I think I might have anxiety?

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Hi, im 16 and ive been having heart palpitations long before I was 10 although I didnt know what they were at the time but many visits to hospitals and scans have shown that I have a healthy heart. My gp also thought i had anxiety but since i didnt show any other symptoms and the palpitations were random nothing happened. But recently ive been really worried about my family and if I hear something or hear nothing id have to call out to my siblings to check that nothing bad has happened which i do maybe once every 30 minutes but I listen to them every 2 minutes. I also have to check up on my mum every 5 minutes because for some strange reason I get really scared that she would have a heart attack. I think this obsession with their safety happened when my mum shouted downstairs and when I came down she was lying on the sofa and I panicked and thought she died. This interferes with my life because if I go out ill try to get back home asap and if she doesnt pick up I have to rush home. I dont know whether this is normal and if not, how can I stop it?

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Alright Mary,

    Little bit of OCD there I think,palpitations,well I've had them now for over forty years off and on,still alive and kicking,just the old enemy anxiety,turning out one of its tentacles,causing fear and worry.

    Hard to get rid of,as I've proved,but it helps once you accept that you're going to be plagued by them now and again,sometimes a good tranquillising medication will assist,but getting a good one from your GP will be short term because of the addiction problem that may follow.

    However I found exercise and fresh air to be a big help,and also having a mind-consuming pastime that you enjoy,basically anything to stem the tide of anxiety.

    Funny enough I had some palpitations today,for about 3 or 4 hrs off and on,but I didn't worry,i know it's my digestive/gut problem that cause mine,so I just let it run its course and sure en ough they went,but then again I'm 64,and they were a lot more sinister at 24.

    Hope you get some relief soon,in the meantime don't despair,you are not alone!

    Best Wishes Malc

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  • Posted

    mary,

    I may be wrong but are you linking your own issues with palpitations to your family being harmed.  Anxiety is insidious. It starts in a small way and gets gradually larger and takes over your waking life.  Try and be realistic with yourself when you think something has happened and logically think whether it is a trick of the mind or really the truth.

    Richard

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    • Posted

      I really dont know what to think of it but my palpitations are not the problem, I just thought that they may be linked. On looking at this again I think it may just be a phobia as that is the only problem im really having. Its a lot harder to take the time to logically think about it before worrying as in my mind, even a few seconds count when having a heart attack. This has become such a problem that I can only wear headphones for a few minutes at a time because I think I hear screaming or a lack of talking. Thank you for your help though.
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  • Posted

    Pain can be felt in the body when you are anxious so normally that is the case. I just thought the fear of death was a link to the heart pains and worries about your family's fate
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  • Posted

    relaxation techniques are good such as controlled breathing slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth.  This will calm you if you are having a panic attack.

    As far as pain goes,  that is the electrical activity generated by your nervous system. Often chest pain is associated with anxiety but it could also be heart or lungs at fault depending on where the pain is so if you are still worried about chest pain maybe get an ecg to test your heart is OK but 9/10 it is usually anxiety especially at your age.

    Richard

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  • Posted

    Hi Mary,

    I've posted this quite a few times with regards to anxiety and it seems to have helped people so feel free to use it if you wish:

    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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