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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/31/2010 10:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone!
I am just starting down the path of dealing with an anxiety problem. I am 27 years old, and I work in TV news, so my job is stressful. I have never had a problem dealing with stress until June of this year. I started developing chest tightness, severe anxious feelings, and light headedness. My doctor initially treated me for a respiratory infection, because at the time I was presenting with a slight sinus infection, and my husband and I were doing remodling work in our house, which has horsehair plaster for walls. After a ZPak my chest problems did not go away. One weekend at work, I was 10 minutes from going on the air, and I had a meltdown. Racing heart, cold sweats, nauseated, and light headed to the point where I had to put my head between my knees. The next day I went back to the doctor. I had bloodwork done, 2 chest xrays and an EKG, all of which returned normal, except for a vitamin D deficiency.  The PA felt that I was dealing with anxiety, and put me on Zoloft 6 weeks ago. I have a follow-up next week.
I was fine for the first 3 weeks on zoloft, and relished the "normalcy" I got back. But then the tightness in the chest came back, and the jittery feeling, and the overwhelming sense of dread.....I'm still taking the medication, but it's all I can do to get off of my couch right now to function without feeling like I am going to just collapse where I am. My chest is still tight, but when I actually go do do something, I get actual sharp pains, on both sides, under my breasts. Then the mind starts reeling that maybe it is a heart problem. I have noticed that it gets worse when I am at work dealing with the stress there. The last two days I have been off, and it hasn't been as bad, but still noticeable. I can't escape the stress at work. It has never bothered me before - I chose this career path, and I know what is expected of me, and for 5 years I never had an issue. All of the sudden I feel helpless, and somewhat silly when I tell my manager I can't do something because I know it will send me to my knees.
I'm hoping that I can find suggestions and tips on how to combat and/or prevent the attacks. tongue

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
Total Posts : 790
   Posted 8/31/2010 10:43 AM (GMT -7)   
I am the last person to be an expert Katie, but I deal with it this way.

I tell myself that no-one around me knows what is happening inside me, and I try to act as normal as possible, I find that if other's don't know, the pressure is of me in terms of anxiety of others making judgements about me.

I try to regulate my breathing, and bring it to a normal pace.

I try to work out my triggers before an attack is happening, if I am aware of what sets me off, I can prepare myself for times when I maybe triggered. This is best looked at in your stronger moments, when you are able to be objective.

Often, I fail, and I do take a day off work, and that's ok too.

Hope some of that gives you somewhere to start at least.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27272
   Posted 8/31/2010 10:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello and welcome! Yep, been there with all those horrible physical symptoms-terrifying! I'm sorry to hear that you are suffering, especially when you are trying to work:( I would strongly recommend therapy. It has helped me tremendously. I still occasionally have physical symptoms of anxiety, but they are much less severe. Also, I have learned not to panic as a result of sudden light headedness, shakiness ect... Knowledge is power! You will learn a lot through going to see someone who specializes in treating anxiety. Hope that you post often, this is a great place for support and information:)
Best Wishes,
Scaredy Cat
"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2010
Total Posts : 358
   Posted 8/31/2010 11:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Yup... sounds like anxiety and panic. Anxiety can manifest itself in MANY different ways. For me personally, I get A LOT of physical symptoms. It can feel like something stabbing me through the heart, a pulled muscle in my left arm or heart itself, a tightness across my chest, dull chest pains, skipped heartbeats.... There are too many to remember and every time I convinced myself that it was "just anxiety" the symptoms seemed to change making me more anxious again.

Understanding what is happening and why are important. What's causing the anxiety? What's causing the attacks? Why here? Why now? If you can start to over time learn what physical symptoms you exhibit and/or mental thoughts before an attack begins it will help you to handle them better and you won't be surprised when they hit. As you learn coping techniques you can also start to use them earlier on so that the attacks don't last as long or better don't start at all.

But it certainly sounds like work is causing some anxiety. I had a job once where I was micromanaged (for the first time). I hated it there with all the pressure, expectations, rigid rules, and lack of flexibility. As an example, I got yelled at for taking a 32 minute lunch. They had people searching for me wondering what was wrong that I was "so late" coming back. I only took the job because I was financially desperate. One day I sat at my cubicle feeling nauseous so I got up to go the break room. Ten minutes later I felt fine. I went back to work and the nausea immediately returned. Back to the break room and I was good again. The signs became pretty obvious. Over the next several weeks I called out of work repeatedly. I couldn't make it five days in a row without calling out. I would feel sick in the morning, call out and then feel good all day long until evening came and I started thinking about work tomorrow.

It sounds like (as with me) that your body is trying to tell you something. I hope you listen to it. I ignored my body initially thinking I could handle it on my own, but the physical symptoms just got worse and worse and more frequent until I finally started to address them. The good news is if you're having a panic attack it won't hurt you. The bad news is it's still scary.
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