Anxiety Relapse after years.: Dears, This is... - Anxiety Support

Anxiety Support

48,852 members47,931 posts

Anxiety Relapse after years.

Balamita profile image

Dears,

This is my first time joining such a group. I'm here because I'm really on the edge. Exactly one month ago, I had a total anxiety relapse. All the symptoms that I had 10 years ago came back. I was on Lexapro 10mg for 6 years and then weaned it to 5mg for 4 years. I've been doing great. Still had my anxiety but it was totally manageable. Suddenly, it came back as hard as the first time.

My doctor increased my Lexapro back to 10mg and added Sulpride 50mg (which is anti psychotic) at night. That's was one month ago.

The first two weeks were hellish, I couldn't leave the bed. I had all the physical symptoms and all the day I kept fighting not to have panic attack.

After two weeks, I was able to move, eat, sleep, even go out. And once I thought I was getting better, while walking in a mall, it all hit me again. I had to leave in a rush. It took a couple of days to clear and then yesterday, I almost had a panic attack due to a phone call. I had a rough day but it all cleared out again.

Today, I woke up as if I'm on square one. All the physical symptoms are back, nausea, heart rate increased, numb, needles, hot flashes, chest pain, insomnia, etc...

I know I have a lot of stressors on my plate, but, now I get triggered by anything. A car horn, a slammed door, someone shouting, literally anything can trigger me.

I've been doing great for years, is what I'm having normal? Also, since I've been on Lexapro for years, will the increased dosage work as it did before? It's been exactly a month, how long will I live like this? Is it normal to have blips after the major relapse? How long will I have the Lexapro increase side effects?

Sorry for my long post.

30 Replies

Welcome Balamita. I'm happy that you are here with us. Knowing you are not alone can help as well as knowing that Anxiety can sometimes come back with no rhythm or reason.It sounds like you having a lot of stressors going on right now causing your over sensitized

nervous system to respond to each and every sound around you. This is very common.

I too am on Lexapro and you may need to have your doctor up it to 15mg to take the edge of.

The rest may have to be done by therapy to guide you along and solve some of the issues going on right now. If nothing can be done about your situation, then Acceptance of what it is will have to be tried. Fighting the feeling does nothing but exacerbate the sensations.

Changing your thoughts to a more positive approach each day is very helpful since our thoughts are manifested into bodily symptoms. You took a first step forward today by coming on this safe site when people understand and care. I'm glad you are here, it's going

to be okay. :) xx

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to Agora1

Thank you for taking time to reply, Agora!Unfortunately, therapy is very expensive here, so, I have to reply only on antidepressants, which worked for years.

It's been a month since increasing Lexapro from the maintenance 5mg dose to the therapeutic 10mg. Unfortunately, Three bad days is still more than the good days. And by bad days I mean crippling in bed dying bad days.

I don't know whether there's something wrong with me Lexapro or not. Did it stop working? An I having side effects from upping the dose? Can they last more than one month? Is that increased anxiety a side effect from the increase? Will I ever be normal again?

My brain can't stop asking questions and googling everything.

Agora1 profile image
Agora1 in reply to Balamita

Hi Balamita, I'm not a doctor so I can only answer by my own experience. I understand how costly therapy can be and that you need to rely on medication to see you through this. I can tell you this, in my experience anytime we increase a med, it takes time for thebody to readjust with the new dosage. (which can increase the symptoms until the med

reaches full efficacy) You need to keep in close contact with your doctor regarding how

you are feeling and your dosage.

It may very well be, that this second time around might require a higher dosage (15mg)

Only your doctor can make that judgment as he knows your case history.

It is quite common to feel breakthroughs of symptoms while in between doses.

You will once again be normal once, it's a matter of time and patience. I know it can be

frustrating and scary but if you look at it from a different point of view, it will eventually work.

My "go to" has always been YouTube when you have questions of concern. The videos provided on that site can help you work with your doctor by providing you the assurance

you need right now. Excellent videos on questions you may have as well as Meditation and Breathing. I'm happy you are here with us to get the extra support you need from others who have been through the same thing (including myself)

We are here for each other, you are never alone :) xx

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to Agora1

I can't thank you enough for this reassurance.

Annie1936 profile image
Annie1936 in reply to Agora1

Welcome Balamita, I am 85 years old , diagnosed with anxiety when I was 50. I was so miserable because i though I was dying, I focused on my body constantly because I had a HBP incident that scared me very much. My doctor was an angel, she realized my problem, changed my medicine for HBP. Then when the anxiety went away she prescribed Xanax in a low dose, telling me it was considered addictive but we would stay on top of that. It was a miracle. Several years later I had a meltdown because of several bad things that happened, I got therapy and tried to live without Xanax but I couldn't. I went back on Xanax and it worked for me but never had to increase the dose. After I retired a lady doctor in Florida prescribed Celexa for me and together they made me my old personality, laughing and enjoying things again. So don't give up and don't think you are an addict if you need something to make life normal. Good luck.

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to Annie1936

Thanks for sharing and the encouragement!

SOPHIA24 profile image
SOPHIA24 in reply to Agora1

I too am having very hard time with anxiety I was on Lexapro and years ago but went off of it and the weaning was worse than going on at my doctor wants me to go back on it but I really don’t want to be on drugs I’m trying to meditation and yoga and I also talk to a therapist I’ve only had A few sessions with her she taught me to write down all your feelings and keep a journal and try to remember what started that panic attack what started the anxiety my doctor has me on Xanax just a half a .25 of very lowest dose I take it once in a while if I have anxiety it just takes the edge off my neurologist because I was not able to sleep had me on the whole .25 an hour before I go to bed and that is helping you say I have Parkinson’s also so sometimes I don’t know if the shaking is from the Parkinson’s or anxiety I just feel that I need to keep a positive thought and hope that I can beat this I feel that reaching out to other people help so we can always talk to one another maybe help one another that’s why I joined this group to talk with people that also have anxiety

Agora1 profile image
Agora1 in reply to SOPHIA24

Hi SOPHIA24, This site is amazing for support and understanding as long as we work with our doctors as well. You are so right in that our thought process is very

important while going forward.

It's been a long journey for me but I always believed that I would get through it.

I weaned off long time medication after finding other methods to calm my mind and body.

It takes time, it takes practice.

No matter what other issues we have, keeping our mind in a positive place helps immensely. There are many of us who have gotten through Anxiety not controlling us

anymore. We are here with understanding because we care and want to pass it forward.

I wish you well on your path to success. It pays to pursue your goal. Wishing you Peace :)xx

SOPHIA24 profile image
SOPHIA24 in reply to Agora1

Thank you so much for your support and I send you all my support to everyone also unless you’ve actually gone through anxiety you really don’t know what it’s like people think that all you’re just making it up it’s not anxiety you’re just focusing on it. And yes I’ve gotten the same line toughen it up you could be the toughest person on earth but to go through anxiety is like The worst thing you can go through but each others support and everybody else’s will do it I have faith we will do it

SOPHIA24 profile image
SOPHIA24 in reply to Agora1

What other methods do you suggests instead of meds to beat this anxiety

Agora1 profile image
Agora1 in reply to SOPHIA24

Hi SOPHIA, I spent a lot of time and money on different methods to use in addition to meds and therapy. Biofeedback, Self-Hypnosis, Mindfulness, Reiki, Massage, Meditation & Breathing, Affirmations, Visualization and most of all staying Positive.

Once I felt secure in these methods, I got off years of benzos. These tools work better

for me and faster than any pill I use to take. I'm in control of my life. My life is not

perfect by far, but my sense of control and positivity is.

We are always here to help each other, hope this helps some. I never stop learning.

YouTube is my "go to". There are many professionals who create helpful videos.

I wish you success in living and learning. Life is an experience for sure. :) xx

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to SOPHIA24

I really hope you get better and better. And yes, I came here for support as eell. Not many understand what we arr going through. I've met people with the mindset of "toughen up and be a man and handle yourself". They don't think anxiety and depression are a real thing and I'm just being weak.

propjock profile image
propjock in reply to Balamita

It’s easy to talk about “manning up” when you’ve never actually fought one of these dragons.

Intense grief is the closest most people get to the experience. “Imagine the worst grief you have ever felt, with no obvious reason that justifies it, lasting for a couple of months. Throw in people telling you that you are not actually feeling that way, or have no reason to feel that way.” Sometimes that helps people who want to get it, get it.

Those who don’t want to get it? Web search, “Man in the Arena.”

So sorry to hear you are having such a bad time. Does your surgery have a mental health nurse. If so, make an appointment. If they haven’t, your surgery will put you in touch with people who can help. You need a councillor to help you through this. I use mindfulness and yoga. But I know it’s a long hard struggle if you suffer with anxiety. Try and stay strong. There are some lovely people on here who all know what you are going through and are only too happy to give you support and great advice. If you need support, it doesn’t matter how silly it sounds, we will be here for you. Please take care and seek some more help.x

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to Lovefrance

Thanks so much for your reply Lovefrance!I really hope this passes. I'm currently in a place that I can't see the light anymore.

Lovefrance profile image
Lovefrance in reply to Balamita

Do you have family near at hand or friends who you can talk to?

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to Lovefrance

Yes, my wife is my rock. The problem is I feel like I failed her by being that weak.

I know exactly what you mean. My husband is my rock and I feel I am just too much stress for him. The trouble is unless you have suffered with anxiety you don’t understand. That’s why this site is invaluable for people like us. You know anxiety is an illness. But you just can’t see it. I try and keep myself busy and make sure I have plenty to do and a routine. In the morning I do a bit of yoga and a half hours walk. Not much I know but I know I’ve done it when I’ve finished. I do mindfulness. This is something which is invaluable but it takes time to train your thoughts. Eventually the good thoughts outweigh the bad. What about gardening? This always will help your mood. But as I said before, the best thing you can do is get some counselling. Talking will help you to see things differently. Don’t forget we are always here for you.

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to Lovefrance

I tried to go out a couple of times since my relapse. It's been the hardest thing to do. I feel like I need to be home just in case a had an attack. I don't have a garden either. I live in an apartment in a building in the city.I was just replying to another comment about people not realizing the anxiety is a thing. Even my own father once told me to "man up".

Have you read Peace From Nervous Suffering by Claire Weeks? She talks about relapses and sensitized nerves. I always find it helpful to reread it.

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to j3210

I will search for that book. Thanks!

Agora1 profile image
Agora1 in reply to Balamita

Balamita, j3210 speaks the truth. That book was the basis of my success.Many on this site have found it helpful. Dr. Weekes' videos are also on

YouTube if you want to take a quick look. Her book is on Amazon. :)xx

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to Agora1

Thanks a lot! I'll check it out.

Hey Balamita, I’m glad you trusted us and I hope we all live up to that. Everything you write is familiar. I have relapsed three times now after several good years in between.

Sometimes I learn what fueled it, and other times I don’t. Major changes in life, even happy ones, like getting married, having children, and having children move away all have put me in a place where something else in my life becomes the focus of anxious thoughts.

Once I’m in that condition, it doesn’t take much to trigger an episode of anxiety and panic. Some of this I learned with a therapist, others with a pastor, and some I figured out on my own with the help of journaling.

Zoloft worked for me for maybe five years, and then stopped. So my doctor switched me to Lexapro, which was no help. Then she referred me to a psychiatrist who put me on the low-dose venlafaxine and clonazepam I’m on now. I was just off the venlafaxine—that’s no fun—when my mother died and I went back in the hole.

I hope that this reassures you that yours is not some unique case for which there is no help, and that it along with the other responses gives you some things to try.

Many have found that meds need some help. They take the edge off so you are able to manage immediate symptoms and have something left over to change some of your mind and body habits.

Agora1 spoke of acceptance, and Claire Weekes (thanks j3210) leans heavily on it. Fearing anxiety, or fighting it, put more energy into the nerve system that creates the anxiety. Acceptance weakens that feedback loop. It is hard to accept something that feels so awful, but I’ve found that relaxing my body, slowing and deepening my breathing, and singing or reciting favorite words can bring relief. I seldom get full-force panic attacks any more. Maybe I don’t have the energy, or maybe I have learned to accept them, lean into them like big imaginary waves, and just let them pass over me and on their way.

Lovefrance recommends moving your body. We were designed to move, all day. Whatever you can and will do.

Things that occupy my mind but aren’t stressful really help me. Many are helped by gardening, but that and other chores done occupy my mind enough to bring relief. Making music does though, as do puzzles, games, repair projects that require thinking but aren’t stressful, and complicated puzzles and games, not the stressful heart-pounding ones! Help me a lot.

Being with animals helps a lot of people. We took care of a friend’s two cats while she was in hospital and rehab, and I found myself talking to, petting, and playing with them, especially the big orange one, and it made me smile. YouTube animals make me smile, too.

God had given me many helps, and I express gratitude and seek wisdom. Knowing that He’s been through it too is a comfort.

Reassure your dear wife that she did not cause it, you don’t expect her to fully understand it, that she’s your rock, and just her presence is so much help (I’m just guessing).

Keep what helps and leave the rest. We’re all doing the best we can.

💪 ♥️ 🤗

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to propjock

I can't thank you enough for taking all that time to reply back. Acceptance can be so hard especially when my whole body is shutting down with terror. I tried so hard as well to rely on God as well. The problem is, I feel abandoned at the moment. My wife, I don't know what will I do without her.All that you mentioned as triggers, I honestly can't imagine that I would relapse evertime something big happens (Death, pregnancy, surgery, moving, etc...). All I can think about is that I will relapse most of my life if that's the case.

My little sister's wedding is tomorrow. I'm so afraid that I would mess it up due to my anxiety since I was not able to leave bed most of the past month. I prepared my suit and made sure I put xanax in the pocket so I don't forget it. It's horrible what I'm feeling.

It’s horrible what you are feeling, *and* you are able to plan ahead with suit and medicine. Notice that. The feelings are indeed horrible, they are telling you all is lost, but it is not. Your mind works. Your body works.

I believe the Claire Weekes book will be useful, especially since you have limited access to therapists. Changing your thinking about anxiety and panic will take time, but you will learn some good skills pretty quickly.

Someone else, or maybe even this health unlocked site, may have an online “cognitive behavioral therapy” aid that you can use yourself. Or you can do that with a journal. Write about what might happen, and what you might do, and what might happen next. Put in lots of details. Bore yourself writing about how scary it feels, and all the ways you feel it.

The bad things aren’t as big as they feel. Our ability to cope is not as small as it feels. The feelings are even the right feelings, it is just that the volume is cranked all the way up on them, and we can’t get at the control, at least not directly.

One day at a time. Or one hour. Or one minute.

You may feel abandoned, but you are not. The most frightened passenger on the airplane and the million-mile business woman who sleeps through the whole thing have this in common. Their arrival time. It is who you put your faith in, not the strength of the faith, that matters.

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to propjock

Very wise words. Really appreciate it!

I am also going through same thing I got the calm app seems to be help g a bit You are in my prayers

Balamita profile image
Balamita in reply to SOPHIA24

Thanks a lot, Sophia!

Checked in and was happy to see that you are too, Balamita!

You may also like...