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    How do you treat your anxiety?
    jrae922 posted:
    Hello FMily,

    I wanted to get some advice from you about how you treat your anxiety. I posted two weeks ago about my air conditioner breaking, and how frustrated I have been dealing with that. Well, it's still not fixed and the problems keep stacking up. It feels like I can't deal with normal stress - simple things like going to the grocery store, dealing with an upset client at work, my two-years old's momentary tantrums, a phone call from a bill collector - they all bring about obsessive thinking patterns, irritability, dread, panic, anger, shaking and nausea. I feel like I'm going to fall apart any minute.

    Currently, I am taking trazodone at night and Cymbalta during the day. Does anyone take medicine specifically for anxiety? Do any of you feel that you have had problems with addiction to an anti-anxiety medication?

    Thanks in advance -

    lb707 responded:
    Yes and yes yes to the last two questions. The longer I had fibro the more the anxiety moved into my life. I have real problems with antidepressants so a really good Psych put me on .25mil alprazolam three times a day. On good days I try not to take it.

    The Dr. told me if you fear addiction you will most likely not have it. It helped to hear that, but still for me I cannot take it every day......I want to be in control not the med.

    Laura (lb707)
    maggiethedoglover responded:
    Hi Jessie,

    Soft hugs to you. You have all of those things going on in your life that cause anxiety and over which you have little or no control. Sounds like you need an infusion of cash to help you catch up. Is there anyone who can help financially? What about a social service angency?

    When I was first diagnosed, my emotions were totally out of control. Stresses at work would often send my into tears. Trying to stop never helped and I often felt like there was no way to control myself. My doctor prescribed 2 mg Lorazepam 3 times a day. I found, however, that taking it that often would put me to sleep or at least make me a walking zombie, so I would just take a half pill if I knew the day would be stressful or if it became stressful. I also found that taking a half pill at night would help me sleep.

    Have you considered using relaxation tapes? I have an I-pod and there are applications that are very cheap which relax you from your toes up to your scalp. They also can help you lose weight, think success, etc. I'm usually asleep by the time they get past the initial relaxation part.

    I hope you win the lottery at, at least, find some financial help. I am sending many soft hugs your way and will continue to do so.

    1wareaglefan responded:
    Hello, Jessie.....I am so sorry you have so much on your plate right now. I was diagnosed with gen. anxiety disorder (or GAD) years ago, then I developed depression, followed by fibro. So I've dealt for years with anxiety/depression.

    First I was prescribed xanax, which worked great. I only took a tiny dose when I felt stressed. Then when the depression moved in, I was put on SSRI's which help both issues....the depression and anxiety.

    I tried cymbalta, but I can't take any of the SNRI's because the norepinephrine makes me nervous. So it could be that the cymbalta is making your anxiety worse.

    I take prozac, which helps with depression and anxiety and still take a small amount of xanax at night to relax me for sleep. My body is dependant on it, but that's different from addiction. If I ever wanted to stop taking it, I would simply taper off slowly.

    I don't know how long you've been on the cymbalta, but if you check the side effects, it will say that nervousness/irritability are possible. You might want to talk to your doctor about it.

    I hope this helps some....keep us posted on how you're doing, ok?

    Take care......Elizabeth
    jrae922 replied to 1wareaglefan's response:
    Thank you, Elizabeth! I have been taking Cymbalta for two years. I never thought that maybe it was causing the irritability and nervousness - I just assumed there was something wrong with me because I couldn't cope with the stress.

    And Maggie, you are so sweet! I wish that I would win the lottery, but I would be happy with just being able to pay my bills. I think the reason I have so much anxiety is because I take care of both of my parents finanically (mom lives in her own home; dad lives with me and I support him totally). Plus, my ex-husband quit his job last October and has not paid child support since then. I pay the mortgage and support my daughter on my own. No wonder I'm anxious! I just want someone to help me carry all of these burdens.

    I have an appointment with my rheumatologist in half and hour and I plan on discussing my symptoms. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

    Thanks again for the kind words!
    cj0611 responded:
    I started having panic attacks around the same time my fibro set in. Life was pretty much out of control back then - marital, financial, alcoholic husband, tax debt, foreclosure, on and on. Anyway, after many tests (including heart cath to rule out heart issues because I was sure I was dying of a heart attack with every attack), I was given Xanax .25 mg to take as needed. I too was told by my doc to not worry about addiction at that dosage and the fact that I was so worried about it, would keep me in check. I still take it as needed but my current doc does not approve of it and unfortunately I feel like a "junkie" asking for crack cocaine when I ask for a renewal. It definitely helps me cope on a bad pain day. For me I find that the more pain I feel and the scarier all the symptoms are, the panic feeling is just beyond handling without my .25 mg of xanax. It is what it is and I don't want to feel guilty about it. I also have taken up yoga and relaxation breathing. It does help. I hope you'll find some help for your anxiety. It can be managed. Keep me posted please. Best of luck and peaceful days.
    angelldakota responded:
    Hi Jessie... I am so sorry you have to go thru this... I have had anxiety so bad with my pain lately I was beginning to think I have gone nuts...

    I wake up to it in the middle of the night.. the pain has me in tears and I suddenly can't breathe... I can't pace for I can't walk well... So I sit in my wheelchair and rock it slightly back and forth... My nerves just get worse for it doesn't help my pain to be so upset...

    I take abilify and trazadone and celexa all at night for they all make me drowsy... and usually help me sleep at least 2 hours at a time... lately it has been 30 to 50 minutes at a time lol... but they are suppose to curb my anxiety too... I go to my dr in a couple of weeks and I think anxiety is top of my list lol... one day she will listen to me... I am stuck with her for the state only pays for certain associations and this one is the only one at hand...

    You are not ever alone in your struggle... I know how hard it is to care for small children too... and have financial problems with no help... My children were less then a yr old... 3 and 6 yrs old when I was first diagnosed with 4 psychological problems... and degenerative discs disease... and MS... with muscle and nerve damage already... I was going thru a divorce and a lot of abuse... and they were very scarey times...

    I made it out of this... With no man... my children were grown when I found my husband... but he was about as poor as I was... lol... except I was on ssi already for I had cancer... Somehow I made it thru and he stuck by me...

    took me years to find out my suffering and flu all the time and accelerated pain was FM... About 2 years ago I think... These flares are complicated and massive lately... I also have multiple problems... and they all... almost all... provide a pain of their own... just call me the pain factory lol... I be number one gymp in my little world lol...

    I think I have rattled on long enough... I have probably vented worse then I should have... Sorry...

    I send you ultra soft teddy bear hugs... please try to take some deep breathes slowly on the way in say "RE" and breathe out and say "LAX" ... I say that or JE-SUS...

    Over and over with slow soft breathes... Even in my tears the urge to pace goes away... Still working on not cleaning cupboards lol... lol... now I have gotten down to scrubbing counters and tables and dusting lol... etc... lol...

    Take care Hun... I will keep you in my thoughts... bless you...
    When you need a friend, reach out to a stranger and you will have one. If you need help, help someone else. if you need to cry, find someone already crying and celebrate life. Love Jan
    sheepish1 responded:
    lexapro has helped me alot, and I am functioning much better.
    Hope this helps,
    Gentle hugs,
    bythelastlight responded:
    Hi, I have had fibro for a while but just recently diagnosed. I am 23. I am on lyrica and 50mg trazadone at night. (I also have generalized anxiety disorder and have some training in psychology from college).

    I don't know if this helps you or not, but one of the best things to help me deal with anxiety is to correct any of my irrational thoughts. Telling myself "you don't know that" or "that hasn't happened yet" for instance helps. It keeps a normal stress from skyrocketing into the world ending. It helps to stop irrational worries before they become worse worries. Sometimes listening to guided meditations also helps me calm down.

    With work stresses I often tell myself that the person acting upset or ugly could be having the worst day of their life and reminding myself that it's not specifically me that they are upset about. It helps not to take client upsets personally.

    I do realize that sometimes you need more help than that. Are you seeing a therapist? If not you may want to consider one. It helps to have someone listen to you that is not going to judge you, only try to offer help and correct you when you are wrong with a thought.

    Trazadone is a mild anxiety medicine and Cymbalta is used for anxiety and depression as well. I know for fibro they often give less of the antidepressants than they would for depression. So if you seem to tolerate the Cymbalta well and it is possible to raise your dose, you may want to ask your doc about it.

    Antidepressants/ antianxiety medicine can sometimes cause a lot of side effects that you don't want, so if you do get your doctor to prescribe something else for the anxiety monitor yourself carefully and have those around you do so also, remind them that new medicines like that can sometimes cause issues with mood or suicidal thoughts so they can keep an eye on you too.

    I really hope this helps and you find the answers you are looking for! I sympathize with you because I know how it feels to have bad fibro days where just something simple like spilling something seems like a tragedy.

    purplemoon0130 replied to jrae922's response:
    Hi Jessie! How did your appointment go? I have been having FM for a few years now, but was only correctly diagnosed a few months ago. I'm responding to your post about Cymbalta. I was switched to that to see if it worked better than the other A/D I was on. OMG!!, that stuff caused full-blown panic attacks to start!! I had had some problems with GAD in the past, but not like this! I ended up in the ER thinking I was dying! I was given Ativan 2mg. there and they gave me a few to go home with. Well, they worked so well, I went back to my doc, not knowing yet it was the Cymbalta causing the panic, and asked her to prescribe something for the anxiety that I could no longer tolerate. She gave me Xanax. Eventually over time, the Xanax no longer worked and she switched me to Ativan. Again, after a while, I went from one tablet to three a day because my tolerance had grown. And yet again, over time, THAT no longer worked to keep the panic away! My psychiatrist had me stop taking the Cymbalta and was put on Pristiq instead. I still had GAD, but the panic attacks had stopped. Thank God! But my GP had me stay on the Ativan. I told her that I wanted off of it because it wasn't working anymore and wanted her to taper me off of it. She went against that idea and recommended that I go to "Detox", in the hospital. I stayed a week to make sure I didn't get any withdrawals, especially seizures that can be life threatening. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever had to do! I had to learn coping skills for the GAD, which doesn't always work..ugh. Sometimes Benedryl will help settle down the GAD. I'm also on Soma muscle relaxers for the spasms I get from FM and it calms me a good bit. I have had nightmarish side effects from Lyrica and just stopped taking it last week. Something else to not work right with me. It seems never ending for me. I feel damned if I DO and damned if I DON'T, where meds are concerned. *deep sigh* On top of all that, I was also diagnosed with emphysema a few years ago :( One good bit of news though...I made 10 yrs. of being cancer free in January! Yes, ANOTHER thing gone wrong with me...breast cancer...had to have a mastectomy. I would need to write a whole book for ya'll to know all about Hey, but I'm a survivor...of life's curve balls it throws constantly at me.
    xperky responded:
    Hi. Anxiety is a horrible feeling. I've dealt with it, on and off, for many years. For a few years I took 2.5 to 5 mg diazepam. It is long acting and very sedating. I did get dependent on it and tapered off it very slowly on my own. Then, I didn't need much of anything for a few years. Then life got stressful and I was rxd lorazepam 0.5mg prn. Sometimes I only take 1/2 a pill and can stay awake and function well. One pill helps tons with falling asleep. It can cause dependence, like all benzodiazepines, but it helps me cope when I would otherwise fall apart.

    Good luck with your doctor. And, I hope you can reduce the stress in your life to reduce the anxiety. But, don't be embarrased if you need medicine. Just be careful to keep it to a minimum.
    Life is wonderful when lived with love and compassion, Margaret
    jrae922 replied to xperky's response:
    Hi Everyone!

    I'm sorry to keep you all waiting on my update but I came down with an upper respiratory virus the day after I first posted and have been recovering from that. It was not fun!

    Anyway, my doctor decided to have me taper off of Cymbalta. First, I take 30mg for two weeks and then I stop. She gave me a Rx for 30 pills though in case I have too many withdrawal symptoms.

    So far, I feel MUCH better. Plus, I had a very stressful thing happen to me the other day. My mother (who babysits my two year old daughter) called me at work and told me that my daughter is out of control because I don't discipline her enough. I was extremely upset, but I felt like my ability to cope with the situation was much better than it would have been before I started tapering off of the Cymbalta.

    In short, I think that Cymbalta was really helpful when I was going through a bad flare two years ago and was facing awful depression. But I'm ready to go without it now. I still take Trazodone at night and that is so helpful.

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. I'm glad that my doctor didn't prescribe a benzo, since so many of you have said that they are highly addictive. Relaxation techniques are helpful to me (now that I am more balanced chemically). If I ever feel like I am so overwhelmed that I cannot calm down, even with my coping techniques, I will try benedryl.

    1wareaglefan replied to jrae922's response:
    Jessie, I'm so glad you're feeling better! Thanks for letting us know.

    Take care....ELizabeth
    vic711 replied to jrae922's response:
    Hi Jessie,

    So glad that you are coming off the medication and feeling better. I take a benzo for sleep, and occasional anxiety. I have been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder for 10 years, and was taking far too many medications. I'm only on 2 now, and my mind is so much clearer. I do get the fibro "fog", and on those days I just try to get through the day.

    If it weren't for the trazedone, I don't think I would sleep at all. Sometimes because of the pain, and others because my mind races like a Kentucky Derby winner lol...

    Calming techniques do help.. deep breathing, and focusing on something solid (like the floor I'm standing on) can really help me through an anxiety attack.

    I don't get to post often, but I love it when I have the time, and can come here. It's relaxing all by itself, and everyone is just so kind.

    Hoping you have a great weekend!! (((hugs))) Vicki
    Soophie responded:
    Hello Jrae922, I am so sorry to hear about your terrible anxiety as well as the mountain of problems you are having!! I guess hearing everbodies stories reminds me of how lucky I am to have a loving Husband who makes enough money so I don't have to work and worry about insurance ect... I also have major anxiety!! I feel your pain when you say you can't seem to deal with even the smallest amount of stress!! I am the same way!! I get nervous around people, I can't work because of my anxiety and Fibro!! I get nervous when I have to go food shopping , or any social event!! Its so frustrating. I try to turn it off, but it won't go away!! I do take 0.5mg of Alprazolam twice daily and Trazadone at night to help with sleep. It helps a little, but its still not enough. I don't worry about addiction, because I hate to take pills and make sure I take only the recommended dose!!
    I find nature to be one of few things that helps me relax!! Hiking, listening to the birds, taking nature photo's and putting them on my wall. Of course I love all kinds of music as well so I always have my IPOD Touch handy!! I am always looking for the next best movie!!
    Well I hope this helps a little!! Best wishes and good luck!!

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