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Dealing with Anxiety without medication
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lindsayglo posted:
For the past 7 years I have been on varying medicine for Anxiety (Lexapro and Pristiq). Before then my anxiety was almost out of control over health related worries (obsessing over terminal illnesses that i may have).. the medicine and some therapy seemed to get it under control.. fast forward to the present and I have decided to go off of my medicine. I went off of it in Mid-may and starting in June the fears started again.. First it was a mole i was obsessed with, I got it checked and the Dermatologist said it was nothing. The next was a pressure/fullness feeling in my left ear (especially when I swallow). I went to an ENT doctor and he did a physical exam, audiology exams (for pressure and hearing) all which came back normal. He said he thinks I just have Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. I was so upset and begged him to do some sort of scan. (he obviously said it wasn't necessary but did use an internal microscope to look in my nose and throat and reported seeing nothing other than mucous)

So I should have left there feeling good, right? NO. I am still freaking out it is a brain tumor or some other awful cancer that I have. My parents and fiance think I am right back where I started 7+ years ago, I want to handle this without medicine but could definitely use some help. How can I put my trust in MYSELF, my loved ones and doctors that if something is wrong they will tell me and I need to stop diagnosing myself and losing it over every tingle or ache.
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lindsayglo responded:
And let me add now I am racking my brain with did the ENT Doctor just want to get me out of his office? Did he REALLY look for a tumor, cancer etc) HELP
 
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rohvannyn replied to lindsayglo's response:
Possibly, but it's a whole lot more common to have eustachian tube dysfunction than a tumor. It's amazing how the smallest problem in your ear, throat, mouth or sinus can feel SO big. An Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor is going to say it's eustachian tube dysfunction if they see that's the problem. Just like they won't say you are leaking cerebrospinal fluid if it's obvious you have a cold. Good for you asking the doctor! Only start worrying if the treatments don't work at all and the doctor starts making confused noises.
 
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lindsayglo replied to rohvannyn's response:
He didn't give me any treatment. Now I am worried it is lymphoma or something awful..
 
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mysticalchic replied to lindsayglo's response:
he likely didn't just want you out of his office as if he actually found something, he would make money off of the treatment and future apptmts. it sounds like you need to be on an anti-anxiety medication daily (like paxil) so you stop over-obsessing about medical conditions you don't have. trust me, they work. paxil is one given for OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). you don't want to go through life in a constant state of worry.
 
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An_253192 replied to lindsayglo's response:
I can relate - I have the same anxious thoughts. It got so bad that I was constantly feeling so anxious and worried that I lost my appetite! And I normally love to eat. After a while I everyone around me was getting sick of being around me because all I'd talk about were my frequently imagined health issues. I started realizing that my anxious feelings would increase significantly after researching and reading about my symptoms online. I would spend hours trying to diagnose myself. I couldn't concentrate on anything else until I got to the bottom of my symptoms, however, most of the time I was left feeling confused and desperate to see a doctor immediately to calm my fears and ease my mind. Most of the time - doctors didn't even help ease my mind so I also was suffering financially from frequent co-pays and at work from calling out so much. [br>[br>It wasn't until about a year of feeling this way that my primary doctor made me realize that I'm not physically sick yet but I will become sick eventually due to all the stress I was putting myself under. I also realized that I was so afraid of being sick and my life ending but my life was miserable being this anxious and when my life does actually end and I look back, I would regret wasting all these years worrying and wanting to be alone so I could mourn when I could have been enjoying life instead. I even saw a therapist a few times who told me I also needed medicine and that I can't just snap out of it but I refused. In the end, it is actually up to you and I believe you can snap out of it. I won't say I'm fully cured of this bad habit but I can say I am much less anxious now because I recognized what triggered my anxious feelings - reading things online and especially on forums. I've also realized that there are so many things in life that are just simply out of our control so we might as well live the days we are given in peace rather than in panic. We will all die - that's unavoidable but not all of us will live. I hope this helps you. You're not alone. I also found that building a relationship with Jesus Christ helps me get through work through these feelings as well. Pray about it. I will be praying for you too.
 
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An_253192 replied to An_253192's response:
Maybe he didn't give you any treatment because he didn't find anything wrong. Doctors are all afraid of malpractice lawsuits these days. If he saw something wrong, chances are he won't just ignore it. If you get a second opinion and he also says there's nothing wrong then, you should be less worried. However, if you still don't believe the second or third doctor, then maybe you should seek out a more holistic therapist who doesn't rely on medicine except as a last resort if your goal is to get off medication. Also, I wouldn't recommend discontinuing any medication without your doctors permission.
 
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KasieW responded:
lindsay, If your doctor told you that you had Diabetes and would need insulin for the rest of your life, would you decide that you wanted to "handle this without medicine"? I have diagnoses of both anxiety and depression and spent a lot of years wrestling with the need to take "drugs" when I felt that, if I was just stronger, I "should" be able to function without taking pills. Trust me, it didn't work.

I quit thinking that way when my doctor asked me the question above because, of course I wouldn't try to heal myself of diabetes with just the power of my mind. The doctor explained to me that the bodies of people with Diabetes don't have enough of the chemical they need in order to process sugar. And, the bodies of many people who have chronic Anxiety and/or Depression also lack one or more chemicals they need in order to function properly.

The only difference is in the way some people look at the two different type of chemical imbalances. Diabetics are nice, normal people who need to take shots every day. But people who have MENTAL PROBLEMS? Why, they're probably just weak, or lazy, or imagining things or hypochondriacs, or just trying to get sympathy or attention . . . Anyone in this day and age with half a brain knows that everything I just wrote is total BS but the stigma still hangs around enough to make folks like you and me struggle with the idea of needing medication.


But here's the truth: my endocrine system doesn't produce enough of some of the chemicals my brain needs to work the way it's supposed to. When I replace those missing chemicals, just like the diabetic who takes insulin, I'm fine. But, every time I tried to live without balanced brain chemicals, I crashed and burned which wasn't only hard on me but also on everyone who cared about me. So, thanks to lots of counseling and a very patient doctor, here I am - on my meds, nice and "normal" and enjoying my life. And I'm going to keep "taking my insulin" for the rest of my life cause I know now that I'd be pretty stupid not to.


I'm certainly not a doctor, but it sounds to me like you know that your problems started when you went off your meds and that, right now, you know you can't trust the way your brain is working. My suggestion would be to get your brain chemicals balanced again so your mind can function the way it's supposed to. Then you'll be in a much better position to figure everything else out.
 
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lindsayglo replied to KasieW's response:
That is funny that you gave the diabetes analogy. My dad gave me the EXACT same one a few days ago..

I am back on my Pristiq (for 5 days now) and while I am not feeling better yet, I hope I soon will. I have too much to look forward to and be thankful for to be obessively worrying. At this point though my days are still filled with constant worrying about what could be wrong with me. I've cried every day for the past 2 weeks and everyday as soon as I wake up I am thinking WHY IS MY EAR DOING THIS EVERY TIME I SWALLOW. I am trying my hardest to stay focused on other things and especially NOT googling symptoms.


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