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Crippling Anxiety?

I started having problems back in June of 2022. I was on the way to work one morning then out of no where I started feeling weird and my heart rate shot up, and my heart was pounding, got dizzy, nausea, felt like I was going to pass out and couldn’t walk. My body was just shaking. I thought I was about to die. I was completely drained once it all passed. I went to the doctor and they said anxiety. It happened again a few days later and I went to the er and they said lung infection. I don’t think it’s either. They put me on Zoloft it didn’t help just made me depressed feeling. Does anybody else have the same thing?
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Those sound like panic attacks to be honest. They can come out of nowhere. We can get a surge of stress hormones. Your cortisol will shoot up and man, it feels terrible. Yes, it feels like you are going to die. They did a physical on you, I assume. Went through your symptoms and checked things. Your symptoms do sound like anxiety related. That's not a bad thing. It can happen to anyone.

Have you ever heard of DBT therapy? It is distress tolerance therapy. Is there any warning that it may happen? (the panic attack or anxiety attack or attack, whatever you want to call it). Things that DBT covers is deep breathing. There is something called square breathing, breath in for 4, hold for 4, breath out for 4, hold 4, repeat. This slows the amygdala and resets us. Opening the fists firmly keeps blood flowing. If you are home, immediately doing something like jumping jacks, running in place, push ups (on the floor or up against the wall) is a reset. Ice in the hand or even ice cold water splashed on the face is a good reset. Grounding. This is where you pause and think about your feet on the ground. Feel the ground against your shoe. Look around and see what you can see. Listen to the sounds. Get in tune with these things and it grounds you in the moment. Have a mantra, 'this will pass. I'm okay," for example.

Start to journal to get things out. See if you have hidden stressors. Just get more aware.

And really, medication can be a great thing. For many with anxiety, it keeps them going. Zoloft may not be the drug for you but remember it takes time. It takes 6 weeks to reach full therapeutic effect if you are on the right dose. And sometimes you have to increase dosages especially with zoloft which often takes a higher dose. And for panic, you usually need a bit higher dose. SSRI's have start up side effects where you may feel funky or even an increase in anxiety or mood symptoms early but that goes away.

Would you consider a talk therapist?
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They sent me to a cardiologist. I’ve had x-rays and an ultrasound done on my heart, also a stress test all of it was good. My heart rate would be in the 150s-180s when it’s normally in the low 50s and my BP would be 150-190/ 110-115. Yeah it is horrible. I was on Zoloft for 8 months. They put me on 25mg to start out with then slowly went up. I made it to 100 mg and couldn’t take it anymore. It made things worse.
Okay, so. The good news is that the issue is not heart related and they've evaluated you. It's okay that zoloft didn't work.That doesn't mean it is not related to anxiety. You can seek talk therapy, use the strategies taught in DBT therapy and consider a different med. Everyone reacts differently to each one. Even in the same class.
It still happens to this day just not as bad. Im on blood pressure to. It’s also caused me to go from 240lbs all the way down to 185lbs. It’s caused me to miss a lot of meals. My head will feel like it’s going to explode and in my head I’ll just think I’m dying and it makes it worse.
I think a weight loss depending on your height isn't a bad thing but if anxiety is at play here, you have to be careful to not gain it all back. But understand that it is causing you to lose weight. Are you just not eating or running on overdrive? Panic attacks and frankly, anxiety DO feel like you are dying. I understand that Zoloft wasn't a good fit for you. I want you to consider now, first, some lifestyle things you can do to help decrease anxiety and stress hormones and some strategies for when the anxiety hits hard.  

Since you have had a clean heart exam, Exercise. So, start. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, kick boxing, HIIT work outs, moving or dancing in your house. Add in weights. 5 pounds, 10 pounds? Just pick up some hand weights. Overhead presses. curls. Triceps. Chest presses. Look online for weight lifting ideas. Start doing this 4 to 5 times a week. (cardio and weights). You will thank me. It impacts anxiety in a positive way. WHEN you are in the moment of anxiety, consider quick and vigorous exercise. Wall push up, regular push up, 20 hard, fast jumping jacks, run in place, fast squats. You don't have to do a lot but it counter acts the stress/anxious moment. This has to do with your nervous system so isn't just some woo woo thing I'm suggesting. It's a tried and true method of reducing anxiety.

Breathing. Add in some type of breathing work and meditation every morning when you get up. Square breathing or the double deep breath in and really slow breath out. This also is neurological in terms of its affect. Meditation is a practice that many swear by. An easy one (your name is X) May X be happy. May X be healthy. May X have love. My X have peace. Do it for three full minutes. Two things, it's telling your brain what you want and your brain starts to internalize that and it is also incredibly relaxing. And in the moment of an anxious hostile takeover . . .   have either a meditation or phrase you say over and over to yourself. "this will pass. life is good" or whatever you want to say.

Water. At the end of your shower, every time, turn the water to cold and stay in it for 30 seconds up to a minute. Again, neurological response. And if in the moment of high anxiety, grab ice and hold in your  hand, rub it on your forehead. Sprinkle cold  water on your cheeks, etc. Resets.

Supplements. L theanine and L tyrosine. Two of my favorites. Theanine is calming. I only use at bed time but others use during the day. Tyrosine is dopamine like. Any brand. A good muti vitamin and clean eating as best you can overall.

Talk therapy. You need to explore why this is happening with a professional. They will guide you.

Medication. One bad drug trial is not something to make you negate medication altogether. Story, Family member of mine tried about 6 different drugs at different dosages over a 2.5 year time frame. The last one they tried? Worked!  Doing significantly better. And it is a drug in the same class of others they'd tried. So, keep at it. You are fighting a beast.

How is your sleep by the way?

Yeah it makes sense on the weight loss. I just don’t have an appetite anymore. This all started out of no where one morning that’s why I thought the doctors were crazy when they said anxiety. I’ve never had a problem with it before. I exercise every now and then. My sleep ain’t the best. It never has been. And that would explain the headaches to.
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