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Dysautonomia and anticipation


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When my girls are looking forward to an event, the anticipation of the event is often worse than actually attending the event.  Let me explain.  Say there's a graduation, birthday, something fun, life's moments....  you get excited, right?  Or there's the dread of anticipation of, say, surgery (my oldest is having a spine fusion from occiput to T-5).  That excitement/dread triggers tachycardia, migraines, vertigo, exhaustion, just from looking forward to or dreading the event.  Is there something other than breathing exercises to control that?  How do you handle life without triggering these things?  Any thoughts?

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Any chance it is anticipatory anxiety?  I used to have huge problems with anticipatory anxiety.  I did cognitive behavioral therapy and learn to stop the thought processes that feed anxiety.  I still have some projective thinking but doesn't get out of check.

However, I do get increase in symptoms with routine changes before events.  My classic pattern is to feel good, plan a special birthday (etc) something for someone, use up all my energy the day before the event and crash the day of so it doesn't happen at all.

Do you think anticipatory anxiety or routine changes fit your girls experience?

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You could try breathing exercises to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.  Breathe in for 5 seconds, then out for 5 or more seconds.  Repeat for at least 10 minutes.  IIRC this changes the blood chemistry in such a way as to activate parasympathetic system.   

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BuffRockChick - I don't know if it's anticipatory anxiety or just that their bodies overreact to just about everything!  Thanks for the suggestion, might have to look into that after my daughter recovers from her surgery.

Lily - Maybe the breathing might work for them.  I never help much hope for breathing exercises, but if it actually activates the parasympathetic, it might work!  Thank you!

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Guest KiminOrlando

Hi Dizzy. I sort of do the same thing. If I have a doctor's appointment that I had no choice but to schedule for a morning instead of an afternoon or it is a new doctor and I don't know where it is exactly, I can't sleep the night before. I end up trying to do it with no sleep which makes it 10 times worse, or even impossible.

We had a 50th anniversary party for my parents last year. I didn't do much, my brother and his wife handled pretty much everything. I didn't sleep the night before and struggled so much. Then my mom invited all of the out of town relatives over for brunch the next morning.  I was so worried about being able to get out of bed and be dressed before people started arriving that I didn't sleep that night either.  It was so very hard on me, but from my family's perspective, I didn't do anything.  I was basically just a guest as far as work load went, so I needed to just suck it up and smile. It was one of the hardest things I have done in a while.

My brother and his wife were good to consider me though. They were going to make it a standing cocktail type party, but I told them I was afraid I would end up without a chair and would have to leave. They ordered tables and chairs so that there would be enough to go around. I don't think they realized these were the types of things that I think about no matter where I go.

If I had the money, I might have gone to a hotel and skipped the brunch, but all of my money is spent on medical stuff, so my choices in life are very limited.

As far as going to new doctors, I try to do a dry run and find the place so that when it comes time to actually have the appointment, that uncertainty variable is removed.

So much can go wrong with us. I feel like I am constantly having to calculate an escape plan no matter where I go or what I am doing. The mere fact that is always running in my head is exhausting and very stressful. It isn't an anxiety disorder because if I didn't do it, if I wasn't constantly monitoring my body and managing my situation, bad things really would happen. It is just a survival skill.

Hang in there. We can be difficult, but we don't mean to be. I tell people I am so high maintenance that I annoy myself.

Kim

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Hi.  I guess this scenario applies to me too, such as before a major doctors appointment.  My appt's are usually in the early morning.  If it's a big one, such as the one I've got coming up with Mayo this Friday, my anticipatory anxiety will be high.  As will my BP and HR.  Doctors call it white coat syndrome.  Anyway, before such appointments, I will not sleep the night before and be wired in the morning.    This happens even though I take medicine to help me sleep.  I have Ativan to help me relax for tough times.  Like others, I feel my anxiety is warranted as a fight or flight response due to the fact I've had bad things happen to me in the past that could necessitate such a reaction.  

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