Constantly convinced I'm having a heart attack and it's ruining my life

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So a little background info: I'm 19 about to be 20 in a few days, completely healthy, no history of any sort of heart disease in my family, no heart attacks, nothing. I was diagnosed with OCD as a child, anorexia at 14 and anxiety about 8 months ago. Since my anxiety diagnosis I have been to the ER 11 times (I'm actually in the ER as I type this) convinced I'm having a heart attack. The symptoms differ but lately the most prevalent one is a crushing feeling in chest that's impossible to ignore. It comes out of nowhere and can last for hours or even days hence why I tend to think it's a heart attack because anxiety isn't supposed to last that long. I also can feel dizzy, dreamlike and nauseous and occasionally get a weird feeling in my left shoulder. I also get heart palpitations. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I KNOW these are heart attack symptoms so my anxiety produces them. I have been to multiple cardiologists and even an ER that specializes in chest pain. Every single test has come back clear. But I've read articles online about how women are often sent home while having a heart attack because the doctors think it's anxiety. I also think "well I was fine last time but what if this time I'm not?". In the back of my mind I know it's anxiety but it's so hard to convince myself that anxiety could make me feel like this. It's really starting to get to me and it would be reassuring just to hear that anyone else is dealing with something similar or has any ideas.. determined to beat this!

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi i know exactly what you are going through ive seen a private cardiologist and now 2 nhs cardiologists and had at least 10 ecgs, an echo test, blood tests and 2 chest xrays ive also had a 7 day monitor aswel. All my results so far have all been normal my episodes start by feeling really hot and my heart races and jumps all over my chest feels tight but most of that is me being tense. You have to trust in the what you are being told my gp is also a cardiology specialist and he says hes not worried they must have certain signs/ symptoms that cause concern but mine are not flagging anything up. I spend some part of most days worrying about it and i hate being alone its very hard to focus on anything else when it happens but distraction is the best thing i can advice. I tried hypnotherapy which i would definitely recommend also. Its horrible and something I wouldn't wish on anybody but you are not alone and its your mind trying to trick you.

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  • Posted

    I've been going through the same thing since about June. It's been horrible a really rough ride. I've been improving each month . Keeping busy and talking to people is one of the best things and GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP trust that's the most important thing. I still get bouts of anxiety but more depression moments but I see improvement . If you need any advice or anything you can message me or if you just want to talk. I know talking helps

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  • Posted

    Hey hope you are doing well.

    Chest pain can be a worrying symptom especially when you have other things going on with it and it is hard to ignore. I've had heart problems and been worked up countless times as well for different things. Basically, though, the EKG that they do in the ER would show any heart abnormalities or a heart attack specifically. If it's been good which it obvious has been then I wouldn't worry. Best way to avoid palps are good eating habits, staying hydrated, and staying well rested. Palps aren't abnormal everyone gets them and it's uncomfortable but not life threatening. If you're having a heart attack there won't be any wondering about it, you'll know and at your age as long as you don't have any chronic illnesses that would directly effect your heart, I wouldn't worry about it. Anyone could work themselves up into thinking they're having a heart attack myself included. Other things that can mimicked heart attacks though is acid reflux. Maybe keep some mylanta on hand for the times that you have chest pain and when you get it take some and see if it helps. If it doesn't then maybe this is all related to that. If it doesn't that doesn't mean it's you're heart, it's still probably anxiety. Next time it happens force yourself to sit there and take a slow deep breath in through your nose out through your mouth. When your lungs are full of air hold it for a second or two and slowly let it out. Repeat this for two minutes and see if it helps. Block out the thoughts of chest pain and focus solely on your breathing. After a couple minutes see how you feel and go from there. No one will ever tell you not to take action when you have chest pain, of course, but the odds of it being something serious such as a heart attack are beyond slim. I take care of people in the hospital every day and I'm amazed at how some of my sickest patients have strong hearts even with their illnese. The body is an amazing thing and one thing that I've found in my years of nursing is that it's pretty hard to die. Your body will do incredible things to keep you alive no matter how sick you are. There are people still alive to this day that probably shouldn't be because the human body is relentless.

    Take care.

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  • Posted

    Hi caitlin'

    I m 30 now and since from 4 years i am facing the same problem when it start ist its horrible i csnn ot take breathe....i still remember my breathe stop and i feel completely dark in front of my eyes i think i was pass out with in half hour i go to hospital discuss with a doc they tell me its bcoz of stomach after that day i feel horrible i go how many times to emergency room that i have heart attack they monitor my blood pressure and heart beats docs laugh at me that i am pschyco....well i go pvt clinic and do ecg that was normal but i feel terrible i have fear even i travel by car and in plane i always feel that my heart stop beating and i have heart attack i burp alot...till now i visit more then 30 docs...test till now i do is((( ecg 16 in which 15 is normal in one ecg doc see my heart beat is slow for 2 seconds thats why he do 24 hours holter ecg to monitor my heart beats result was clear my cardiologist say some time my heart beat is slow but i am not alone moslty people face that so no need to worry result is 99%...2 heart echos,tyroid test,3 times complete body blood tests clear last one 2 months ago...3 ultra sounds, 2 stool test,urine test,chest x ray 4 time,cbc blood test,typhoid test,endoscopy,colonscopy)))) nothing wrong accept little bit high cholestrol ... I burp alot with burps my heart is fluttering before i face skipped heart beat now its fine some time i feel but no to much panic.......i feel scared to travel by plane by bullet train some time by traveling in car....i think abiut non sense things what if this will happened i will die what if there is blast in company machine and can u believe once there is wire smell in company like burning i think is it the smell of my heart can u believe how cheap thinking this gp say i have anxiety and acid reflux it sucks i m tired of burping and when i eat spicy food i have panic attack i jumo from my bed and i burp alot and think i have heart attack my heart stop i m taking propnolol 10 mg 3 times a day and lexapro 10 mg once at night and also take one tabket for my acid problem believe me i still feel scared and have burping all day....just be patient and dont think to much i didnot think to much now i face problem now to but little bit fine then before

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  • Posted

      I am sorry to read how upset you are. I know it can be scary and I have gone through it and still do occasionally. But I have better control over it now. You can also have control over this.   Millions of other people also have the same symptoms due to anxiety. All your test came back clear. Your heart is fine. When they say women are often misdiagnosed for heart problems, they mean women normally in their 50s and higher . Your heart is fine.  You are getting palpitations because when you get anxious, you're heart sends out adrenaline which causes the palpitations. 

     but remember, any symptoms that are related to the anxiety CANNOT hurt you! They can be scary but that is all. So please relax about that. 

     all anxiety starts in the brain. So the key here is to calm down the brain so it does not become over anxious and send out more adrenaline. 

     what I found  that really calms down my mind and body is listening to audio meditations on YouTube for anxiety, stress, sleeping, depression.  Just search for "guided meditation for anxiety" or whatever else you want to listen to.  

     They are excellent and also teach you how to separate negative thoughts from yourself that cause anxiety.   There are many to choose from. I do them a couple times a day and they have helped me manage my anxiety. 

     One thing that's really important to learn is the proper breathing technique when you have anxiety or the heart palpitations.

    Search YouTube for "Mindfulness breathing guided meditation 10 minutes".  Listen carefully and do this whenever you start to get any symptoms or shortness of breath. 

     another thing that really helped me was speaking  with a counselor. This is sometimes hard to overcome on our own and it really helps to vent to someone in person who can help. 

     if you can, pick up a book called Mindfulness.  It's excellent, and it teaches you all of this and also teaches you how to regain your peace of mind to live a happy life. It is a white cover a book with a ball of tangled string on the cover. 

    Worst thing you can do is sit around and think about all of this. Try to stay active and do things you enjoy. Anything that calms down your mind is great.

     take a walk in nature, listen to calming  music, etc. 

     try not to take life too seriously and be good to yourself! 

     you can do this.   Fight for yourself and be relentless. 

     we are here for you! 😁??

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  • Posted

    This is incredible, I’ve been dealing with different traits of anxiety and depression (not so much depression) that all started in a restaurant having a discussion with my fiancé at the time. (A wave “light hit me” and I had the sensation I was going to faint while swallowing a bite of steak ( haven’t had steak in years) It has taken about 5-6 years of my life and has cost me my career among other things and I still fight to this day. I have been to the er multiple times for the same things multiple people have described, this is the first time I’ve found others that are dealing with  exsactly the same things within reason. My anxiety has mutated over the years and takes form physically in different ways, it seams stuck on the palps, stomach problems dizzy dreamy disconnected feelings I’ve even had so much adrenaline go through my body my muscles locked up in my arms and took hours to come down. I am addicted to nicotine and that Is a huge snow ball cause and effect of feelings and triggers (my main focus at the moment). Talking used to be a trigger until I was sure about it being anxiety and that I wasn’t dieing, I will continue to fight this and I will win! Stay strong everyone!!

    Love to all


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