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Fear of becoming insane, need help
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klevdam1985 posted:
Hello everyone!

I am a 28 y.o. male living in Russia, working in advertising for many years. I suffer what is currently diagnosed by a psychiatrist as a panic disorder or GAD (he is not sure yet, but I did have panic attacks until last month). Yet I feel I need an advice from community here.

Allow me to describe the history of my disease; the question itself is below, so please skip italic section if you feel busy or bored.

My first waves of sense of "everything went too bad" started 1 year ago and were clearly job-related. Stressful meetings, unreal deadlines and multi-tasking triggered feelings like "I don't want to wake up tomorrow" or "everything is so bad I won't make it"; they also somewhat spoiled my peristaltic processes, if you know what I mean, but nothing more.



Then, 9 months ago, dizziness began torturing me 1 or 2 times a week; I couldn't walk straight, felt like the head is empty. Then severe attacks started, with feelings of numbness, face paralysis (not grounded at all), verge of collapse, vertigo, dreadfulness, racing thoughts, derealizatioon, etc. You all know those, I guess.


Here in Russia non-somatic illnesses are rarely treated at all (unless ist's an obvious case of psychosis). In medical insurance programs, psychiatrists/psychotherapists are simply absent. Logically, the ambulance I have called after a panic attack took me to neurology department, where all tests incl, MRI and EEG, proved me healthy.


In spite of that, things got worse with panic attacks, I couldn't go out, take subway, usual stuff. Benzos were the only - a temporary one indeed - solution.


When 3 months ago I finally found a psychiatrist+psychotherapist (here it's usually an all-in-one professional), I believed I was going to die the other day. He immediately evaluated me and ran all psychiatric tests, coming to conclusion that I am not in any psychotic state. We started a course of psychoanalytical therapy, with the only medicational support of Phenibut (it's a Russian nootrope with very light sedative effect, not a benzo or anything like that).


The positive outcome of psychotherapy over 2 months was the elimination of almost all symptoms. Dizziness, numbness, derealization, vertigo, breath seisures, fear of transport, agoraphobia - gone.


BUT.

Now, for some unknown reason, I have 2 "new" strong symptoms.
1) strong, oppressive, barely bearable periods of anxiety without any obvious trigger; they occur 1 to 3 times a week and last for 10 minutes - 2 hours. They are much weaker than panic attacks and do not trigger any urge to run; but they do "oppress" and make me think I am nuts.
2) horrible, dreadful and imminent feeling of insanity(schizophrenia) knocking on the roof door.

It is obvious for me that the second issue is the outcome of the first: it's on the height of anxiety attacks when I really believe those are the first call for psychosis. But I am still scared even when out of anxiety. Don't laugh at me, but I feel I have no tomorrow because of schizophrenia onset

My psychiatrist gives me a friendly smile when I tell him about my fears, reassures me (and he's very experienced in psychosises).
He is also a good psychotherapist/analytic (hence all previous symptoms gone), but how do I get rid of the fear of schizophrenia finally?


I really need your advice, because there are no cognitive specialists here, and I don't see how psychoanalysis can make this particular fear go away. I guess I still need a CBT book or resource to control this fear. Or maybe smth. else?


Thanks,
Andrew
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rohvannyn responded:
Hello, and welcome!

Considering all that you have said, and bearing in mind that I am not a medical professional, I think that the biggest problem you have is anxiety. I don't think you sound like you have schizophrenia, but the fear of it is your real trouble. That can be helped. I know what it is like to do without any kind of therapy, so I have gotten good at finding self help resources.

Dr. Schwartz of this community maintains a great website full of self help techniques about anxiety. It is www.anxieties.com . It is completely free. His ideas about anxiety have helped me a lot and I think they can give you some valuable tools for helping yourself.

I wish you good health, and the best of luck!


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