Can any one relate?

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Hello, so I've been suffering with anxiety and panic attacks for about 4 months. It all started after I got a tattoo. The day after I had it I had my first ever panic attack, I thought I was dying so an ambulance was called. They couldn't find anything wrong with me apart from a fast heart rate so sent me home. It happened again 2 days later and I genuinely thought I was having a heart attack as the pain in my chest was so bad, so taken back to hospital. They did ECG's and chest X-ray etc but nothing came up. My doctor also ran tests but nothing. She diagnosed me with anxiety and panic disorder. For the first  6weeks I couldn't leave my bed, the anxiety had a full on hold of me, I've never experienced anything like it. My doctor started me on cognitive therapy courses and acupuncture. I tried citalopram but they made my anxiety worse so came off them. After a while I started to feel more normal, so much so I went back to work and started leading a normal life again, this lasted for about 7 weeks. I was due to go on a hen do Saturday just gone, and it must of been the thought of that that tipped me over the edge again. Because now my anxiety is back with e vengeance and impoverished had 3 panic attacks. I really felt like I was getting somewhere, but this has really set me back. Any advice would be appreciated xx

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  • Posted

    Sorry, when you say 'doctor', do you mean GP or a Psychiatrist?
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    • Posted

      I don't suppose you know if your GP has any training with regards to psychiatry and treatments, do you?

      The only reason I ask is that there are more helpful methods of coping with anxiety than simply adding to the anxiety by giving you a crutch to lean on until talking therapies (more helpful) become available. For a GP to first diagnose something she doesn't have any understanding of and second, treat with medication without understanding what that medication actually does, is all too common a mistake they make and deeply irresponsible.

      Reading what you have said, I've been there - can relate to it totally - and I don't know what advice you've already had in terms of relaxation exercises but currently are you on the waiting list to see anybody else, guided self-help, counselling, EMDR, CBT at all?

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    • Posted

      I have no idea if She is trained In this area, my guessing is no though.

      she prescribed me the citalopram, but I felt horrendous on it, felt like I was in a deep pit of despair and there was no way out, I told her this and she told me to stop taking them, she them prescribed me some other anti depressant but I didn't take them. She did however get me short listed for cognitive therapy as there is a big waiting list, I had my last session last week, and the acupuncture I arranged myself and had 8 sessions but was very expensive. I'm going for sme reflexology this week and have even be thinking about hypnotherapy. 

      Ive been taught breathing techniques but that's about it, and I'm not awaiting any more treatment. Do you think I should go back to my GP and ask?

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    • Posted

      You seem very knowledgable.  I have come off mirtazapine because I don't want to take drugs. Waiting for CBT.  But petrified there is something wrong with my heart.
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    • Posted

      I felt like there was something wrong with my heart, but I've come to the realisation now that it is anxiety. And that's all it is, but it affects us physically in so many horrible ways.
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    • Posted

      Hypnotherapy, I've been told, is good. Very vague criticism, I know, but I've been told it can help a lot when it comes to dealing with specific anxieties - fear being one of them, but fear of what would be the question, I suppose. I will say you've done amazing to not be on medication and you'd be completely right to doubt it's effectivity; especially since what it seems you have is mild anxiety.

      I've posted this quite often on here and have had feedback saying that it's been helpful so I'll post it here too. Feel free to send a private message if you struggle smile

      The best thing to do first is become aware of your physiology, or the very real physical symptoms you're experiencing. They are there. It isn't necessarily a symptom of anything else but if you fear it is, you should consult your GP. If you have physical checks and they eliminate the problem (ECG for heart, etc) then you should put it down to anxiety.

      Anxiety comes because your brain is creating a 'fear' in your mind, and as with anything that creates fear, you become anxious.

      The anxiety, usually, starts in your chest, so you begin to breathe faster and your chest becomes tense (as a muscle would if it is being exercised). Your lungs need more oxygen and no greater way of getting oxygen around your body is by blood. Blood gets to your lungs faster when your heart pumps it quicker, so your heart rate increases.

      The lungs are working hard now. They are communicating with your brain asking for more help. Your brain helps by asking your heart for support. So the heart is working harder than it normally would to the point where it needs help from your brain again.

      Your brain can't cope with both having a go at it asking for support - you get symptoms such as perspiration, pains in your chest, tingling in your arms, toes and fingers. So your brain panics and makes mistakes.

      Your brain then tells you to react accordingly – panic.

      The panic says, “focus on your heart; why is it faster? Why are my arms tingling? Why does my chest hurt?”. Your brain says, through duress and under pressure, “I'm having a heart attack; I'm going to die!”

      You're not. Just stop and think before your lungs tell your brain that they need oxygen, fast. Focus on your breathing.

      How to deal with anxiety is subjective and it depends on how disciplined you are in being able to set yourself space and time to be able to perform breathing exercises rather than rely on medication being there for you to help you. 3 things I've found are the most helpful - 1. Guided Meditation, 2. Mindfulness and Awareness, 3. The '7 to 11 Breathing Technique'

      Guided meditation, first of all, is quite structured and disciplined in the sense you have somebody there guiding you through the process of meditation (obviously) and you don't want to disturb others doing it at the same time - but similarly expect others to respect you whilst you do it.

      Mindful and awareness can often come hand in hand with guided meditation. Through mindfulness and awareness, you become aware of where you are and most importantly what your body is physically experiencing. In focusing on these feelings (chest pain, shortness of breath, pins and needles) by breathing them in, in a controlled manner, by breathing them out you are effectively telling your brain and body to breathe these pains out too, and they will eventually go away.

      The 7 to 11 breathing technique is when you breathe into your lungs through your mouth, nose or both, until your lung capacity is completely full - it may even hurt; you may use parts of your lungs you've never used before - and hold your breath for 7 seconds. Following this, you purse your lips as though you were blowing out a candle and gradually exhale until your lungs are empty. You hold this for 11 seconds and don't take another breath.

      Keep doing this for as long as you want. The longer, the better. During the exercise you might experience forms of euphoria; your fingers may tingle, your head may feel slightly dizzy - this is good; this is tension unburdening itself off you; don't worry about it. Instead, focus on it and treat it as a good feeling.

      With all of this, it will not be an immediate cure. Mindfulness and awareness courses, and meditation classes take time to book and when you go to them, both take patience to master. The 7 to 11 breathing technique you can perform whenever you want.

      My advice would be to understand for the first two you won't get anywhere this week but if you take steps now to look into them and how practical it is to do them, by the end of the week you may be on the right track.

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    • Posted

      I was on mirtazapine for 5 1/2 years, Lupingirl.

      Without doubt, the single biggest mistake I made in my life was not knowing what I know now when it comes to the process involved in medication and I would do absolutely anything to help another individual avoid the same pitfalls and mistakes I made. Even if it's a complete stranger online.

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    • Posted

      I'd say avoid medication until it becomes an absolute last resort, yes.

      I'd also urge anybody who is offered medication to ask what right the person has to prescribe it, what training the person has to be able to determine whether or not it is compatible with the individual they're providing it to, and to provide evidence that the medication will give effective, subjective and individual treatment to the person it's being prescribed to with effective, subjective and individual results.

      One size doesn't necessarily fit all. GP's are good, don't get me wrong, some have taken that extra training to be able to cope with patients who visit them with a psychiatric difficulty, but a lot really haven't and have absolutely no right putting their foot into the arena. What they should do is refer them to a doctor within the surgery who has that training, and more often than not they will almost definitely never give medication without first offering a different path to follow - that of talking therapies.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for taking the time go reply. That's all really helpful thank you. My CBT therapist gave me a mindfulness cd, I tried it a few times but couldn't really get into it, my mind kept wandering, and as I have mainly health anxiety, focusing on the things my body is doing didn't really work for me. But today I have done the 7,11 breathing and that has helped. I hope I go back to feeling ok, this is such a set back :-(
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    • Posted

      I hope it works for you, Cara. Let me know if you need any more tips or any further advice smile

      (First is to try everything - and i mean everything - before considering a trip to the pharmacy)

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  • Posted

    Hi call gp and explain what you just said. Maybe there's another option or med better suited for you . And therapy works with this. Walk. See your friends. Family. Music. Meditate while working this through but don't fight the anxiety just go with it and what make you comfortable .😊
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