooting chest pains, feeling that i can't breathe, that my heart has stopped, dream like incidents and when i go bed and i'm lying there i feel that i have to move to get my breath back. Can anyone help? Im 22 years old and never suffered from any of these symptoms before i live a very active and healthy life, keeping fit as it is in my job decription. It just seems to be taking over my life.
A year ago i was diagnosed with Spino cerebellar ataxia type 2 but have not yet shown symptoms. And with my job and deciding what to do with my life i have been put under alot of stress which would point towards why im suffering from anxiety. I just don't know. I have been to the doctors and they ran a few minors tests, which said there was nothing wrong. I don't want to be put on medicine as im very determined to try and stop this without the help of pills.
I just asking if anyone could share any infomation on how to overcome these symptoms.
Would be much appreciated. As anyone on here does i just want my life back.
I would definitely ask for more tests.....and be strong to get them'
This is your body and you are the one suffering.....not them....ask for more tests on your heart.
With my anxiety I did not have shooting chest pains just strong aching with not being able to breathe...like there is a thousand pounds on my chest...but I did have to move my head or body to breathe. Also this anxiety (which is what I believe I have is "Adrenal Fatigue") comes with exhaustion for me and can hardly walk or talk. My heart does flip flops and races or gallops (the only way I can describe it). My brain (head) and even ears and eyes have a lot of pressure/pain with a very painful neck. I think for me the adranal glands are pumping too much adrenaline in body and exhaustion follows. I think this has been caused by years of stress not dealt with and body is breaking down. I am on Paxil and a strict diet of only "good" foods. No coffee, pop or sugar.
Go on website for your symptoms and also for anxiety if that is what you think it is, but go see doc again and tell him this is serious.
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