View Full Version : Hello

05-10-2016, 05:11 AM
I'm new, hoping to learn about the experiences of others, find some coping strategies and read recovery stories from those who are in or have been in the same situation that I now find myself in.

I'm thirtysomething and have suffered with stress and an inability to be able to control my reactions to things (whatever that is called) for as long as I can remember. I have a family history of anxiety to the extent it damaged thyroid, early cancer and heart disease.

About a month ago I had an extremely unpleasant overnight sensation of not being able to swallow a lump in my throat, pain in the centre of my chest and pins and needles in my arms and hands. I had never experienced anything like it before. I called NHS Direct and they told me to go to A&E and have a blood test and an ECG. I went, and was given a basic coordination test (no blood tests or ECG) and sent home after being told it was anxiety and the symptoms I experienced were a result of low CO2 through hyperventilation. Because I thought I knew what a panic attack felt like I didn't really believe them, and got myself into a complete pickle about it which caused the symptoms to continue after I went home. (I had no idea and can only liken my previous understanding to thinking a headache was a migraine, if that comparison makes sense to anyone.) This was off the scale of anything I had experienced before.

I have tried to work out what could have caused it but not been able to yet. I have started a diary of attacks and the globus throat sensation has - touch wood - almost completely gone away. GP sent me for blood test and ECG which both came back normal. I am weeks later however still stuck with a tightness in my chest (which varies from feeling like there is a weight on my sternum to sometimes a kind of thick band around my ribs) and a left hand that is almost permanently pins and needles-ey. I feel a fluttering in my heart area several times a day and started taking my pulse to add to the diary because I was worrying that my heart was damaged. My pulse has historically always been rather on the high side, and now it is in the 50s which seems incredibly low to me but I am trying not to worry about that, too!
I'm having a more severe attack every night which wakes me up around 3-4am, leaving me terrified, gasping for breath.

I have significantly reduced smoking and caffeine because I was really having far too much of both and found they made the attacks worse, but when I cold turkey'd on them the attacks I was experiencing got a lot more intense. I was advised by the doctor to tackle things a little less abruptly. I've bought some magnesium and am taking that along with my prescribed Citalopram (10mg), and was given a number of diazepam tablets to take when things got really bad.

Going back to work tomorrow and am scared that I will have an attack and not have anywhere to go and I will feel judged and that makes things worse. Coupled with this I find I am leaping into the air at sudden noises and panicking far more than usual at unexpected things (like the spider in the bathroom this morning). When I was at the out-of-hours doctors a couple of days ago the attack I was experiencing suddenly got a lot worse because a floor cleaner drove at me down the corridor. I am just not used to being like this and it is immensely frustrating and I find myself getting angry at myself, especially for what I am putting my partner through. Bashed my hand through something the other day as I couldn't take it any more and hurt my wrist, idiot.

Sorry for waffling on. Thank you for this forum. Much love to everyone who is suffering out there, dearly wishing we can all come through this and have peaceful, relaxed lives.

05-11-2016, 04:48 AM
Hey, sorry to hear you're having such a rough time. I can certainly relate, the story of your trip to the A&E sounds very similar to my first trip to the emergency room, and I also had a lot of trouble believing that all of what I was experiencing was just extreme anxiety.

While I don't necessarily want to give you medical advice I can say that I also experience an overall decrease in pulse when not having anxiety, fluttering heart, chest pain and tightness, strange sensations in my arms and trouble with waking up in the middle of the night in a panic and my doctor is all but 100% certain that they're all symptoms of excessive stress and anxiety.

I hope your path to recovery goes smoothly. Don't be too hard on yourself, it's going to take a lot of hard work and there will almost certainly be many set backs, but it's not the end of things.