New here and looking for support

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-2005
New here and looking for support
Mon, 07-05-2010 - 11:35am
When I was a teenager I suffered on and off with depression, it never lasted long, maybe a week tops but when i got pregnant with my last child in October 2008 my panic attacks started to get really bad. I coped best I could during my pregnancy. At 12 weeks my OB gave me Zoloft and I started seeing a therapist, neither of which helped much. I am still dealing with my anxiety and I am looking for new support with this. Mine stems from health. I'm not overweight, non smoker, do not drink, young(23) but I worry every day that I'm going to die. I've been a cardiologist last year who did an ultrasound, EKG, holter, and even checked my cholestoral, all of which came back perfect, but somehow I'm not convinced and I'm sure that I'm going to die of a heart attack any moment now. I found a lump on the back of my neck, I am convinced it's a tumor or lymphoma, even though the DR said it was a bone and though it does stick out farther than the rest it's probably just inflammed(and it probably doesn't help that I rub it constantly!) I always feel light headed and keep headaches. I would really like to hear from others here going through a similiar situation as me.
Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Mon, 07-05-2010 - 3:16pm

If I were to guess, you acquired panic attack as I acquired it... well, there were some emotional problems from my past, which I'm sure helped, but where you describe week long depressions & worsening w/pregnancy.

I finally realized my anxiety was cycle related about 8 years after diagnosed of having panic attacks & probably 15+ years after my 1st emergency doc appointment.

One time when I ended up in the emergi-care my AF came while in the waiting room. Then at my 2w follow-up the doc asked if I was on my AF b/c there was blood in my urine. This is why remember this event. Then I realized, years later, that every time I went into emergi-care I would always check to see if my AF had arrived yet so I could warn them why there was blood in my urine. Then I even remembered my very first emergency trip to the docs. I was probably 15 or 16 & my doc tried to tell me it was cycle related. I totally did not understand & was completely offended.

What is really funny! Once I was dx'd with anxiety I was px'd Xanax I'd tell people drugs interacted w/me so strongly that if I just waited until my anxiety reached its worse, then take for 2-3 nights I'd be all better for 2 weeks. Aha, once I realized this was cycle related it was b/c 2 weeks later is when I started to O.

Now, b/c it took years for me to realize this was cycle related I created triggers so now I had generalized anxiety/panic which worsens with cycles.

Though, through acceptance & education I've learned how to, I guess, ignore my anxiety. It's still there, but it's not impacting my life. When it gets really bad, where it effects my entire body, I realize I just need to wait a few days & it will be over.

Anyway, you're description made me think of hormone triggered anxiety. You can Google it and find a lot of information on it. At one time I thought it was PMDD, now I think it's a hormone imbalance. I've tried antidepressants & birth control, but neither worked or made worse. So my OB told me to try to control with diet, exercise (7/days a week) & yoga/meditation.

I also try to use positive reinforcement. So if I think of something catastrophic I try to stop & think of positive things instead..... for example, 'wow, that lump is big, I wonder if.... wait, a professional has felt this lump. He has been trained in the body where I have not. I trust my doctor, I trust my doctor, I trust my doctor (repeat until you feel yourself settling).

Wish there was an easy way out of this, but there is not. For me the best scenario is learning how to live life differently. As I've started to treat myself better my anxieties have decreased. I still have them & in some area's they still have control (like driving), but on a day to day it's a small part of my life instead of the major.

I wish you 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: 03-11-2004
Mon, 07-05-2010 - 5:34pm
Hi & welcome! I am so sorry the pregnancy triggered your panic attacks. Mine appeared after I delivered. Those dang hormones have sent many of us into a tailspin):
I understand about the *heart* issues. My first panic attack was in the auditorium of the senior class play in my HS. I have been *dying* w/heart attacks for 40 years now;)
I can tell you that it will get better. Like Bonnie, we all learn ways to cope w/these fears & panic attacks. Through daily meditation, a little yoga, plenty of sleep & exercise, I keep my life in balance. When stress piles up & I begin to focus on physical illness, I know it is time to repeat positive affirmations & make time for myself. Last week I had a headache along w/stomach flu. It was not a common & ordinary headache like everyone elses. Mine was a brain tumor or perhaps the beginning of a stroke. OMG! Even though I have been @ the anxious game for a very long time, I suffered): Once again, I would tell myself over & over that I was healthy. I was doing all I could to keep myself healthy. I would remind myself that my tests were all normal & I had seen the dr. recently for a physical & I was ok. Today I can laugh about it. It was NOT funny @ the time, but I see humor in the fact that a couple of ibuprophen cured my brain tumor last week! I don't expect you're laughing now, but you will be able to when you get a handle on these health fears & anxieties.
Meds in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy is successful. That is where I was able to turn myself around. If your therapy didn't work in the past, are you willing to try again? The therapist doesn't make us better. WE make us better. However, some therapists are better than others in getting us to the better point. Also, I wouldn't give up on meds. The literature suggests & most of us have experience in trying 3 times to get the correct medication & dosage. Also, I have a big fear of meds & will admit that I threw in the towel on several meds before I should have. When we feel so miserable, it's hard to wait 4 to 6 weeks for the med to be given a chance to work.
When you can, take a look through our *coping tips & tricks* folder below. There are things you can do to get through the anxious times. I need a lot of distraction from the health fears. When I cannot re-focus, I take a walk or get out a needlecraft that will keep my head busy. If you're a person of faith, lean on your Higher Power. Some folks find fears of dying can be helped through spiritual means. Reading scripture for example or perhaps talking w/another person of faith.
However you choose to approach your anxiety, we're here to support you. Post anytime. We'll be happy to listen as you work towards recovery. Don't lose hope. You CAN & WILL get better! GL & GBU! (((hugs))) jan