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Can't shake this feeling...
lost815cm posted:
Hello all, I just thought I would post about my almost constant feeling of anxiousness. It drives me crazy. It's also almost completely health related. If you look up health anxiety it says hypochondria. Makes sense. About 3 years ago I had really terrible experience with some people whom I thought were my friends. I know some general feelings of anxiety started there, but eventually they faded. About a year after that (so 2 years ago) I got violently ill (constant vomiting) worse than I ever have in my life and it lasted nearly 2 months. It traumatized me so much that I have issues with food and pretty much all things health related. Mostly I'm concerned with my heart. I get flutters sometimes and they terrify me. I've had it checked out and all is ok. I just can't stand the feeling. I used to get them really bad during the time I was ill. I think subconsciously when I feel one I automatically go into panic remembering that awful time. I don't know what to do to make the feeling go away. I've considered a behavioral therapist but am unsure. Thoughts? (sorry for the long post)
Roser responded:
What caused the vomiting? Stomach issues can definitely be mistaken for heart flutters and vice versa. When I feel that fluttering in my chest now, I check my neck pulse. If it is different, I know it is my stomach acting up.
If it is the same, I take my pulse rate and consciously try to slow down the beat by counting in my head slower and slower until it stops beating so quickly. By then I am exhausted and take a nap. Usually occurs when I am overtired so the timing works out well. Everything is harder when tired.
lost815cm replied to Roser's response:
Thanks for your reply! I'm not sure what caused the vomiting. I went to the Dr numerous times and all they said was that there was "a bug going around". I agree with what you said about heart flutters and stomach issues. I try to handle it the same way. I think it's harder for me to accept that because my flutters were very strong during that awful time of illness. There were a few times that I was afraid to fall asleep for fear of never waking up. You said you end of taking a nap and I'm just the opposite. I get extra antsy, and can't sit still. I'm always tapping my foot or something of that nature. It's like I have to keep moving something to distract myself from listening/feeling my heartbeat..'s so obnoxious.
Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
The idea of seeing a behavioral psychologist is a good one as is some biofeedback training. Each of these would enable you to learn ways to help yourself. You've "learned" to be anxious and you can unlearn it.

In the meantime, why not try some relaxation breathing. We have a video tutorial on it in our Tips column. Use it whenever you begin to feel the least bit anxious.
lost815cm replied to Patricia Farrell, PhD's response:
Thank you Patricia! Can you explain to me what biofeedback is exactly? I've heard of it before, but am not quite clear on it. Thanks!
Patricia Farrell, PhD replied to lost815cm's response:
It's really simple, painless and very quick to work. Usually, they put a little sensor over your finger to help track your heart rate, then they may play a relaxation tape while you watch a screen that shows your heart rate. They may teach you relaxation breathing and then use the sensor and the monitor to help you track it all.

Within a few sessions (very comfortable ones), you will see that you can actually bring your heart rate down, relax and feel as though you've taken an anxiolytic med.

You need to work with a person who is certified by the BCIA (Biofeedback Certification International Alliance) in CO. That way, you know you have someone who is fully qualified.
mommyofthree87 replied to Patricia Farrell, PhD's response:
I too suffer from the heart flutters or palpitations. Mine feel like skipped beats or flutters. I was diagnoised with PVCs and actually had SVT ( fast arrythmia of the upper heart) in 2006 and had a procedure called an ablation. Ever since the traumatic episode of svt, where my heart rate was 260, I have become overly aware of my heart and all that "could" go wrong. I am now at the end of pregnancy and having a terriable time with the skipped beats and racing at times. Its almost like post-traumatic stress from what i went through with the svt. Laying down at night is the hardest, and I avoid it sometimes. My panic attacks seem to stem from being overly aware of my heart and body.... ugh.... i hate it....

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