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470885 tn?1326332637

Is there a "cure"?

First of all, a little history.....

Ever since my mom died in 2002, I've suffered, off and on, from OCD like symptoms (ie. checking locks on doors numerous times) - this would usually manifest itself when I was feeling stressed or worried about something.

I had my first child in late 2006 and was off on maternity leave for a year, returning in October 2007. When I went back to work, I was transferred to another position at my company, one that saw me working with medical statistics and researching critical illnesses (ie. cancer - which is what my mom died from).  By January 2008, I had developed health anxiety......googling symptoms I was having, convinced I had something fatal (namely cancer or ALS).  I had watched one of those made for TV movies about someone who got ALS and I couldn't get it out of my mind.  I started feeling aches, pains, perceived weakness in my arms and legs......Eventually, I began having panic attacks, only I didn't know what it was at first.  I had tingling and numbness in my left arm and heart palpatations one day and went to the ER where they determined that nothing was wrong with me - physically.  It got to the point that I was waking up in a full blown panic attack each morning.

I was withdrawing from people (including my husband and son) and all activities that had previously been enjoyable.  I knew this wasn't normal and spoke to my GP about how I was feeling, all my fears.  He was great and took my concerns seriously, doing bloodwork, even sending me for a mammogram (breast cancer was one of my fears and with just cause: it runs rampant in my family).  When he could find no physical cause for my symptoms, he referred me to therapy and asked if I felt as though an anti-depressant would help.  I said I did, and went on Celexa, 10mg. per day.

The med helped so much - within the first 2 weeks of taking it (which were rough - I felt awful!), my panic attacks stopped and I was able to sleep again.  I got into therapy and dealt with my problems (many of which were related to grief over my mom's death and anger at my dad who dealt rather insensitively with my brother and I following her passing and his quickie remarriage).  By February 2009, I was ready to wean off of the Celexa.  After an unsuccessful attempt (due to a lot of physical discomfort that I was experiencing, my doctor had to put me back on it and we tried the weaning again in a month's time, only he had me switch to Prozac for 3 days immediately following my last dose of the Celexa and then stop the Prozac alltogether to see if that would ease the experience - and it worked!

I became pregnant at the very end of April/beginning of May 2009 and had my second child in January 2010.  All throughout the pregnancy I felt great and had no flare ups of my anxiety (even when my brother attempted suicide last summer) and even immediately following my second son's birth, I was doing ok - I didn't even have the baby blues this time!  I figured I'd licked this anxiety thing, really kicked it in the a$$ and that it would never come back.

I was wrong :-(  In the last week, I've had anxiety episodes again.  Not full-blown panic attacks, but occasions where I become obsessively worried about something and cannot seem to distract myself (last week it was that the floors weren't clean, last night it was that the baby was too cold in his room with the air conditioning on - meanwhile, we're having a heatwave here, so we NEED it on).  I think I only got about 4-5 hours of sleep last night, total.  I've been having some problems with my dad lately which may be contributing to this, I don't know.  What I DO know is that I don't want to spiral back down to where I was a couple of years ago.  I need to stay strong for my family, especially my little boys!!

I assume this is something that I'm always going to suffer from, to some degree?  How do you cope?  What helps you?
7 Responses
1295419 tn?1276826472
I feel like I could have written your post! I suffer from many of the same issues that you describe. I think each person is different in terms of if they continue to suffer from anxiety for their whole life. I believe that I will be on anxiety meeds my whole life, which is okay with me because they help me be the "real" me, I don't li,e who I am when I don't take my meds. I have an infant son and feel like I am not a very good mom when I have anxiety because it overtakes my whole life. I can definitely relate to how you are feeling. I think the most important thing is how you feel and if you think you will be okay to stop treating your anxiety. Several people on this board have spoken about being off medication for a long time and having their anxiety start back up, oftentimes because of life stressors. I know I am nowhere near being able to stop my medication because I would be a wreck, but each person is different. Feel free to message me should you want to talk, like I said, I can definitely relate to how you are feeling.

Best of luck :)
Avatar universal
I think you may still need medication, for many of us this is a lifelong thing, but like the above poster....I don't mind.  You have to do what allows you to live a happy and productive life and be the wonderful mother you want to be to your sons.  Your brother's attempted suicide may have caused this to re-surface as well.  Also, I don't know what your parent's relationship was like, but it has been proven that spouses who miss their mate the most are prone to remarry quicker.  I've seen this over and over.  The most recent was a family friend, they had two teenage daughters and a wonderful life together.  The wife passed away due to cancer, and the husband had to be physically pulled off his wife's casket.  But he remarried quickly, and nobody doubted how much he loved his wife.  We all handle death differently, maybe your dad felt he had to keep it together for you and your brother, be the strong one, but weeps a lot when alone.  I don't know the story, so I may be out of line here and if so....I apologize. I hope the three of you can make amends, I'm sure this would make your mother happy, and she wouldn't have wanted your dad to be alone.  I doubt he will ever love anyone like your mother, but he is lonely and the new wife isn't taking your mom's place, just her space.  Take care.
1291268 tn?1274814522
Yes it sounds like you are having a 'flare up' of anxiety/depression.  These 'flare ups' are frequently unpredictable and can be triggered or made worse by hormonal changes that  occur during and after pregnancy.  
Talk to your doctor about your situation.  You are lucky that you found good help in the past quickly and know that there is something there you can go to for relief from your symptoms.
What you are going thru is quite common for this illness.  We want so desparately to never see it again once it subsides and are crushed when it returns.   It's just how the illness presents itself and nothing to do with how you think or what you may have done.
Be glad that you have a good remedy and can again put this behind you in due course.
Good luck and congratulations!  
968908 tn?1274874715
well, i think you know really what you need to do.  You need to go back to your doc and get back on the medication.  For a lot of us after coming off medication we relaspe and have to go back on, i did so.  As you said you need to be ok for your boys, so for them make that first step on your way to wellness and make that appointment.

Once the med's kick in you'll feel so much better, just keep that in mind!
470885 tn?1326332637
Thanks so much for your comments!

I definitely see what you're saying about how my dad hastening to remarry could very well demonstrate just how much he loved my mom - I've heard that before.  But my dad is a man who has NEVER had to live on his own for any length of time:  he went right from living at home (where my grandmother coddled him - he was her baby), to being married to my mom to my mom dying at which time he entered a period of a few months of being "on his own", only he was never at home, he was always with his new girlfriend, a friend of the family whom he started dating a month after Mom died (the woman who became his wife one year a two months after Mom died), essentially physcially and emotionally abandoning my brother who was still living at home.  

I'm certain that my dad suppresses a lot of his grief - he quit seeing a grief counselor, saying it wasn't helping and that he was fine.  He was in a line of work that required him to counsel others, and so he figured that he could take care of that all on his own.  But from what I've seen, he hasn't dealt with anything.  It doesn't help that his wife is a self-centered, insecure woman.  She'd never been married before - or in any sort of serious relationship that I'm aware of - and doesn't have any children.  I've barely had a conversation alone with my own father since he married her because she is ALWAYS THERE and will not leave his side.  Even during phone conversations, she's there, yip yapping in the background and I have to repeat myself constantly because my dad isn't even listening to what I'm saying - he's listening to her.  She raised a big stink at my wedding 5 years ago because she expected to be seated at the ceremony in the same order that my mom would have been, had she been there.    My mom died when I was 24, SHE raised me - I have no ties to this woman and only tolerate her because of my dad.  And I'm sure she does the same, tolerating my brother and I, for Dad's sake.

Now that I have children, it's worse:  she wants the title of Grandma but equates lavish gift giving with love, rather than affection and just plain spending time with them.  She refused to hold my newborn son when they came to visit him for the first time (which was, incidentally, just a day before he was going into to the hospital for 3 days to have eye surgery) because she was miffed that I had said he was a first grandchild for my dad and "his wife in the birth announcement I had printed in the newspaper.  Sorry, but to take that out on A BABY???  Come on!!!  My dad barely talks about Mom anymore, so it's up to me to teach my children who about their real grandmother......through pictures, stories, etc.  

Anyway....I could to go on and on ;-)  Clearly, my issues are as much with my dad's wife as they are with him.
1107684 tn?1448832030
Am sorry if am out of place here. But, have you told your Dad and his Wife how you feel? I know how it feels to lose a parent from cancer. My Mother never remarried. But, when my sister passed away....girl I kid you not,my  Bother-in-Law had a date that night!! It about killed thier children, they were in thier 20's and a teenager. None the less, disrespectful S.O.B. I was like WTF! So, I know how that feels also. Maybe if you where to tell them how you feel,maybe some of you anxiety well subside and you will feel better. I wish you all the best!
Avatar universal
It could be something as simple as a nutrient deficiency.  The B Vitamin Complex and Magnesium are important for handling stress.  Magnesium deficiency can cause anxiety, depression, panic, muscle problems, etc.

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