I'm Laurel. I don't know where to begin....but, I guess I can start with: I am a SAHMom to three "small" children (9,7,5)---have been married 11 to my best friend, and have been suffering with anxiety and panic/depression most recently for the past 6 months! I am 39 years old. I live in a rural area in Upstate NY (near the Adirondacks).
In retrospect, I guess I have always been anxious--b/c I remember having bouts of anxiety/panic when I was 8-12 years old. I didn't want to go on family trips, would cry, make myself throw-up, etc.....my 5 brothers didn't make it easy on my either....... my Mother told me to 'snap out of it' and disregarded my behavior as 'a phase'. My Dad was great---he would hold my hand and say nothing----give me hugs and tell me I would be alright!
From about the age of 13-29 I THOUGHT I was doing great! I loved high school, had many friends, went to college---loved it! Got really good grades, got a professional job---advanced very quickly professionally, got married---and then had my FIRST child!
BAM---that is where it began! I didn't want anyone to hold her, touch her....I felt incredible guilt if I couldn't console her, figure out why she was ill. I know I had Postpartum depression--I just didn't admit it! I still worked Part Time---and that helped me 'switch gears' so I could focus on other things! Then, I had my 2nd child---BAM! Depression again---and anxiety---b/c I wanted to be the PERFECT MOM! I quit my job to stay home with my children----I wanted to do EVERYTHING with them---and be EVERYTHING to everyone! The PERFECT person! My house was spotless (even with two little ones), dinner was always ready, food always in the cupboards, clothes cleaned, noses wiped---you name it ---- it was done!
But---I missed getting a "thanks" " good job" "that's a great idea"---and felt very isolated b/c most of my friends still worked, and I had NO ONE to talk to (that--and living in the sticks---makes it hard to go anywhere)! But, I went ahead and had my THIRD baby! He is my most DIFFICULT child---he's very head-strong, high-maintenance----and I am constantly 'battling' with this kid about HIS way (yes, I am the boss--but, he doesn't want any of that---he's 5!)! That is when DH and I decided it was time to get HIM a vasectomy! LOL!
So, anway-----I think all of this "perfectionism" and control led me to have a "breakdown" of sorts this past May! It started b/c I found four lumps on my right breast----and I had a Panic attack (for about 14 hours----it just didn't go away)----I managed to give myself serious back/chest pains---numbness in my extremities, and thought I was dying. Every little "pain" was death---cancer---etc...... I went to the ER three times---1st time--I had heart checked, pulmonary embolism checked, and gall bladder checked! ALL WERE FINE! The ER MD said, "you're a mom of 3? Here, I am going to write you a script for Valium.... Go follow up with your Primary." I panicked! WHAT? Valium?! I NEVER TOOK THAT STUFF BEFORE! I MUST BE FAILING ... EVERYONE!
2nd time: ER visit was b/c of pain in chest/back, plus my right arm and face/jaw went numb! I was dying! Went back again! "you're just stressed......go home.... call your primary MD tomorrow!" Yeah, OK....
So, I did call MD. I ended up getting tested for (over past 6 months): spine xray, B12 deficiency, STress EKG, abdominal ultrasound, gall bladder ultrasound (which they really thought I had problems with b/c I had all of the systems), gall bladder hid-a-scan, MRI of mid-thoracic back pain, Celiac Test, Rheumatoid/Arthritis Antibody test, and PHysical Therapy for my back/chest. ALL TESTS NORMAL (except Physical Therapy---had some misaligned joints T4, T5, T6, and costo-chondritis).
My MD gave me Lexapro (10 mg to start) to try along with the Valium 1/2 mg)! I went off the edge (literally)---I thought I was dying---I felt the walls in my bedroom were closing around me! I thought my DH was going to take away my children---and I would end up in a homeless shelter b/c I was 'crazy'----I cried for four days, couldn't sleep, would close my eyes and see "eyes" looking at me, couldn't eat, couldn't leave my bedroom, but couldn't stay there either, had stomach pains, back pains, and diarrhea! That was Memorial Day Weekend! I explained to my children that I had really bad back pains (which I did but also lied) and told them me crying etc... wasn't their fault and I would be better soon! My sister-in-law (who is a nurse) happened to be visiting that day---and she helped me, and DH, a great deal!
Called my MD the day after Memorial Day-----told me to get off of Lexapro and Valium. Prescribed Klonopin 1 mg--- PRN---do not take all of the time! I took it---felt a little more calm. But, the back/chest pain still around!
OK--fast forward almost 6 months (b/c this is getting long)! I have since been going to a counselor---she is OK--but, I NEED someone who has Cognitive Behavior background---and I don't think she does! I am going to see a back specialist--b/c my mid-back is messed up! BUT---he's not sure if it's b/c of my GI problems or my back! I had my 1st GI specialist REFUSED to see me (saw him 2 years ago b/c of possible GERD---no reason given----jerk!)and when I was trying to find another GI specialist to go to--it was like, as soon as they heard I saw someone else, they would buckle and then end up saying NO (even though my last GI specialist only found slight hiatal hernia, some 'spots' on the outside of my esphogus, and mild gastritis)---and have had to wait 8 weeks to see this other guy (who is supposed to be good-fingers crossed)! I take Klonopin when I need it, but feel I "NEED" more than not----going back to my Primary MD Nov. 12th to discuss this---and all of the hoopla with the back specialist, GI specialist, and Chiropractor!
I FOuND HW doing an online search---and am thankful you answer my posts (and sorry they go on forever)! I feel very alone in this situation. DH is pretty good---but, I know he is starting to get 'upset' about the whole thing b/c it's taking so long with me to figure this whole GI thing out---and he doesn't know what to do! My mother, who is almost 80, told me to 'snap out of it'.......She has her own problems, I don't want to worry her.
So, when I post that I am "a wreck"---it's usually b/c I am.......I tried to take Lexapro, and Celexa---both ended up giving me symptoms like I listed above! The klonopin helps--but, I don't want to be addicted to it!
My counselor thinks I suffer from: 1) health anxiety and 2) anticipatory anxiety------and have a tremendous amount of guilt (which I do)! My guilt gives me anxiety/panic attacks!
I have lost 15 lbs b/c I still have GI problems! I feel like there is a BALL under my sternum, pains in my right chest/back and sternum. It hurts to eat food----but, I forces myself b/c I don't want to wither away (I am 5'9" and 130 lbs right now)..... LUCKILY---I am going to see the GI specialist (#2) NEXT TUESDAY (10/30)----I am afraid to see him, b/c I read the report from the first JERK GI specialist, and he made note that I cried and it was perplexing......I was "crying about nothing, and her aches and pains are not about her GI system---possibly some neurosis"........He had the personality of a rock, anyway! But----now I have to go and explain this whole thing again to GI #2----and I am afraid he will read my chart from GI #1 and think I'm crazy! Again, I feel like a failure!
So----thanks HW for letting me explain myself----and venting, and asking questions you probably are tired of answering----I am sorry this is so long----but, it felt good typing it (through many tears)---and I hope to get through this period of anxiety-----b/c I really am a fun, good person---and am not feeling that way right now! :(