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Having trouble, Are symptoms my anxiety or OI???


yikespanic
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Hi all,

This is my newest dilema..Feeling symptoms but take BP and it's in an ok level for me. This is so nerve wracking!!!!! I need to drive my kids to school so I drink my gateraide all morning before we leave (24oz) and take water in the car. Eat my banana, bring along my salty pretzels along to get more salt, carry my cell phone just in case, drop son off at school, go home, pick up daughter and go all the way back and take her to work near the school (she starts 1 hour later than son), eating pretzels and drinking. Only to get all the scarry feelings which escalate when I'm alone in the car on the way back so I pop 1/4 of a Xanax under my tounge and make the frieghtening journey home. I don't know how to tell if it's my OI or anxiety, or maybe both. It's so crazy, my BP's ok but I'm still getting scared. Do any women out there experience worse symtoms just before and during your period. I'm thinking this has something to do with it? I gotta pull myself together, I have to take my mother in law to a Dr. Appt this afternoon.

Kim

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I've had really bad dizziness, headaches, nausea and other POTS symptoms when my HR and BP are totally normal. I got diagnosed with POTS right away, and got put on meds which usually controlled my HR and BP. So my doctors assumed that I was fine and didn't really believe I was still having such bad symptoms. I finally figured out the symptoms were due to POTS after joining the forum and having a million other tests which came back normal. So it's definitely possible that your symptoms are real POTS symptoms, and not just anxiety.

It's also very common to feel worse around that time of the month. :lol:

Rita

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Kim,

In the past I've become worse when on tranquilizers. I've needed them because of anxiety, but...

the pill would actually make me much worse especially when it was wearing off. Then I'd really feel unable to cope and would take another pill. I'm now off of all pills that could affect my nervous system except Prilosec (for GERD).

I don't know what the answer is when anxiety takes over. You have to take something. I know from experience. It just seems to me that tranquilizers seemed to have such a rebound effect for me.

My experience with tranquilizers was prior to being diagnosed with POTS. Now, I'm even more careful what I take.

Of course, I understand you have to do something. But what to do??? I don't have any answers.

To answer the question to your post "Are my symptoms anxiety or OI?", I think you would need to be off the anxiety medication before you could determine whether you are experiencing anxiety or OI. And of course there have been several discussions on here as to the overlap. Many POTS people have both.

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Hi Kim;

If I were to give you an opinion based soley on my experience I would have to say that you are having mostly ANXIETY. I have experienced what you described for over 10 years. My BP has been normal, my heart rate would be fast. But I truly believe that stressing over your condition, by being diligent over hydrating and your salt intake, adds more stress to your body. What makes it worse is the flight or fight response is already extremely sensitive. Not to mention, the stress of being behind the wheel adds more to the build up of anxiety. Please know that I am, in no way, saying that it is all in your head. I, myself, couldn't stand it when people told me that.

I used to take a Xanax when I felt intense anxiety coming on, but it would also make me feel worse because it would make my body tired but my mind would still be racing.

If I were able to give any advise, based on my experience, I would recommend learning slow breathing techniques. These work very well. Also, refocusing your thoughts. Think positive and change your thought process. And most importantly, slow down. Slow down everything, like thinking, what you are doing, and most of all breathing.

Believe me, I have been where you are literally thousands of times. Now I am doing more than I have in years and feel so much better. Sure you are still going to have dysautonomia and POTS. You are doing EVERYTHING you can do to alleviate symptoms. And I am sure you will still have symptoms of POTS, but when you are feeling this degree of anxiety, there are these simple things you can do that will make a world of difference.

Talk to your doctor. He or she may have information on breathing and relaxation techniques. I know exactly what you are going through and please know that I hope you feel better soon and have much less anxiety. Good luck on your healing journey.

KathyP :lol:

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Kim,

futurehope has a point. Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium) can often have a paradoxical effect or rebound effect as they wear off or between doses. Many people who take them regularly don't even realize that many of the symptoms designed to be controlled by these meds (anxiety, anger, muscle spasms, etc...) can often be caused by them, especially over time. This isn't the case for everyone, but for very many. All meds can do crazy things to different people. Ativan has caused me many problems after working well for several months, even though I have no history of "addiction problems" on either side of my family. Just a thought. We're all different. Xanax has worked wonders for many. Good luck!

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Thanks everybody,

I got through another rough day. I really hate meds to. I really only take my Xanax when I really feel extreamly unable to get through the anxiety. Then I have them all cut up into quarters and only use 1/4 of a pill, just to take the edge off enough to make it home. It has the opposite effect on me. Once it calms down my escalating anxiety I usually feel much better the rest of the day. It's like putting out a fire with water. It's to wet to re-ignite for awhile? At least that's how it seems to me. I don't use them every day. Maybe that's why they are so effective. I think some of you are right, it's mostly anxiety. It was better this afternoon, I decided to just accept it and not to let it get to me. It was easier. I just have this big fear of not being able to make it home. I think I get scared at the first sign of OI symptoms and think "OH NO" instead of telling myself I will be ok and thats where my anxiety grows. It's me scaring myself! Thanks for being there for me today, it really helps.

Kim

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Hi Kim,

Ive been wondering the same thing about some of my experiences. I just got my wisdom teeth out under local so was not sure if my reaction was OI related or a anxiety attack due to the fear of the drills and what not. Its so nice to know whats the cause is so we can know how to deal with it.

I have asked my drs and they tend to say that illness and anxiety are interrelated. At first we have to train our mind that we are sick and to be super diligent about what we eat/do while also looking out for any stimulus that may trigger an event. However sometimes being so diligent causes us to overload on the worry. All in all the fact is that you feel bad and it doesnt make it more or less legitimate if its caused by anxiety or OI (i realise you have not said you feel that way, i just mentioned it as many people do sometimes percieve anxiety that way).

Maybe you could continue treating it the OI symptoms while at the same time seeking help for anxiety? I am learning breathing/meditation techniques at the moment through a psychiatrist and a hypnotist. I have found that Hypnotism is great! I was sceptical at first but have found i can reach such relaxed states while being hypnotised that it helps regernerate my body and mind. Its like sleeping while awake but you are still in control. Of course practitioners may vary.

Keep in mind the side effects of medication, im glad you have had good experiences and dont think this is the case :lol: I wish i had the answers for you. I can only give advice based on my experience. Have you got a dr you trust to not jump on the anxiety bandwagon strait away? I had CFS and i found driving really tiring and i didnt feel safe behind the wheel. Do you find similar things give you the same feeling or is it just when alone?

good luck! i hope you find some answers to know how to tackle the situtation.... trying to work out whats going on in our bodies can be a full time job sometimes :lol:

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Thank you for sharing your story, this is my first post and I feel exactly the same and it is my biggest problem with POTS. I have 3 kids and have to drive them around often (I have managed to get the oldest two to catch trains and walk a lot as some days I can't cope). If I am feeling well, driving does not seem to be a problem, but if I am particularly tired, fuzzy, etc I find it so daunting and sometimes just cannot get in the car, then I stress about how I am going to get my kids there etc. My concentration is so poor that I do fear an accident and only drive within a small radius from home. I am sure that anxiety is playing more and more of a role. I try deep breathing, chewing gum, having food and phones on hand and also break up the trip into small goals so that it is not as daunting. I also pray out loud and sing - apparently it is almost impossible to have a panic attack whilst you are singing! I have been prescribed a tricyclic anti depressant which I am going to start (just waiting to see how I go on Mestinon, not good so far). I notice that I worry about getting home, but once I get to my destination, I am usually ok. I did collapse once and had to be driven home, so am worried about that recurring too. Yes, sounds like I am definitely a candidate for something, but after reading on this forum, not sure what will work. Tried Moclobemide which was terrible. I have been told that it is a chemical imbalance, and positive thinking will only go so far. I plan to take a med regularly to try and even out my moods. I have also gone back on the Pill as my menses made everything worse, POTS, anxiety, moods etc and I was not coping at all. It has really helped.

I also have CFS, so think this really compounds all the fatigue, anxiety etc. I feel better knowing that I am not the only mum out there who is stressing in the car. :lol:

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This might sound like a very simple thing, but have you tried eating protein in the morning? While I don't have problems with anxiety, I know my POTS symptoms flare up when I eat a lot of sugar first thing in the morning. I have to have protein.

Michelle

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Hello Suzanne, and lots of support.

It sounds like you are experiencing anxiety about your condition (so natural). I understand that it may also be made worse by the condition itself! Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is very effective for this kind of thing - I find that my symptoms are not belittled and I now have a better tool kit for dealing with everything. There are even online courses you can do if you don't find a good therapist, and it's worth shopping around. This has been a real lifeline to me, because I used to over-monitor myself, just raising the stress and anxiety levels. It's a question of balance between management and level-headedness, and that balance point can be found. Best of luck.

Regards, Marian.

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