Anxiety and chest pain - a daily curse

Posted , 9 users are following.


So yes, anxiety. As this is not the doctor's office I feel I should give a more complete explanation to any who want to listen.  Thank you if you take the time!

I have had anxiety since.. forever.  It comes and goes, I have the odd horrific panic attack but most of my life has been spent happy and relatively free from anxiety.  Two months ago this all changed.  I would estimate I had at least 1000 (!!!) consectutive panic free days until that point.  Since then 60/60 of the days have had moderate to severe anxiety. 100% and it isn't getting better, at all.

Background - Stay at home dad with three little ones.  I do almost all of the cooking, cleaning and childcare in the house.  Coinciding with a lifetime of anxiety I am naturally high energy, high impact - as are my children.  Stress is a near-constant, as is sleep deprivation.  I average about 6 hours of sleep a day.

The last 12 months or so have been spent working out heavily at the gym 3-4 days a week.  I have never worked half this hard before.

That's about it - one day, walking home on the trail end of a walk I feel chest pain.  Chest pain I have had for a couple of months now on and off - only this chest pain is worse and won't go away.  Whenever I take breath it hurts until one breath in particular almost brings me to my knees - I think 'oh crap... heart attack!' - and then it gets better, but the heart rate is up and within 30 minutes I am at the hospital shaking uncontrollably in tears, barely capable of communicating.  They give me ativan and I'm better.

Next few days it remains but seems to be going away - I go to a friend's party and drink and smoke pot (something I never do) - boom! MASSIVE panic attack.   I go to the hospital on a stretcher and am hooked up to an EKG for hours and hours.  Doctors say my heart is fine.  A total nightmare.  I don't leave until 7 AM and don't sleep until 9-10 AM (thankfully on a weekend).

After this day, chest pain and panic attacks come every day.  Always at night, sometimes during the day.  I have gone through a lot of ativan (typically very small .25 mg doses) and seen three doctors... 5 times since then.

So time to see some doctors with a list of symptoms:

- Daily panic attacks that are more physical in nature than mental (worry is not a large part of them and is sometimes absent)

- Uncontrollable anxiety and heart rate increase

- Frequent chest pain (left side down to fingers) every day (hourly at least)

- Heart palpitation/feeling heart rate is out of control and trying to burst out of chest

- Frequent pressure in head + severe headaches

- Inability to exercise seriously without triggering above symptoms

- I smoke 1-2 packs a week and do have a history of hard stimulants in my past

Doctor #1:

"I think it is probably a chest injury feeding an anxiety disorder."

Chest X-Ray - comes back clean

Blood Test - comes back good

Solution - Quit smoking.  Prescribes me champix + more ativan.  Champix only makes chest pain worse and I stop taking it one week in (though I have barely smoked over the last month).  Does mention he will consider an SSRI once I quit smoking.

Doctor #2:

Runs above tests - also runs another EKG for good measure.

"I think you have Tietze Syndrome and don't think it is really anxiety related at all"

Solution - Nothing.  Just live with it - take ativan as needed.

So here I am - I laid in bed twisting and turning uncomfortably with a pounding chest until 5:30 AM last night and look to do the same tonight.  Every night is hell and where it was normally my time to relax once the kids go to bed, it is now the time of the day I fear the most.   What to do?  Is this going to be the rest of my life?  If It is - how am I to function or find any lasting happiness?

Once again thanks to any who listen~!

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello i understand you. I myself have three small children and they be so stressful at times. And about the chest pain I get them in the middle of my chest. Hang in there. I feel you
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  • Posted

    Hi Jamai,

    I've had those same pains before. Anxiety is something that will always be with us. The symptoms will come and go. It sucks that you got more than one diagnosis; maybe you should go to another doctor and get a 3rd opinion, but honestly it sounds like anxiety. You should also maybe look into going to counseling, being a caretaker of any kind can be stressful and stress triggers anxiety. You're at the right place though people will listen and calm your fears. Hope everything works out for you.

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  • Posted

    Hey pal, i do suffer sometimes a debilitating form of anxiety and panic, it has hampered me for the better part of 10 years, im a 41 year old male who goes to the gym 5 days a week, the smoking is probably an issue, breathing...chest, etc.... i started back on meds a few weeks ago, zoloft (setraline), give it a shot. Cant be worse than the way u appear to be suffering and lord knows ive suffered too... its a marathon not a sprint....good luck and keep on going, its easy to say but none of us have died yet so tgat stands for something
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  • Posted

    Adrenaline! I am a workout person too, but I had to quit for awhile because the excercise would bring my panic on. Look on what happens with your adrenaline starts going. Plus our fight or fight mechanism is not normal. It's handy when your in real danger but sucks because ours goes off for no reason!! I have had years of being anxiety free too but have been on Celexa and klonopin. Gave me my life back! The first time I started having chest pains , I was 19 ! They basically kicked me out of the hospital. !! Seriously. I really recommend you see a Phychiatrist, That is how I got well. GP did nothing for me, nothing! Also had a lot of ekg. Trust me see a Phychiatrist, they are medical Doctors who specializes in these disorders! Good luck! Btw I am 62 today! Thank God in my forties I took the Phychiatrist route.

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  • Posted


    It all sounds like stress and the test offered seemed to confirm that diagnosis.

    You could also accept the fact that being a lone parent can also be stressful, especially if you do not have a Partner ? Are you married or divorced ? People who are married can share the bringing up together and some are able to take time off from this chore.

    Your sleep patern at six hours can be ok, it depends on the actual time you sleep for or how much sleep you need. Six hours can be ok for some.

    Regards Tetzze syndrom I take that to mean the fly, Sleeping sickness ???? I do not understand what symptoms for your condition and you need to discuss your fears with His Clinic

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