My Breaking Point

I have written posts on here and hopefully this helps me because I am at my breaking point.

In November of 2015, my chest and left arm went numb and I thought I was having a heart attack. It turns out it was nothing. However, over the last 2 months I have been to the ER 5 times, have 7 to 8 EKG's, a stress test and my doctor says that there is nothing wrong with me. I have broken down in the doctors office, cried my eyes out. I blamed in on the medicine but anymore I am not so sure.

I was up all night last night with what I assume was GERD that seems to come and go and my chest hurt and my arm hurt but I kept telling myself it was just reflux or something of that nature instead of running to the ER as I did on Thursday. The ER doctor said what I am experiencing is not normal and that if I wanted to stay over I could talk to a cardiologist in the morning. The doctor did assure my I was fine so I felt comfortable enough to leave but I did schedule an appt with a cardiologist for Thursday of this week as a precaution because in deep in my gut, my internal alarm has been switched to constantly be on alert and I don't seem to the ability to switch it back off again.

I just wanted to come home and this anxiety disorder or whatever I have has made my poor pregnant wife cry all the time as she says I am not who I used to be. And she is right I don't feel like myself or act like myself. I am just scared all the time. I am scared of having a heart attack, I am scared of not listening to the signs of having a heart attack and most obvious I am afraid to die. Now, I have accepted that as get the gift of life we also must die and my therapist have helped with this a lot but in some abstract way I think it has actually made it worse because I always feel like I am trying to cheat death. I get worked up, I have an anxiety attack or panic attack and I drive over to the ER because this must be the time that i am right and I am going to save my life because my doctors won't.

I have symptoms whether somatic or otherwise, my chest hurts, my back hurts sometimes but not terribly. I hired a personal trainer to help me start to exercise and get my endorphins going because this is what General Doctor told me to do. He said I needed to get my heart rate up and that walking (which I do a lot of) is great but I really need to get moving and I feel better. I do buy this argument and I have tried but I find myself having small panic attacks at the gym or after I work out because I am just constantly afraid something negative is going to happen to me.

This again is taking a huge toll of my poor wife and I don't know what to do. I am in therapy, I am trying to do the best that I can and I know this isn't a quick fix but I am seriously debating just walking into the hospital and saying, "commit me", I am not right. I don't feel right. I am lost. I don't know who I am anymore and life is more like one being scary dream anymore.

I have taken a few days off of work which I think has helped and it allowed me to gain a better perspective of how my wife feels and I think some good things have come out of this couple months as I have been trying to spend as much time with my daughter as possible. I think this disorder or whatever it is helped me realize what the important things in my life where and it gives me comfort but I know I am hurting them. I know this crippling fear is wearing thin the very fabric of the life that i have worked some hard to build. How can one health scare destroy 32 years of a happy life?

The physical pain is scary but I feel like I have lost myself. I have called another therapist, I have been talking to those close to me about but i can't shake it.

Is it possible for the personality you have to die? Because that is the way I feel. I feel that I am simply existing at this point and it is totally obvious to the ones that know me best. I try so desperately to keep pushing forward and do what I need to do for my family and I supremely lucky to have them. But I am taking some much right now without even trying and I know, I know for a fact HOPE is the best antidepressant but I can't just stop being afraid and destroying everything around me.

I don't respond well to medication so I know therapy is my direction but I feel like I am so far gone that I might as well just commit myself because maybe that is the only way to come back from this hell.

13 Replies

  • Hello. I am sorry that you are so distressed and unhappy and unwell. I understand what you are going through as I went through similar things myself - as have most people in this group.

    What you are experiencing is a deep frustration, anger, fear, and a feeling that there is no end in sight for you and your family. And yet - you yourself point out a small ray of hope still shining - your therapy. I was very happy for you when I read that you have faith in your therapy and are committed to it. I believe that this is the real way to banish your illness as you get to the root cause of it. I have said many times on here - a psychological illness requires a psychological treatment. Medication merely masks the symptoms - it does not address the real cause.

    However hard it is for you, you need to fight through the desire to give up and enter a psychiatric unit. You will not find the answer there. You will be given medication to keep you calm and released some time later with your illness intact. This does not benefit you or your wife.

    I would say that all of us need to become far more pro-active in our own care - we should stop passively allowing others to decide what is good for us with no questions asked. If you go into hospital with say cancer or something, the first thing that will happen after you are admitted is that there will be a care plan made for you. This is tailored to your individual needs. So why not expect the same care with this kind of illness? The care plan should be a collaboration between your primary carers and you, and should be subject to regular review to assess effectiveness.

    Your life is not destroyed - you are having a period of illness that will come to an end with the correct and appropriate treatment. That is what you have to believe, however difficult that might be at times.

    I know these things work - I was a therapist for 30 years and have seen the successes. It will take a lot of therapy, a lot of effort and a lot of self-belief and a lot of support my friend - but you can do it.


  • Thank you Karl. Through therapy I have found that I don't think I was mature enough to deal with the harshness of adulthood. I have been successful professionally at a young age but I believe my psychological short comings were always there and I just ignored them. I was under a lot of change and stress at the time I went to the hospital the first time and as I have gone through therapy I discovered I really hated myself. I was narrasisitc and entitled and through deeper reflection and my own research I believe that I may have a borderline personality disorder. The symtoms read like the diary of my personality. I wonder if the health scare didn't break my over inflated sense of self and what is left is a child. One of friends even said that to me. He said this is a great opportunity because you are a child again and you can grow but I really think this anxiety disorder is linked with this personiltiy disorder and one spell or one supreme scare was enough to let 32 years of lying, fear and delusion loose. I always am crying. I feel broken. I am 32 old man who simply wants his mom sometimes because I feel broken. Again. Therapy has been helpful as I discovered all this in the last five weeks but the fear and actual pain is still in my chest and totally freaks me out sometimes.

  • You are so ready for therapy now - your post was so honest and full of raw emotion. I think your explanation for what has happened recently is spot on - you have a great insight into your own situation. Another kind of person in your situation might be scared of therapy because of the possibilty that it will reveal things that will be painful to face about themselves. But you already anticipated that and have accepted responsibility for things you have done, or ignored, in the past. But, of course, it is not as simple as that. The 'trigger' has to be found and dealt with. Everything in the world operates on the basis of cause and effect. Your illness is the effect - what is the cause? For there is one to be found.

    In my work life i found that goal-oriented therapy was the most effective. People need to be able to see some kind of progress in their recovery. Also, for many people it is not just anxiety - it is attached to its two best friends - ocd and sensorimotor compulsion.

    As for the various aches and pains and mood swings that accompany anxiety dosorder, I found that the longer people stayed in therapy the less important and obvious these symptoms became. So there is plenty for you to look forward to in the voming weeks and months.


  • Seek options with your therapist or Dr. realize the positive of what your doing for yourself and know it will all come to an end eventually, nothing lasts for ever. It only seems like that. Be strong and brave. Make things happen for your peace of mind. Sounds simple but there is solutions! Have the support from all of us to you that we are all fighting our own private battles. Make changes, talk to people that can help you, find solutions and above all....Be positive with yourself everyday!!

  • I am so sad for you :( . I 100% feel your pain. I blame my symptoms on medication for gastritis. I am sick of the emergency room, doctors and medication!! I see a therapist for CBT, it helps how I respond, but the symptoms still exist. I pray and trust Jesus will deliver me from this. No one seems to understand, so I put on a fake smile and push forward. I pray the best for you.

  • Hey Pat,

    I haven't been on here much since I was in you're position in August/September last year as I had to stop reading anything that could trigger my health anxiety. I saw your post in my emails & thought it was very similar to what I have been through & hopefully I can give you some reassurance that it does get better in time.

    I wanted to quit smoking so I started using nicotine gum. I never read the side effects & ended up getting massive blood blisters on the inside of my mouth. I thought I had mouth cancer. I focused on my mouth so much that i started getting burning sensations on the inside of my cheeks. I then started getting what I believed to be GERT (easily triggered by stress). I got the sorest neck & back which resulted in me thinking I had arthritis or worse. My ears were popping every time I swallowed, my feet were burning, I was dizzy & unstable on my feetI got this & the list goes on lol I got lost in Google searching symptoms & I was trying to feel every little thing in my body so much that I eventually stressed myself to the point that i could feel my heartbeat everywhere & my body was shaking (try sleeping with that going on).

    I felt like there was no way out & had almost accepted the fact I was dieing. My fiancé said exactly the same thing as your wife & it was true, I wasn't myself & I felt like I was just biding time until something bad happened. I finally went to the dentist & got the all clear with my mouth, went to the doctor for everything else & asked for medication. It took a couple of weeks but it helped me stop thinking about my health 24/7 & I wish meds had the same effect for you. but basically for myself I just had to believe that it was all a health anxiety & try to eat healthy & keep active. Everything started to get better slowly & while I'm still not 100%, I'm getting there. I'm there for my fiancé & daughter again & starting to love life again.

    Just believe in the doctors, they know what they are doing. I never even knew about health anxiety until this all happened but it's very real & people don't understand what it's like if they've never experienced it. Sorry if I have rambled, it's still a bit hard to talk about as I have tried to block it out of my life & focus on the positive.

    I know what you're going through is hard but there is light at the end of the tunnel. May I ask what meds you have tried?

  • You may and thank you for your message. I was on zoloft and prozac. Both did not work for me at all.

    Trust me I share your pain man. When I got back the E.R. the other night I was just shivering and shaking in my bed and I just couldn't even think straight! It was terrible.

    I called my parents over tonight and we talked for almost five hours. I am trying to be proactive and get a game plan for this. I am a fixer but nature. I have to fix something and perhaps that is what i have been doing this entire time. Trying to fix something, health anxiety, that does not require fixing. What does require fixing is changing my attitude and trying to enjoy life and not simply focusing on the fear. Fear is the easiest emotion to feel and I have let it dominate my life. Thank you for your great post. i will stay positive!

  • You're welcome man. That's the thing with the mental battles, everyone reacts & heals differently. I definitely think fear played a big factor with me too. I became a dad late in 2014 & when I thought I had cancer I feared I was going to die & miss out on my little girl growing up & not being there to protect her etc. I think the meds blocked the fear out for me thankfully. I'm on eleva which is the same as Zoloft I believe.

    I believe you're already on the right path with the right attitude. You're going to be alright mate :)

  • You said: "Is it possible for the personality you have to die? " This rings so true for me. I have recovered significantly for my anxiety — perhaps I am even a "better" person than I was before it all happened, but I am not the same "me" and I miss the old, pre-anxiety me.

    You mention BPD (borderline). The first time I read about that I was struck by the similarities. I was also struck by how strongly I *didn't* want it to be true — that this could be me. It's something I am a bit in denial over. (useless being in denial I know).

    Once you have done some therapy and practiced a bit of meditation, I'd recommend you try a little hypnotherapy (it's nothing like you'd expect). That really bypasses all the conscious/intellectual assumptions I has and was very revealing. I took what I learned from that back to therapy to work on. It's great to switch back and forth from therapy to hypnotherapy to break through plateaus.

    I really appreciate your posts. They are so thoughtful and honest and well composed. And like me, your anxiety came from a "near death"/health experience. (death seems to be the ultimate affront to our ego, doesn't it?)

    You mentioned your wife is pregnant. Have you considered that this could be contributing to your anxiety. Adding to your family and the responsibilities that come with that, which place you firmly in the realm of adulthood — pretty big life change.

  • Thank you for your post. Yes. I believe my wife being pregnant is playing a part in my anxiety.

    I lost one of my friends in a car accident. A tree fell on his moving car.

    I have never dealt with loss well and I have crafted a personality that was devoid of any real coping mechanisms. As a result, I don't believe my brain was prepared to deal with loss. I am fixer by nature and I try to fix everything. I spent time after he died with his mother and his wife and daughter trying to make things better. While this was good at first, my personality again does not allow me to find closure easily. In addition, I believe that since I never really developed any coping mechanisms, I think that I chose to life my life very ignorant of reality. Call it Peter Pan syndrome. My friend that passed was a friend of mine for over 20 years and we played high school baseball together. I think that when he died, I saw my entire childhood flash before my eyes and I think REALITY hit me all at once. Because I never coped with any losses or issues in my life and just buried them, my mind finally said, enough is enough, and when I had the health scare it just set my anxiety off. I really believe that. To compare my life to a book, I think the first chapter of my book would have been 200 pages long. However, when I think I had my health scare, it was to much for me to cope with and it made me realize that I am not longer a child. I needed to start the next chapter, but since I never dealt with any of my problems, I was unaware or unable to close the chapter and begin a new one in a functional and rational way. I think my health scare is what caused my breakdown but I think having to find closure in my friends death and the death of my childhood was enough that my innocence was destroyed and replaced with reality. Thus, I replaced rationality with fear because it is much easier to be afraid then rational.

    My friend passing may have triggered the depression with utlimetly led to first first anxiety attack because all of these things happened around the time my wife found out she was pregnant. So I had a lot going on and I was forced to deal with it. So right now, I think my anxiety is coming from the fact that no matter how hard I try to deny it, I am an adult. I am 32 and it is time for the next chapter of my life. I know it can be a better person, I have some regrets but as I talked to my parents tonight for over 5 hours about it, I was provided some insight into my childhood and it became very aware that it would not surprise me that I do have some sort of Borderline Personlity Disorder because it is not rational to fall apart after a health scare. I know it happens, well mainly, because it happened to me but my journey is now more about finding understanding of why I reacted the way I did and becoming a stronger person because without question there will be more trails in my life and I need to be better equipped to handle them the next time they happen.

    Thank you again for your post. I was so helpful. I appreciate all the feedback. It makes me feel that I am not alone.

  • Back at the beginning post you said "deep in my gut, my internal alarm has been switched to constantly be on alert and I don't seem to (have) the ability to switch it back off again." Is that still true? I wonder because I have GAD and that's the description my Dr. gave me for GAD. He said I don't have an "off" switch for anxiety, that it just builds and builds until it becomes too much for me. I'm on medication 24/7/365 for it.

    When people have anxiety around the clock, their minds reduce it by trying to focus it on one thing, like a fear of flying, small spaces, or heights. This allows them to feel less anxiety the rest of their day. I don't know if it works that way for health anxiety. Food for thought.

    I see you facing realities in your life that many people run from. You're growing in leaps and bounds. Kudos to you!! Keep up the good work!

  • Yes. My alarm is always on. Always. It's frustrating.

    That is great point. Perhaps my focus on my health is just a way to simply a complex anxiety problem I am failing to comprehend.

    Thank you for your post!

  • I don't live with anxiety all day long and I wish that could happen for you. That's why I wrote about anxiety. I love the freedom I feel and I remember how awful it felt when it wasn't under control. Truly hell. I don't like to see people suffer when they don't need to, so I speak up, hoping they'll get treated. Be well.

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