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Any other BHM or BBW struggle with anxiety?

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TheMildlyStrangeone

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This might be better off posted in the health board but this is board I frequent the most so I figured I'd post it here.

For the past few years I have been suffering from increasingly crippling anxiety. I've always had irrational fears and worries from my youth. As a child, I would be terrified of heights, going over bridges/in tunnels, thunderstorms, etc. Through my teen years I would still suffer from anxiety but it didn't really ever interfere with any parts of my life to a noticeable extent. Strangely enough as I got older, I would do some crazy things when I was in my late teens/early 20s that I couldn't dream of doing today. Lately it has gotten increasingly worse to the point where I cannot go to the grocery store (which is 1/4 mile from my house) without taking a xanax. My phobophobia (fear of having a panic attackis the worst right now. I will try to do anything to avoid getting into a situation where I might have a panic attack. Furthermore, in order to go places where I must go to get treatment for it, I have to take 3-4 xanax and drive (could land me in legal trouble if they ever pulled me over and did a blood test).

Anyway, I was just curious if anyone else suffers from this and if they had any success course of treatment? I've tried every SSRI known to man as well as some adjuncts with no success. Being beholden to benzos is one of the worst things as well because of their highly addictive nature.

Thanks for reading and any contributions you may have. :)
 

djudex

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I have had social phobia for my whole life, at one point bad enough I barely left the house for three years. I was on Zoloft for about a year or so but took myself off and have been able to manage it myself since then. More or less. Some days are better than others.
 

SlightlyMorbid

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I have a sort of social anxiety I guess, but not officially diagnosed.

I don't mind being in a café with people I trust and know, and having calm drinks.

But when I get into a crowded club wher there's too many people, flashing lights and bass pumping out loud, know that I will end up pitching a spazz and can go to the first aid because I either pass out or end up having a hyperventilation attack from hell.

Same with new situations like a party or anything. I get really anxious beforehand because I'm somewhat afraid of getting a hyper-ventilation attack and I don't feel very comforable as long as there's no someone around of comfort.

But water and chewinggum and smokes really help me to cope.
 

CarlaSixx

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I've had social anxiety for as long as I can remember. At one point it was so bad that I didn't leave the house except for school and errands. And even then, I needed to have a family member or a very trusted friend at my sides at all times. Were they to even go in the next lane, I'd be having a panic attack. It was awful.

I haven't been treated for it officially until about a year ago when I started going to see a shrinkydink for a totally different reason. It's really minimal now, but still needs some treatment.

What helped me was just facing it. Bit by bit. I started with going to the restroom all by myself. Then going to a department, then more and more until now I can go out on my own pretty much anywhere I want. I still feel anxious, but not really panicky. More like I fear judgement than anything else, now. Which is great. The days where I really feel socially anxious, I force myself outside. And if I don't have a break down, I reward myself. Like going for a nice sit down dinner or buying a fancy coffee or something.
And if I do have a break down, I still reward myself for trying. That's important as well. Don't beat yourself up for not completing something, because at least you put the effort into trying. Eventually trying will become doing, and it'll be great :)
 

Broadside

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My sister used to have serious anxiety attacks. She would just panic out of no where for no good reason.

She started taking alternate medication for it now and it really balanced her out. You might consider it if it's a problem that's crippling you socially.

EDIT: I think it's Paxil, not xanax... I think anyway.
 

TheMildlyStrangeone

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I have had social phobia for my whole life, at one point bad enough I barely left the house for three years. I was on Zoloft for about a year or so but took myself off and have been able to manage it myself since then. More or less. Some days are better than others.
If you don't mind, could you elaborate on your social phobia? Are you saying you had severe shyness or didn't want any interaction with others? My issue isn't a fear of people at all. I can carry a conversation with complete strangers without any problems.
 

Ninja Glutton

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I know plenty of people who have had great success with anti-anxiety medications.

I have a female friend who used to have panic attacks all the time and really couldn't handle the world socially. After a few months of medication and some well-targeted therapy, she was a changed person.

Also, and I don't know if this is something you'd be interested in so don't take it the wrong way if you're not, but certain strains of marijuana can really help with anxiety as well. It might be worth looking into, if it's something that is readily available to you or something you'd like to try.

The hardest part is taking that first little baby step. As someone who struggled and still struggles with handling clinical depression, it's all about taking it one day at a time. There will be good days and bad, but the trick is to keep trying to push through it.

I compare it to people who are terrible with women. You'll only get better if you constantly throw yourself into the awkwardness and, eventually, find your footing.

You seem really personable and confident in your posts, so I definitely think it's possible for you to translate that into real life.

I wish the best of luck to you.
 

*Goofy*Girl*

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Have you had your thyroid, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. checked? My doctor said an under or over active thyroid as well as high blood pressure, diabetes, and rapidly changing blood sugar levels, as well as other disorders can cause anxiety and depression-like symptoms.

I've struggled with depression, anxiety, & insomnia all my life. I refused to go the med route at first, but finally decided to start taking them in 1998.

In addition, in 2008 I was diagnosed with ADD.

Through the years, my cocktail of meds have changed. However, the mix I'm on right now seems to work the best (although I'm thinking of cutting down or removing the abilify & phentermine.)

Here it is:

Armour Thyroid
Wellbutrin
Prozac
Klonopin
Clonidine
Zonegran
Abilify
Phentermine
Lisinopril
Seroquel (makes you sleep like a baby)


The problem w/ this combo is I'm dizzy and have periods where I'm kind of "out of it" - I always feel like I've had a couple of drinks or something.
So, I don't dare get behind the wheel. I stopped driving and hired a driver.
 

Jah

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My anxiety is bad. It started when I was in my teens, I had panic attacks and I stressed out much more than the average person but still managed to live a fairly normal life. When I became an adult it steadily got worse until I spent 4 years barely leaving the house, hours spent sitting doing nothing but stressing and weeks with only 1 hour of sleep a night.
Now with a year of being on medication I have a normal life again. With the help of another year of therapy I'll hopefully be able to have a job again.
 

bettylulu

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I've had anxiety and depression since I was about 13ish. For me, the anxiety is worse at night. I guess when the noise of the day quiets? The anxiety is not crippling, but it does keeping me from things I would like to do.

My depression has been under control for a while, but sometimes I feel like I am going down that path again and have to take steps to get out of it before it over takes me. I had a really bad spell last fall that was as bad as it's ever been. It felt like there was a weight on my chest just pulling me down. I would have cried all the time, but I just didn't have the energy. I used some light therapy and that gave me a little bit of energy to start exercising a little. That pulled me out of it.
 

djudex

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If you don't mind, could you elaborate on your social phobia? Are you saying you had severe shyness or didn't want any interaction with others? My issue isn't a fear of people at all. I can carry a conversation with complete strangers without any problems.
I don't have any problems with conversing with strangers, one on one I'm quite a charming conversationalist (humble, I know). Social phobia is a fear of being in public places usually coupled with another type of less realized fear, in my case a fear of loss of control. I remember one time in particular I was on my way home from high school on the bus and I was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to get off and away from all of those people. My blood pressure shot up, pulse quickened, face flushed, mildly hyperventilating. It was a long 20 block walk home let me tell you.

Now that I understand why I have the social phobia, i.e. not because I'm afraid of people but because I can't stand having people in my space and having no control over what they do, I'm much more able to put a choke hold on my brain and deal with the situation. I can give presentations to groups of coworkers including being part of a kick-off meeting presenting to 50 employees, two managers, the regional manager and the president of the Canadian branch of the company.

You sound like you (much like myself) suffer from what's called Generalized Anxiety Disorder - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001915/ - and it's progressed to the point where you have anxiety about how much anxiety you're going to be having which is vicious circle time. Unfortunately with GAD there's no underlying reason for the worry so it's one of the more difficult anxiety issues to resolve without medical assistance. You might want to look in to meditative therapy to help you refocus your mental energy, I found a physical object such as a pair of baoding balls or a stress ball helped greatly in focusing my mind on the process of relaxing.
 

djudex

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I should also note that there is a very viable solution that you may want to look in to which is a diet/vitamin based solution. My brother has severe bipolar disorder for which he was put on every drug cocktail combination known to medical science up to lithium and none of it helped long term. He did some research on line and came across vitamin therapy, gave it a whirl and has been even-keeled and drug free since he found the right levels of vitamins to take.
 

*Goofy*Girl*

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Here it is:

Armour Thyroid
Wellbutrin
Prozac
Klonopin
Clonidine
Zonegran
Abilify
Phentermine
Lisinopril
Seroquel (makes you sleep like a baby)

Oh, I forgot...I'm also on Adderall. It's weird how amphetamines can calm my anxiety & clear my head. Perhaps you have a case of ADD as well.


Oh, and I also take some supplements like:

Omega-3 Fish Oils (DHA & EPA)
L-Tyrosine
SAM-E
Mega B-Complex

...And some more I can't remember right now. :)


Some people have gotten some relief with Buspar, which is supposedly a non-addicting alternative to benzodiazepines.

Also, there's L-Tryptophan, 5-HTP & other supplements that are supposed to restore serotonin levels.
Unfortunately, they didn't work well for me.

And lastly, there's the problem of being a big person. I don't know how big you are, but my psychiatrist says obese people generally need double or triple the average prescription because of body size. I wasn't on the proper levels before, but I am now.

Good luck to you. Hope you feel better. :)
 

CastingPearls

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I'm great as soon as I'm out the door. It's the dread anticipation of going out that paralyzes me. It's totally irrational because I plan to do stuff, enjoy the details and planning and then when I wake up knowing that I'm going out I break out into a cold sweat, stomach churning, nausea and my hands tremble badly. I take a Xanax and wait a bit. Then I get ready. I might have to take another half if I'm still shaking. Then I go downstairs and face the door.

It started when my mom was dying. I had the first panic attack in the hospital a few moments after her surgeon told us her prognosis and I collapsed in the back hallway. I don't know why it affects me this way specifically but I do know that when I was a lot heavier that a lack of oxygen (I'd had pneumonia for a very long time, unknowingly) made the anxiety worse to the point where I could only go from the house, to the car, to my job.

Now, I have to unbend my white knuckles from the open door and step over the door-sill. I'm terrified but I do it anyway. I decided for me alone, that I would not be ruled by fear, especially irrational fear and I take full advantage of the miracles of modern chemistry. I have my bad days. I've had days where I've broken out into a cold sweat and burst into tears because there was a detour on the road or I couldn't back out of my own father's driveway in the dark, but when I realized not to beat myself up, and I finally did do it, it was a huge victory for me and those baby steps add up. All of them.
 

Polarbear

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I have dealt with social anxiety and depression for many years myself. For me it happens more when talking to people or in a large crowd. I always got the feeling that people were laughing at me or looking at me weird. Would walk past some people laughing and automatically think it was about me.
Currently I am on zoloft and working with a counselor to get to a level that I can cope. It is a long process and takes many baby steps.
 

TheMildlyStrangeone

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Turns out I have wonky sex hormones so that's something they are looking into. My testosterone levels were 157 (which is akin to that of a 70 year old man). The odd thing is my libido is insanely high. I can't imagine how horny i'll be if my hormones are correctly in balance.
 

lovelocs

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Band-aids have their place, and times when they are more than appropriate. Innywho, who are we to be telling people whether or not to be taking meds for their issues?

I have always had high anxiety levels, and problems with depression. Prozac didn't work so well for me. Sertraline, however, is wonderful, and controlled my mostly downward mood swings very well. Aside from that, I've found fish oil helps me mentally, as well as milk thistle and other herbs which support the liver- one of the liver's jobs it to metabolize excess hormones which can lead to mood swings. I've also taken up a new field of work (massage therapy instead of customer service) and greatly reduced my intake of caffeine. Some people, caffeine doesn't do much to... It made me irritable and gave me heart palpitations. (Not to mention swollen ankles and stabbing breast pain).
 

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