Update on my health: The clinical psychiatrist I saw just put me on medication, but I refuse to take it. I am very high-functioning so the anxiety and panic attacks are not stopping me from living a normal life, in fact, while I obsess over my breathing and chest, I have not had a full-blown panic attack in months (since I took that one Lexapro, btw). I am able to control it. Some people have it so bad they don't leave their homes. Or they end up in a mental hospital. What I really want is a psychotherapist, a psychologist or counselor, whatever you want to call them. I want to try CBT therapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), that is where a therapist helps you understand the causes, both physical and emotional, of panic attacks, how to cope with them, and how to re-train your mind and feelings in order to prevent anxiety. Even just simple talk therapy, just talking to someone might help. I had that when I was a kid. Unfortunately, my health insurance is so bad, that only two more trips to the psychiatrist is covered, after that I must pay the whole bill until my over $6,000 deductible is met. And I am already in thousands of dollars of medical debt now because of these recent issues. Right now, the potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms of medication do not justify taking it because my anxiety is not so severe (Or so I think.).
Yesterday I had X-rays taken of my nasal cavity and my chest. Both came back "normal." This can't be right because last time I had these X-rays they diagnosed me with a deviated septum and pectus excavatum. I wonder if I need a second opinion? And how to get one? Or maybe I'll just try to accept it and be happy that they say (or THINK) there is nothing wrong with me at all, and hope my mind will finally be convinced of that (something else CBT therapy does.)
I have also been referred to a sleep study to see if I have sleep apnea or any other problems. All the symptoms I have and the sleep pattern I have noticed makes my doctors highly suspect it. When I was a kid, I went through one and they discovered that my brain kept firing and would never quiet down. Today every time I close my eyes I have extremely vivid dreams with lots of detail and action. There is not one night when I don't have a dream. I also become lucid in them and can ask things like, "is this a dream? Or is this real?" (Sometimes I can't tell the difference.) Or I would know it is a dream and I will say, "this is a dream, huh? That means I can do whatever I want!" And I can control it. When I have that rare (very rare, thankfully) nightmare, if it is one I had before, I become aware and I say to myself, "wait, I know this dream. It doesn't end well!" And I try to wake myself up. Or I will have a phone conversation in my dream with a real friend or relative, but I think it actually happened and am only set straight when I ask them about it, and they say they didn't call me last night. I also rarely get sleep paralysis and am paralyzed in my bed with the feeling of someone being in my room. I rationally know what it is, so while it feels scary at the moment, I know just to ride it out and I will eventually wake up. I also wake up a lot, sometimes in a panic gasping for air. Some nights I will wake up every hour on the hour...literally, on the exact hour! (With no alarm clock going off).
The good thing is I don't need to stay overnight on location for the sleep study, they are giving me equipment to take home to do the study at home in my own bed. I just hope it is accurate. This could be the cause of my anxiety and panic attacks....if I am not breathing right when I sleep, my mind might be remembering it during the day and is so always in a state of panic. Sleep apnea, and not sleeping well in general, can cause lethargy, low energy, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, forgetfulness almost to the point of dementia ( and my short-term memory loss has been extremely severe lately), irritability and anger issues (obviously when you don't get enough sleep), and can contribute to high-blood pressure and heart disease and failure. All of those symptoms (other than high blood pressure and heart problems) I have. So hopefully this sleep study, no matter the results, will lead to some help with my sleep, which should help my physical and mental health overall.