Stress & anxiety

I have suffered from anxiety and depression for over 15 years. It was controlled just fine with Meds until about 2 years ago. Now it's all going down hill. I also have chronic fatigue syndrome, severe GERD, fibromyalgia, TMJ, IBS, and carpal tunnel to name a few. Over the last 2 months it's really gotten bad. I stay stressed out and cannot relax at all. I stay so tense. Tried Acupunture for several weeks and didn't help. Tried EMDR therapy and it didn't work. I have constant pressure in my chest and sometimes chest pain, shortness of breath that feels like I have had the breath knocked out of me for just a second or two at a time and hurt and ache in upper and middle back. Dizzy, nauseated, trouble concentrating and literally just can't function. And all I do is sit on the couch or bed with heating pads on chest and back. Every time I get up from the couch or bed and start walking I feel so funny and heart starts pounding/racing and I feel like I'm gonna have a heart attack or something. I have had several EKG's, actually had 3 last week, chest X-rays and blood work and ECHO on my heart too. All tests, so far, have been normal. And tomorrow I have a nuclear stress test. I'm scared because since I can't hardly move without my heart racing out of control, I don't know how I'm gonna be able to walk on the treadmill. I have been on Meds for over 15 years and it's just like they have quit working. I can't take care of my family like I need to. They don't understand why I can't just snap out of whatever is wrong with me. It's really aggravating that I can't make them understand how scary all these feelings are. And every time I get a test back that is normal, that makes them think even more nothing is wrong with me. I have no support at all. They always say it's all the Meds I'm taking, that I need to just quit taking them. But I can't do that. I see no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm just existing, not living and it's awful. I want to be there for my kids and husband the way I'm supposed To be, but it is just impossible right now.

12 Replies

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  • Who is telling you to stop taking the medications? Family?

    Anxiety plays a massive part of our lives and learning to deal with it is very important. It sounds like you need to learn to relax a wee bit. As each and every diagnosis comes through it's a lot to pile on your plate. BUT, and you won't like this part, some of those diagnoses could be part of the stress and anxiety rather than, say, the IBS or CFS.

    I am not saying that they are fantasy, that is NOT what I am saying, but it is easy to add an extra diagnosis rather than realise they're part of the same condition. Treat the anxiety and you'll probably find everything else calms down a bit.

    There are ways of dealing with anxiety but understanding what you're scared of, or worried about is half the battle sometimes. Once you've worked out what you're worried about you'll probably find that you're scared of what might happen. That in itself is counter productive as you're worrying about something that has not yet happened.

    Practicing relaxation techniques works for some people as does learning calming techniques. Exercise also works well to get those worries dealt with as it is an effective way of getting those endorphins flowing which helps to feel better and calmer.

    Once you've got less anxiety you can start to rationalise what is and what is not something to be concerned about.

  • Yeah family thinks it's all in my head and the Meds are making it worse.

    I have tried Acupunture, which the lady guaranteed me she could help me. I never could relax at all. I have tried self help books and relaxation tapes and nothing helps. It's like my body refuses to relax. And I think that stresses me out more.

  • Acupuncture is an alternative medicine and as such has little in the way of evidence to support its usefulness in many cases and is only recommended by NICE for back pain and headaches. Even for these cases medical evidence that it works is hard to come by.

    It is not your body that refuses to relax, and that is important to understand, the anxiety IS in your head, not your bowels or your heart or your stomach.

    Interestingly you say that sitting with heat packs helps. This is one of those classic "Sit on the sofa with my duvet" anxiety practices so that you're comfy, safe and warm. There is nothing on the sofa to challenge you. In your case the heat packs are the duvet.

    As soon as you get off the sofa the anxiety kicks in and you're off, heart racing, dizy, naseous, etc etc. Classic.

    First thing to do is to challenge yourself. Get a heart rate monitor, one that straps onto your chest and transmits to a watch is fairly cheap but can be embarrassing for some people - you can get some that has a finger probe that connects to your finger - argos.co.uk/static/Product/...

    Sit there with your heat packs and see your heart rate. Once you get up and do something you will see it rise. Go up and down stairs then see it rise some more. Your body is doing it in response to the needs of your muscles.

    Put yourself in a slightly stressful situation and see it rise even more. You MIND is doing that!

    Once you learn that a lot of this is in your mind you might be able to start to challenge it thereafter as you know it is just fear.

    Small steps.

  • Listen deeply if possible to your own inner voice. At the deepest level you are pure love. This may sound like BS! But at some subtle pt, you may get a clue or synchronicity if you can wait with a little patience.

  • I still don't understand why all of a sudden all my medicines for anxiety, depression and reflux have just quit helping me.

    Do you suffer from anxiety and/or depression?

  • Your situation sounds very close to how I was, I didn't leave the house for a year because I was convinced I was dying my heart would pound even if I did something as simple as walk to the toilet. I was a couch potato lol.All sorts of aches and pains, indigestion, heartburn, choking sensations, dizziness amongst lots of other symptoms. I was constantly on the internet obsessing over ways to make my self better. I have spent so much time at the docs and hospital having tests that I might aswell have moved in there, have been on every kind of antidepressant, beta blockers, diazepam, had numerous therapys, cat therapy, cbt, kinesiology, hypnosis, psychotherapy, full medical health check costing nearly a thousand pounds. Self help books, cds, music, videos. U name it I've done it haha. I have recently started to feel alot better(not fully recovered) I used to feel bad everyday whereas now it's like maybe once a week which for me is amazing. I put the change down to ME! I've started to laugh at my symptoms and anxiety/depression. After all I've been through I honestly can say the most powerful cure is yourself no amount of therapy and medication helps in the long run. You have to start thinking you know what I've had enough of this s#*%t!!! I'm going to enjoy my time while I'm on this earth and if I die or have a heart attack in the process who cares at least I was having fun at the time. Start listening to happy uplifting music, dance, sing, get out in the world and live while you can because you get one life. Make exciting plans holidays trips e.t.c don't even think of what might happen when your doing these things JUST DO THEM. The more you push and put yourself in uncomfortable situations where you feel sick or in pain or panicked. The more you start to feel normal. I bet you've heard this a thousand times before from ppl who haven't suffered. But take it from someone who has suffered for years! HAVING FUN IS THE KEY. I also don't believe in prescription drugs they make you worse in the long run in my opinion . Healthy eating combined with having fun is the best medicine. I also recommend various herbal teas, herbal supplements, vitamins. They helped me more than any of the hundreds of drugs I was fed by my gp! Just stop telling yourself there is noway out of this hole. Negative thinking is a killer. Think positive and good things will happen.

  • Thank you so much! It's nice having somebody that knows exactly what I'm going through. Your Reply is literally the story of my life. Lol. How long did it take you to get over the heart pounding when you get up from the couch or wherever. That is driving me crazy. I try to put on some laundry to wash or hang up clothes and my chest gets so tight with pressure and I feel short of breath and I get dizzy and feel like my legs are just gonna collapse if I don't sit back down. It's so awful to feel like you can't do anything. I don't think I was this bad 15 years ago when I was diagnosed.

  • Well it started when I was 6 years old which I find quite disturbing because I don't think children should really have alot to worry about lol. But I had my mum scared to death constantly up the hospital calling ambulances and thinking her child was going to drop dead at any moment she said I used to literally go white say I couldn't breath and hold my chest poor woman I don't know what I would think if I saw my daughter doing that. I had it all the way up to age 16 when I randomly snapped out of it became happy healthy and confident. I was happy and (normal) for years I forgot about it all. Then in 2012 I had the worst panic attack imaginable whilst out shopping it was so random I thought I was about to drop dead I don't know where it came from but it sent me back to childhood I became terrified to leave the house spent most of my time in bed crying depressed suicidal. Felt sooo sick I was convinced I had something terminal and was about to die. Three years on I'm trying my hardest to get back to 100% I'd say I'm about 60% there. The way my heart used to beat out of my chest and skip beats was terrifying I would never wish it on anyone. But seriously the best thing you can do is laugh at it if anything egg in on say to it do your worst cos I've had these symptoms for so long that it obviously isn't something dodgey it's just my bloody mind making a mug out of me! I actually find it hysterical the amount of therapy I've had some of them were so funny I look back and laugh. One man had me tapping and chanting and banishing demons from my body haha. I just figure there's people out there with terminal illnesses that are more active and happy than I was and if they can get out there and make the most of surely I could? I'm genuinely starting to feel so much happier and calmer just from positive thinking and getting out and about I should have done it years ago rather than sitting on the sofa googleing every illness known to man (sado) haha. I actually appreciate my life lately I'm starting to genuinely see how beautiful the world is and realise how much fun you can have if you put your mind to it. It takes time but I promise you if you push yourself to change your thinking you will get there or at least improve a hell of alot and that's gotta be better than sitting around depressed convincing yourself that everyday will be your last! Live as if everyday is your last.

  • Wow! I couldn't imagine being that young and going through that. And sure wouldn't want to imagine one of my kids going through it.

    I was about 26 when my just came about.

    I want my life back. My kids are growing up so fast and I'm just sitting here watching it all go by.

    Thank you so much for your replies. I think they will be very helpful.

  • Hi, you have a lot going on medically that it can't help but spill over emotionally. I understand your position with being a wife and mother and having to deal with anxiety. I've been there. I have Mitral Valve Prolapse, Fibromyalgia, Carpal Tunnel, had Migraines for years, and now more recently A-Fib. You know what helped the most? Water exercise. I went daily. As for the meds not working any more, that is not your imagination. After a while, the meds tend to lose their efficacy. You may need to find some other outlets to help you through your medical problems. When those get addressed, in return your anxiety level may lower. I wish you luck.

  • Thank you!!!

  • So like you. The only trouble is when it is bad I cannot get food down or even a cup of tea. The discomfort is too much. That's when the meds help. It is too physical cannot walk it off. I understand your feeling of even being told nothing wrong you still have the symptoms.

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