Crippling anxiety

Hello, I'm new here and struggling immensely. I am under the care of a psychologist and psychiatrist but feel so horrible.

Back in February I had an adverse reaction to a cosmetic Botox injection. It started the day after, in which I felt like I couldn't get a breath of air in, then diarrhea, vomiting and severe insomnia. I would fall asleep and jolt back awake immediately. I went to doctor after doctor and they kept telling me it was anxiety and would throw different sleep meds at me that didn't work. Finally after the 5th day of no sleep I completely lost it and reached out to a psychologist I used with my son last year. She had me in right away and had me see a psychiatrist she works with. It took about a month of trying meds (11 total) before she did genetic testing and found the meds I could use. I'm now ok mirtazapine, gabapentin and Valium. All at night time only.

My sleep started to improve with the meds and the anxiety lifted but then the depression set in. Not long after I found swollen lymph nodes in my groin. I went to my doctor and she said we'd just watch them for a bit. This fired my anxiety back up.... I went back a week later and saw a nurse practitioner in her office and she was horrible to me, and kept asking "are you sure you aren't just anxious!?" Of course I'm anxious!!! I have swollen lymph nodes. Eventually she looked and said "wow these are swollen" and sent me for an ultrasound. They came back as reactive nonpathologically. I've been a wreck since. I had a pap and that came back normal. But I'm afraid that I'm a hypochondriac now.... I have two more appointments tomorrow.... with a gastroenterologist and a general surgeon. Have any of you been able to bounce back from severe health anxiety? I keep thinking something is horribly wrong with me because I can't get a satisfying breath of air and I don't ever feel hungry anymore. Are these signs of anxiety? I've lost 15 lbs in 3 months.... I'm scared of never being the same again. ☹️

16 Replies

  • I think it's way too soon to be worrying about never being ANYTHING again. Forget about forever and just deal with now. Shortness of breath can easily be due to anxiety. You want to slow your breathing and count as you inhale and exhale to slow yourself down. A change in your hunger can also be due to anxiety. I personally have extreme difficulty eating when my anxiety runs high. So I lose weight at those times just like you do.

    I have GAD, so my anxiety can run very high. I've been on medication for it for years. Tell me what you need from me today and I'll try to give it.

  • I am a mom to twins (almost 8) and my baby just turned 5. I'm a wreck trying to cope everyday. I've been diagnosed with PTSD and acute stress disorder. It's overwhelming to say the least...

    I'm panicking over not being shot to get a deep breath L. I'm probably over thinking it and fueling the cycle.

    I am sick of googling every symptom I have.... it's almost like putting a new illness in my body everytime I read it. I have an amazing psychologist and a decent psychiatrist but don't feel the meds are working for me aside from getting me sleep. There has to be help right? I had genetic testing done to find the right meds.

  • Hi!

    So I too was diagnosed with health anxiety just a few months ago. Therefore I can totally relate. Some background on my mental health... I have always had anxiety whether it be in the form of perfectionism, social anxiety, or other. Anxiety can manifest in many ways and can develop at any stage in life.

    The truth is yes. You can bounce back. Many people have done, not all talk about it. But that doesn't mean bounce back as in you never have to deal with anxiety. You just become better at managing it by learning coping mechanisms.

    Here's what's helped me cope and improve tremendously over the last few months..

    1. Learning cognitive behavioral methods from my therapist

    2. Learning breathing techniques and yoga. This takes practice but does wonders at slowing your physiological responses to anxiety (i.e. Increased HR, upset stomach)

    3. Exercise at least 3-4 times per week, eating health, and rest

    4. Medication - an SSRI (celexa) which I've taken for years but recently increased my dose after facing some severe health anxiety

  • And if you ever need a buddy to talk to, let me know. There's lots of help out there. I can tell you, I know how it feels to think there's no hope and that you won't ever overcome this. But you will! And it will make you a stronger and more grateful person.

    Cheers !

  • I've always had anxiety but never so extreme until I was pregnant with my twins. It really peaked then and shortly after having them. I go to counseling every Wednesday, I'm on Mirtazapine which is an anti depressant, however I don't think it's working well for my anxiety but it isn't working for my sleep. It's a sedating anti depressant. I work out 4 times a week, I do breathing exercises, yoga, and do my best staying busy volunteering in my children's school.

    I have a med review today with my psychiatrist. I have been on Zoloft in the past and it seemed to help but I did genetic testing and it shows that I have a higher chance of having adverse reactions with SSRI's. I'm feeling stuck, and hopeless. I've been to doctor after doctor trying to find a reason why my lymph nodes in my groin are swollen. My labs come back okay, my pap was normal, now today I'm seeing a gastroenterologist and a general surgeon. I feel like I'm chasing a ghost. This is probably damaging me more going to all of these appointments and making myself believe something is wrong with me.

    I've lost 15 lbs in less than 3 months and feel distraught. Mirtazapine is used off label for annorexia because it stimulates your appetite. For some reason my anxiety is over-riding it.

    I'm scared of feeling this way. I'm doing everything to feel better but not really making and progress except, I'm getting sleep again which I wasn't getting.

  • do your moods ever improve? Or are they consistently low? I was diagnosed with PMDD and therefore have to be on an SSRI and birth control consistently to help my moods stabilize. Maybe ask the doctor about that? But do not feel stuck. Anxiety doesn't disappear overnight. But gradually improves. Mine has been sort of oscillating in a slowly positive trend

    As for the pains, there are so many reasons you could have swollen lymph nodes. The issue is not that since obviously you are seeing doctors. The issue it sounds like is your health anxiety and worry that something is definitely wrong with you

  • If you want, send me a message with your email, and I can send you these weekly modules that you read and fill out which my therapist has given me to improve my health anxiety. They really help.

    Also, to relate to your heath worries, while I was going through my scary debilitation anxiety, I was experiencing pelvic pains that I was sure were caused by either cervical cancer or pelvic inflammatory disease. Once I got checked by the doctor multiple times, I started looking for other signs in my body that something was wrong. It's a self-perpetuating cycle. It can be brought on by sudden health scares like you are experiencing

  • The truth is, my pains were real, but probably hormonal. As they stopped once I got back onto birth control. But I probably did more damage from all the worry which led me to lose 7 lbs in 2 weeks, quit work, and increase my SSRI dose. So it was very much self-inflicted. But I'd say just be patient and consistent. Don't lose hope and don't be afraid to keep talking to different doctors

  • My email is

    I am starting an intensive outpatient program at the hospital for mental health care tomorrow.

  • Great! Sounds like a great place to be :) I'll try to send you the first module tonight when I get home from work.

    Best of luck with your new program! Have faith!

  • I'm scared and sick of feeling this way. I'm overwhelmed, and just trying to get through each day. I'm a mom and this is by far the hardest thing I've ever dealt with. The feeling of not being able to breathe is terrifying. I have to yawn to get a satisfying breath of air. I need to get stable. They've been trying for the last 3 months. Does it get better?

  • How are you now???

  • Since your anxiety dates back to sometime after your botox injection was botched, don't you think you should maybe work on maybe trying selftherapy to help you overcome your fears. It seems obvious the anxiety you maybe experiencing were brought on by real fears which seem to have fed upon themselves to create even new ones.

    i am not discounting your pain in any way but i kind of think that if you work on the fears and stressors, you could maybe be back to normal in no time at all. I mean this all seems to have taken place in the space of 3 months, if i am correct, and so is not something to be afraid of.

    believe me, you don't want to end up like any of us in here battling anxiety and depression that is beyond our control, year after year.

  • I've always had anxiety and depression but I just coped okay with it. I focused on working out and just pushing through it.

    My husband thinks that when I got the adverse reaction from the Botox it was the straw that broke the camels back.

    I'm trying so hard to break this cycle of ruminating. Feeling like I can't get a deep breathe of air is terrifying to say the least.

    I just woke up, and trying really hard to just breathe through my nose calmly so I don't start that "gasping" for a satisfying breath of air.

    I've been praying for peace of mind to get through this, and comfort knowing that I'm okay.

  • Hi. I'm on Mertazapine and Xanax at bedtime. I used to have trouble sleeping but not now because these drugs are effective. I take Paxil during the day and it has slowed down my anxiety. I'm not cured but I feel a lot better than I did 3 months ago. I see a therapist. Talking helps. At least, I got my appetite back. I dropped 20 lbs. from depression and anxiety and no appetite. Hope you get some sleep.

  • I had a D&C & lap about 6 weeks ago- suffered bad anxiety about a week and a half after, so I can relate when it comes to health anxiety. I felt my problem was I wasn't sleeping well- few hours at a time & just added to my misery. The gas pain from the lap lasted way longer than people told me. No appetite- lost about 10 lbs too. I got Ativan & Xanax.

    Well- I am slowly (slowly) starting to feel better, sleeping better & some appetite. I'm def not out of the woods tho. It does suck thinking 'Am I ever going to be 'normal' again & the uncertainty about it just makes it worse.

    I too have had low level anxiety & the procedure just kicked it in high gear. I started to feel so many physical symptoms too. I'm sorry you are suffering because I know how it feels!

    I pray we find some relief soon

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