Boy am I glad I found this website! Obviously I am a newbie and this website has already helped me.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and put on blood pressure medicine (Enalapril) once a day. I was only 22 years old, although I was (and still am) a large man (6ft 5in, 300lbs). Kind of bummed me out, but I was young and didn't have a lot of responsibilities. Then about a year ago, I was having dull chest pains for days, so I decided to go to the ER since my doctor's office was closed for the day (and I live about a block from the hospital). They FREAKED ME OUT. They wheeled me in and hooked a bunch of stuff up to me, and I had my first full blown panic attack. I couldn't breathe, got extremely cold, lethargic, and my BP skyrocketed. Over the next few days, I had a stress test, EKG's, etc. Nothing seemed to be wrong. Even my heart was "normal". Well, what about the enlarged heart? So, needless to say, my trust in doctors went out the window. Someone is wrong, either I do or do not have an enlarged heart. So, my doctor said I probably had an inflamed chest wall and Acid Reflux. He prescribed me Prilosec and Aleve. Then, I started having different chest pains and apparently my mind shut down. I laid in bed for three days thinking that I was going to die. I had a wife and a three year old with one on the way at that time and my mind just raced. The feeling of impending doom, wondering how my kids were going to grow up, etc. I went to my doctor, and it's kind of funny, I felt GOOD and RELIEVED every time I went to the doctor's office. He diagnosed my with GAD and prescribed me PAXIL. So, I looked up everything I could about PAXIL, GAD, etc, which was a bad thing to do as some of you know. I took the PAXIL for four days and felt HORRIBLE. I go back to the doctor, and by this time I think that he is getting tired of me, and prescribed me PROZAC. Same thing happened. By this time, I thought all kinds of things. Am I going to end up in a mental institution? I didn't like that doctor, so I went to another doctor that my father and grandfather use. He prescribed me some Effexor XR and XANAX to take. Well, I looked it all up on the internet (dumb, dumb) and immediately told myself that I didn't want to take the XANAX. I got sick off of the Effexor same as always. By this time, I had had the XANAX for a couple of months. I kept it with me at all times, it helped knowing that if my GAD got REALLY bad, I could take it. I went back to the doctor and he TOLD me to take the XANAX when I need to and to not be afraid of it. I told him that I didn't want to be on the SSRI's even though I am SURE I got sick on them because in my mind I just knew I would (if that makes any sense). He told me that it is awfully difficult to get past GAD without medications, etc., but I was more than welcome to try. That was about 14 months ago, and I go through stages where I take a half of a .25mg XANAX once to three times a day, for maybe a couple of days, or maybe a couple of weeks. Sometimes I have little to no symptoms for weeks at a time, then something will happen, kids get sick, stress from work, seeing a fresh dead body on a service call at work(you would think that at a funeral home, they wouldn't keep the fresh ones out in the garage so anyone can see them if they go in there), seeing a dead body along the freeway on my way to work in the morning( I commute and use that highway everyday), my mom being diagnosed with cancer, my uncle being diagnosed with terminal cancer, etc. Now I have new symptoms that have been acting up the last month or so. Pinching feeling in my left jaw and left armpit, sharp shooting pain in the middle/left side of my chest, tingling left hand, etc. I have been sleeping on the couch thinking that when I sleep on my stomach in our bed, (that's the only way I don't keep my wife up from me snoring all night) I am stretching my chest wall muscle at night. When I stay busy, I don't have ANY symptoms. (as a matter of fact, I haven't had any symptoms while I have been typing this)But, if I have time to think about things, it comes back. It seems like anxiety causes anxiety, like it's a learned behavior. It seems to me that I want so badly to be a good father and husband, that I am worried that I will have another episode like I had last year, but that it might last forever. It is the first thing that I think of, even BEFORE I wake up in the morning. "Am I going to have a good day, or a bad day today?" My wife has been amazing throughout this whole thing, but I feel like a burden at times. Since I commute, I am gone for 10-12 hours a day. She works, too, and if I am having a "bad day" she can get stuck with dealing with the kids, bathing the kids, making dinner, cleaning up, dished, laundry, etc. which in turn makes my anxiety worse, since I feel that I am failing as a husband/father. Wow, long first post. I just hope that this helps even ONE person, because I feel that some of these other posts have made me feel better, knowing that I am not the only one.