Pythonian

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Pythonian    26

Feeling frustrated, and fascinated at the same time with regard to my current state.  I recently completed a med transition from Prozac to Zoloft and I definitely feel better.  Xanax use has gone from daily to one a week if I can't shake the building panic.  However, the smallest pain even for a second and I go right back to heart attack fears and panic.  I seem to be able to shrug them off quickly compared to before, but I've noticed almost anything now makes my mind go there when it didn't before.

Have had all the tests, etc. and see a Cardio in a couple of weeks (need to lose weight and excercise or apparently developing heart failure will be in my future) but no blockages, normal cholesterol, zero calcium score, etc. so there is no logical reason to fear a heart attack at this point in my life, but before it would take a round of chest wall pain on the left side to get me worked up, now it's even the smallest back pain, or shoulder pain that does it as well.  Again the panic seems to be much shorter lived and manageable than before, but have definitely noticed more triggers, even when small.

Have asthma and seasonal allergies that are kicking my butt and making me cough a lot so the table is set for chest tightness, chest wall pain, etc.  Frustrated that I seem to have more triggers, fascinated at the same time.  I see my Therapist tomorrow (once every 2 months) so I look forward to talking about it with her.

Thanks for reading, best wishes.

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Hi Pythonian.  After seeing your therapist, have you been feeling any better?  Have you had your cardio appt yet?  How are you feeling? 

I can understand you having more triggers.  I get that way too.  They wax and wane. I get times when it seems like nothing triggers me, and then there are times when everything seems to trigger me.  But you did say you just had a med switch and that it's been a good thing.  I am wondering if, with the med switch, you are just noticing more.  Just more sensitive to your body's noises.  I mean, a med switch is no easy thing, and I am glad to hear that you are feeling good after it.  You just may need to adjust to the new sensations that you are noticing  (they most likely have always been there - you just didn't pay them much attention ).  You said you have had all of the tests done and everything is fine.  You can now use that knowledge to help accept the feelings as normal body noises and not some catastrophic thing.  Accept the bodily aches and pains and know that it's not an imminent heart issue. Personally, I keep telling myself that my body has healed before (from whatever - aches and pains, sicknesses, etc), so I can have faith it will heal again.  Your body has aches and pains and you have clear medical testing, so you can have faith that your body will heal and the aches and pains will pass and that your heart is healthy.

Hope this helps. 

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MsLLL    194

Hi Pyth. 

I think it's coming from switching meds. You are in more alert state, maybe not fully trusting the transition yet and therefore you notice 'the flea on the wall' so to speak. Give it time and allow for the motions, sounds like you are on a good path. 

Awesome you need less and less Xanax! Glad to hear you are making the best of things, that's all we can do, after all.

Best Wishes! 

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MsLLL    194
22 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

Hi Pyth. 

I think it's coming from switching meds. You are in more alert state, maybe not fully trusting the transition yet and therefore you notice 'the flea on the wall' so to speak. Give it time and allow for the motions, sounds like you are on a good path. 

Awesome you need less and less Xanax! Glad to hear you are making the best of things, that's all we can do, after all.

Best Wishes! 

The fly on the wall----goodness....my brain....:D

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MARC    53

Health fears can be tough to shake and the more you think about your symptoms, your mind begins to imagine a myriad of outcomes, many of which of course are not good. It is like your minds wanders into infinity. 

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Pythonian    26

Thanks for the responses and well wishes.  Anxiety continues to improve on the Zoloft.  Therapist was uneventful.  I enjoy being able to say what's on my mind, but never really feel we explore anything.  Might just be my misconception of what therapy would be like.  Cardio appointment is Monday with a echo scheduled.  Did have blood work this week and grateful that all was good with the exception of triglycerides being just over the high mark of 200.  Dropping sweets and cutting back on beer to get the number down.  Hoping that the cardio will show my heart is still functioning normal and that the mild dialation is back to normal. If so, hoping I can let go of my heart fears more.  Best wishes.

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jlmwz316    68

Glad to hear the Zoloft is working out.  I wanted to share my experience with therapy.  At first it was a let down for me, it was good to be able to talk but after after few weeks I was wondering when we would start working on my anxiety.   What we got into was why I was anxious, not how to deal with being anxious,  I learned after reading that there are different types of therapy one which focuses on the root causes digging deep into our innermost fears through our current and past experiences,  it's a lot of talking with feedback, directed at behavior that trigggers anxiety,    Another approach focuses on the anxiety itself without trying too hard to dig into why.   I found myself wanting us to just work on techniques to fix my anxiety . I didn't want to just talk about myself,  for 9 months I went every week and we talked and talked ,  I shared, and he would ask me well why did you feel that way,  a lot of stuff came to the surface,  and I learned what I do to myself to stress myself out,  over thinking for example, reacting impulsively, craving affirmation, fear of failure that went back into childhood,  all of that combined is part of the big picture, it takes time to sort it out and the results are not measurable at any point in time. Some people see a therapist for years. For me 9 months was enough,   Mainly because I was impatient, which is another one of the things we talked about.  We stopped on my initiative. Though he agreed reluctantly .   I wanted to take a different approach.  I kept thinking history is going to repeat itself , I am going to stress myself out, and going to get anxious, so tell me how to deal with that .  I was considering switching to another therapist who would focus on relaxation techniques rather than analysis, and I know there are many who do that, but instead I decided at this point to continue reading the books I had stared,  Dr Weeks book was a big help. As was books by Dr David Carbonel , one in particular the panic attacks workbook was very helpful for me,   More so with my health related anxiety.  It seems for me my stress caused aches and pains and symptoms of diseases at weren't there.  It was all stress,  indeed he therapist wanted to help me address that stress at its source, and he did help me recognize things I do and think that trigger stress,  but then I still could not get out of circle of fear, the anxiety feeding on itself making me even more stressed,    I knew that exercise , swimming , walking , a bike ride, bowling,  all helped a lot, even mowing the lawn.  Physical activity works wonders for me.  They are immeadiate ways to relax, I saw a cardiologist and told him a good work out makes my chest pain go away.  And it does,  he laughed and said that's the opposite of a heart problem.  If it was a heart issue a hard workout would cause discomfort.  When I think about how I imagine the impact of a symptom and the consider over time what made it go away and whether it amounted to anything, the solution became clearer .  Anxiety is all about interpretation of what we experience.  Intepretion causes stress and causes symptoms , reacting needlessly that is.  So I  learning not to react to ride it out , not to over interpret, not to stress over an ache or pain, or a difficult situation,  I just accept it, and hang loose, that in the end is what medication helps us to do .  For me I wanted to do it naturally and sometimes I can, and sometimes I fail at it, and I get caught up in the loop of anxiety. Over time you recognize it but you still have times where it gets you,   The therapist was a good thing , the books a very good thing, this site is a great thing as sharing all this helps all of us.   

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MsLLL    194

Hi Pythonian,

it is very good to hear you are improving on the Zoloft! You will get there! I hear you on therapy. I felt the same way when I did Psychotherapy for almost a year at the onset of anxiety. My therapist never believed I had anxiety in the first place and thought I had maladaptive disorder. He refused to prescribe medication although I pretty much begged him. I'm not one to take medication , especially SSRI's/Benzo's ( I never had to before) but I just couldn't take it anymore. One day I had a full blown Panic attack while waiting on him. He got so overwhelmed by my state that he offered to write papers for a private anxiety clinic.... which I refused since it seemed that all the sudden he wanted a quick fix.  I went to a different doctor, laid it all out there, got prescribed medication and got a referal to a CBT counselor, which has helped tremendously. Just her taking me and my condition seriously and giving me practical coping skills was so helpful. 

I believe anxiety is a 'brain condition'. In Psychotherapy we try to find the root of things. My counselor always told me it's not from my childhood but from a misdiagnosis in 2015. Did that knowledge cure my anxiety? Certainly not. By that time I was a full blown anxiety sufferer and my brain produced so many stress hormones and made my body physically ill. The way for me was medication with a good counselor and taking care of yourself. 

I'm sorry this is so long but your post really reminded me of my experience. It was always talking, talking and never feeling better. Actually I got worse, way worse. In that year anxiety really took root and manifested itself. The good news: I've learned if it doesn't fit, don't try to make it fit. Just move on and find a better match. I was too overcome with it and felt too weak to do that back then though. Hindsight is 20/20 

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Mark G    873
9 hours ago, Pythonian said:

 I enjoy being able to say what's on my mind, but never really feel we explore anything

Your therapist has to first understand exactly where he/she thinks that the anxiety stems from at a root level.  When they understand this, you should be offered treatment based on how they think you will respond.  If they are not doing this then the therapy will most likely go nowhere.  I was incredibly lucky to have an incredible therapist that found the root and began treatment.

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MARC    53

Cutting back on carbs and weight loss will lower triglycerides according to my physician, unless their is some form of genetic issue involved, then medication may be indicated. 

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MsLLL    194
25 minutes ago, Mark G said:

Your therapist has to first understand exactly where he/she thinks that the anxiety stems from at a root level.  When they understand this, you should be offered treatment based on how they think you will respond.  If they are not doing this then the therapy will most likely go nowhere.  I was incredibly lucky to have an incredible therapist that found the root and began treatment.

Yes, I think it's great if a therapist and client can achieve that together. But in all honesty, it doesn't cure the anxiety if you have the root since you cannot go back in time to erode it. Rather it's a rational explanation on why the condition might have developed in the first place and to work on the emotions that might have been suppressed, might not have though. I think if you have the root you just understand things better about yourself and are better prepared for the present. Other people I know went through way worse things in life and didn't develop anxiety as a consequence. So that would mean I'm not as resilient as others? Nah! I'm leaning more towards the genetic predisposition (although I can't trace it to any living or passed family members but diseases can be passed on through several generations). To me it's a medical condition that comes from a brain imbalance (amygdala etc.)  and it's there already, existing in the back and not bothering you.  Add certain stressors in life, trauma's, loss etc. and if you have the predisposition voila. But nevertheless I have always believed strongly in counseling and learning about yourself. I have done counseling long before anxiety was on the forefront. 

Your thoughts on this are most welcome! 

 

 

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Mark G    873
22 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

But in all honesty, it doesn't cure the anxiety if you have the root since you cannot go back in time to erode it

You cannot go back in time no, you cannot change what happened in the past granted, but you CAN accept it, be more comfortable with and also process it properly.  A lot of anxieties stem from unprocessed past events.  If they are not processed then they are not memories, they're still events so you react to them as if they are still happening.  A lot of anxiety that seems to bubble from nowhere comes from this phenomenon.  If you are helped to process this past event and put it into memory through processing, you become comfortable with it, you do not attach fear to it any more.  PTSD works on those principles and it's my opinion that a huge amount of anxiety sufferers have varying levels of PTSD.  There is no cure for anxiety but there is recovery.

 

27 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

Other people I know went through way worse things in life and didn't develop anxiety as a consequence

That's because they think differently, they processed the bad things at the time they happened.  Anxiety cannot latch onto accepted memories, it has no purchase.

 

28 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

to me it's a medical condition that comes from a brain imbalance (amygdala etc.)

That can certainly not help, electro chemical imbalances can create a clearer root for anxiety to develop.  Regardless of cause, if the anxiety is managed via acceptance, the cause can (but not always) become irrelevant.  If you then take it further away from anxiety into more serious mental, non thinking issues then obviously acceptance becomes irrelevant.

 

32 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

 Add certain stressors in life, trauma's, loss etc. and if you have the predisposition voila

 

Precisely, pre-anxiety lurks in the unconscious waiting for that connection to the conscious.

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MsLLL    194
2 hours ago, Mark G said:

You cannot go back in time no, you cannot change what happened in the past granted, but you CAN accept it, be more comfortable with and also process it properly.  A lot of anxieties stem from unprocessed past events.  If they are not processed then they are not memories, they're still events so you react to them as if they are still happening.  A lot of anxiety that seems to bubble from nowhere comes from this phenomenon.  If you are helped to process this past event and put it into memory through processing, you become comfortable with it, you do not attach fear to it any more.  PTSD works on those principles and it's my opinion that a huge amount of anxiety sufferers have varying levels of PTSD.  There is no cure for anxiety but there is recovery.

 

That's because they think differently, they processed the bad things at the time they happened.  Anxiety cannot latch onto accepted memories, it has no purchase.

 

That can certainly not help, electro chemical imbalances can create a clearer root for anxiety to develop.  Regardless of cause, if the anxiety is managed via acceptance, the cause can (but not always) become irrelevant.  If you then take it further away from anxiety into more serious mental, non thinking issues then obviously acceptance becomes irrelevant.

 

 

Precisely, pre-anxiety lurks in the unconscious waiting for that connection to the conscious.

I find all this most interesting Mark. If you got the time can you explain further please? A lot of anxieties stem from unprocessed past events.  If they are not processed then they are not memories, they're still events so you react to them as if they are still happening. So why do some people do this and others don't? It certainly has to be because of our brain being different somehow? Or is it first the active thought, the non-processing and then the reactive (the correlation with fear)? And how come people spend the majority of their life without doing it and then, bam, all the sudden it's very different? I personally know people who have not processed bad things that have happened to them in their past, they never got therapy nor anxiety. They seem rather fine on the surface.  If this was true, as a consequence from what you are saying it would mean they would get it eventually, correct?

I believe too acceptance is the key and working on all your obstacles in life, processing them correctly as you stated. I don't understand the sentence if you then take it further away from anxiety into more serious, mental, non thinking issues then obviously acceptance becomes irrelevant.  I don't know about this, I try to fully understand this. It's the same if you have for example Diabetes, you might have gotten it because of a predisposition or of a lifestyle choice ( comparing apples to oranges here but this would be in anxiety the non processed traumatic experiences, I hope you can follow:) but the outcome would be the same? You would have a disease, you would need to learn where it came from, get treatment and accept it in your life, correct? Claire Weekly's said it doesn't really matter where we got it from but rather to accept it is there and allow for it and know it will be ok. Personally I would love to know where I got it from exactly. One day I reacted very different than ever before...the days and weeks and months  after being misdiagnosed. That was the full onset for me.  And predisposition could add into it although I don't know anyone related to me who had it/has it. 

 

Precisely, pre-anxiety lurks in the unconscious waiting for that connection to the conscious. I totally agree with this! So how come it happens all the sudden? Later in life? How come you react so differently to an event that is traumatic but not the most traumatic in your life? What I'm asking is how come the connection was never made before but then it was? 

Thanks for your time Mark. I get a lot out of this but I still think my brain has changed. Maybe not prior to the onset of anxiety but now. I viewed an event in my life as life threatening, I couldn't process it properly because it caused me so much discomfort and fear. That was the onset where the subconscious made the connection to the conscious. And then it changed my brain and  produced all these stress hormones like never before. That in turn caused severe physical symptoms. And here I am:)

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Mark G    873
43 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

So why do some people do this and others don't? It certainly has to be because of our brain being different somehow?

Yes, we are all wired in different ways, it's all dependant on pretty what makes you as a person.  Your personality, beliefs, social interaction, whether you're analytical and need your intellect to make sense of the world, how things work (left brained) or whether you think from your being, take things as they are, not as much analysis (right brained).

When a bad event happens in the past, be it something you witnessed, the situation you were in, anything which was just too much to take no matter whether it was a singular event or a situation which lasted for longer, all these are still events, the events enter your mind and your mind calculates and assigns emotion to the event and also instructions on how you could deal with it, possible reactions etc.  Usually in a normal, perhaps fun situation, your brain would log the information, the emotions and what you learnt from it and send the event for processing.  They are held in a certain place in your brain (think of it as a holding pen)  The processing takes place usually during REM sleep, where your subconscious takes all the events, splits them down into manageable pieces and runs it through the "memory factory".  The result is memory, logged away in it's rightful place.  So when a bad event(s) happen, the event gets sent to this holding pen waiting to be processed, but the event is too big, it cannot be broken down so it's stuck.  It then sits in that holding pen as an event and stays there eventually being suppressed as an event is still loaded with all of that emotion. 

Now if you are naturally prone to analysis and thought reaction, these events can be triggered by pretty much anything, a sound, a smell, a specific sentence, something which sync with that event, like deja vous and it bubbles up relative elements from that past event into your conscious mind.  You then react to them and get afraid as you do not know where there thoughts and emotions are coming from.  If you're not analytical, you don't react to them naturally, they are what they are.  As there is no reaction, anxiety doesn't arrive as there is no fear and anxiety needs fear.  It's a seriously complicated set up and there are literally thousands of combinations so i have simplified it into two camps, reactionary or non reactionary.

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

And how come people spend the majority of their life without doing it and then, bam, all the sudden it's very different?

For the first time, they REACTED, after many years of anxiety not being able to get any purchase, they react and the game changes as all of that fear bubbles up.  The full connection to the past event(s) is(are) started.

 

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

If this was true, as a consequence from what you are saying it would mean they would get it eventually, correct

Not necessarily. If they never react then it may never start, it's not set in stone, it's a thinking disorder so it's all in how you think about things.

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

I believe too acceptance is the key and working on all your obstacles in life, processing them correctly as you stated

The processing does not have any command from your consciousness.  It either processes correctly or it doesn't dependant on the experience you had of each event.

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

I don't understand the sentence if you then take it further away from anxiety into more serious, mental, non thinking issues then obviously acceptance becomes irrelevant

Because anxiety is all in the thinking, acceptance of how you think almost always helps the situation.  If someone has an non-thinking mental health condition, acceptance of it doesn't really help as much because the issue is down to electro chemical problems and other physical brain issues.  Both mental health issues are vastly different.

 

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

but the outcome would be the same? You would have a disease, you would need to learn where it came from, get treatment and accept it in your life, correct

This is true but with any other health conditions, your mind and the way you think about it is not as affected as if someone has a mental health issue where correct processing is much different.  The mental scope and constraints put on someone with a mental health problem means that their perceptions are much different.

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

Claire Weekly's said it doesn't really matter where we got it from but rather to accept it is there and allow for it and know it will be ok

Claire was advising these things way before understanding of issues like PTSD type issues were as understood.  Back in the 70's, there wasn't the connection between past events and how they affect the here on now.  You can accept it and a lot of the time that may work a treat but if someone has PTSD or other unprocessed event issues then it's a little more difficult to get to this stage (but certainly not impossible)

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

Personally I would love to know where I got it from exactly. One day I reacted very different than ever before...the days and weeks and months  after being misdiagnosed.

This is the complexity of the mind isn't it.  Events can be processed in the subconscious all the time, not just during sleep so it's possible that whatever the cause was, it resolved.  You wouldn't know that this took place as it happens away from your awareness. You may never know where it came from, you may all of a sudden get a flashback and it all makes sense. (that's what happened with me during EMDR treatment)

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

So how come it happens all the sudden? Later in life? How come you react so differently to an event that is traumatic but not the most traumatic in your life? What I'm asking is how come the connection was never made before but then it was? 

The trigger was never initiated before, it can start with just about anything.  It could also be the pressure of the past event(s) just get to much for the suppression. It's very tricky to know.

 

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

I get a lot out of this but I still think my brain has changed

If your brain hasn't changed, the way you think CERTAINLY has.

 

1 hour ago, MsLLL said:

That was the onset where the subconscious made the connection to the conscious. And then it changed my brain and  produced all these stress hormones like never before. That in turn caused severe physical symptoms. And here I am

Bingo :)

Anxiety is entirely subjective to our experience so the possibilities are literally endless.

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MsLLL    194

Thank you so much Mark. I really can't express right now how much this helps.  One final question (until tomorrow...lol), so that's why I feel so much better when I'm still or meditate? Because I just am, don't think, just let it be? That has helped me a lot. Finally---no thinking/analyzing/overreacting. 

Can you be my counselor? I will pay you big bucks...lol:D I'm just kidding but I really wish I could find someone like you, who has been there and breaks it all down so well. 

And I will check into that EMDR Therapy. 

Edited by MsLLL
typo

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Mark G    873
3 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

so that's why I feel so much better when I'm still or meditate? Because I just am, don't think, just let it be?

That's exactly right, anxiety doesn't like you just being in the present, it wants you to be looking fearfully to the future because that's where it has the greatest power of manipulation.  If you're relaxed in a meditative state, anxiety is locked out and the only thing it can really do is to send some thoughts in.  However, if your truly relaxed then those thoughts have no weight whatsoever.

 

5 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

Can you be my counselor? I will pay you big bucks...lol:D I'm just kidding but I really wish I could find someone like you, who has been there and brakes it all down so well.

Haha. well i'm happy to help.  There are loads of people out there who have a far greater understanding than me, it's a shame that health care doesn't involve mental health the way it should.

6 minutes ago, MsLLL said:

And I will check into that EMDR Therapy. 

It's very very good and works for the vast majority, it basically puts you into a REM like state whilst you're with your therapist so you can process these events.

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Lucid    28

Really great nuts and bolts conversation. :)I just wanted to add a little on the subjectivity part. That's where things get tricky.Finding the right doctor for yourself is so important. A good doctor can dramatically improve your quality of life. 

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Mark G    873

Absolutely and better still, a doctor who has been through the torment of anxiety themselves.  That can add great weight to treatments and understandings.

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MARC    53

According to my wife, who is a long time pharmacist and my internal medicine physician, many people need some form of medicine to help deal wth a real life health issue. For example, my wifes cousions friend was at the photo copy machine at work, when she suddenly collapsed. She was sent to a local hospital and then subsequently transferred to Johns Hopkins Hospital, which is one of the best in the world. She had an aneurysm and it was touch and go for weeks. She eventually went back to work, but now it on Antivan to help deal with what happened to her. 

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