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Registered: 07-25-2006
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Mon, 05-31-2010 - 6:39pm

Hi There,
I am new to this board, here's my story.

I am 35, married, work full time, and have 2 kids (3 and 15 months) and have been having anxiety attacks since I was pregnant with my 3 yr old. They always happen at night - I wake up, startled, and feel like I cannot breathe. At first they were very scary, but as I realized that I was truly fine, I now can "talk myself down" by taking a sip of water and doing some deep breathing. These happen every 8-10 days or so, the last one being 2 night ago. I told my ob/gyn and he thought it was probably hormonal and that after nursing they might go away. They did not, I stopped nursing a month ago.

So today I get time out of the house for the first time in forever with a girlfriend to go see sex & the city 2 and about 30 mins into the movie I have a full-on attack, and was fearful that I was having a heart attack or something. We had to leave. It lasted a long time and I actually was about to have her take me to the ER. I had all the symptoms - racing heart, tingling hands, felt like I could not breathe, etc. So scary.

So, now I'm quite worried. I'm a total worrywart, a Type A personality, and a control freak. I know I should see my dr., but what other advice does anyone have? I am not big on medication and would love to not have to take something.

TIA!
Lisa

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
In reply to: lgullst1975
Mon, 05-31-2010 - 7:33pm

Bleh, it's been a long time since I've had one that bad.

Yes, see your doc to rule anything else out. Yes it could be panic - seeing you talk yourself down, but is there something going on with your thyroid, etc.?

I tried medication, but never found anything that worked for my body, so if you want to know my tricks w/o meds then I can help. The biggest - BIGGEST - thing to work on & will probably be the longest one to learn, is how to stop being a control freak. Learning to accept life as it is. To let go of the past so you can let go of the future & live in the today. I have been using podcast from zencast.org to help me though this. I found them on iTunes.

Look at your diet. Maybe, if you're so lucky, your insurance will pay for some blood tests to see if you're deprived of anything. I wish my insurance would. Would love to find out if any vitamin/mineral deficiency contributes.

As for the hormones, I think mid-30s is a time for hormones to change naturally anyway. Also, it's only been a month since you weaned ... could also be you need your hormones to adjust. I finally figured out that is where my problems must be, but mine seems to be here for good & are completely related to my cycles. I had a long talk with my OB about a month ago & she said what I'm doing already is what she'd suggest for somebody w/o meds to do.

Now, BTW, if this is hormonal - birth control pills may help. I had an allergic reaction to bcp's, plus they only helped me a little. But other people feel much better when they use bcp.

So my quick tips are:

1. Look at your diet - are you drinking enough water? It's hard to eat well with 2 wee ones at home, but see if you're getting too much sugar, not enough vitamins.

2. Are you exercising? If you can some how fit in exercise, every single day, you can produce a chemical in your brain that helps keep you relaxed. The best I find & my OB agreed with me, is to do yoga. As that way you can meditate & exercise at the same time.

3. Sleep will wreak havoc on anxiety. Are you able to sleep? If you're not getting enough sleep (which I bet you are not), then try to sneak in cat naps where & whenever you can.

If you want more detailed info on what I do, then just ask.

Peace




"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2006
In reply to: lgullst1975
Mon, 05-31-2010 - 8:23pm

Thanks! Actually, of your 3 suggestions, I am doing pretty good with #1 & #2 (diet & exercise) - I eat NO sugar or simple carbs, nothing processed, only whole foods. I've been working out 5-6 days a week for the last 6 weeks(trying to lose this baby weight) and have lost about 12 lbs in that time. I don't get enough sleep but am going to make it a point to start trying to get more. I have no health issues, except that I'm on levoxyl for hypothyroidism - maybe I should get a blood test to see if I'm on a dosage that could be causing this? I didn't even think of the thyroid thing, I've taken that 1 pill since 2002.

Thanks again - I will keep you posted!

Lisa

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Registered: 04-08-2003
In reply to: lgullst1975
Mon, 05-31-2010 - 9:26pm

Oh yeah, do an Internet search on hyperthyroid & anxiety. *I believe* anxiety is a common symptom of something wrong with the thyroid.

Then being a control freak doesn't help either. I believe I read once one of the most common threads in anxiety disorder & being controlling.

So if you're doing the exercise & GREAT diet, then the next best thing to do is to learn how to accept the anxiety (not try to make it go away) and work through it. The more you accept the anxiety the less it bothers you.

(You mentioned you're doing well on your diet & exercise - but what about water intake? I was doing research once on dehydration & it appeared to me it can also create symptoms that are the same as in a panic attack. A whole foods diet needs extra water to help push the fiber through & exercise requires extra water too.)

Hopefully you only need med modification. Until then, do what you can to not let the anxiety control what you do. Even if you fear anxiety, do what ever it is you need to do anyway. Every time you let the anxiety tell you what to do, you make it louder & then 'learned' anxiety starts to settle in.

Good Luck :)
& I hope you sleep well tonight.




"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng



"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-1998
In reply to: lgullst1975
Tue, 06-01-2010 - 3:25pm

Hi Lisa. Your response to firstglimpse left me wondering about your sleep habits? Do you get enough rest? With little kids, I'm guessing not as much as you'd like, and not the quality that you'd like!

I've always been the anxious sort, but it wasn't until after my DD was born that the anxiety got out of control. I learned that chronic exhaustion is a major factor in my anxiety. The better rested I am, the less my anxiety will be. If I get too tired, my brain starts playing all kinds of tricks on me.

An odd thing I've just recently noticed though is that my anxiety will not peak on the day after a bad night, but rather the day after that. If DD has a bad night and I don't get much sleep, the next day I am mostly fine- tired but okay mentally. The following day my anxiety will go out of control- it's almost like the first day I'm too tired for anxiety, and the second day I have had just enough rest to have the energy to be anxious!

There are other factors that contribute to the anxiety, but being mentally and physically tired is often the tripping point for me. I've learned that if I'm having a bad day anxiety-wise, that is my body's way of telling me to take it easy. That doesn't mean I sleep away the day, but it does mean that I don't bother to do much more than is necessary- skip the vacuuming, don't make dinner, etc. In a way it's good because I pass on tedious work and just spend fun time with DD, which benefits us both; actually that's probably where my priority should be at this point since she'll only be little once.

I'd agree that you should probably see your doctor to make sure it's not thyroid related, and also agree that 1 month is not that long since you stopped BFing. It could be a combination of factors that individually wouldn't bother you much, but combined become overwhelming.

Hope you are feeling well today.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2004
In reply to: lgullst1975
Wed, 06-02-2010 - 6:07pm
Hi & welcome, Lisa! Congrats on the baby & also conquering those pesky middle of the night panic attacks:) Mine began after the birth of my second child(dd.) I know that hormones do play a role. Also, even w/out nursing, you will still be having internal hormonal adjustments for some time.
Mine began to interfere w/more than movie theaters. In fact, they got to the point where I couldn't drive or leave the home. I don't want to see that happen to you. As Bonnie suggested, get a good check-up to rule out any medical conditions. Talk to your dr. about the attacks & see what he recommends. Research has shown that meds in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy is the most successful way to treat anxiety disorders. This is a flaw in your chemistry. Not your character. Try to stay positive & don't lose hope. Many of us have issues w/meds. I dragged my feet for months before seeking the help I desperately needed. I didn't stay on the meds forever. As I regained my balance of sleep, exercise, good diet, plenty of fluids & avoiding triggers such as caffeine, nicotine, antihistamines & other meds(some illegal & even alcohol can trigger certain folks) I was able to go off the meds. Through therapy, I learned the basis for my behavior & anxiety. Also, belly breathing, meditation, yoga, progressive relaxation & other methods can help in getting through situations where panic strikes.
Please keep in touch. We'll support you no matter what method you use to regain your control of the anxiety/panic. GL & GBU! (((hugs))) jan

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