living with anxiety

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Well I've had anxiety for about 10yrs now it started as travel sickness just randomly 1 day and had to ride my bike everywhere no matter how many times I tried to get on a bus or anything I would feel physically sick also I couldn't eat much as this also had the same effect in turn I lost alot of weight I had xrays ct scans you name it I had it for 3yrs until eventually they found out it was anxiety. Medication does not work for me iv had loads over the years and all make me worse for the fact I had alot of side effects so now I automatically think I will get them from all anti depressants so feel worse on them than off. I get chest pains also in my arms I get pins and needles sweating everything and although I know it's my anxiety I can't help but think what if it was my heart? Also I panic in crowded spaces if I cannot get away eg a packed train because I can't get out of the situation it gets worse my mouth waters and feel like I could be physically sick I have it under control to a point but still gets really bad sometimes and can't seem to stop it just wondering if anyone else has this problem

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  • Posted

    Hi Danny

    That's exactly how my panic attacks started in my late teens - I was horribly and embarassingly travel sick on a 6th form school trip in a minibus - in front of the only teacher I ever had a crush on!

    I didn't know they were called panic attacks at the time, all I knew was I didn't dare eat before travelling and I was always worse at the start of a journey - I must have been hyperventilating as my breathing would go shallow and rapid and I'd get tingling in my fingers and lips. This would gradually get worse until my lips were stiff and numb and my hands rigid and clawed, and I couldn't speak. This would eventually pass - I suppose my system couldn't go any further without causing me to pass out so my breathing would get deeper and the life would return to my extremities.

    That was in my teens - I am now almost 50 and can remember it like it was yesterday!

    It was a long time before I could confide my weird problem to anyone. As I say, I had never even heard of panic attacks back then, but they, or rather the fear of being sick again in public, started to really affect my life. I stopped going to assembly and hid in the Common Room, I tried to avoid meals with my boyfriend's family. I ran out of a small cinema once coz I felt so awful. After that, I generally managed to avoid cinemas and public transport. Works Christmas do's were a bit of an ordeal at first, but at no time was I ever sick again, in public, so I learned to control myself. If I couldn't avoid a situation I would try and concentrate on something else, rubbing my hands together to try and combat the tingling...and it would work.

    The more times I started with an attack but got the better of it, the more confidence I got. So many years on they are still possible, but I know it's all in the mind now. I eat little before a stressful event, except for maybe a couple of ginger biscuits (ginger is a known remedy for queaziness and nausea), and I ALWAYS check out the exits / toilets if I go somewhere new...like a theatre recently.

    Your panic on a crowded train sounds so like my past experiences. Your eyes desperately seek a way out and when you see no exit you panic, making things so much worse, and the more you panic the worse you feel.

    It's a very viscious circle - but it CAN be broken...but not without some outside help. When I finally confessed my "weakness" to a close friend and the boyfriend who later became my husband, it was a big step in helping me to learn what to do to help me combat my irrational fears.

    You will find you are in no way alone in your fears, and that different people have their different ways of distracting their minds in these situations. It does get better.

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    • Posted

      I've found the only thing that slightly helps is my music I never go anywhere without my headphones as the distraction seems to help but in the situations that I cannot get out of nothing works I try to avoid crowded rooms and also not to get early trains and stuff like that but the chest pains and in my arm and also the light headedness never goes away I get them all the time I've nearly fallen over quite a few times and it's not really something I talk about as alot of people see mental health as being mad or something I've had loads of meds and also seen a psychologist and neither worked I just feel kinda helpless like nothing works other than my music but that only helps in certain situations the only time I don't feel at all ill is when I'm asleep and it's hard to explain to most people as they don't really understand because it is essentially all in my head
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    • Posted

      I totally understand what you're saying. If it helps - you will find a lot of like-minded people on here and a lot of support. Nobody in these forums will judge you as they are all going through, or have gone through, the same sort of thing.

      You have hit the nail on the head by saying that, essentially, all this anxiety is in your head. Your anxious thoughts send signals to the brain that then send the signal to the body to produce adreniline (as far as I understand it). That fight / flight hormone goes back to mans' beginning and is designed to get the body ready to leg it away from danger by sending oxygen and blood to the muscles that are needed to flee - or fight. From what I've recently read, vomitting and the runs or the sudden and frequent urge to pee, is the body's natural response to adreniline and a way of making the body lighter so it is better able to respond to the danger. Adreniline will increase the heartbeat and cause you to hyperventilate, in turn making you lightheaded and giving you pins and needles, or odd pains.

      I'm sure you will get more replies from other people who can totally relate to what you're going through. I've found this site a great help and comfort.

      Sorry to waffle on...but I hope it's helping a little? PS....I have also always found music invaluable in distracting the brain on journeys, but it really does help if you can find someone you can really trust to listen to you and be sympathetic.

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  • Posted

    You are not alone ok :-) . It is anxiety. Pills don`t work for everyone and even though I am on them I have been through many changes and had a whole load of side effects too. I don`t like crowds / supermarkets places where I feel I can`t hide basically so I stay at home more now. This illness can be heredity. Do any of your parents have anxiety problems ? . You are not alone as I said ok even though it very often feels like that. David :-)
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