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Avatar universal

Anxiety or not?

Hi.  Approx 1yr ago I began feeling extremely tired, fatigued, lost my appetite and just didn't feel right - one major change in me was that I didn't want to go anywhere or didnt want any visitors, I also started having "episodes" which involved feeling nauseous, bouts of diarrhea, fuzzy thinking, massive rushes of negative energy/ adrenal rushes during which I thought I was going to die.
One morning on the way to work, instead of turning right (to get to work) I turned left and went to the docs. He said that he thought I had panic disorder and gave me some Xanax (250) to get over it and arranged for me to see someone for CBT, which I attended but though felt it wa a waste of time as there were/ are no apparent underlying causes. He also tested my thyroid which appeared to be ok on the test results.
I went to see another doctor who gave me antidepressants (Lexapro) even though my mood hadn't changed as such. Blood tests that this doctor did showed my thyroid function as normal but my iron stores as being low - I had been on iron tablets for almost a year at this stage. I took the ADs but they made me worse, on day 3 I cried all day (for no reason) and thought I was really losing my mind; I then stopped taking them and visited a homeopath for acupuncture which really helped.
I've since being seeing another therapist for CBT and continue to take the iron even though it constipates me. The CBT doesn't seem to do anything for me at all. I've being living with my folks since all this began (1yr ago) and really really become anxious about visiting my own house - perhaps this is me associating my house with where it all began? Up until all this started I loved my house and loved being there and having regular visitors there!
Ive had more blood tests a month ago which only revealed low iron stores again, despite the fact that I'm almost 2yrs on iron tablets!!!!! I get really bad PMS and I notice that I suffer from all the sympoms listed in the 1st paragraph around "that time of the month"; my period now lasts 7days and is fairly heavy since all this began.
I suppose my question is "Do I really have anxiety/ panic disorder" or are there other things that I should looking into, i.e. tests/ other causes for me being like this"? Ireland is not proving to be a great place for getting answers from the medical profession - they just seem to keep throwing tranquillisers and antidepressants at me....

Please help!
17 Responses
Avatar universal
hi i have all the same symptoms as you and im still in the process of having blood tests done, the docs say its anxiety or just in my head but it isnt its real and ive had nothing to worry about to cause anxiety so its hard thinking being anxious about nothing can make you feel so **** and as if ur going to die. i also hate visitors for some reason and visiting familym, to be honest id much prefer to be on my own lol. i also suffer from a really strange feeling in my head which is very difficult to explain i get a tingly sensation in my chest and face, my heart races and i sometimes need to take a deep breath as it feels like ive stopped breathing..this mainly happens of a night tho. also when im driving i feel i cant concentrate n that im going to pass out..it feels as though everything is moving to quickly around me n my eyes seem very senstitive. i also have many other symptoms but id be here all day lol do u get any others of the ones ive mentioned?
366811 tn?1217426272
I remember that left turn! Really. Story of my life. Been there, done that. Started at age 6, went on for 40+ years. But now, turning 60 this August, I've been FREE of this stuff (<---you know the real word) for 8 years and counting. Believe it or not, it was THERAPY that did the trick. But my therapy had an element of "analysis" to it in addition to the CBT part. You know perfectly well that there is or are reasons why you have the attacks -its just that you don't know what they are. Browse through my various journals, including "Meet the Panic Family" and see what you think. The best therapist is a psychiatrist who acts as a sort of guide as you go over your life and find the material which has combined to put you where you are today.

The logic is compelling: if the tests are all OK, and the meds give spotty but not really complete relief, then that leaves just one source -your own brain, and what it has done with all the experiences and challenges of your life.

If you'd like a possible "toe hold" for right now, let me ask you this: What was going on in your life around the time you made that turn. What was psychologically BIG for you then? It need not be (although it could be) a profound event such as loss of a loved one, broken relationship, getting fired, learning your kid's in jail, etc. It need only be something you were thinking about alot and perhaps had not even discussed with anyone. Start THERE.
480448 tn?1426952138
Like JS...I've been there, done that.  Oh my...I remember those first panic attacks.  The one that made ME take that left turn was in college (even though I'd had them all my life).  My silly mind then associated the panic with my dorm room (which is VERY normal in panic disorder)..and other to pack my junk..I never went back.

What you describe is "agoraphobia"...forget about the fancy name...what it boils down to is "fearing the fear".  Wherever you have a panic attack...you associate the attack with the LOCATION rather than realizing it doesn't matter WHERE you would have been, it would have likely happened.

With agoraphobia...you begin to avoid more and more places, staying close to your "safe place"....which for you I'm gathering is your folk's place.  While this is all very upsetting and scary to you....it is all VERY typical of panic disorder...and there IS hope.  There are lots of different treatments out there....you need to have a serious pow-wow with your doctor (preferably a psychiatrist).  If they decide to try you on an AD again....you have to give it a few weeks to know the proper effectiveness and if it will work for you.  It has taken me anywhere from 2-5 weeks to notice significant imrpovement.  Everyone is different.  There are other meds out there as well, if the SSRI's (most commonly prescribed AD's) do not end up being for you.  CBT is also a great option.....

Bottom line...you need to start over with a doc you feel comfortable with and start heading towards recovery.  To share my own personal experience, at one point in my life...I was virtually "housebound"...and afraid of everything and everywhere.  Once I tried medication AND therapy (I am a strong believer that BOTH is the most optimal treatment)...I slowly but surely began to emerge as "myself" again.  I've have a few periods of what I call "panic remission"...then recovery, then back again.  Each period of wellness lasted for YEARS.

Lastly...PLEASE know that you are far from alone.  There are MANY MANY of us out there.  

As far as the medical scenario?  I'm with JS 100%...logic is pointing towards an anxiety disorder.  I think you will be surprised that once you start addressing the anxiety...the physical symptoms often start to dissipate.  It takes time.  It's VERY hard to be patient when it comes to feeling that way day in and day out...with life interrupted.  But patience pays off, trust me.

Reading about this is a GREAT place to start while you are getting hooked up with your physician.  There are some GREAT books out there for panic disorder....one that I would highly recommend is "The Anxiety/Phobia Workbook", by Edmund J. Bourne.  If you google, you will find TONS of other reading materials.  I tell you, when I FINALLY sat down and read the first book...I felt better...it was like *I* wrote the darn thing.  It made me feel NOT alone, and not nuts.  That first book I read was "Helping a Loved One Overcome Agoraphobia", by Karen William.  I had CONSTANT "ah-HA!!!!" moments reading that book, it was astounding.  After *I* read it...I had my family read it, just so they could get a better understanding of what it was I was going through.

Again, those books were very helpful to me...and I recommend them just from my own personal experience.  Your doctor may have even better materials for you.

I wish you the best of luck.....  
Avatar universal
Thanks a mil for all of your replies xxx

JS- There was nothing significant going on in my life at the time - nothing that I didnt do every other day of the week for all of 3yrs... I had helped to sucessfully open a new branch of the company I work for and had just met a fabulous new man - they were all pluses - sadly I had to let the guy down, I explained why and he totally understood (and we are great friends, he has really been there for me).

I have been to see a psychiatrist, who for three visits just nodded at my "tales" and concluded by saying that I seemed fine, "just have panic disorder" and continue with CBT - part of which does not concentrate on finding out what is causing this. It's all so frustrating.

On the upside - I managed to spend the day in my house today with a family member, I hope to visit it alone in the coming weeks.

3 or the 4 docs I have seen were hopeless. The one good one is near my house, which due to all this, is too far to visit!!!

I get that strange feeling in my head when visiting places to eat out (can only describe it as being like two wires connected which seem to break the connection for a split second...) Any advice?

Glitterbabe - I don't have any of those sensations. Panic Disorder symptoms apparently include breathing difficulties/ heart racing etc - Ive not experienced any of these. The fact that I dont have breathing difficulties I put down to having had Buteyko classes (re-training my breathing, as I was an asthmatic child).

Thanks for the info on reading matter  Nursegirl6572, Ive read a few since all this began, but I cant associate with it at all. The worst I have read is Susan Jeffers "Feel the fear and do it anyway"...

Thanks for all the support and good wishes, this is the best site I have come across so far...

I do need to find an understanding doc, but they seem to be hiding away in Ireland... Have googled lots of times and cant find any, particularly one that embraces alternative medicine as I dont believe that drugs are the answer - if it is a mental health issue then I need to be able to address that soberly...
480448 tn?1426952138
Hi There,

Congrats on the time spent in your home!  Please cherish and celebrate EVERY little accomplishment, no matter how "small" you think it is.  There are no "small" achievements when it comes to dealing with panic disorder.

I'm sorry you are having a difficult time finding the right doc.  That is so important.  And, having PD with agoraphobia...our challenge is greater b/c of our limitations in travelling too far from "home" (that will get better too).  It is very frustrating, I understand that.  Just don't give up.

There are a few therapists that will work via phone and internet at first when dealing with agoraphobics.  I'm not sure about your country...I know they aren't in great abundance here...but it may be a great place to start, if you can find one.  Keep googling!

Also, in my experience, the feeling you are going thru with the psychiatrists is quite common.....(here in the US anyway)...they are primarily there to do the medical management (pharmacuetically), and then they will REFER you to an appropriate psychologist./counselor who is the one that works you through the "talking" sessions and verbal vomiting (lol....sorry, that's just what I call it....that's what I always felt I was doing, and just like the real thing, I always felt better afterwards...lol).  The physciatrist generally just sees you a few minutes every few weeks to discuss your progress on the meds, and any therapy you may be in.  THOSE (therapists) are the people who help you delve deep inside and get to the root of any issues you may have.  That isn't to say you have some deep seeded buried trauma or anything...but usually there ends up being SOMETHING we've overlooked in ourselves.  For me, it ended up being my adoption at a later age (like 16 months)...I basically developed a SEVERE seperation anxiety that never went away, and developed into a PD.

Don't give up.  Keep trying.  Even if you have to find a psychiatrist closer to home that will help you manage meds and find you someone to "talk" to.  

It sounds like you have some really great and supportive people in your life, that is awesome!  We are soo hard on ourselves and always feel like we have let everyone in our lives down.  Truth is, 9 times out of ten.....our loved ones WANT recovery for us, even if they do not fully understand what it is we are going through.  We spend more time letting ourselves down and being hard on ourselves.

Hang in there....you are taking the right steps.  Better days are coming for you.
480448 tn?1426952138
I somehow totally missed your last few words.  If you are of the mind set that you would rather not try medication (and there are a LOT of people like that)....then keep looking untilo you can find the right rescources.

Even meeting with a psychiatrist may still be a good option, to lead you to proper counseling...as that is SO important in treatment.
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