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DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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I have struggled for years with being afraid that something

Customer Question

I have struggled for years with being afraid that something horrible is going to happen to my family members when they are out of my sight. I also have GAD, panic disorder with some agorophobic symptoms and OCD. I hate being alone for long periods of time. I am fine and quite functional on a day to day basis...as long as I know my husband is coming home in a few hours I'm ok, it's staying alone overnight that really bothers me. My husband likes to camp and is going tomorrow (monday) and will be back on Wednesday. The little voice in my head has tuned up big time today..something is going to happen to Jim, he is going to have an accident, he might have a heart attack (he had quadruple bypass 3 years ago and an aortic aneurysm repair last year), I might not ever see him again, I'm going to go crazy being by myself, something will happen that I can't handle, I will have a panic attack, my heart will go crazy (I have atrial fib off and on)...and on, and on and on. I know logically that I'm a big girl and perfectly capable of taking care of myself and Jim enjoys camping and should go and have a good time. I've been in therapy off and on for years and this is something that I've never been able to get rid of. I know with all this negative and catastrophic thinking I am setting myself up for a miserable 2 days and it shouldn't be that way. I can't sleep tonight thinking about it. Any suggestions?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 1 year ago.
Hello,

I can understand your situation and what you must be going through currently.

Are you looking for a short term solution for tonight or you want to hear about long term solution for your problems?


Have you ever tried medicines specially SSRI antidepressant?

Are you currently taking any medicines?


Thanks

Vikas
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have taken SSRIs and they have helped with the panic and the GAD but not so much with this. I had some pretty bad side effects with celexa, zoloft and paxil. I don't want to go that route anymore. I am taking .5 mg of ativan as needed and my beta blocker. That's it for meds.


Right this minute I would like something to help me now. But I would LOVE to act like a normal person when their spouse is going to be away for a couple of days.

Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 1 year ago.

Hello Cindy,

I am sorry to say but there are not many options which can help you right now at this moment.

You are probably experiencing significant anxiety and Ativan is a very effective antianxiety medicine which can help in controlling your current symptoms as well as in getting good sleep.

There are also certain relaxation techniques which might help in controlling anxiety and inducing sleep so if you are interested in knowing about those relaxation techniques I can provide a link to them.

Kind regards

Vikas
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have tried the breathing techniques. I am usually too wound up to get my mind quite enough to meditate. If you have any other relaxation techniques I would be more than willing to try them. What I need is a way to switch off all this negative thinking.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
,

I have tried the breathing techniques.  I am usually too wound up to get my  mind quite enough to meditate.  If you have any other relaxation techniques I would be more than willing to try them.  What I need is a way to switch off all this negative thinking.

Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for your reply Cindy.

If you have already tried breathing technique you can try the progressive relaxation technique which can be very useful in your case in my view.

You can follow the steps of progressive relaxation technique as mentioned in this website given below and hopefully you will find it useful.

Relaxation techniquesIn addition to trying this technique, you can also go for the Ativan as your doctor has already told to you to take it on as and when needed basis.

Kind regards

Vikas


Please do not rate my answer if your question is not yet fully answered.You can simply ask further by using REPLY button and I will get back to you.

If you are satisfied with my answer please rate one of the positive ratings (3,4,5) as this is the only way how we are compensated for our time and expertise.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


This was not helpful. It was an easy way out of the question, something besides I can't help you but heres a website that refers you to some relaxation techniques if you want it, is not the answer I was looking for. And even half of the relaxation techniques required videos to learn how to do them. Sorry, not trying to be difficult but this did me absolutely no good.

Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 1 year ago.
Cindy,

So you were expecting a magical solution which will cure your illness of years with one suggestion.

Do you think that is it possible for any one to teach you relaxation technique via this website?


I am sorry to say but if I was not able to help you, I still do not deserve an negative rating. It is easy for you to press bad service button but this leaves a negative remark on my profile.

You could have simply asked me to provide more details or I could have opted out from this question.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


You still can opt out. I would like someone who is a bit more understanding and willing to talk with me.


I was not expecting "a magical stone" but a flat out I can't help you is not something I am going to pay for. And referring me to a website that suggested an instructional video was not helpful. Sorry.

Expert:  Dr. Vikas replied 1 year ago.
Cindy,

I will opt out from this question but nothing can be done about the negative rating you have already given.

Kind regards

Vikas
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  DrFee replied 1 year ago.

Hello there,

I'd like to try to help you. Please understand that Dr. Vikas gave some good advice regarding the relaxation techniques, but it sounds like you are asking for a bit more support prior to trying to implement them.

The anxiety disorders can feel crippling and overwhelming, and the thoughts that come with GAD are a challenge to combat as they are so powerful. I'm going to give you just one strategy right now, and then wait for your response to it before continuing --so please wait to rate my answer and expect more interaction from me that just this before we are finished.

Anxiety is all about danger --danger that has not yet happened. Sometimes that danger is absolutely real (I.e. if we are walking in front of a bus and need to get out of the way), and sometimes it is perceived (thought about a car accident).

IF we could stay in the "here and now," (the present) anxiety decreases. It's impossible for us to do constantly, and extremely difficult to do for those who suffer from GAD especially.

So, right now, every time a thought comes into your head, say to yourself, "It hasn't happened yet. If it happens, I will deal with it. But right now I am ______ (making lunch, taking out the trash, whatever you are doing) No accident has happened.

This is not a "cure," and will not work perfectly and you will have to do it maybe 100s of times today. But, it's a first step.

I will be back online in about 2 hours, so please write a response and we can continue.

Regards,

Dr. Fee

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Ok, thanks. That is something that has not bee suggested to me. Sounds good, will try it starting now. Woke up this morning expecting catastrophe.

Expert:  DrFee replied 1 year ago.
How is it going so far?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm trying to utilize your advise. One of the wives of the guys who went camping with my husband called and I missed her and couldn't reach her when I called back. So I immediately started to go into my mode and think she had called to tell me something bad. I was able to mostly get a hold of myself and calm down. I went into full out panic mode last night...Jim was supposed to call me when he arrived which should have been around 2pm. I didn't hear from him until around 7 and I had been calling and texting him for hours. He was mad.....I acted like an idiot. Then I started thinking I had gotten him so upset his heart was going to get weird or something healthwise would happen. I have just had fuel added to the fire since he had a heart attack, bypass surgery and then 2 abdominal aneuysms. Haven't heard from him today despite him saying he would call but honestly I don't blame him. I don't know if I would call me either. I'm going to try to remain calm even if he doesn't call.

Expert:  DrFee replied 1 year ago.

Given the heart attack, I can certainly understand why your mind would go there.

Something that you may need to do (not now, later after he returns) is process all the feelings that you had during that crisis --you might say to me "I did that," but oftentimes the emotions run way deeper than we think they did and we've only felt part of it. Sometimes anxiety results when feelings are not fully processed.

Don't do that right now, though --wait. Right now just focus on staying in the here and now.

Another thing you can do is list all the non-catastrophe reasons that he did not call or that you couldn't reach the other wife. Here's a few to get you started:

She left her phone in the car and didn't realize she didn't have it

She got a call from an old friend and was on the phone a really long time.

She had an appt. and couldn't answer her phone.

For your husband:

He was in a cell phone "dead spot" (this happens to me all the time when I camp)

He let his battery die and forgot to re-charge

Try it and see if you can do it.

And please, keep letting me know how you are doing.

DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience: I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
DrFee and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

When Jim had the heart attack, the day he had the catherization and we found out he had to have bypass surgery, I went into atrial fib. I went down to the ER and they wanted to admit me and I refused. Luckily, I spontaneously converted. Happened again several times a few months later and I ended up in the hospital. Thankfully, I got back to half way normal but it's something that scares me as well as worrying about him. The emotions I had then were so scary I don't know if I can pull them back out. I had to push them away just to be able to function. Then 2 years later he was diagnosed with 2 aortic aneurysms that needed repair. They did the endovascular stents on both of them but that's another worry. And when he gets stressed his heart will start beating irregularly..scares the crap out of me. So since all this has happened it's really made him being off in the woods way more scary for me.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Dr. Fee, I had a wonderful therapist for several years and she left the practice and is working with active duty military in a government hospital. About the same time I moved out of the area. I am currently living in the Va. Beach/Norfolk area of Virginia. I have had no luck finding a therapist who clicks. I was wondering if you might know of someone or could steer me in a direction to find someone in this area that specializes in anxiety? Just talking to you briefly made me realize how valuable CBT can be and how I have been backsliding since I stopped.


I really do appreciate your help..this has been a miserable couple of days and would have been way worse if you hadn't helped.

Expert:  DrFee replied 1 year ago.

I'm glad that I was helpful, and do apologize for not having checked in recently.

A good place to look would be the Anxiety & Depression Disorders Association of America Website www.adaa.org

There are therapists listed there that specialize in anxiety and CBT.

Regards,

Dr. Fee

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