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Is this anxiety or something more? having a hard time especially at night

Im going to try to explain this the best I can because its confusing even to myself. I am 35 years old with no health issues other than a heart murmur which is not life threatening and I suffer from really bad health anxiety. 3 years ago I had my first anxiety/panic attack. I was at home taking a shower and got chest pains. My heart was racing but I went to bed and relaxed. Next day at work I still had the pains so I left work and went to the hospital. Had every single test done and it all came down to anxiety. Maybe a year or 2 after that I was back in for the same thing. They kept me overnight ran tests and said it was anxiety. I was put on the smallest dose of sertraline and it helped for about a year then it seemed to not do anything at all. Today I am no longer on the meds because I don't have insurance and wont have it until the first of next year. Since ive been off the meds my anxiety is at an all time high. I check my heart rate about 50 times a day or more. I panic when out in public thinking something is going to happen to me. Then as of 3 days ago I have tightness in the upper part of my stomach under my ribs that makes it hard for me to take a deep breath. It feels like my muscles have constricted and wont loosen up. Eventually when im at home it starts to feel better but when I leave from work it tightens up again I guess its all nerves but its super uncomfortable and only feels better when I sit or lay down. Also when I take deep breaths my throat/chest area feels weird. No pain but like pressure in that area. That normally goes away too once im home and relaxed. The tightness in my stomach is whats bothering me the most. I panic a lot and google a lot and it makes matter worse. I don't smoke and did choose to stop drinking just 3 days ago. I take ranitidine for acid reflux but they never did any tests to even prove I had that. Just based it on symptoms. I feel like this is going to take over my life if I don't get some answers soon but for now im just curious if any of you have ever felt like this or have any ideas of what could be happening. Anxiety is bad with me. The older I get the worse it gets
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First, be careful with that remedy for the reflux you don't know if you have or not.  If you take it too long, it will force your stomach to produce even more acid, as it must be acidic when it has to digest protein or minerals.  A good sign of that problem being reflux is, does it happen if you lie down soon after eating?  That's a major cause of reflux.  If it happens that way, make sure you don't lie down or recline until you've had a chance to digest for awhile.  My main question is, you seem to have been building up to an anxiety problem but you don't mention whether you started therapy with a psychologist who specializes in anxiety treatment.  You also mention you're not on meds because you don't have insurance, but I'm not sure having insurance has anything to do with having meds.  Staying on a medication is really cheap.  You only have to see your psychiatrist when you make changes and the generic drugs don't cost very much.  So if you need the med, insurance or no insurance isn't as crucial as it is for other things, such as regular check-ups and surgery and the like.  I'm guessing that remedy you don't know you need for the reflux you don't know you have costs as much or more as generic drugs do.  A further question:  did the anxiety go way up to levels beyond what you had when you started the med when you stopped taking it?  Did you taper off of it gradually, or did you quit cold turkey?  Getting a problem that is different or of a greater intensity than you had when you started taking a med when you stop taking it can be a withdrawal symptom of quitting, especially when you quit abruptly but can happen even with the usual doctor schedule that is often too quick for many people.  You don't say what the timeline of the increased anxiety was, so I'm just asking.  If it is a withdrawal symptom, the best thing to do is go back on the med and taper off as slowly as you need to if you still want to stop, though it appears you really didn't want to stop, you did it for financial reasons.  But again, most docs don't charge anything to refill a script and generic drugs aren't expensive, so I don't know if you needed to do that.  As for your symptoms, might be anxiety, might not be.  Who knows?  They do sound like anxiety symptoms and you've seen docs who said it's anxiety, so there's that.  The main symptom of anxiety is thinking anxious thoughts obsessively.  That's what causes the body to respond by tightening up and creating the physiological stuff.  If you can learn to not think like that, which isn't easy but is what therapy tries to teach you to do so is worth a try or two or three, and if you can learn some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga, meditation and exercise, as examples, you might tamp down some of that stuff.  
Helpful - 0
Wow ok you asked a lot of questions so I’ll try to answer what I can. As for the reflux it happens maybe 10 mins after eating. I never lie straight down after eating. I always feel a burning sensation in my chest that comes up to my throat. Why they would diagnose me with acid reflux without the proper tests is beyond me and why I hate hospitals. The sertraline I didn’t taper off. I stopped cold turkey. It’s been a little over a month since I stopped taking them. What people don’t understand is my doctor will not see me if I don’t have insurance and I can’t pay for it. Now I can go to the Er with no problems but who wants to rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills? I also can’t get another prescription because my last one expired and since i haven’t seen him in over a year he won’t put in another one for me. I have tried to call and do this. I don’t have a psychiatrist I have a regular doctor that was assigned to me once I got out of the Er. Are you saying I can call this doctor and ask for another prescription and he’s required to do it even though I don’t have insurance? How will he get paid for his services. I have never had therapy. Again you either need cash money or insurance to pay these people. I am apart of an online support group which helps a little other than that I’ll have to wait until the first of the year or go to the Er if things get worse.
Since money is tight at the moment, try reading a book on relieving heart anxiety because sometimes that helps. Just having painful stomach issues causes anxiety and depression because you wonder if it will ever go away, so do some reading on that subject too because there are things to avoid eating, and it is important to sip water all day because to some degree, that dilutes stomach acid.
Thank you I will definitely do that and I noticed water helps a lot
Just sip it to make it last.
I'm not sure there really is a test for reflux.  I was diagnosed with it just based on symptoms.  You can go in with a scope and see if there is inflamed tissue around, say, the esophagus, which is a sign of it, but it can also be a sign of other problems and it's just easier to give you a drug that treats reflux and, if it works, assume that's what it is.  But reflux is a digestive disorder, and there are a lot of ways to treat digestive disorders.  Digestive enzymes are one.  Nobody here can diagnose it, but the truth is, doctors don't really do a very good job diagnosing and treating most digestive problems.  They are trained to give you a drug, but that doesn't fix the problem and can make it worse in the long-term.  Nature has created a host of remedies that treat the problems by reducing inflammation of the system rather than suppressing the acid the body is going to have to find some way to produce, drug or not drug.  Sometimes we're stuck taking a medication, but I'm not sure you are because you don't appear to have tried anything else.  Let me tell you how I learned a lot about this stuff -- I had the good fortune to go to school in Berkeley, Cal., and the people there are a bit different, as you probably know.  So are many of the doctors.  I got a bleeding ulcer when I was pretty young, and I had reflux, and I was put on antacids in the hospital.  Back then, a lot of the current drugs hadn't been invented yet and the way they diagnosed I had an ulcer was actually because the antacid worked to stop the bleeding.  Pretty simple, and so they didn't have to do a bunch of scopes on me.  My doc, though, told me to learn a form of meditation that was the best studied back then called TM.  It took me awhile, but I did it and the problem went away.  I'm 40 years older now, and it's still gone.  So I learned more, and found a lot about natural remedies for some things that work better than the drugs.  Not for everything, but for this thing.  As for your doctor, no, I don't think he has to give you another prescription in the sense there isn't any law that requires him to do that, but the medical profession does have disciplinary boards and regulatory boards that do require that a doctor not throw you into withdrawal or do any other form of malpractice just because you don't have insurance.  As far as I know, you only have to see a doctor in person if you're on a controlled substance, such as benzos, in which case the docs are required to see you -- a grand total of once a year.  If you can't afford a psychiatrist, who knows this stuff better than a regular doc, once a year, at the current average rate of 175 dollars a session, well, I'm guessing you can afford that if you're employed.  But I do think if you call your doctor and tell his office you are in withdrawal because the doc abruptly took you off a med before you were able to find a different doc the doc will probably write you another script and phone it in for you.  If not, and you really can't find another doc at a free clinic or something like that, threaten to sue him for malpractice -- it doesn't sound like you're going to see him again anyway, right?  Because it's definitely malpractice to abruptly take you off a drug that causes withdrawal because you're temporarily unable to pay for it.  Another thing is, and I've done this, sometimes your regular pharmacy, if you have one, will give you a few pills to tide you over until you find another doc.  Now, you might not be in withdrawal, it's just a really high possibility with this drug that you are but not everyone does suffer that problem.  My point is, sometimes you have to fight for your needs in the medical world, it shouldn't be that way but sometime it is.  When I lost my health insurance for 5 years my psychiatrist kept refilling my scripts to keep me out of withdrawal by phone until I got married and got insurance again and could find another doc.  But I wasn't making any changes, and again, it's only when you make changes or want to quit that you really need to see the psychiatrist.  Otherwise, it's just a refill, and that takes very little time and no cost for the doc to do.  Best of luck to you.  
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi there.  I just want to say that I am sorry that you are suffering such anxiety.  Most people have a certain level of it but they manage.  Maybe what is meant is that if left untreated, it can compound into a more severe health issue.  Depression an anxiety can become debilitating when it reaches certain levels.  So, really a good idea to head it off before it gets to that point!

Now, I've had health anxiety as well.  And I get worried about my heart.  Sigh. I can hyper focus to the point in which I feel 'something'.  It's amazing how the mind can do such things, isn't it?

My anxiety is worse related to my hormones.  Anything going on with that with you?  Any imbalance like long cycles, late periods?  Had a baby any time in the recent pass, stop breast feeding, anything like that?

My ob/byn and gp are both excellent with mental health.  They do a nice job of diagnosing and treating but do always recommend talk therapy too.  There is support out there.  Any chance you could see a psychologist?  There are natural ways to help too such as regular exercise.  You are young and have been thoroughly checked out so run it by your gp but you should be able to up your fitness and exercise level.  This really helps my mental health.  Good sleep helps as well.  What about yoga and meditation?  These can be helpful.  There are also a lot of inexpensive anxiety work books you can find on amazon which that in itself makes you feel like you are doing 'something' which can help you overall.  Tell me what you think!
Helpful - 0
Hey thanks nothing going on as far as hormones. I’m going to try and read some anxiety books hopefully I can find a few free ones on there. I’m just having a really hard time trying to get past this. I haven’t tried meditation or yoga as I just haven’t learned how to focus my thoughts elsewhere. I have a hard time focusing when something is bothering me. I just want what I’m feeling to go away and until it does I’ll continue to obsess over it. People suggest psychiatrists and things like that but I can’t afford that. I’m a single mom I work one job that pays the bills and leaves little left over for anything else. I don’t have any family that could help. Everyone is broke or claims they’re broke. I want to see a doctor but you guys don’t know how terrifying and debilitating that is for me to do. I’ve never been in a depression before although I’ve said I’ve felt depressed. I just wanna know what’s wrong with me
973741 tn?1342342773
I understand.  And I'm sorry it is so difficult.  So, start by trying some of the things you CAN afford.  YouTube has yoga videos, meditation videos and you can read about both online.  They are calming.  Learning breathing techniques can help. Try this one for instance, breath in for 4, hold 4, breath out for 4, hold 4, repeat.  That is calming to jacked up anxiety.  Going for a daily walk, or do 30 minutes of whatever you like around the house such as running in place, jumping jacks, lifting light hand weights, dancing, etc.  I know it is hard when you are tired but it CAN help overall.  Try to get it in.  Also, I can't say enough about sleep.  Really.  It is so healing.  

It would be nice if you could trade out kid care with another mom friend.  Like she gives you a break for 4 hours one weekend and you take her kids for 4 hours the next.  Just so you can have total down time and recharge your batteries.  cost is nothing when you trade your time. :>)  

Work books and self help books can be good. Even if you take one or two nuggets from them.  The library? That's a good place to get books if you don't want to buy them.

And a journal to track things and look for trends.  Keep one-- a cheap spiral bound notebook bought at the grocery store will do.

And then you can see if anything improves and talk to your doctor at your next visit.  
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Thanks for all of that I really appreciate it. I honestly have no friends so I don’t have anyone to trade kids with plus my daughter is 13 so she kinda just does her own thing. I do have mondays to myself. It’s my day off so maybe tomorrow I can try some of these things. I really hope my stomach feels better too or at least this bloat goes down. It’s been really bad this whole week. I used to keep a journal so I think I’ll do that again too. I’m willing to try anything that may help. Thanks again
It sounds like you're isolating yourself.  I know what that's like.  It's really easy to do when you have a mental disorder -- in fact, it's a sign of having one.  There are community mental health clinics that will charge what you're able to pay.  If you have insurance you can see a GP or a psychiatrist, but they won't offer therapy or relaxation training, they can only offer medication.  You might benefit from that, but I don't know.  Some of the anxiety work books have been around for a whole lot of years now and you can find them used for very little money -- they will be expensive if new.  But not too expensive.  You've been given good advice already, but I notice that, again like me, you have an excuse ready pretty quickly.  The fact things are hard doesn't make them impossible, and with any illness you know you can't let it fester.  You have to think of anxiety and depression the same way you would think if one of your children got a virus that didn't pass -- you'd take your child to the doc and find a way to pay for it.  It just has to be done.  Mental illness is just like that, if you let it fester it will just keep getting worse, especially if you isolate yourself.  Life is really really hard for some of us, and it isn't fair and it isn't easy, and on here we get that.  We push because we don't want anyone else to go through what we've gone through and are going through.  Now, a thing about meditation.  I doubt you can really learn it on You Tube.  I also doubt you can learn yoga on You Tube, it's not as easy as it looks on there to do it correctly.  You can get injured doing it incorrectly.  But I'm guessing there are lots of free yoga classes around, they're everywhere these days, and you can certainly pick up some of the easier moves on You Tube.  But here's the thing about meditation that almost all westerners at first get wrong -- meditation isn't about focus, it's about letting go and accepting.  It's about watching your thoughts, not thinking.  But it's hard to do right, and so some training with a guru of some kind is really helpful, I find, because you let go when you learn it that way.  It's part of the mystique.  So many do it these days, I'm sure you can find a friendly Buddhist who can show you how to do Mindfulness Meditation.  There are good books about it that again are old and you can get used.  It's a practice.  You don't have to adopt anyone's religion to do it.  You get better at it with time (and then worse and then better and then ...)  It's going to be hard to do with young kids as a single parent, but look for ways to say yes.  All the best.
I live in Baltimore. There’s no Buddhist here and I don’t consider myself to have a mental illness unless anxiety is considered that. I don’t have a reason to make excuses. It just is what it is. I’m noticing that when I don’t indulge on here and other medical sites my anxiety isn’t so bad so I’m going to take a few days off from the net and focus on my well being. I’m still going to watch the YouTube videos and see what free books I can get. Thanks again have a wonderful day
No Buddhists in Baltimore?  Hardly true.  Clearly you didn't look, it's a very big city in a very liberal state and I live in VA right next door and I can tell you for a fact they are there.  Anxiety is a mental illness, yes.  
Well I don’t want to see one and I’m not mentally ill so hang that one up. I refuse to believe that
This is the last response I should probably give, as it's clear you really aren't looking for any help we can offer.  You should probably look elsewhere or just accept you life is what it is and live with it.  Without doing something different, it will stay the same.  What you said is you suffer from a bad case of health anxiety, which is just anxiety, which is a mental illness.  Not all or most mental disorders are psychoses, most of them are just really bad patterns of thinking and acting we develop.  When you refuse to consider all forms of help, there's obviously nothing anyone can do.  Maybe you're a lot happier being you than you let on here.  I hope you find what you're looking for.  Peace.
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi LadyM.  I sure hope you come back and talk to us.  We ARE here for support.  I think saying everyone who has anxiety mentally ill may be offending you but that is just words.  Anxiety helps deplete our mental health but there are all different levels of it.  I would not classify my son as being mentally ill although he has a lot of anxiety.  :>))  So, let's skip that discussion and stick with how to support you better.  You are probably overwhelmed.  Being a single mom has to be hard!  How are things going currently?
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2 years later and its better but i still have health anxiety. I dont google much at all anymore and i check my heartrate maybe a couple times a day. i think my ex played a major role in my anxiety. We have been broken up for over a year and life is great since he left. He was hell!
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