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Constant Paranoia/Anxiety over heart palpitations

Just a warning, but this will be a long post. This is my first post on this website, and any help whatsoever would be huge for me.

I developed anxiety and depression after a horrible 4 months in my life when I was 18 (I'm 23 now). My best friend committed suicide, my long time girlfriend (love of my life) cheated on me with the same best friend that committed suicide, my dog was decapitated by a train after she got loose and escaped our backyard, I got in trouble with a DUI, lost my license, blew through 42 thousand dollars in law suit money, didn't graduate high school, and finally I suffered a near death asthma attack. ALL of that happened in a 4 month time span. Immediately after everything happened, I turned to alcohol and drugs (Molly/Ecstasy/Marijuana) to numb me. I was getting by for quite a while, when I found out that I was going to be a father at the age of 21. As soon as I got the news that my fiancee and I were expecting a baby, I made the decision to attempt to change my life. I cut out drinking, any drug use and any tobacco use. Completely went cold turkey, and surprisingly was doing fine. I thought I was over all of the issues I previously listed, but my life came to a stop in October of 2014. I suffered my first episode of what is being described as SVT. I was laying down in my bed prepared to go to sleep when I felt a PAC/PVC, followed by a strong feeling of chills, then my heart exploded. My heart rate skyrocketed to 198 BPM. My initial reaction was "I'm dying, this is it for me." I texted my fiancee and told her I loved her. I didn't call 911 or anything, but I turned to relaxation music and meditation to relax. Eventually the episode subsided and I went off to sleep. After a month I forgot about that experience, chalked it up as a stress reaction, and moved on. In December of 2014, it happened again. I was playing video games, same PVC/PAC feeling, heart exploded. This time it reached 206, still decided to not call paramedics and followed up the same relaxation techniques. This is when my life officially took a turn for the worst. After that episode, I was keeping track of my heart rate constantly. I was holding my hand over my chest, and side of my breast feeling and counting my HR. I ended up buying a pulse oxygen meter which fueled my obsession over my heart, along with a blood pressure machine. Finally, in February of 2015 after another terrible episode I decided to call the paramedics. Unfortunately, by the time they got to my house my episode had subsided once again, and they told me to follow up with a cardiologist. Last April I found a cardiologist, was put on a holter monitor which didn't catch anything. My cardiologist decided he wanted to do an EP study, or an ablation to find where these episodes were originating. I ended up having the procedure in June after another two episodes. It wasn't successful after I had a severe asthma attack while under general anesthesia. Wore another monitor for a couple weeks after the procedure, which once again didn't catch anything. The beginning of July ended up being one of the most difficult months of my life. I had 16 days of panic attacks, completely disabling me and bring every aspect in my life to a halt. I managed to continue to work, but I shut down. As a result, my relationship with my fiancee deteriorated and she began to look elsewhere for attention. Talking to her ex boyfriend, my best friend at the time, and a couple guys at work. I ended up going from May-October of this year without a single tachycardia episode. However during this period I began feeling frequent PVC/PACs (can't tell which one it is) which were scaring me intensely. Then in October, the worst officially had started. I was 2 hours away from my home, helping my fiancee with her job when my heart rate skyrocketed. There was no PVC/PAC this time around, it just went up immediately. I was in the middle of no where, so I decided to call an ambulance. My pulse ox was reading 174 BPM, and I'm sure my panic and anxiety were contributing. As soon as the ambulance got to me, my HR had dropped to 116 but there were concerned as to why my HR was bouncing around between 116 and 84 for a good hour. I ended up having a minor episode in the hospital that night, HR only reached 130. I was released almost immediately. Since that attack this past October, I've had 17 episodes of tachycardia. My episodes the past 2 months happen as follows. Usually I'm sitting down, relaxing. I can sort of feel it come on. My HR will increase to anywhere between 130-180 and will be POUNDING hard. Usually comes with shortness of breath, dizziness, a tension head ache and immense fear. I just had another episode an hour ago.

To reiterate, here's all of my symptoms the past couple of months.
- Shortness of breath.
- Constant palpitations, night time bradycardia (HR will stay within 50-55)
- 24/7 paranoia, anxiety, and fear of dying.
- Cold, tingling extremities, with purple toned fingernails.
- Constant tension headaches, feeling of a rubber band around my head.
- Shortness of breath every couple of hours, no wheezing. Feeling of someone sitting on my chest.
- Periodic chest pains, shoulder pains, and back pains. Sometimes occurs with episodes.
- Swelling and pain in both of my ankles, non pitting.
- Constant nightmares, along with persistent sleep paralysis episodes. One where I remember thinking "this is it, I'm dying. Felt 6 PVCs/PACs in a row but I believe that was a dream state because I awoke immediately with a normal heart rhythm and rate.  

I've had the following tests performed:
5 blood tests, all came back normal.
2 echo cardiograms, came back normal.
Stress test, was normal.
4 chest X Rays, no problems there.
3 heart monitors total, didn't catch anything abnormal.

I've been to the ER 6 times the past 2 months, and the fire station another 3 times. This has disabled my life, I need guidance help and any stories to help calm my obsessive thoughts about dying. I'm incredibly sorry about the long post, but I've never posted on any of these sites or have talked with anyone outside my fiancee about this. Thank you so much.
2 Responses
Avatar universal
I guess I should add, I get these weird adrenaline rushes sometimes. I guess that's what they are, I get super anxious, almost euphoric and is usually followed up by one of the tachycardia episodes.
Avatar universal
I can relate to much of what you describe. I am a 51-year-old male who has been suffering on/off with panic/anxiety and fears about my heart for the last four years.

First, about the SVT. I've had this happen to me on quite a few occasions, exactly as you describe but not as often. Last time was probably 7 years ago. It comes on suddenly without warning, continues for a few minutes, then gradually resolves itself. I’ve read that it’s a fairly common thing among younger people, and gradually subsides as you move into middle age. While these episodes almost usually resolve by themselves, there are a couple of things you can do to help make that happen if an episode lasts longer than a few minutes:

1. Splash very cold water in your face.
2. Bear down as if you are trying to have a bowel movement (vasovagal maneuver).

You’ve had lots of heart testing done. So have I, but mostly for chest pain. Everything comes back normal, every time. Just PVCs which are normal and harmless (I believe PACs are too).

The fact that you are young, and have had lots of testing that has all come back negative, means that your heart is fine.

What I’m about to suggest may seem difficult, but it’s the only way you’re going to overcome your worries about your heart. Stop checking your pulse, BP, pulse ox, and being vigilant in monitoring your heart for PVCs, etc. Throw all caution to the wind, and take this attitude: “If I’m going to have a heart attack or other cardiac event, fine. Let it happen already. I’m tired of living in fear. Bring it on.” Then focus your energies and attention on other things as much as possible. You’ll find that nothing happens. Oh you might feel some PVCs every now and then, and have some SVT episodes. But you’re not going to let them bother you. You know why? Because they’ve happened countless times, and you’re still here! And you’ll continue to be. It’s time to starting giving these things the inattention they deserve, and get on with living your life without constant worry.

I hope that helps!
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