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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5524
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello Im a big fan of this major celebrity, and last Tuesday

Resolved Question:

Hello

Im a big fan of this major celebrity, and last Tuesday night, I got anxious when I saw a website publish an article that made fun of her. This upset me, and it caused me to have trouble sleeping that night, so I drank a little alcohol to help me sleep. That didn't work, so I made a big mistake in taking a prescription sleeping pill. The next two days (Wednesday and Thursday) I had massive panic attacks and continued to have panic attacks that came and went on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and today. I continued to drink alcohol to try and relax myself so I could sleep, and I also took a lot of homeopathic medicines. My doctor prescribed me an anxiety pill and muscle relaxing pill and I took 2 of the anxiety pills on Friday and they helped. But I don't know if they contributed to my anxiety the last 3 days or not.

I haven't been able to sleep since the original incident on Tuesday, and now I'm not sure if its from the anxiety caused by seeing a celebrity that I'm a fan of get criticized and mocked, or if its from the lack of sleep that resulted from said incident. Or if it's from overdoing it with medications to help me sleep. At this point, I'm not even worried about the article anymore, so I don't know what's really causing all this.

I'm at my wits end and I don't know what to do. Please help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like the article about the celebrity might have set off a chain of events. If you felt as strongly as you did about what was being said about this celebrity, it may have triggered something in you, possibly from your past. If you have been hurt in the past or even abused, seeing someone else go through something similar would bring your past experiences up very quickly and make you respond with feeling anxious and upset.

The medication mixed with alcohol probably didn't help but it is unlikely that the effects lasted longer than a day. What may have happened is that the effects of the medication mixed with alcohol might have caused you to be vulnerable to your feelings even more and you ended up with panic attacks.

Also, when you originally felt upset about the celebrities situation, you did not deal directly with your feelings but coped by using alcohol and medication. That could have pushed your feelings away and instead of working through them, they just became more intense.

Anxiety is caused by thought patterns. You can easily make yourself anxious by thinking about situations in which you feel you have no control. If you have experienced past abuse or trauma, being reminded of those feelings can bring up anxiety and panic. What can help is to try to work on changing your thinking. When you begin to feel upset, try taking control of your thoughts by writing them down. You can also talk with someone you trust. Also, repeat to yourself that you are ok and that you will be able to calm down.

You can also practice progressive muscle relaxation to not only help you calm down when you experience panic attacks, but to help you sleep better. Here is a link to help you learn how to do progressive muscle relaxation:

http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm

You can also use self help to learn ways to overcome anxiety and panic attacks so you can calm yourself easier and free yourself from feelings of anxiety:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne

When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by David D. Burns

The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by William J. Knaus EdD and Jon Carlson PsyD EdD

Coping with Anxiety: 10 Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear & Worry by Edmund J. Bourne and Lorna Garano


I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi


 


I have never been abused in the past or hurt. I think the problem is that I latched onto this celebrity because of a lack of things in my life. I don't work full time so I have a lot of free time to follow celebrity news and stuff, and following this person made me a fan cuz they seemed nice and stuff.


 


I did deal with my feelings concerning the article. The article mocked celebrities who had breast implants, saying they look distorted or whatnot, and after doing research, I learned that women have breasts in all different sizes and shapes, and the space between them differs tremendously regardless of whether they have implants or not. So I came to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with the celebrity I follow. Did I not do a good enough job convincing myself of that?


 


I used the alcohol and medication to try and sleep, not because I was upset about the celebrity. Isn't there a difference?





Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
It makes sense that you latched onto the celebrity if you feel you have a lot of time on your hands. Celebrities can be very appealing and help distract you as well from everyday life.

You mentioned feeling so upset about what was said about the celebrity that you could not sleep that night. So yes, the two are related but I do see your point. I may have misread your meaning. And what you did is understandable. Losing sleep can lead to anxiety and panic attacks because it opens you to feeling more vulnerable. Though it sounds like you did a good job researching the situation and finding the facts about breast implants, it is natural to feel upset about someone you like being attacked like that.

Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So with that in mind, do you think my current anxiety is from the original situation or lack of sleep? I haven't slept in 6 days (since this all started) and for two of those days, I was pacing around my house non stop from anxiety, but that was AFTER I resolved the issue of the celebrity for myself, and in my mind, the constant pacing was from my inability to fall asleep and from being sensitive and agitated about that.


 


Do you think that's the case? It seems to me that the symptoms of a general anxiety disorder and insomnia/sleep deprivation are very similar, thus making it hard to tell which is really at play.


 


 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
I think the original situation triggered anxiety that caused the lack of sleep and it has helped fuel the insomnia. The anxiety caused a cortisol imbalance which now is causing a lack of sleep because sleep gets rid of cortisol. At this point, you do need to see your doctor to ask for another sleep aid if your current one is not working for you. Not sleeping for six days is a long time and that is not only going to cause anxiety, but other symptoms as well. So seeing your doctor for an evaluation and for another medication to help you sleep should clear up your anxiety and get you back on track with your sleep patterns.

Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What do you think it means if the panic/anxiety comes and goes? For the two days after I mixed alcohol and the prescription medicine, I was pacing and anxious virtually non stop. Since Friday, it's come and gone, and while there have been times I've felt anxious, its not nearly as it was those two days, and when it goes away, I feel completely fine. Of course, some of that is from taking homeopathic medicines when I feel an attack starting, but I haven't done that for every attack. There are attacks where I let it wash over me and then it goes away for awhile.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
It comes and goes because anxiety cannot sustain itself for long. Anxiety is based on adrenaline which gets depleted after a time. And when you get anxious, you use up your reserves. The reserves are replaced and the anxiety starts again. Which is probably why you need to see your doctor as well. He/she can help you find a way to break that cycle with a sleep aid (which will help regulate your body chemistry) and with making sure you are ok physically.

Kate
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

My doctor prescribed Xanax. I used it on Friday, as previously mentioned, and it worked. I was out pretty quick. The reason I didn't sleep Saturday or Sunday is because I didn't use the medicine on those days. I was afraid it would lose its effectiveness or I would become dependent.


 


Does this change any of your previous answers?


 


Do you believe that this will resolve itself if I can finally get back on track with my sleeping patterns? If it doesn't then I either need professional help or another medicine. Would you be wiling to be my "professional help"? What medicine would you recommend? I have to work, and if I take something that leaves me out cold every time I take it, I won't be able to sustain my job because, as I already said, the anxiety comes and goes throughout the day. So is there a medicine that could block the anxiety but leave me coherent enough to drive, work, etc.?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I forgot to mention that part of me wonders if, having not slept in so many days, I'm afraid of the bedroom because I don't know if I will successfully sleep or not, and this past week has shown me that I am not very good at mentally handling those times that I'm not able to sleep

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
It is ok to take the Xanax as your doctor prescribed. It is more important that you get sleep at this point. Once you can start to sleep through the night, then you can talk to your doctor about cutting back slowly so you still sleep but are less dependent on the medication. I understand your feelings about not sleeping, but if you can establish a routine to help you get tired before you go into your bedroom, that may help you with your concerns.

I would love to help you, anytime. While I cannot recommend a medication (it is illegal for me to do so without a face to face evaluation plus your doctor needs to approve), I can give you this link to help you find a medication you feel might work and that you can talk to your doctor about:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_medication_drugs_treatment.htm

I do believe you will feel better once you establish your sleep patterns again. You will be able to cope better for one and your body chemistry will level out as well.

I need to sign off for the night. I hope my answers have helped you and that you will consider rating me with a positive for my work. I am not reimbursed otherwise. Thank you!

Kate
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5524
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Mental Health Professional
5524 Satisfied Customers
Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.