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Increased anxiety attacks after Retina Detachment surgery

Hello All, I had RD surgery 8 weeks ago and is having a hard time adjusting to life after the surgery.  I used to occasionally get anxiety attacks earlier in life, I am 60 years old, it increased when my mom died 5 years ago and more when my sister died of cancer 1 year ago.  I did not take any medications for it, however; now I cannot sleep, all my thoughts are focused on not wanting to lose my sight.  My Dr said my eye is healing, but if there is scar tissue then I could get another retina detachment, and hopefully, it will not be the case. I am so scared of it happening that every night, I wake up after two hours and cannot sleep.  My doctor gave me Ativan .05 mg which helps for a couple of hours and then I am awake and anxious, I start to sweat and cry, pacing my room until I regain some calm.  I have asked my dr to refer me to a therapist or psychologist because I hate the nights and want to stop thinking of the worst with my eyes. Any suggestions???Thanks.
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Avatar universal
Be careful with the Ativan, don't take it every day several times a day, it will be very hard to stop taking it if you do that.  Just take it when absolutely necessary.  A psychologist is the best thing for you, in my opinion, because you seem to have been functioning well despite some anxiety until this happened and always in response to something tragic that is happening in your life.  Therapy should be able to help you learn to better deal with the inevitable difficulties people face in life.  I also wonder what you're doing in your daily life to take your mind off of this -- you don't want your illness to be your life, there is more to you.  Now, if therapy doesn't work and it keeps getting worse, you'll want to consider seeing a psychiatrist and trying medication, but unlike most of us on here, you know what's bugging you and you can work on that -- most chronic anxiety sufferers have no idea where it came from.  None of us can make life not contain real problems and scary things, but those who enjoy their lives the most find the tools to not let that interfere with everything else.  I hope you find that.
4 Comments
Thanks for the informative response.  I work with the school district in the administration bldg and is currently on FMLA for 3 months, I return to work at the end of April.  My son lives with me until he finishes college in a year and I have an active lifestyle as I go to the gym 5 times with Zumba 3 times week, and eat well 70%of the time and is in otherwise good health. Having trouble meditating as I get anxious when I close my eyes. I am claustrophobic and my major phobia in life is 'what if' I go blind and this surgery was unexpected, my eye that had 20/20 and did not need cataract surgery is the one that got the RD because the doctor said I should do the cataract surgery in both eyes. Sorry for my long answer, but talking helps it is why I need to see a therapist.
But also consider, who wouldn't be anxious about this?  You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be concerned.  This is just life biting you, and when life bites, it's never fun for everyone but it doesn't mean you have a mental illness.  But if you stay anxious for a long time it can become a way of thinking, so therapy would be good to work this out.  Time will take care of the rest, as you will get used to whatever happens and learn to live with it.  It's only us chronic anxiety sufferers who don't get used to things over time and move on.  I hope it all turns out for the best.  By the way, my meditation went south a couple years ago.  I still do it, but I miss it.  What I should do is try a different form of meditation to recharge it, but this is where mental illness gets in the way -- it makes us avoid change.  But you might try a different form, maybe you just need a recharge.  That's probably why there are so many forms that have been developed over the centuries.
Thank you for this forum, it helps a lot of us to talk out our feelings and, get feedback when offices are closed.  It is people like you that help us keep our focus and to some degree, our sanity, keep up the excellent support!!
By the way, most forms of meditation are done with the eyes open -- mindfulness is one of the most popular these days and it is done with the eyes open.  So is most Tibetan meditation.  TM, which is very popular, is a Hindu meditation done with the eyes closed, and that's the one I've been doing for years and years, but all the others I've ever learned are done with eyes open.
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