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Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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hi, i am so sleep deprived for many yrs now. i am post menapausal

Customer Question

hi, i am so sleep deprived for many yrs now. i am post menapausal , an night sweats wake me. i go to bed at 10 an i am wide awake at 12 an cannot get back to sleep. i cannot tolerate medications as they cause depression with me. i take half a unisom but still get depressed next day. i cannot tolerate hormone replacement therapy as these drugs cause water retention an i end up in the .er. on these drugs including bio-identical progesterone cream. even melatonin bad reaction . statins. steroids,valium, zanax, cloapin, perkoset now vicodin . i am so sensitive to drugs i seem to get the side effects of all these. what can be wrong why i cannot tolerate medications. an why for yrs. cant i sleep . 2 hours max a night an i dont drink , smoke do drugs other than omeprazole for acid reflux. i need d real professional to help with this matter , i have been labeled by doctors as its in my head ......complaints of headaches, dizziness, back spasms , leg weakness, vision trouble, ect. you get where i am going with this. multiple symptoms........for many yrs. now. no actual diagnoses proven by medical tests. sort of i say ,,,,my symptoms resemble M,S. but like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, an migraines. ect. there is no actual test to prove those conditions....... i have seen numerous drs. had numerous tests, along the way , i was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer , neck pain was my complaint along with balance trouble then . been this way since 2002 diagnosed with cancer 2010 had right upper lobectomy ,cancer was also in my lymph nodes they took 9 an 7 were cancerous. .,i refused chemo an radiation . due to my severe sensitivities to medications. an my quality of life since this vertigo stuff in 2002. i have not been out of my local area in 12 yrs. i cannot go to a restaurant an sit comfortable because i feel like i am falling off the chair. i dont drive far 15 minutes is all. i just never feel right. my head always feels disoriented, my vision sets off tension in my muscles causing disturbances with nervous system. . please i have asked several drs. on just answer. i have seen many therapists. i see a phsycologist for yrs. i have seen physchiatrists.....been to alternative situations. chiropractor. acupunture, massage therapy, tried herbs. tried things that were not suppose to have side effects but did ...... . 12 yrs plus with this issue. many neurologists, ect. i have stage 3 lung cancer squamous cell. in which the survival is only 5 yrs. according to statistics. its 3 yrs. for me now. although lil things keep showing up on my pet scans. i do another one in nov. i have had 3 this yr. cancer is easy. these debilitating symptoms are awful. drs. have been stressing me out lately by telling me this is in my head. stress is a big factor in cancer , if i die they caused this. they the drs. are suppose to help an all i am getting now is the labeled as a chronic complainer. . i tell them to go to hell when they tell me nothings wrong...... this is not a mental issue i dont believe . i really believe that drs. are not educated enough about the hormones . like the brain these issues are very complex. when estrogen , progesterone, an testosterone are not level .then things can cause problems. like the planets when they are not n line. something like that. anyway i retain a lot of fluid an i think this is why i do not tolerate medications. as they have side effects of water retention. i looked at all the medications that caused same problems with me an the ingredient was water retention . like methylprednesonolone. i had a blood sugar of 800 i had every adverse reaction to this drug. an drs. said i was anxious when i went to the er on this oh no they said not from the drug. i quit this drug too soon as i didnt know not to. but was told later on it was bad to do that. an so hormones also cause water retention an statins an ect. anti depressants an anti anxiety meds same thing. why an i so sensitive to these drugs that cause water retention. have u heard of fluids in the spine i told my dr. i feel like i am full of fluid like i retain water. they of course looked at me like its in your head. well my pet scan twice showed fluid with in the spine edema [same thing] so what can my problem be ? please i dont have long on this earth an i would like to live somewhat normal for a few yrs before i go. please help. ok. my drs. will not send me to anymore drs. so dont ask . they will only send me to a shrink. or pain clinic. i need sleep an this is so critical to how i feel. but cant take meds. sleep deprivation causes early death also. XXXXX XXXXX, elvis presley, ect. sleep deprived. me too. an stress an cancer with this cond. is killing me. not long to live please help.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  wieyedoc replied 10 months ago.
Hi. My name isXXXXX and I am online and available to help you today. Thank you for your patience.

How many years has this been going on for?

Do you have any medical problems or take any medications?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. I look forward to helping you.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

hello dr. rick,its me kathy ........u have answered my problems before ,i see u r a eye doctor. why are you answering this , i was asking for a mental health dr. an u know all the allergies i have. ect. an i have lung cancer in remission i think. 12 yrs. with insomnia.. i know u r smart but is this question out of your league.

Expert:  wieyedoc replied 10 months ago.
Hi Kathy,

I didn't know that this was you ;)

When a question goes unanswered, like yours did, it is moved to a general category. In your case the question was opened up to all medical doctors, of which I am one ;-)

I try to help people get answers if they have been waiting a long time so, wallah, here I am (cue the music)

Would you like me to opt out so you can continue to wait for a mental health expert or would you like a retina surgeons take on things?

It is always a pleasure to chat with you.

Let me know what you would like to do and it shall be done. (more music is heard and the crowd goes wild)

Dr. Rick

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

well since you know all about me by now , although i dont know how helpful you are gonna be since this isnt your expertise. ...but you read my complaint . so u see 12 yrs. of just 2 hours sleep is what is ailing me. i get depressed on pills even the vicodin just given to me. an unisom i cry after taking these an much more. i just am not functioning well. as u an my drs. know. i know with a complaint like that most drs. think this is a mental issue. such as somatization disorder ,which is charactistic of multiple symptoms complaint. but i dont fit the description of this disorder. . like i said there is no actual accurate tests for many problems such as headache , fibtomyalgia, ect. lupus some days u test pos. some days neg. my dizziness issues started when i started my periods a week before period i would get insomnia, an dizzy an weak ect. an since i been in menapause . peri, menapause an post menapause this problem has intensified. , sllep is the biggest issue i guess , which can cause this . but i CANNOT take meds. so what now.............

Expert:  wieyedoc replied 10 months ago.
Kathy,

Have we ever discussed going to the "Mecca" of healthcare: A large University Teaching Hospital?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.


yes we discussed this......i cannot go away......... i am in no cond. health wise or finance wise........ i dont want any more stress from any more drs. i know i am sleep deprived . this is causing all my problems along with hormones. . cancer ect. these hosp. rochester an fla. mayo clinic are not accepting new patients with back or certain conditions as i was going to go to the fla. clinic but wait list so long they are not accepting new patients. unreal huh.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

i see you are not online. hope u had a nice day......didnt know if you were going to answer my question or was gonna give it to someone who specializes in chronic. insomnia? guess i will have to wait til someone answers this . ttys

Expert:  wieyedoc replied 10 months ago.
Kathy,

Yup. Had a great day. My middle daughter and her boyfriend of many years (we like this one :) came to town and we spent the afternoon playing in the Lake eating pizza and junk food. A good time was had by all.

You are right....for this issue I'm not gonna be much help.

It might be helpful if you could copy what you have posted and relist it in the mental health thread again, maybe in the Morning (more experts online then). If possible, increasing the value of the question, say to $24-$36 range will "entice" a nice psych MD to quickly respond to you.

Sorry I'm not much to you on this one.....but, at least I've been helpful in the past so I not totally worthless lol!

I hope you had a good day and that the rest of your Labor Day weekend is filled with happiness.

Take care and stay in touch.

Dr. Rick
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 10 months ago.
Hi, per your request, I have opened this to neurology and it is still in mental health as well....I will continue to try to find a pro for you. Thanks for your continued patience.

Camille
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

how long must i wait ?

Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 10 months ago.

Hello again,

We are still working with the professionals to find you the best possible match. I wanted to touch base to see if you still needed a professional’s assistance.

Please let me know if you would like to continue to wait or if you would like to cancel your question at this time. We sincerely XXXXX XXXXX the extended wait time.

Thank you,

Camille

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

i will wait. thanks . basic question? why am i so sensitive to most medications an hormone therapy..... i also have sleep deprivation causing severe problems for yrs. is this caused from depression an anxiety as i been told . an how do i get help if i cannot tolerate medications.....ect.................

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

do all drs. think a women in menapause .peri,or post, with severe menapause problems . are mental disorders. ....c-mon . doctors. in this day an age. my dr. has diagnosed me with somatoform disorder, which is symptoms for yrs. without explanation . i started with vertigo 12 yrs. ago. i was peri, menapausal. an i am still having menapausal symptoms night sweats. ect.. i cannot tolerate mediciation or hormone therapy which in turn makes it difficult. listen up doctors." its not in my head"" menapause can cause insomnia, an anxiety an depression all from lack of sleep"sleep deprivation for many yrs. an its due to night sweats from post menapause. uneducated drs. these days . know lil about menapause . someday your mom or your sister or your daughter may have a hard time. going thru the change.. but dont tell them its in their heads. ok. u can send a man to the moon but u havent helped a women in menapause yet.shame on the medical system. is there anyone out here who believes what i believe. c-mon women stand up to these male drs.some of us are just having a tough time. we are not mental..............just hormonal.............

Customer: replied 10 months ago.


me again, almost midnight , i am so exhausted , but i cannot sleep. i feel horrible an weak,ect. what the hell helps with getting a good night sleep. please. wide awake ,,,,i dont want to take anymore sleep aids as this an medications cause me to get severely depressed. .tried just about everything there is to get to sleep .......i do believe this "mental pause." ha....... is in the way....hormones an seratonin .connected.. please i am begging for answers to this debilitating problem........

Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 10 months ago.
I think taking an MMPI-II, as psychological test, may be of some help. Also a good sleep history from you. Naturally, I can't do these things remotely, but worth looking into. Even tho' it is not mental, I find the MMPI to be helpful in ruling out conditions and pointing you in the right direction. Sometime chemically sensitive people respond to very, very low doses (almost homeopathic doses of medication. Some are available in liquid so you can dose very small or can be mixed with orange juice for small doses. You waking after 2 hours is called middle insomnia and serotonin is the hormone / neurotransmitter to try to manipulate. Also check into sleep apnea.

Stanford has best sleep disorders clinic - check their website. Easily googled.
I know this doesn't ANSWER the problem but hopefully gives some direct. As you mention serotonin IS a hormone, altho' more commonly referred to as neurotransmitters and they all interact with each other, and you are correct, we don't know all the interactions. Endochronology would be an appropriate specialty.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

thanks that info. was well said.....not only do i wake during sleep. but it takes at times 4-5 hours to get to sleep.. an i had a sleep study at a hosp. an i did not sleep there but was told i had a bit of sleep apnea.. i have lung cancer . just dont know how much that plays a role or not..... . melatonin for sleep causes trouble same as hormones do. i retain fluid. this is whatr actually happens with a lot of medication that causes trouble for me. anti depressants an anxiety meds in tiny doses even cause severe depression with me. an mood swings i am normally not moody. lately i want to die..........just do not want to try things that drs. say wont affect me cause everythjng i tried has effected me , so now i am terrified to try an more .......dont forget this has been going on for 12 yrs. plus. cancer i believe will come back because i am so run down from no sleep. an i get so stressed out with any dr. now. seriously they do not understand what i am dealing with...... when i die i believe it was , stress ,from lack of understanding , an sleep deprivation , i cannot even think straight this is gonna be a horrible day an people that know me really do not understand so i shut my self away from them. i really wish i was not chicken in to killing myself but i am . . i pray to god at night to not let me wake up as i do not want to feel this horrible. i am crying as i speak this comes from my heart. i am just too tired........ i have been asked to go to places like mayo clinic ect. but lack of funds an the way i feel i am not strong enough.and to be labeled with this problem is actually killing me more. mind over matter. sorry its not easy . so i appriciate your honesty been to several therapists, phychiatrist but they only do drugs. an been seeing a physcologist for yrs. now. no help any which way. i know i am very difficult patient. wish god never made me this way but its my genetics unfortunatly. i have not left my local area in 12 yrs. because of how i feel. . i do not go to restaurants because i have a falling feeling there an this is so disorienting. i know i am not alone out here in this world with these issues . but it really sucks to have had to live this long with the way i feel. i believe this is what one might say suffering........as appose to someone who just drops dead. i have asked my dr. to put me in hospice as i know they kill people there quick. thanks for input. you are right this is not helpful . sorry an you get some sleep or you will end up like myself. sleep deprived an dead.. a study in rats was long term sleep deprivation these rats died an there is why i am dizzy ect. i believe your muscles an brain an everything requires a reasonable amount of sleep. .in order to function. like a car needs gas. an this is so true........ i am not well an dont know how much longer i have as i do have stage 3 lung cancer . i am in remission but i do believe it will come back if i dont get some very needed sleep soon. i want to live one yr. free from these debilitating symptoms. i ask god this or i tell him to take me now. as i dont want any more suffering........... thats my story. course i am so sleep deprived so i guess depression steps in. an that means i cant think right. well thanks for listening maybe someday someone else like myself will benefit from my story an there will be some more alternatives to how to deal with this issue................thanks

Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 10 months ago.
I too have a sleep disorder - Delayed onset sleep disorder. Actually quite rare and hard to Dx so I feel for you. It is when you cannot fall asleep for many hours. Medication is not effective. Light therapy has been used, but I am not a big believer. It also sound like you have quite a complex situation.

I understand your desperation. You have a very complex situation beyond just the sleep. Your depression concerns me. Please keep up with therapy. Why? Because even though it may not help, it may keep things from getting even worse. I assume you have tried melotonin and/or Rozerem (a Rx similar to melotonin). Pretty benign and melotonin is over the counter.

I hope you find some relief. Not sure I have any any other ideas.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

you like my primary care doctor says melatonin. no side effects. let me remind you this is a hormone. an this caused severe water retention problems for me ,,an i was told absolutly no side effects. this is why i dont try any more meds. i also cannot tolerate bio-identical progesterone cream from compound pharmacy.....same thing water retention. methylprednesonolone , same thing , birth control pills very lo dose . water retention . this is causing me to have unstable blood pressure, an high sugar, an very moody, an faint episodes upon standing up. i black out on these. . so u see even u dont understand.........when i say i cannot tolerate meds. u like all the others ask how about this or that. .READ THIS I CANNOT TOLERATE MEDICATION EVEN IN THE TINIEST DOSE.........IT CAUSES PROBLEMS FOR ME. not willing to try any medication. like i sid earlier terrified . u think i sound depressed now. i am so much worse with medications..........do u now understand. . why dont people listen to me.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

sorry for your sleep disorder also, i am also not a believer with light therapy, yes my problem is complex. i also tried to get a new therapist an was turned down because of my insurance so i am not seeking any more help. yes i am depressed ect......I GIVE UP.......

Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 10 months ago.

Insurance sucks..... I honestly don't know what to do w/ medication sensitivities you have. I will opt out and wish you luck and hope you don't give up.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.


not surprised u opted out,........

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

yes, insurance companies are cutting back esp. for mental health too bad.. anyway . whats left if i cannot tolerate medications......an question? do you think my multiple symptoms are due to chronic sleep deprivation? along with post menapause symptoms hot flashes night sweats. which are keeping me awake an waking me? i have light at the end of the tunnel but its a long way away as i know women in their 60,s having difficult time... my problem is .i am stage 3 lung cancer . i know statistics say there is a 5 yr. survival rate........ i am 3 yrs. post surgery .doing pet scans every 3 months. will i be able to have a symptom free period before i die?

Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 10 months ago.
I didn't opt out to be cruel, but because I am at the end of my expertise and ideas for you. Chronic sleep deprivation is miserable and can exacerbate about anything physical plus add to depression, as you are well aware.
I clearly don't know if you will be symptom free at some time. I would be hopeful that post menopausal symptoms will improve. I have no clue about the cancer - just not in my expertise. The sleep is difficult. If you are able to do so, just sleep whenever your body will let you. It doesn't matter when. And just accept that is how life will be instead of fighting it. If you truly have Delayed onset sleep disorder or another sleep cycle disorder, to look on the bright side medication rarely helps. Adapting lifestyle is best you can do. Personally, I "sleep" with TV on as the white noise kind of clears my head from freaking out about not falling asleep. I wish I had better answers, but that is the best I have for ya.
Ed
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience: Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
Dr. Ed Wilfong and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 10 months ago.
Thanks for the positive response. I wish I could do more.
Expert:  Dr. Ed Wilfong replied 10 months ago.
I forgot to mention something. Don't take the "hormone" theory to far. By definition, a hormone is simply a chemical that communicate the to part of the body to do something. Lots of things are hormones. The traditional "hormones" that cause menopause to neurotransmitters. All it means is they are a CHEMICAL way for the body to communicate instructions.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

yes, many hormones, the pituitary gland. the main one then the thyroid then the adrenals then the pancreas an also the ovaries. if any one of these malfunction then i believe it causes trouble. an at menapause time the ovaries are shuttng down an can cause problems til the body gets use to it.......an some women have elevated estrogen levels like my case .where my progesterone levels are very low an my testosterone level is low. . this is very complex i know . so yes, your theory is correct but these chemicals can calm down soon as the body recognizes the loss. some women 10 yrs or more some women never have a problem. we are not all alike. i had a pituitary issue yrs. ago....cant remember the problem but was told that. that may be why i could never have children. thank god i never had any. i wouldnt want them to be in this world. anyway thanks

Customer: replied 10 months ago.

sorry about all that. i am uneducated about this. but when i read things i know a lil about a lot of things , i shall leave this alone....to you the experts on certain medical subjects....... ........ i just have been reading so much because of how i have been in the last 12 yrs. so many of us uneducated . but i truly believe drugs are not the best.......most people dont mind them . but some of us so sensitive that it makes us worse. an i do believe you are right that i am depressed . no question. an i have had anxiety for a number of years. but certain things agravate this. like stress, heat, hormones , sleep deprivation for sure, one more thing. when a person gets a hot flash night sweat whatever. it dialates the blood vessels is this correct. an this i believe is causing problems in my spine ,back of head ,i always called this inflammation . crowding in narrow spaces in the vertabre, ,,,.i dont know . but its the force of blood flow to the head which makes the head feel hot ,sweaty. .chemical or not . i am so confused , . i put lil bits of this an that together an see , not to bright huh. oh well. i tried , just want to feel better that is the moral of this...........thanks .

Customer: replied 9 months ago.


hi, me again,,,, what causes dizziness with any movement of the head i have a hard time walking with this just so disoriented in my head ,,,my head feels swollen inside an my voice gets hoarse an i get mild headache an upper back neck spasm seems like windy weather adds to this , very difficult day my dr. still searching for the right method for me. any answers .

Customer: replied 9 months ago.



Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 9 months ago.
Hello Kathy,

I saw your post and have experience with anxiety. I mean in no way to insult your intelligence by posting the information below. coritsol is yet another hormone that cause issues and is released in stressful situations. My recommendation is to start SOMEWHERE. Take a step toward a peaceful and meaningful life. I think that is what I hear you saying. Let's see if we can address even just one small issue of maybe trying to reduce the amount of cortisol released. Let's try some steps to reduce anxiety. It will take some work, but the peace you will find will be amazing and worth the effort. Please review the following. I have referred you and others to the following information because it is so well stated. No medications involved!
There is a lot of information. Don't get overwhelmed just take it a step at a time.
The website URL is listed first so cut and paste it into you favorites so you can refer to it later, or print it out to have easy access. There are many good things to try.
I wish peace for you. You CAN create it! Don't hesitate to reply. I am available in the evenings.


http://www.anxietybc.com/self-help-cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt
Learning how to relax your body can be a helpful part of therapy. Muscle tension and shallow breathing are both linked to stress and anxiety (and sometimes depression). So, it’s important to become aware of these bodily sensations and to regularly practice exercises to help you learn to relax.
Two strategies often used in CBT are Calm Breathing, which involves consciously slowing down the breath, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation, which involves systematically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. As with any other skill, the more these relaxation strategies are practiced, the more effectively and quickly they will work. Other helpful relaxation strategies include listening to calm music, meditation, yoga and massage.
It’s important to realize, however, that the goal of relaxation is not to avoid or eliminate anxiety (because anxiety is not dangerous), but to make it a little easier to ride out these feelings.

Effectively managing negative emotions involves identifying negative thinking and replacing it with realistic and balanced thinking. Because our thoughts have a big impact on the way we feel, changing our unhelpful thoughts to realistic or helpful ones is a key to feeling better. “Realistic thinking” means looking at yourself, others, and the world in a balanced and fair way, without being overly negative or positive. For example:


Know what you’re thinking or telling yourself. Most of us are not used to paying attention to the way we think, even though we are constantly affected by our thoughts. Paying attention to your thoughts (or self-talk) can help you keep track of the kind of thoughts you typically have.
Once you’re more aware of your thoughts, try to identify the thoughts that make you feel bad, and determine if they’re problematic thoughts that need to be challenged. For example, if you feel sad thinking about your grandmother who’s been battling cancer, this thought doesn’t need to be challenged because it’s absolutely normal to feel sad when thinking about a loved one suffering. But, if you feel sad after a friend cancels your lunch plans and you begin to think there’s obviously something seriously wrong with you and no one likes you, this is problematic because this thought is extreme and not based on reality.
Pay attention to the shift in your emotion, no matter how small. When you notice yourself getting more upset or distressed, ask yourself, “What am I telling myself right now?” or “What is making me feel upset?”
When you’re accustomed to identifying thoughts that lead to negative emotions, start to examine these thoughts to see if they’re unrealistic and unhelpful. One of the first things to do is to see if you’ve fallen into Thinking Traps (e.g., catastrophizing or overestimating danger), which are overly negative ways of seeing things. You can also ask yourself a range of questions to challenge your negative thoughts (seeChallenge Negative Thinking), such as “What is the evidence that this thought is true?” and “Am I confusing a possibility with a probability? It may be possible, but is it likely?”
Finally, after challenging a negative thought and evaluating it more objectively, try to come up with an alternative thought that is more balanced and realistic. Doing this can help lower your distress. In addition to coming up with realistic statements, try to come up with some quick and easy-to-remember coping statements (e.g., “This has happened before and I know how to handle it”) and positive self-statements (e.g., “It takes courage to face the things that scare me”).
It can also be particularly helpful to write down your realistic thoughts or helpful coping statements on an index card or piece of paper. Then, keep this coping card with you to help remind you of these statements when you are feeling too distressed to think clearly.

It’s normal to want to avoid the things you fear because this reduces your anxiety in the short term. For example, if you’re afraid of small, enclosed places like elevators, taking the stairs instead will make you less anxious. However, avoidance prevents you from learning that the things you fear aren’t as dangerous as you think. So, in this case, taking the stairs prevents you from learning that nothing bad happens when you do take the elevator.
In CBT, the process of facing fears is called exposure – and it’s the most important step in learning to effectively manage your anxiety. Exposure involves gradually and repeatedly entering feared situations until you feel less anxious. You start with situations that only cause you a little bit of anxiety, and you work your way up to facing things that cause you a greater deal of anxiety (See Facing Fears: Exposure).
The first step involves making a list of the situations, places or objects that you fear. For example, if you’re afraid of spiders and want to overcome this fear so you can enjoy camping with friends, the list may include: looking at pictures of spiders, watching videos of spiders, observing a spider in an aquarium, and standing across the room from someone holding a spider. Once you have a list, order it from the least scary to the scariest.
Starting with the situation that causes you the least anxiety, repeatedly take part in that activity or face that situation (e.g., looking at pictures of spiders) until you start to feel less anxious doing it. Once you can face that specific situation many different times without experiencing much anxiety, you’re ready to move on to the next step on your list.
CBT stresses the importance of facing fears on a regular basis. The more you practice, the faster your fears will fade! Having successes and feeling good about your progress is a powerful motivator to keep going.

Managing your problem effectively is a lot like exercise – you need to “keep in shape” and make practicing the helpful skills a daily habit. However, sometimes people slip back into old habits, lose the improvements they’ve made and have a relapse. A relapse is a complete return to all of your old ways of thinking and behaving before you learned new strategies for managing your problem. While it’s normal for people to experience lapses (a brief return to old habits) during times of stress, low mood or fatigue, a relapse certainly does not have to take place. Here are some tips on how to prevent lapses and relapses:
Keep practicing your CBT skills! This is the best way to prevent a relapse. If you’re practicing regularly, you’ll be in good shape to handle whatever situations you’re faced with.
Tip: Make a schedule for yourself of what skills you’re going to work on every week.
Know when you are more vulnerable to having a lapse (e.g., during times of stress or change), and you’ll be less likely to have one. It also helps to make a list of warning signs (e.g., more anxious thoughts, frequent arguments with loved ones) that tell you your anxiety might be increasing. Once you know what your warning signs or “red flags” are, you can then make an action plan to cope with them. This might involve, for example, practicing some CBT skills like calm breathing or challenging your negative thinking.
Remember that, like everyone else on earth, you are a work in progress! A good way to prevent future lapses is to continue working on new challenges. You’re less likely to slide back into old habits if you’re continually working on new and different ways of overcoming your anxiety.
If you have had a lapse, try to figure out what situation led you to it. This can help you make a plan to cope with difficult situations in the future. Keep in mind that it’s normal to occasionally have lapses and that you can learn a lot from them.
How you think about your lapse has a huge impact on your later behaviour. If you think that you’re a failure and have undone all your hard work, you’re more likely to stop trying and end up relapsing. Instead, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s impossible to unlearn all the skills and go back to square one (i.e., having anxiety and not knowing how to handle it) because you do know how to handle your anxiety. If you have a lapse, you can get back on track. It’s like riding a bike: once you know how to ride one, you don’t forget it! You might become a bit rusty, but it won’t be long until you’re as good as before.
Remember that lapses are normal and can be overcome. Don’t beat yourself up or call yourself names like “idiot” or “loser,” because this doesn’t help. Be kind to yourself, and realize that we all make mistakes sometimes!
Finally, make sure to reward yourself for all the hard work you’re doing. A reward might be going out for a nice meal or buying yourself a little treat. Managing anxiety is not always easy or fun, and you deserve a reward for your hard work!
Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 9 months ago.
Just checking in on you. talk to you soon.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.


hmmm,,,,,,,,,,,,,first,,3 family members are homeless.an disabled...... i have vertigo caused from intense muscle spasms . an vision trouble.lack of money is so distressing , it really is hard not to think of situations that have happened such as homelessness ,i live with my ex. whom has thrown me out on the street several times in past......an with soc. sec. check under 1000........ is not enough to get housing.. an live my name as with several members of my family on the housing list which is 5 plus yrs. wait time. . i am disabled due to vertigo chronic for 12 yrs. plus. daily. along with stage 3 lung cancer. it isnt any better or any worse. vertigo worse than cancer in my personmal opinion........ i dont have 5 plus yrs. to live with my diagnoses . an a ex whom is alchoholic an drug abuser .i do not drink smoke do drugs, my worse vice is coke at mcdonalds 2 a day. i feel off balance which is so disorienting........so dont preach to me about breathing slow an relaxing........it doesnt go away........ an my mind is chrinically on homelessness, until i get wealthy or have housing i really think i cannot relax............ put yourself in my shoes an tell me to think different . it will not happen.......... so thanks for trying but again . u have no clue . when u get dizzy, only thing u think about is getting undizzy like relaxing . laying down but its 12 plus yrs. an multiple dr. s an tests if i get any more relaxed i will be dead........thanks anyway for your input.................

Customer: replied 9 months ago.


one more thing.......... yes i am so depressed.............. very much...... an no pill can help,,,,cause its lack of finances . an with vertigo, ect. i canot work......12 plus yrs. daily........ anxiety or whatever. yes. caused from vertigo finacial issues .

Customer: replied 9 months ago.


also whenever i move head, eyes, body, i am dizzy, off balance, i was diagnosed with stenosis in neck area,. an my right upper back neck are, so tense in spasm i can barely ove my head stiff an in spasm ....this is also how they found my lung cancer , from spastic neck muscles 3 yrs. ago .by accident with a c. t. of neck. same issue now, pet scan due next month again to see . because every 3 months some lil thing keeps lighting up on my pet scan. so statisic,s say 5 yr. survival rate for my cancer . cause it was in lymph nodes an big chance it will come back , didnt do chemo or radiation due to severe sensitivities to medications. until u been where i am take your anxiety method an depression . ..... well . u know... these issues cause this. an wont go away until ..i get some unexpected money an better methods for dealing with vertigo.... sorry i am 56 yrs. old an u councelers think u have all the answers. i disagree ....an so does many more people i know disagree.

Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 9 months ago.
I am sorry for your circumstances and health condition. I am sorry you weren't able to try the mentioned techniques. Your situation is very complex and yes, very stressful. I would still encourage you to try some techniques to reduce anxiety. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Make a change...and move toward peace. I don't have all the answers, by any means, all I can do is offer suggestions. Give it a try?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.


i have tried the mentioned techniques, was not successful, sorry. i have a falling feeling an unless u experience this your self u cannot possibly understand. i know what anxiety is an have had a panic attack once during a lightning storm while my husband was playing with electricity ,an water. not the same. anyway....not trying to be tough. just know u really have no clue what i deal with on a daily basis........

Customer: replied 9 months ago.


sorry to keep adding to this ,but walking is so an issue with me. my lower legs feel heavy an not right an my low back feels not right an any movement of my head sets off dizziness, just do not feel right. so off balance an vision well anytime i do anything my eyes cause vertigo, reading writing knitting, looking down, ect. eyes are a major source of my vertigo problem. i am near sighted, an i wear reading glasses on top of my glasses to see computer ect. lack of sleep is also cause for muscle problems that issue for 12 plus yrs. also 2-3 hours a night most nights. anyway. hard time doing any of these things cause of vertigo. in which unless u get this u can know what i experience. noise intolerant, light intolerant, nervous system disorder ,shakiness, an tingling in half of my head, an spasm in upper back so tight cannot move head. , going back to physical therapy again, some days better than other days, so thats it...

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

i get a headache everyday, some days tension an i believe migraines, caused by inflammation of the blood vessels, , that is my belief. if i live long enough i believe this will go away, hot flashes an night sweats are with me daily an nightly , not by choice but homonal flucuations. problem is i cannot tolerate meds. that usually help some people , i have been to several lic, phycologists in past 12 yrs. teaching me relaxation techniques like u suggest. still no help. walking is difficult for me at times i cannot walk down the end of my driveway with out excertion so tired an winded an i sweat an i need to sit down lil things around the house , i need to sit down for after like 5 min. of excertion. this is not anxiety . sorry ........i was told thats my copd, a part of my lung missing. b ut some days i feel ok an question allergies when the wind blows i feel terrible an even lose my voice , on dry days. i do have allergic rhininitis also as i been told. so all these add to my problem this is not anxiety i know 3 people who do have anxiety an panic attacks an this is not like that.

Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 9 months ago.
You are correct. I can't begin to feel what you feel. You condition is complicated. I did want to let you know I have experienced vertigo and you are absolutely correct, you just want to be incredible completely still to avoid dizziness, nausea and complete lack of control. It was the worst medical experience I have ever experienced. In my research on vertigo, just as you mentioned,it could be related to stress. Let's not only try the relaxation techniques, let's work on changing our thought patterns. Do me a favor, send me message listing only positives in your life right now. Let's avoid stating any medical conditions and aches any pains, lets fill our thoughts with positive. See how many positives you can list. Those aches and pains and medical conditions are going to creep in your thoughts, try to refocus on your positive list.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.


ok u r right its just hard to think positive when so lil positive happens...... .. when i move my head or body i am so off balance its hard to be positive,like today a bad health day...........i blame it on migraines,,,,,,,, stress hmmm..hormones an stress hand in hand. anyway,,,, positive here is: i hope it goes away, i am cancer free 3 yrs next month, i love this time of the yr. colors on the trees cool weather. i love to sing, i am not starving. i dont give up trying for help with my medical issues. be what ever it may be... i do have a lot of hope.......hard not to talk about health when it gets in my way with every movement. ........headaches are not fun........ seeing a specialist next week without predudice from my drs. office........ going to physical therapy for these knots again in my upper trapezius area.......stress does suck..... but i am stuck as far as trying to get ahead , where can i get money, i cannot work, if i take a part time job i lose soc. sec. then when i feel dizzy i lose job then get no money. not going thru that again was hard enough getting soc. took 4 yrs. cause vertigo only a symptom not a diagnoses,no health life hasnt been kind to me i cannot tolerate medication like normal people, .. no kids. , no great relationships, married twice to alchoholics. never gonna have grandkids, no house no money,close to homelessness. u tell me the positives about this ok. very shy,,,,now lung cancer. an still off balance . can u really tell me positives about this ..although i dont live in 3rd world country so i know it could be worse. that is the positive. i could be starving, i could have worse problems , well thats it. vison causing dizziness now got to go ........

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

so do u think i have anxiety,,,i never doubted that....... dizziness an headaches will get u that way... do u think i am depressed its depressing not living life the way i want to.. no question. . but these issues are caused by vertigo no question........

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

here we go again, hard to be positive when u get a headache, dizziness, an stomach feels heavy an legs feel weak an upper back hurts ect. just from walking in the sunshine. it has to be migraines, do not care what u say. anxiety my foot. its blood vessels dialated causing this , who wouldnt be stressed an anxious an depressed. really ..

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

i have been having right upper stomach pain light colored stool dark urine an bleeding with every bowel movement .....headache an dizziness an feeling sick hard to be positive sorry............

Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 8 months ago.
It's okay..... change is hard........ you listed several positive things before your brain went back into it's old patterns. I am so glad you tried. I'm not going to lie to you, changing thought patterns isn't easy. It takes some work. At this point it appears anything is better than the current situation. Let's keep trying to think positive. Message me about one of the positive things happening in your life. Only type positive sentences, even if the negative thoughts creep in, tell your brain to find the positive and keep typing positive. You can do this. Tell yourself you can. "I can do this." "I am worth having peace." "I can find peace."
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

tell me something, try to live in my shoes for a month. no money, one check a month less than 800 dollars, always threatened to if i dont like it get out .. family of 8 not 1 of us owns a home or has a stable living quarter , 2 on housing ,5 yr. plus wait list here in north shore mass. . lung cancer an car has broken down 4 times in the past 2 months. . not feeling well,chronic dizziness, headache, an cable cost is robbery, soon to get this shut off. lets see how your positive attitude is then ok. u have a job, probably children, i am sure more money than i, better car, ect. . ok until u live like this then tell me ok. ,until i get some miracle my life will always be down........ an lung cancer is only 5 yrs. survival, , ok.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.


why is this session closed. i am experiencing a weird headache an eyes not right an low back feels weird an legs weak this is so a migraine an i am so off balance today more than any other day . so disoriented now tell me this is anxiety. i tell u it is not. sorry.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

i hope u didnt end my session because i have lil money. question..do u think migraines are caused from anxiety? or in my case i believe migraines can cause anxiety.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

i have been so bad today...... off balance, headache an tingling in head ..walking difficult. ....upper right side back spasms an low back pain an weak heavy legs an vision trouble ect. sick feeling in upper right side stomach. almost went to e.r. again i feel terrible . been seeking a lic. physchologist also cannot find one who accepts my insurance in my area. my dr. office also looking for me . just feel very disoriented. i dont think u really understand........ its more like M. S. THAT IS HOW I BEST DESCRIBE THIS . WHATS YOUR OPINION ON THAT. DO U KNOW ANY M.S. SPECIALIST . PLEASE FEEL REAL BAD.

Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 8 months ago.
I didn't end the session. I am not sure why it would show that. As I mentioned I am available most evenings. I know this is hard for you. I want to continue to support you in your journey to peace, but you have to do your part. The negative thoughts have to stop. Only you can make that change. I am here to support and help you. I can not address medical concerns. I am not a medical doctor. I see you hurting and want to help you, please allow this process to work in your life. Please send me a positive post. Some ideas might be to tell me in detail about being cancer free and your triumph over cancer or simply name 5 good things about your day today. Keep it positive. You can do this. You are worth it!
Here are 5 positives in my life:
1. It rained and we needed the rain.
2. My daughter paid me a visit. I got to tell her I love her.
3. My father called me. It made me feel loved.
4. My daughter ate dinner out, I didn't have to cook.
5. Even though my new internet was not installed as I had hoped, we came up with an alternative plan. And as you can see, I am thankful the old internet is still working so I could connect and offer you support.
Your turn! :)
Customer: replied 8 months ago.

u have a daughter, i dont...... i dont have money for a coke at mcdonalds right now that is pretty bad. u have a job. i cannot work. dead end here .....i am sorry but if the situation were different it may be a brighter outlook but it isnt right now, an thanks for geting back to me . as u see i cannot afford to rate u at this point when i do get some money i will give u a pos. rating . i understand u r trying to help an i am not being very responsive due to the fact not much is going right these days. an my lung cancer is stage 3 squamous cell, survival 5 yrs. most likely to come back. yes some people can out live the 5 yrs. an some die earlier than 5 yrs. its 3 yrs. next month for me. i had 2 aunts with lung cancer who dies within the 5 yrs. of diagnoses. young too .i didnt do traditional therapy like them so who knows the outcome. . anyway i do not dread on that as i have the vertigo which is more debilitating than anything in my life. on top of being poor. take away all the things in your life that make u who u r ok an u have a pic of me. true. try like i said to eliminate your daughter or job, an get headache dizziness daily. no money NOW TELL ME HOW U FEEL OK.

Expert:  solutions.therapist replied 8 months ago.
It was my hope that you might be willing to work with me. I see that's not working. I am going to opt-out in hopes that someone else might be better able to assist you. I do recommend someone in the mental health area. I encourage to continue to seek help and be receptive to help. I noted that you said your doctors were seeking assistance for you. I hope you are able to connect with some preofessional mental health assistance. I truly hope you find peace. God Bless you.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.


ok an there is no professional in my area. my drs. cannot find anyone that takes my ins. dont blame u for opting out. u guys get paid for this . have a nice life. u will meet others like me though. its a poor world these days. sorry

Customer: replied 8 months ago.

wanted to add..i never asked for your opinion to begin with......i asked specifically for a lic. physcologist an u r just a therapist .there r plenty of those here also . just so u know............ dont jump in where u r not asked for. u thought u could help , i understand . anyone can say what u say. anyone........if i got paid i would say the same. to help.

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