Lost with health anxiety

I realise that everyone has their own mountains to climb and yes some are steeper than others but when you're teetering on the edge I can promise you that no mountain feels higher than your own. This morning I woke up same as any other day and that means that I really don't want to get out of bed, not because it's overly comfy or because I have constant pain or because my life is bad but because whilst I'm lying down on my bed I'm safe as far as my head is concerned whilst I'm lying down most of the fears I have won't happen. You see when lying down you can't faint and when you lay on your left it's easier for the blood to flow less chance of heart attack and less pressure on your spine equals less chance of stroke. These aren't medical facts they are probably less true than most telephone sales conversations, but, to my illogical mind they are 100% true and will therefore save my life. So my beautiful son comes in for snuggles and we get out of bed. Make breakfast and start the fun of getting dressed ready for nursery, so far I've had three panic attacks meaning I have to sit down because as far as my mind is concerned the ground is bobbing up and down like a bad ferry crossing and I can't quite catch the floor. In my head this means that I am walking in much the same way as if I'd been having a heavy night on the town staggering to the kebab shop in heels that are two inches too high. In reality I probably look like every other mother first thing in the morning wearing a dressing gown and slippers. My son has a clean face a full tummy clean teeth and his outfit isn't on back to front which means it's time to leave I've haphazardly thrown on whatever I touch and most important of all a hat because it helps to hide me, again a ridiculous fact my mind has thrown out because I'm probably more noticeable wearing a winter hat in summer than the lads on the estate wearing swim shorts drinking tenants super but my mind has spoken and fighting something small like wearing a hat is too much effort whilst I'm fighting about opening my front door. I do not have a choice I have to take my child to nursery, actually I do have a choice because nursery isn't mandatory however the thought of him toddling off to school full time without any previous experience of being without mummy is so far from acceptable that to me nursery is a must. But I've already thought up 20 excuses to keep him home and I've not unlocked the door. I make my way there my feet know the route so 9/10 my eyesight doesn't matter because I am on full autopilot right now. My son is chatting away about who he will play with and what he wants to do after I've picked him up and I'm trying my best to listen because I desperately want to give him my full attention but there's a pain in my left arm and my jaw is hurting so my mind is freaking out and telling me that heart failure is only a step away. My rational mind is telling me that my heart is healthy and I'm talking in complete sentences so I'm fine. My arm is hurting because yet again I couldn't say no and I'm therefore giving a very tall 4 year old a piggyback ride and my jaw hurts because I tense it and it moves over to the left quite far when I'm having a panic attack. But who listens to rational thoughts when every centimetre of your skin is tingling your ears are ringing and sound like a tornado is blowing down each canal. Who listens to rational thoughts when your body is screaming at you that you are going to die and your son will end up being run over by a car or snatched by a peadophile because I'll be dead on the pavement and won't be able to make sure he's safe. I'm still talking to my son and to anyone walking by there is nothing wrong with me, except that I might be gurning at them with my dodgy panic jaw. But in my head those passers by are judging me because I'm a lousy parent who can't give my child 100% as my head is taking up every ounce of spare energy trying to make me fail and I'm walking like a drunk and because I keep putting out my hand to make sure I'm not walking too close to things with my double vision this is so unbelievably noticeable that it reinforces their belief that I must be a smack addict. Those passers by are just the click of a button towards ringing social services and taking my child away. We are at nursery his bag and coat are in the right place he's found his name and put it in the basket and given me a kiss and gone to learn, I'm on my own I have no safety as I can't hold his hand tight or talk about nonsense or make silly faces at him to try and calm these ridiculous thoughts. The other mums are outside I want to run home but these ladies will be there when my son has play dates with their kids and therefore they can't think I'm crazy and if my head weren't so messed up these women would become my friends, we'd meet for coffee and swap knitting patterns and discuss child birth or do whatever mums do when in groups but alas I'm a crap friend I cancel plans and make excuses and I can't remember my name most of the time so I'm stuffed if I know yours. So I stand with them and I try so hard to act normal I'm telling myself that they won't notice that I've been shuffling my feet the entire time I've been there or that I've repositioned my hat at least 20 times pulled my sleeves up and down way more than the season allows for or that I'm holding my jaw in a stupid place. And I'm walking home the conversation I've just had is replaying over and over because maybe I said something wrong or maybe I should have said something and I didn't and they all think I'm thick anyway and are probably now laughing about me over coffee swapping knitting patterns. I'm home and the housework needs doing but right now I'm scarlet o'hara and I can't think about the dishes right now I'll think about them later. I need to go to the shop otherwise none of us are eating later so yet again it's time to unlock the front door. I know this route I can do this! Up the steps starting to feel blurred around the edges on my street, I can feel every breath I take and every pump my heart makes. I'm going to feint, you've never fainted in your life why would you now! Up the gitty, well nobody would find you here if you needed help. I don't need help! The grounds moving and my head feels weird. It's just the start of a panic you're fine! Go in the co-op get a loaf of bread and some milk great I'm having palpitations. Only two more shops you can do this. Go in to the butchers, you're safe here he knows your name he knows you panic! Gives him all the more reason to think I'm barking! There's a queue of course but I knew there would be as there always is, do your tapping just relax you're ok! I'm not my heart is going crazy and I can't breathe! I'm talking to some old dear and if she asked for my bank details I wouldn't know if I'd given them my head is telling me to run but my shame is keeping me here, if I run I'll never come back. I place my order and say I'm just nipping to birds whilst he sorts it which I do a lot so he knows I'm having a panic attack and in my mind he's now laughing about it to every customer who comes in after me I dash to birds I'm walking so fast everyone must be staring luckily my eyesight is crap so I can't tell if they are. I go in birds grab a ploughmans and stand in the queue. I can't breathe my ears are ringing my head has lost all rational thought. My mum worked here I literally know all the girls names their kids names their grandchildrens names and where they live but I'm not safe and there's people and I can't breathe! If it wasn't for my shame still being in the back of my head I would have sat down against the wall and dropped my head into my hands but I can't do that not yet. It's my turn the lady behind the counter is amazing and I've been out with her and her daughter and my mum she asks if I'm ok and my mouth talks before I have time to reign it in. I'm having a major panic attack please ignore me. Another one of the girls ask how I am and my mouth opens and I just make a weird vowel noise. Get my change say a very rushed thank you and run! I'm shouting at Siri to phone mummy and I'm not ok mummy answers and is lovely and her voice and the love I hear in it sends me crashing over. I'm in a jitty crouching down sobbing she's sending daddy to fetch me and I've failed! Again! I can't run home because I can't see to run and also I've not paid the butcher yet. I'm in my 30s in a village that I've lived in my entire life and I'm sobbing in a jitty way to my mum. Who's talking to me calming me down but I couldn't tell you what she said because all I could concentrate on is trying to breathe properly. Daddy arrives and I go into the butchers with him but my stuff isn't ready yet I know I look ridiculous and I start to freak out again. I shout the butcher by name because he knows me he's had this butchers for longer than I've been alive so everyone knows him. Tell him I'm having a panic attack and that I'm going to my dads car and he will pay. I steal daddy's keys throw him some money and run shouting Siri again to phone mummy and the jitty is getting narrower and the trees are bending in and the floor is shaking jumping and moving and I can't breathe. I get in the car light a fag and sob again to my mum who is too used to this I sob because I failed I sob because my parents shouldn't have to cope with my meltdowns I sob because I'm safe and I sob because I'm scared. Daddy is my knight and brings down all the stuff from the butchers and makes jokes and gets me smiling around my gurning jaw he takes me to my sons school so I can pick him up. There's an unspoken agreement that if I can't get out the car he will get my son for me but I can't fail again today it doesn't matter that my face is tear stained or that I'm tingling from my head to my toes I have to be there in that nursery to pick up my son who has to believe that his mummy isn't a failure and will walk through fire for him because he deserves the best and because I had that from my parents and still do have that and there is no better feeling. Daddy takes me back to there's so I'm not alone which makes me want to cry but I won't not in front of my son. The time now is 12 o'clock midday and I'm knackered. I've got 8 more hours to go until I can break down again once Oscar is safe and secure in his bed and more mountains to climb and less energy than I had this morning but I won't give up I will keep fighting. The dishes still need washing but I'm scarlet o'hara and I can't think about that right now I'll think about it later.

This is a post I put on social media but I think it explains my health anxiety and really I just wonder if anyone could give me some techniques to try and tame this monster because I'm not coping very well right now. Love to all


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8 Replies

  • Emest86, slow down, take a deep breath, hold it for 4 seconds, let it out slowly, then repeat. This releases natural tranquillisers that are helpful. That was quite a posting, more like a few pages from your biography, actually quite creatively written but far too long for our purposes which are to help you based on our experience with anxiety disorder.

    Are you seeing your doctor or a therapist? Are you on any medication? The first thing is that you are NOT going to feel like this for the rest of your life. Far from it, you can recover your quiet mind and you will recover. For Oscar, your family and for yourself.

    If you haven't seen your doctor yet see him or her soon, that's what doctors are there for. He will be able to reassure you about your fear of heart failure, I'm pretty sure it's anxiety but I'm not a doctor.

    The aim of modt people here is to recover from anxiety disorder using proven successful self-help techniques, most people try to avoid medication but there is a place for medications in recovery: when the bad feelings are overwhelming the meds give a much needed break, a chance to think clearly and create a recovery plan. I think you need such a break, Emest86, for yourself and for Oscar. You may tell me you've tried meds or are on meds now but you don't seem to have found the one that's right for you. If that's the case don't give up, tell your doctor if a med isn't working as there are many others that will work for you, remember also that many of these meds take 3 to 4 weeks before you feel the benefit. It's your call but in the short term I'd say you need the calm and clarity that meds can bring.

    Now I'm going to tell you how you got to be this way and how you are going to recover. You must have been under a lot of worry and stress for quite a time and eventually your nervous system could take no more and it became over-sensitised. In this state our nerves start to play tricks on us: small problems appear to be massive obstacles and we begin to experience symptoms that seem like serious diseases or illnesses. But they aren't real illnesses, like your heart problem maybe, they are fake and fraudulent - over-sensitised nerves are expert at mimicing real ilnesses and we fall for it every time. We soon become hypochondriacs and use Google to justify our worse fears. But the good news is that all the symptoms that sensitised nerves bombard you with can't kill you, can't disable you permanently in any way and they can't make you lose your mind. The longer term plan for recovery is to return your nerves to their normal pacific state by breaking the vicious circle of fear causing symptoms causing more fear causing more symptoms and so on and so on.

    How do you achieve this, I hear you ask? First you should address the original worries that got you into this state - identify them and resolve them and if you don't know how then ask a wise and trusted friend to advise you. Second, you can stop the panic attacks and bad feelings and fears from constantly feeding the fires of your over-sensitised nervous system if you simply stop fighting them. Fighting means more tension and stress, your nerves need less not more. Instead you ACCEPT all the bad feelings and panic attacks without fighting them and with a minimum of fear - you are like a rock on the shore and the mighty waves come crashing around you, backwards and forwards, again and again, but the rock endures. By practicing acceptance persistently you can carry on as normal even through the panic attacks because you now know they are frauds and confidence tricksters that cannot do you permanent harm. And this is the beginningvof the end for all these bad feelings which are no more than glitches in your nervous system because you now know the enemy and you know how limited its powers really are.

    The person who developed the Acceptance technique for curing anxiety disorder many, many years ago is Doctor Claire Weekes. As a young woman studying to be a doctor she experienced anxiety disorder and she developed the Acceptance method to cure herself - and then wrote down what she had discovered so others could recover too in her first book 'Self help with your nerves'. This book has helped untold thousands like you to recover and there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be next. The book is easy for tired minds to read and you will soon recognise yourself in its pages and it's available from Amazon.

    If you tell me you've already read the book then I say read it again. And again. And soon you will join the hopeful band of travellers along the Yellow Brick Road to recovery.

  • I'm on mirtazapine and have been at 45mg for a few months now. My dr said they are the best he can give me really but if I'm still feeling this way in a fortnight he will send me to see a phyciatrist who might give me something different. I will try that book as I really don't understand the acceptance part as I think I have accepted it in some degrees but everyone says accepting it makes it go away quicker so I obviously haven't grasped it yet. Thank you for your honesty I will keep posts shorter in the future. I will try the breathing exercise for 4 seconds as I'm trying 7-11 at the moment and it doesn't appear to help. Again thank you xx

  • Emest86, If the medication your doctor is giving you isn't helping then I'm sure a psychiatrist will know something better but it's the time factor, you need something now. Trying to explain the acceptance technique in a couple of paragraphs isn't easy but Claire Weekes' book will put you completely in the picture. Even then her last imperative is 'Let time pass' it's not a quick fix. It takes practice and persistance but it does offer a road to recovery.

  • :( oh I want to give you a big hug right now. That was me a couple of months ago felt like a failure to my kids but it was my kids that got me out of bed every day I had to get them washed dressed and food because I was their mum and it was my responsibility to look after them if I didn't have themi think I would still be lying in bed they gave me the power and strength to get up every day they are my world. Eveything you described that was me am still not 100% but getting there. Your son will look at you as the most wonderful woman in the world so don't feel like a failure you are doing a great job. And mum's at the nursery most probably don't even notice that you have anxiety. I hope you getting help of your doctor it's does get better I got though it with therapy I take no medication, I do meditation and I also now take magnesium supplements which have helped me a lot it has reduced that drunk when I walk feeling and dizziness. Remember it's you that controls your mind not the other way round. Your son and parents will give you the strength to get though it it's hard I know but you can do it don't give up keep pushing yourself everyday. Lots of love. X

  • Thank you so much. Yes you're right I know if i didn't have to get up I wouldn't either and if you can get through this then so can I. I want to hug you too, thank you! X

  • You can get though it you really can. I was so paranoid and now I am so much better it did take me about 5 months to feel better but all people recover different. I used reverse phycology (sorry can't spell it) I was terrified to faint and now I think oh so what if I faint I won't die someone will help me get back up. And when I get anxious a I just laugh to myself and tell it to do 1 not in the moodd for it today reverse phycology. And the main 1 is the magnesium I take it calms me so much that drunk feeling now gone read up on how good it is. You can do it just keep going every day I know it's hard but stay strong you got this. X

  • Sorry it took so long to reply, I've been looking in to magnesium supplements but I'm too scared to take them because of the health anxiety. I need to ask my dr I think but then I'm scared in case he brushes it off. I need to give my head a wobble lol you're really brave to be able to do reverse psychology Hun but it gives me strength to know that you've done it :) so thank you xx

  • Am scared to take pills as well I only can take meds for pain. It took me a lot of courage to take magnesium but I am so happy I did. But I understand due to your anxiety it's a horrible thing to go though wouldn't wish it on anyone. I wish you well to be happy again I know it doesn't feel like it now but you will be ok it takes time.

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