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hello, i'm 17 years old, about to be 18 in less than a month... i've been having problems with anxiety... i dont know what type or if it even is anxiety.. i'm not really sure. i've always been the kind fo person who tries their best and thinks realisticly, but i contemplated suicide at one point and got really scared. it started last year, but i've always had a fear of rejection.. stage fright.. public speaking... but it was never this bad. i've had a few panic attacks already... and even hyperventilated about 3 times. i get really stresse dout at school and get too exhausted.. i can;t take it. i've gotten depressed before and sometimes i just feel alone and like life is pointless, but then i get a grip of myself and embarrased of thinking so stupidly. i get easily embarrased. i have some sort of anxiety disorder... i think. when i'm at school or even in other place i suddenly start breathing rapidly, my chest hurts like when you get butterflies in your stomach when you liek someone, but it hurts and i dont only get it in my chest, but in my arms and hands, i feel like i get trolley horse in my hand muscles. my heart beat speeds up. i get nauseous and faint sometimes, i have problems with my stomach and period (it's VERY irregular, i've had a 20 day long one and lately i get 10 day long periods every 15 days or so) i recently found out my blood pressure is really low which explains why i feel dizzy and light headed at times. it's 86 - 55. =/ i can't control this anxiety, my mom bought me a natural medicine to help stress and started takign B12 to help out with it. but i dont know if they help... i stopped taking them. the stress medicine got rid fo some fo the stress but not all and i couldn't stand it. lately i've been feeling worse. my veins seem to be more visible now and when i went to shower yesterday, i noticed my more veins are getting even more visible making me look green-ish... i don't know what this is. i always get sick, i always have something wrong with me. i don't know why. i wasn't like this when i was little. i was a really outgoing and happy child. now i'm shy and nervous all the time. i have stage fright and this includes being with a large crowd of people or having many pay attention to me. also a strange fear of cars... i get really paranoid if the driver sucks and does stupid things...which might cause me to even get a panic attack. my veins hurt and sting a lot lately and im really scared. i was told to go to a therapist, but it seems theres never time for me to go there because my parents are always busy, and i can't drive. i've lost most of my friends and theres currently a group of other people ignoring me because of a girl who i used to be best frineds with. i stopped hanging out with them because they didnt make me feel good and they did drugs and such things... i know i made the right decision, but it's giving me even more stress.

sorry for making this a big chunk of a paragraph, i'm too tired and lazy to make it organized and pretty... please tell me what you know, i'm nto sure where to go or what to ask for if and when i go to the doctor. there are just so many things.
thanks.

~anonymous

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wow. you completely descibed my highschool experience! right down to the fear of other people driving.
i am a 26 y/o woman. i've actually had anxiety disorder all my life. i think it started when my best friend's father died in a plane crash when i was in pre-school. they say you can no longer be a child once you realize what death is. for me it was true. especially because my personality is to over-analize everything. and even at that young age i could tell that when the adults talked to me of heaven and jesus, that they had no clue what happened when you died either, and religion was what made them feel better.
for some, religion is a great way to get over anxiety or depression. i wish i was one of them. i wish i could believe. but it's all just so against my logic. especially when you know the history of how these religions started.
so enough rambling, i had my first panic attack when i was 9. i thought i was dying and i thought i felt my spirit leaving my body. now i know that that detatched feeling is just part of the anxiety.
the general anxiety started getting worse as i got older. in highschool it was really bad. depression always came with it. i always wanted to stay home where it was 'safe'. since i knew nothing about anxiety or ever heard anyone talk about it, i could only ever explain to people the depression. but everyone was on that bandwagon. it was right after kurt cobain commited suicide and depression was 'cool'. no one took me seriously. but the anxiety was too embarassing to mention. it made me feel week-minded. like i should be able to control it. it was embarassing for people to know i was scared.
you DEFINITELY took the right road wit no drugs. i got into partying at 14. i really wanted to escape my problems. i think i was interested in trying drugs when i was like 12. this 'escaping' thing sounded great. it also made me feel tough for doing it when i always otherwise felt weak.
but the drugs always made me feel worse. more anxious. more parinoid. i once did acid - this felt exactly like how i felt having a panic attack. people WANT this out of body experience? i didn't feel right for about 2 weeks.
it wasn't until college, after about a year of smoking weed every day, that i was strong enough to decide i DIDN'T like the feeling after all. so why was i doing it. i don't know if it was because everyone is more mature at that age, but i didn't lose any friends. and they didn't lose any respect for me either. i'd still hang out with them when they smoked, and even sometimes rolled for them. but when they passed to me, i just said, 'nah, i'm good.' simple as that. it still happens to this day. at a party, someone passes to me, i just say that. sometimes they're shocked and ask why or what's wrong with me. i just say i don't like the feeling. it makes me parinoid. i like to feel more chilled out. no matter who it is, they ALWAYS understand that since they are smoking it to feel chill. and anyone who is doing drugs definitely understands someone not wanting to feel parinoid. and in a weird way, they respect you more for being confident enough to pass it up. sometimes they even turn around and look at themselves and wonder if they really like the feeling.
so back to highschool. my dad, being the hippie that he was, was all about natural remedies. i tried every herb, every diet, every exercise. he taught me meditation. and i went to therapy. unfortunately, none of these things helped. and i was devistated. i had no choice but to go on medication.
the first meds i was ever one was Paxil. this worked for me. i wasn't 100% normal, but it was a vast improvement. my fear of heights wasn't as bad. i could drive over the bridge. i didn't have panic attacks, but i still felt like i was really fighting them.
after a few years, i realized that the side effects did not outweigh the benefits. first of all, its not a very healthy med. it's really harsh on the liver. but also, i was getting that 'flat' feeling that people talk about. nothing bothered me. i never cried. nothing upset me. i just didn't care about anything - including school. which i believe is one of the main reasons i flunked out of my first year of college.
i decided to take myself off of them. NOT a good idea. horrible side effects. don't ever do that. always come off slowly and as your doctor tells you to.
for about 3 months after i was off paxil, my anxiety wasn't coming back. i thought i was cured! that this 'phase' was over.
not so lucky.
it did come back. but at this point i was really against meds because of the way Paxil affected me. i went to yet another therapist. we worked on exercises to relieve panic. we worked on breathing, visualization, exercises, etc. those things did help. but only at the moment i was doing them. i thought, 'what kind of life is this where i have to constantly concentrate on not having a panic attack". having to concentrate on it all the time was also a constant reminder of how much my life sucked. i may not being feeling anxious as i'm doing these exercises, but as soon as i stop it'll come back. and as i'm doing them i'm not enjoying life because i'm so aware of what i'm doing. it wasn't fair. i wanted to live a normal life effortlessly just like everyone else.
i made the really hard decision to get back on meds. i wasn't living my life, and that was the most important thing. i tried a bunch of different cocktails at different dosages. nothing was really doing anything.
trying different meds is always a really grueling process becuase you don't know if something works for a good few weeks. and if something has a hint of working, maybe you up the dosage. no change? supplement it with something else. no change? ok, new med. and so on and so on.
after about a year of this, we finally tried Effexor. all of the other's i had tried were names i had recognized. Zoloft, Prozac, Xanax, etc. but this was one i'd never heard of. but whatever, let's try it. my doctor explained this was in a different classification than the others. so maybe this one will be different.
my life was saved! this effexor stuff was my savior. i want to cry right now just thinking about the relief. with effexor, my life became normal. no panic attacks. no non-normal anxiety. no concentrating. just effortless, normal living. i had no side-effects. no flat feeling - i still was myself. no sexual side effects at all. i had a great outlook on life for the first time. i was just so happy to feel normal and do normal life things, that no one could bring me down. people would complain about this or that. people would get angry over stupid things. i was just happy. and not in a fake, medicated way. just in a loving life kind of way.
i was on Effexor for about 6 or 7 years when all of a sudden i noticed the anxiety coming back. it was slow, so i didn't notice it at first. but one night last year, i came home from a party and had a full out panic attack. i forgot how awful they are. i had been married only a few months. my husband had never seen this side of me before. i had told him about it, but didn't really get into detail. i thought i'd never have to think about it again.
i couldn't beleive it. my nightmare was coming back. why? nothing had changed. i wasn't under any stress. infact, my job was completely layed back and stress-free. being married was great. it was fun. there was no stress. why was this happening to me?
i booked it to my doctor. he said my body might be getting too used to effexor after all this time and not reacting to it any more. what?! this isn't fair!
we upped the dose for a few months, but that didn't really do anything. so then my doctor said the unthinkable. i had to go off effexor for a few months and get it out of my system. the only good news about this was that if my body did react to it again after this, maybe i would only need half the dose i was on currently.
so since obviously i can't be on nothing during this time, he put me on Wellbutrin in the meantime.
so as i type this, i am on the last leg of my slow decline off of Effexor. the aniexty is high. Wellbutrin isn't doing anything, but my doctor thinks i'd be worse without it.
yesterday was pretty bad. i have a bottle of xanax which i'm always reluctant to take. what can i say, i hate taking pills. on wednesday my doctor assured me that the Xanax is perfectly safe to take and not to hesitate if the anxiety gets bad.
but even still, i was reluctant yesterday. finally late in the afternoon i took one. uh, what a relief. i felt so much better. so i guess now i'm confident knowing i can take xanax for the bad days, and just wait it out for the few months while effexor gets out of my system.
the reason why i came on here today actually was to see if there is anything new with natural remedies. i figure anything natural to help me along would be good.
i came across your post and had to stop. it was like reading a letter from myself 10 years ago.
i had to respond just to let you know that you're not alone. cause i felt very alone at that age.
i guess i don't want to discourage natural remedies or therapy. hey, it could work for you. but for those of us who's chemicals in our brains just don't seem to do what they're supposed to, regardless of whether we're in a stressful situation or in a spa, don't be ashamed or afraid to try medication. you're happiness is the most important thing. don't wait until you're life becomes so unbearable that you can't take it anymore.
i hope my story isn't discouraging. i wish i could end this with a happily ever after. for some, it is just a phase and they will get over it in a couple of years. for instance, my mother had panic attacks for a couple years. she never took meds or anything. then they just stopped and she never had them again. for her it was caused by stress in life - not a chemical imbalance.
the highschool years are VERY stressful. especially because i don't think girls are mature enough to be 'real' friends at that age because they care more about their image. but you are almost out. trust me, people get much nicer after highschool. if you are going to college, i'd recommend joining a sorority (i'm assuming you're a girl). i never did, but its a good way to keep yourself involved in life and being social even when you don't want to be or feel you can't.
if you do think that your anxiety is caused by more than just stress in life, i would strongly recommend trying meds. but be honest with yourself. you have to think, if life were perfect, if you were the most popular kid in school, if you never had to study cause you were so smart, would you be having anxiety? if so, than don't let yourself suffer anymore. try the meds.
if you do go with meds, you have to be committed. you have to realize that it might be a while before you find something that works for you. and, as with me, even when you do, it might not last forever. its a life-long struggle. but because of the fact that i finally found something that worked for me, i only have to go through that struggle once every 6 or 7 years instead of every minute of every day.
who knows, maybe in my lifetime they will come up with a cure. i'll keep my fingers crossed, but i won't hold my breath ;-)
and if you have any questions for me about anything, just ask.
i hope this helped you.
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wow, thank you for sharing this with me. i'm just nto sure fo what to do anymore. my childhood was very traumatic, and as you mentioned before about the natural medications... i did try one my mother bought for me, but it didn't completely cancel it out, when i stopped taking it my hands hurt more with the anxiety. my mother is against medication, at least the kind that's not natural. =/
life has been really hard for me lately... i'm trying my best to control myself, but sometimes i can't and have to leave the classroom or go somewhere where i can let it out. it's an awful feeling, but i'm trying to fight it. i can't do a presentation without feeling nervous and short of breath... i know you get nerves from doing such things, but these are nto normal... they are x10. i shake and can't stop, so i start moving more to hide it but people have noticed it already. i feel very ashamed.
thanks

~anonymous
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well as i said before, being able to live life is most important. i don't know your mom, but i would guess that if you told her your life was miserable because of this and that the depression over the control it has over your life is getting worse and worse, that she'd be more open to other alternatives.
maybe you can tell her you'd like to try a combination of both natural herbs and prescriptions.
what i actually did was go to my general practitioner. like i said before, i was wary of psychiatrists because of the bad experience i had with paxil. i felt like they are too quick to prescribe. i was lucky that my general doctor was knowledgeable about natural healing and medical healing - for everything, not just mental health.
you can tell your mom that you don't think self-diagnosing is the best thing to do and that you want to really find out if something's wrong with you, and if so, what. and then find out from a doctor what things can help you.
when my doctor was in support of me going on meds, i think it was easier for both me and my parents to hear than coming from a shrink. for some reason, when a regular doctor tells you this, you believe it easier. you don't feel like its propaganda. you start to understand that it's a medical condition just like anything else.
he put me through a rigorous batch of testing first to make sure there wasn't something else going on. blood tests, ekg's, etc.
if you find something that works for you, and your mother sees how happy you are, she'll know you made the right decision.
right now, the stress and strain that is being put on your body is far worse than going on meds. there are some that are harder on the body than others - mostly affecting the liver. but i've been going through this for 10 years now, getting my liver checked every 6 months, and no damage has been done.
if your mother is really dead set against meds, at least you'll be 18 soon and can go to a doctor by yourself. i would think that the ideal situation would be to talk to the doctor privately first, so that you can be completely open with him or her. if he or she thinks meds are right for you, explain that your mother is against it and you need help convincing her. then you can bring her in and have the doctor explain it to her.
a lot of these medications they have now are not as bad as most people think. they have a bad rap mostly i think from over-prescribing. i think they're are a lot of people on these meds that don't really need to be. i mean, it's an extreme example, but i wouldn't go on chemo if i didn't have cancer. but if i did, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
on that note, i asked my doctor what would happen when i decided to get pregnant. would i have to get off the meds? would they affect the baby?
he said that from all the tests they have to date, effexor does not affect the baby. he said it would be much more unhealthy for the baby if i had severe anxiety throughout the pregnancy. he said that if i was still concerned, that i could take lower doses in the first trimester, but that after that, there is absolutely no need for concern. that was a relief to hear.
also, because you had a traumatic childhood, which i'm really sorry to hear, i would also suggest counseling. but just like with starting meds, it may take you a while to find someone who is right for you. so don't get discouraged and think therapy just doesn't work for you. you keep going until you find someone who does.
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thank you for your help. :-)
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my pleasure. i hope everything works out for you.
i will continue to have this thread on watch so if you have any other questions, even months from now, just let me know. good luck!
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check your blood sugar every day all day for three days and make sure that it isnt a harsh rise and fall. They kept telling me i had anxiety until i found a doctor who knew what they were doing.....anxiety was not anxiety it was my blood sugar hiking up and going down.
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Okay... so it turns out I have low blood pressure just like my mom. So that explains one of the problems. Although I gained a new problem, which is that I've been losing weight uncontrollably. After I got an awful flu that lasted about a week; I had a fever and kept throwing up. I threw up so much that I hurt my throat and because I threw up everything I ate I went down to weighting 118 to 109. Anyways, after the flu I gained my weight back... but started losing it again for no reason. I don't know what to do... I've been eating like a pig just to keep my weight. I'm currently weighting 114 pounds. Err. Even with all the c**p I eat I can't seem to get past 114. So yea.

Well, back to the anxiety problems. I read more about anxiety disorders online and even took several tests to check (from reliable websites), although they can't be all that accurate because a test can't define a person. But I had over 90% in each and every one of them, telling me I needed immediate help lol. So... yea... u.u.... So I have an anxiety disorder, but I need to get "evaluated" to find out which one it is and what I need to do to treat it. I'm going to start going to therapy so I can cope with my every day life. Thank you for your help. :-)
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Wow you sound so much like me. I have a lot of the same problems, also with the sore veins and everything. It makes me more anxious when they hurt for some reason.

Anyway I have extreme social anxiety disorder. Mine started when I was really young, and all through high school it was hell. I even developed agorophobia because of it. Whatever you do don't start avoiding situations that you feel anxious in because this can start a pattern of avoidance that can really mess life up. Trust me I know.

It's great that your going to get help. May I suggest though that if you do start feeling like you can't control the anxiety that you do think about medication. If you are in a rut it can really help you get back on your feet. Also some tips on helping the anxiety. If you feel like your going to panic it's best to just let it come, trying to avoid a panic attack will make it worse. Also if your feeling anxious in a social situation fiddling with something, chewing gum and sipping water helps a lot.

A natural supplement that is supposed to help control anxiety is St john's wart.

All the best to you, goodluck with everything!
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Hi, I'm a 42 yr old male and out of the blue I started having panic attacks 3 years ago, I thought I was going crazy and more importantly I thought I was simply going to die. The heart racing, shortness of breath, cold sweets, feelings of doom and gloom. The very thought of a panic attack would bring one on with the syptoms getting worse with each episode, to where I couldn't go anywhere - it induced depression, it was very isolating. I called 911 on three occasions certain something was very wrong only to find out that I was perfically ok. I was back and fourth on the whole issue of medication on the fear that I would need to depend on it all my life. The breakthrough came when talking to a friend of mine who incidently told me about his sister and this "weird" thing that was happening to her, and low and behold it was identical to my attacks. Something snapped in my head and i suddenly realized this was not isolated to me. Come to find out millions of people have this happen to them and guess what, they don't die from it. Eventhough you may think your dying and all that, your not. This reality really empowered me to not give way to those feelings, to give them no mind, to fight for my sanity. and it has absolutely worked. I have not had a panic attack since 12/07. I live a normal life, go everwhere and can look at the whole experience objectively. Hope this helps - it changed my life
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