New here....breathing and health anxiety issues

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/12/2008 5:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone! I'm so glad I found this site.
I've had Panic Disorder, GAD, etc. off and on for 20 years now. I went thru a 10 year period being relatively free of it all and now it's back with a vengence because of some recent health issues. about 2 weeks ago, I went to the ER for PVC's, tachycardia, and severe vertigo that come on out of the blue.
Everything came back ok except my lung x-ray. It came back saying "mild diffuse interstitial disease of unknown origin".
Of course I freaked out knowing that one of the ILD's is IPF, or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. When I pressed the doctor, he was pretty firm in telling me that it was NOT IPF, but most likely a viral infection because the markings were so minimul and I had not taken a deep breath before the x-ray was taken. I left and tried to live with it for the next 2 days until I had a full blown anxiety attack reading about ILD's on the internet and ended up back at the ER for another lung x-ray.
This time it came back saying, "Final impression: NO CARDIO/PULMONARY DISEASE". The ER doc told me not to worry about it and gave me some prednisone and doxycycline just in case I had alittle something starting. I never took the meds because I didn't feel like I had a chest cold and I have a real problem taking any meds. I spent the next week trying to convince myself that the first radiologist made an mistake, but as it goes with health anxieties, I keep worrying about it being the second one that got it wrong!
I've spent countless hours researching all the ILD's. I've even researched the statistics on malpractice due to radiologists errors!
I know that sounds crazy....
Anyway, I noticed Monday that every 15 mins. or so I have to take really deep breaths...almost like the breaths that one takes after crying real hard, and I'm scared to death again. I can't seem to relax my chest muscles and notice how "tight" I'm holding my upper torso from time to time.
This is my second night of no sleep. Everytime I do doze off I have a horrible nightmare and wake up short of breath, dizzy, feeling out of reality and have to really work on getting a grip before the full blown panic sets in. My cardio tried to reassure me that NO CARDIO/PULM Disease means just that, but, I can't stop thinking about the first x-ray and with this new breathing thing, I'm sitting on the edge again! I'm doing everything I can not to run down to the ER for yet another X-ray, but wonder if I should just to make sure that there's no 2 out of 3?!
Please help any of you ever get the breathing issues, and does Xanax help? My cardio gave me a few months supply of 1mgs. to take as needed...but then again, I'm scared to take those too!!
On a side note, I did make an appointment with a counselor next week.
Hope everyone is feeling well!

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/12/2008 8:29 AM (GMT -6)   


Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I am sorry you are having anxiety issues and that we have to meet here.  I am Kitt.
I had a similar episode and I worried and became anxious.  My first xray showed "something" pneumonia was the ER physicians dx.  Then the radiologist letter came saying there was a spot of to my Dr. I went with my Will in my long did I have to live.  He calmed me down and we waited for 8 weeks to reading from radiologist " Nothing to be concerned about"

Well I still don't know what "nothing to be concerned about is" but I just decided to get on with the living and put my Will back in the safe.

I think you have every right to be anxious but now that you have had the test and your physician has reassured you, I would encourage you to take the Xanax if it will help you bring down your anxiety.  Please don't suffer through bad attacks when you have a prescribed med that should help you.

It is ok to use medication for the proper reasons and you have a reason so think about giving it a try.  I wish you peace and keep posting.

Hugs to you

Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic 
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 2446
   Posted 4/12/2008 8:53 AM (GMT -6)   
When you say Vertigo, do you mean full fledge spinning and vomitting? Or just the dizzies?

Do you have any other symptoms?
The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong in the broken places

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/12/2008 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Kitt!
So nice to meet you, I wish it was under different circumstances.
Thanks for sharing your story. It really helps in rationalizing my fears. Your right, I need to get on with it and start the xanax.
I just worry about side effects when I have such severe health anxiety, but I have taken it many times in the past and was
just fine. With so many years between the severe attacks and now, I just need to remind myself that I got through it then,
and with people like you, will get through it once again.

Hugs back at you,
Julie aka Jewels :)

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/12/2008 2:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello peacesoul,

When I have vertigo, it's real time spinning vertigo...not dizziness.
I've had a few episodes in the last year that caused me to vomit and others that caused me to have to hold on to something
to keep from falling over. I've always thought that I might have Benign positional vertigo like my mother.
Other symptoms I get include, fullness in my ears, ringing, stabbing pain, and it's hard to explain, but I get this full headed feeling...
like my heads inside a box full of pressure that comes on when my head and neck are in certain positions sometimes.
Last year I couldn't roll over without triggering an episode for 2 full weeks and I lived with an garbage can next to my bed!

This last episode that sent me to the ER came on at the very moment my heart started tachying out, and that really scared me!
I thought I might be having a stroke.

Do you have vertigo?

Best to you,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 4/12/2008 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Julie, welcome to HW! It's lovely to have you here. I'm sorry for your troubles..I have not been through anything similar but I understand anxiety and insomnia. Your question on xanax, yes, it works.  I wouldn't plan on taking it long term, but for your current problems (me not being a doctor or professional) I would think it may give you the break you need to get all this tied up sweetie!
You are suffering and I HATE to see that, please get the best medical advice you can and do what is neccessary to get past are well worth it xxx
Co-moderator Anxiety/Panic
Panic Attack Survivor
Weekend Warrior Princess

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 4/13/2008 2:01 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Jewels...

Try and relax a little..and remind yourself that you have had all the tests necessary and have a clean bill of health..phew - that must be a relief for you! Sometimes it takes a little while for us to calm down after having a health scare as you have..Maybe it's time for a little you have hobby that you can immerse yourself in? I always find a jigsaw does the trick...anyhow, just a thought :) Hope you feeling better soon.

Keep us posted.


 'Raindrops on roses..'

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/13/2008 7:32 AM (GMT -6)   



Hello and welcome!  I'm dealing with a lot of health anxiety right now also, and I certainly don't have answers, but I have tried a couple of things that help a little.


First, I've had to make multiple followup appointments with my doctors just to ask questions again.  It sounds like you've already done that.  One thing I have to do at least three times during any appointment, though - after telling my docs I have a lot of anxiety about my health -- is ask them whether they see any reason why I might die, or stop breathing (that's my big issue right now).  I've even asked for confirmation about how my symptoms are different from those of somebody in distress, so that I can tell myself "Hey, my breathing isn't doing that, so I must be okay."  It's not working very well yet, but I can replay their words in my head when I'm starting to freak out.


I also take my boyfriend along to listen, so that when I forget or need external reassurance, he can repeat their advice and diagnosis.  If he couldn't go, I think I'd take a tape recorder.


Hang in there, Julie.  It is really draining to worry about your health all the time.  I know from my past run-ins with it that at some point, something seems to "click," and you're able to let it go.  What I don't know is how to make that "click" happen on demand. 

Just take it one day at a time, and remind yourself that you have not let anything slip by.  You are being very proactive about your health, and the tests that you've had done strongly indicate that you're fine.  Try to reassure yourself of that regularly, and do ask your docs more questions if you need to!


My prayers are with you,





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