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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
"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.
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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