My name is Neil, and i’m 48 years of age, and currently bedridden with a severe case of anxiety.
Up until 2019, I was thoroughly enjoying life, a great job in support work, regular trips out, nature walks, breaks away, it couldn’t be better, then it all changed.
Me and my partner were taking a drive to visit family on a lovely spring day in March, when suddenly, my chest became really tight, I was gasping for breath, I had pins and needles in my hands, spreading to my ribs, my heart was racing and I was sweating. It started happening again on the way home, all those symptoms returned, what was happening to me?
This started happening on regular occasions, on a bus, in a shop, supermarket, and started impacting my work life, eventually giving up the job.
My doctor examined me and suggested this was all anxiety based, but as my symptoms were so debilitating, I didn’t believe this, thinking it was more serious.
The physical symptoms became so overwhelming, I actually passed out whilst we were shopping, and I spent 30 minutes in a local walk-in centre.
Meanwhile, my world began to get smaller, I couldn’t go into a busy place, shop, town, or travel in a vehicle, all I had left was a short country walk in nature.
Eventually, my symptoms would be triggered simply by being outdoors, so I could no longer even enjoy the countryside, and it would start happening around the home. By that time, the pandemic had started.
In August 2020, the palpitations started, every few minutes, every day, for 2 weeks, I was absolutely terrified and became bedridden in our spare room, thinking something was serious. I discussed this ‘new’ symptom with my doctor but again, he maintained it was down to my anxiety.
I started to think I was suffering from an underlying heart condition, and the palpitations would come and go, making me frightened and very anxious.
I was examined by my doctor, he said I was fine, blood pressure monitors and ECGs all came back 'normal'. The palpitations would come and go, almost daily, sometimes I would get several in one day, but enough to keep me anxious and frightened. I would get breathless and dizzy if I went to the bathroom and back.
My hygiene also went downhill as a simple shower would become too big a task, even using a stool to sit in the shower, but getting in or out of the shower would trigger my physical symptoms.
In June 2021, the doctor sent the paramedics out as my palpitations were becoming so bothersome, I was contemplating suicide. They took an ECG and said my heart-rate was an alarming 136, but they couldn't take me to hospital due to the pandemic and my seriously anxious state.
Leaving the house, especially during the pandemic, would raise my anxiety levels further and make my state worse, so they advised I had my bloods done the next day, which I did, and I was prescribed beta-blockers (Propranolol), to lower my heart rate as it was quite fast.
The doctor maintains that, if something sinister was wrong, something would have happened by now, and maintains that this is anxiety based and nothing is physically wrong, yet I am at constant conflict with myself, again, contemplating ending it all as recently as November. Since my partner was now my carer and doing everything, I felt it best if I was no longer here and let her go.
I’ve spoken to 4 different doctors, 3 nurses, an endocrinologist, numerous therapists, psychologists, yet I am still left without any answers. It’s like I want somebody to give me a magical dose of medication that will ‘fix’ me and give me my life back.
Today, I still get the occasional palpitation, or slight flutter, I am dominated by these, even though I can go for periods of up to 10 days without having any. I still get the physical attacks, mainly if I attempt to move about, chest tightness, pins and needles, and if I get up just to visit the bathroom, I become light-headed, dizzy, breathless and exhausted.
I wake up each day and become anxious about what the day ahead brings, and if I get a flutter or a palpitation, sometimes even a mild 'twinge', my anxiety levels are raised and I start to focus on them again, stopping what i'm doing/watching.
I am unable to break these cycles, my symptoms are so debilitating that i’m unable to live a normal life and still believe on occasion, that something is wrong, my life is a daily nightmare.
If I remain in bed calm and relaxed, watching my favourite things, playing puzzle games etc, I can remain stable and feel safe in my own environment, but this is no life, i've already wasted 3 years of it.
I am vegetarian and do not take anti-depressants.
I am here now to ask if there is anybody out there who has gone through the same thing as me? Are you having palpitations? How do they affect you? How do you cope?
I would value any input you can offer me and thank you for taking the time to read my story.
Best wishes, Neil
Hi! After reading what you are going through right now.. I’d like t lo reassure you.. you will get your life back, with determination and acceptance. I have been through this 2 years ago and thought there would be no end.. but there is.. it takes time and I’d recommend CBT therapy, it’s all about the mind and re training your way of thinking, the physical symptoms are real and worrying but this is all down to your nervous system.. I still have mild symptoms some days but learnt to accept them and take little steps each day.. yes I was bed ridden at first and always on to the doctor, went for numerous tests etc.. all came back fine.. I managed this by starting slow exercise for fatigue ( you tube) also meditation, deep breathing and I started using CBD oil to help calm the attacks, also I use lavender essential oil.. accept these attacks even encourage them tell it to do it’s worse get stronger etc.. look up box breathing also and do it each day.. yoga is brilliant.. so many things you can start doing slowly ( even if it’s just 5 minutes to start with.. you will get there.. takes time.. I never thought I’d be living my life again normally but it happened! Wishing you all the best luck. You can do this!! 😊
Hello Lizzy, thank you so much for taking the time to reply, it brought a tear to my eye and then a smile, your message is very encouraging and makes perfect sense. People like yourself understand what it's like to go through this every day, so I value your input more than the doctors. I will look into the things you have mentioned as i'm willing to try absolutely anything to get my life back again, and I will enquire about the CBT tomorrow. I am also looking into purchasing a home ECG monitor which will hopefully give me peace of mind with regards to heart health. You have certainly planted a seed with the things you have said, it's so refreshing to read the positive outcomes from those who have lived this and won. I can't thank you enough.
your very welcome!! You will get there! Don’t give up.. picture yourself doing what you love again.. yea it’s a shock you feel silly and wonder why.. just look forward don’t look back.. I still have the odd days even now where I have anxiety but don’t let it be beat me.. I stopped taking my pulse, checking heart etc.. only makes it worse.. long as medically you’ve been told it’s nothing serious.. you’ll be you again! 😊
I do appreciate your words, it means a lot to hear people say these things. Once I get the monitor I can at least rule out the heart, then I can concentrate on everything else. Thank you again x