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Anxiety/Panic/Insomnia/Depression - What is it?
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Soccer_Dude posted:
Hi,

Long story short, about 9 months ago I had a strange episode that felt like a seizure, it was ruled out, but it caused massive anxiety, health anxiety, etc...I was ill for months, and no one could figure it out. Then while resting on my couch I had a full blown panic attack, nothing like I ever experieced before, I thought I was going to die. But, after a short while it stopped and I calmed down. But, it caused massive adrenaline rushes which gave me 100% insomnia (0 hours sleep) for four days straight. Then my doc put me on Xanax. That's another story all together, anyway it helped for about a week, then my anxiety and isomnia came back and I could hardly function at work, and started having all sorts of side-effects, from feeling faint, light headed, swallowing difficulties, loss weight, etc...I thought I could die at any time. I continued to seek doctors, had many tests, eventually had two MRI's but nothing turned up. I ended up trying two SSRI's which I had bad reactions to, whether it was a bad side-effects or just my symptoms compounded by the start- up side effects, in any case I went off them. (The long story short is getting longer ) anyway, after going off the first SSRI after being on it for two weeks and trying the next one for one week, I started getting massive anxiety/panic/feelings of hopelessness/fear/panic/feelings of checking out/ yet I didn't want to check out. It was very scary, and I couldn't shake these feelings/thoughts. Then I tried St. John's Wort but went off after two weeks because I was going to see a Pdoc who might want to put me on another med. (No the best idea to go on and off things like this) so two days off SJW all the bad anxiety thoughts/feelings came back but even worse this time. I had some ativan, and one day I took one, to see how I'd feel. After an hour or so, my anxiety was lifted and so were all those awful thoughts/feelings. I couldn't understand why. Was I not depressed, do I just have anxiety? Months later, still no resolve, I tried another SSRI but didn't like how it made me feel, so I went off after 4 weeks. I think it helped a little with anxiety but it numbed my emotions. As I went off I started another which is supposed to help you sleep. It did, and my mood improved. Anxiety was under control but probably because i still had the other med in me at the time. I started getting better but after 8 days I had a relapse and the anxiety and awful feelings came back. I tried some natural things, started to feel better for 1.5 days then had another relapse. I decided to go back to the last med I was on, and stick it out this time. I will feel pretty good for parts of the day, then others I will sink into this funk, and have feelings of pending doom/hopelessness/checking out. I tried another ativan, and I would start feeling better again. After talking to people, and doing some research. I think this entire time I had anxiety but also a panic disorder. That my constant awful feeling were the result of or the byproduct of panic, (worrying about things), but without the physical panic symptoms. Until recently I started having panic attacks, and had horrible feelings when they occured. I was able to shake them off, but it was uncomfortable. I realized this entire time I've been dealing with panic symptoms, these awful feelings of pending doom and checking out were panic related, and when I took a ativan, it calmed every thing down. I'm not going crazy, or have severe depression, it was more anxiety and panic that was triggering these thoughts and feelings which also made me a bit depressed. So, now I hope this SSRI will tone things down, and I can start healing. I have ativan as backup in case I go into one of these funks again, and just knowing it's panic related and there's something I can do about it is reassuring. Also getting enough sleep is very important!!!
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Cjack1990 responded:
This kind of reminds me of when I first dealt with my panic. I didn't think I had seizure though, I actually thought I had the flu and that whole summer I stayed home. I had tests done and x rays and nothing showed up. I was actually almost misdiagnosed as an anorexic because since I never felt well, I hardly ate andwent from weighing a healthy 130 to 104 in 2 months.

It is hard finding medication that is right for you and i'mhappy you know the depression is only from the anxiety and that you have a good back up medicine that you know wont turn you into a zombie
 
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Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
It's true that panic can come out of the blue and it can be caused by stress in your life and that is something that should be investigated after a thorough medical exam. Medications, too, can cause certain side effects that include panic and which can last long after you have stopped taking the medication. Research has shown these side effects may last for as long as 4 months.


I'm wondering what type of lifestyle changes you may have made in addition to any medications you may be taking. This is an important point since medication alone cannot solve many problems. For instance, you indicated that you needed to get sufficient sleep and that is extremely important, as you know. The other things which you need to include in your life is a careful regard for your diet, putting some type of mild to moderate exercise into your weekly routines (we have a number of exercises that are simple to do in our Tips column), and getting out to have social interactions and pleasant activities. Most people find that either engaging in a hobby or sports activity is very helpful. All of this helps you to maintain balance in your life which is extremely important.


Also, take stock of where stress in your life may be playing a role (although often this creeps up on you) because it can trigger much of what you've been experiencing.


Dr. Farrell
 
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Soccer_Dude responded:
Hi, well, I think the past previous 2 years, I felt a trend of possibly dedpression creeping in on me, possibly my serotonin levels going lower and lower. I noticed that I was getting more impatient, more tired, less excited about things, then the incident that happened 9 months ago which I believe was a panic attack. Around 2005, I was also experiencing strange symptoms that were never diagnosed. I would feel this cool sensation in my check and then I had this fear that something bad was about to happen like I would pass out or something, it was always when I was sitting down, but as soon as I stood up, and walked around I was fine. Looking back, it might have been panic attacks. They eventually just stopped for some reason. I was on no medication at all. Now, when this latest incident happened, I felt a lot of fear, which I think fed the anixety, and I think I ended up giving myself health anxiety, then I had a real panic attack, then was put on Xanax which made things worse I think, probably because of the short half life, and the anxiety the side-effects were giving me as I still thought I had something wrong with me. This went on for months which included insomnia. So, the combination of anxiety, insomnia etc... was not good. Then as I got off Xanax, I think I had some withddrawal side-effects which triggered panic symptoms, brain zap, etc...Then shortly after I started an SSRI, which I think might have given me more start up side effects which in turn triggered more panic, and this is when all the bad thoughts/feelings started. Not sure why now, but maybe my brain was just too tired, or maybe depression was finally showing itsself and was intensified by the anixety/panic, or I was just in a constant state of panic which kept the feeling of pending doom, fear and hopelessness constant through the day. Not sure how that all works. But I know when my anxiety/worry/panic is low or non existent, I feel pretty good, and happy for the most part. But as soon as the anxiety hits again, then the awful feelings/thoughts come back. Ativa does help to calm this down. I'm on Lexapro now so I'm hoping it will help in the long run to bring calm back to my life. Right now my financial situation has be very stressed because I haven't been able to work because of this. I tend to be a worrier to begin with, and have some OCD tendencies, which contributed to my stress over the years. I have learned how to let certain things go and not be bothered by them, although my financial situation is hard to not worry about. I do exercise, and eat pretty healthy. I do have some food sensitivites, possibly gluten intolernace, which might play into some of my health issues. Than you for your posts.
 
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Patricia Farrell, PhD replied to Soccer_Dude's response:
If your anxiety and panic is preventing you from working, and you did indicate that your financial situation right now is of concern to you, then perhaps you should consider applying for some short-term Social Security Disability benefits.

I was a medical consultant for them for a decade and I know that this diagnosis, properly supported by medical documentation, can result in an allowance for benefits. Should you consider this, be sure that you can do have access to your medical records which support this (the records should be for more than one year) and then work with one of the nationally known Social Security Disability law firms with which you may be familiar. I suggest these firms because they have an excellent record of advocating for benefits for people who qualify.

I hope things to work out for you.


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