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Re: Severe anxiety
Mar 12, 2011

I read your post, and as much as I wish I could tell you I have the magic answer to how to find your cure, I can't. But, I really felt compelled to tell you that I do know exactly how you feel.

When I was a young pre-teen, I think around 12, but maybe 13 or 14, I started experiencing bouts of depression and anxiety. I tried to tell my mom that I needed help, but my parents didn't believe in psychiatry. They accused me of just trying to get attention, so I never told them or anyone about it again until I was about 22. I tried several types of antidepressants, but after a year with no improvement and alot of side effects that were worse than the condition, I gave up. I have ADHD, and began taking meds for that about 2 months after I stopped the antidepressants and anxiety meds, and honestly I felt alot better for a while.

Then 3 years ago, my mom died. When I was dyeing my hair one night, about 2 weeks or less after it happened, I had the first panic attack I'd had in years, except this time, it didn't end. I fluxuated between acutely feeling like I was dieing, my throat was closing, couldn't breath, having a heart attack, shaking violently and uncontrollably, (the works) when it was "bad" to basically sitting very still trying to control my breathing (but happily with the presence of mind to realize I wasn't actually dying, I just felt like it) when it was "good", but I never stopped shaking for even 1 minute of any day. My pupils stayed dialated all the time, palms stayed cold and sweaty, I would jump and usually screem when anyone walked into a room. I even had attacks in my sleep where I would feel myself paralyzed, unable to screem, and be just awake enough to FEEL and believe my heart start to slow and I would know it was stopping. I couldn't identify anything that would bring it on, because, no exaggeration, it never went away no matter what I did. I went to a phychiatrist after 2 weeks of that and he started me on xanax xr, which truly does help.

Before, I literally wan't able to get out of bed or off the couch, I would just sit there with my arms wrapped around my ribs and shake. Then I would get a worse wave of panic and jump up and pace for a minute because I felt like my throat was closing and my lungs might collapse. I was actually able to take a job about a block from my apartment with the meds, and for a while, I seemed at least better in some ways. Unfortunately, after about 5-6 months, I started developing other fears. I became afraid of the dark first, then afraid to be home alone, especially after dark even though every light was on. Then I started getting to where I couldn't bring myself to answer the door or phone unless I was already expecting someone. Don't get me wrong, if my husband was home or with me, I could still go out places with him, and he would answer the door for me, but those feelings were very troubling. I started not being able to sleep next. I've always had nightmares, but that dream suffocation/paralysis was becoming more frequent and the nightmares got worse. after several months of greatly reduced sleep, I started getting paranoid. Just when I was home along, and pretty much only after dark, but I would hear wind or water dripping and it would somehow sound like whispering to me. I actually became convinced our apartment was haunted, then a couple of months after moving, I was convinced the new house was haunted even more so than the apartment.

Now, I told you all that so I could make you understand that there is an end in sight. It's important to take your meds, even if you think they might not be working. Anything a doc gives you for your condition will have at least some positive effect even though it wont cure it. Meds alone wont do it I don't think, at least they didn't for me. But what did help me so very very much has been to actively change my thinking and habits. I'm still a work in progress. I still feel depressed pretty often, but not nearly like I did before. I still have high anxiety sometimes, but those other irrational fears are gone completely now and I have more of an ability to make myself stop and calm down when it starts happening.

My first recommendation is to find a yoga gym near you, and I would recommend Dahn Yoga specifically. I didn't buy it at first either, but the practice of Dahn yoga focusses on openning your pressure points that hold the most tension, meditation, stretching, etc. Doesn't have all the crazy positions that other types of yoga do, it's basically the "healing" yoga. Once those muscles start loosening, you'll notice that alot of that heavy feeling in your chest and discomfort in your sides, neck and back will be gone. After doing yoga for at least 2 months, you should get to a gym and do as much cardio as you can and gradually start lifting weights. keep at it, several times a week, and I promise that after a few months, you really feel like a whole new person. It's not a miracle cure, but the production of endorphines when you work out, plus the release of tension in muscles you didn't even realize were tense, and the weightloss all women love to see will change things for you.

Don't give up. I still struggle, and honestly, there are times that I just sit down and say "I hate my life" and "I just can't do this" but then I say to myself that it's not true. I hate certain circumstances in my life maybe, but I love my life, my husband, family and friends, and puppies. I'm certain there's something in your life too that you love, and that's what you've gotta focus on when it gets bad. Well, this was a novel, I'm sorry about that. I just felt very moved when I read your post. I really hope you'll take my advice, because it's not like it could hurt or anything, and I hope it helps. And if not my advice, I really hope you find something that can bring you peace.

you're not alone.

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