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LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 435
Experience:  10 years post-MSW experience
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I am 55 years old and disabled with ptsd and poler

Customer Question

I am 55 years old and disabled with ptsd and bi poler disorder,the social security doctors diognosed me with these and ocd....I have done well with holistic options and have tried alot of meds that did not work for me. 3 months ago my partner had a severe stroke and I am his primary caretaker. Over the last month I have been struggling, I can't sleep, I am in fear of leaving my home and my legs flop flop all night which keeps me awake, when I am suffering the most from anxiety my hands sweat and my heart feels like it's going to pop out of my chest.....how can I get help I'm starting to get real scared....valerie
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 5 months ago.

Hi Valerie, thanks for writing to us. My name is***** am so sorry to hear of your partner's stroke. It sounds like life has really changed for you and it is completely understandable that this stress has made things very difficult. While anyone in your situation would be struggling right now, your own mental health history can make coping even more difficult so I commend you for reaching out here for help.

First, I would call your primary care doctor and ask to be seen asap. Ideally, they will get you started on a new antidepressant medication (ones that have shown promise in the past for you may be a good choice to restart) but those that manage anxiety and OCD effectively are Zoloft, Effexor, Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Anafranil and Lexapro. You may wish to inquire about a temporary use of a benzodiazepine, like Xanax or Ativan as well, which can be taken as needed to help calm your nerves (and reduce your anxiety symptoms like the sweating and racing heart). These meds can prove helpful at night to help calm your thoughts so you can get the sleep your body needs. Ideally, your doctor will prescribe the benzo for a month or two to help with the acute symptoms you are facing and then once the antidepressant has a chance to kick in around the 6-8 week mar, you hopefully can come of the benzo completely. This is important because sustained use of a benzo can lead to addiction and getting off them can be a chore.

Second, you should consider engaging in counseling to manage your distress. support groups for caregivers can usually be located, maybe even one specific to stroke. i can help try to locate one near you if you wish to provide me your zip. An individual counselor can be a vital player right now to help walk beside you as you face this new chapter in life. They can help you through the anxiety by teaching you strategies for managing it beyond what medications can do and also help you with problem-solving and coping. My favorite site for locating counselors is here... http://therapists.psychologytoday.com

For now, take some time to do some good deep breathing. Try to get outside and keep on track with commitments that you enjoy. Stay distracted and busy if you can. Ask for help from friends and family - you should not have to do this all by yourself.

Your situation is very difficult and life-altering. i am sorry this happened to you and your partner. Please trust that you will get through this with the right support. Try to not worry too much about the future -n stay focused on making the most out of each day and staying afloat right now. Know that your anxiety is a normal reaction to this influx of stress and this too will get better with time.

i hope this helps! Please let me know if you'd like to chat more. I am here for you!

-Leah

Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 5 months ago.

Valerie, I should also mention that Valerian Root is a natural alternative that may help with your anxiety. this could also help with sleep as it should be taken at night due to sedative effects. So if you aren't ready to try the prescription route again, perhaps this could help.

-Leah

Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 5 months ago.

Hello! I just wanted to check-in with you today and see how things are going. Please let me know how I can bets help you,

Sincerely,

Leah

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