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I am trying to decifer if I have anxiety, bipolar, or both.

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Hello. I am trying...
Hello. I am trying to decifer if I have anxiety, bipolar, or both. I am a construction worker and my job does not stay in the same place for more than a few months. Recently a job that I was doing, which I loved (low stress, good hours, etc) came to an end. At around the same time, I developed a serious sinus infection which caused me to only get about 2-3 hours of sleep a night and I also could not eat anything for over a week. These two events started a chain reaction in my life and it has not been the same since. I ended up getting laid off for about six weeks and I thought that would help me get things straigtened out, unfortunately it almost made things worse. The thought of the unknown haunted my mind constantly. I would awake in the morning with nothing to do and it scared me to death. Also I have a two year old son who will soon be three. Watching him grow up in front of me makes me sad when I think of him getting older and leaving the house. Today was my first day back at work and I was in a complete fog all day. Not to mention I hardly slept at all last night thinking about today. I now find myself sad because I am being controlled by the clock and my job again after having some freedom while being laid off and spending time with my son and wife. As you can see, I am a complete mess. I have been seeing a counselor, but it has been about a month since my last visit. I was also on Celexa for about two months, but did not notice much of a difference so I got off it. I am not a big fan of meds as they scare me to take them. I have dealt with these types of feelings in the past, when I was younger I would get depressed and sad after summer was over and I had to go back to school. However it would only last a day or so and I would be fine. This has been going on for months now and I do not see an end in sight. I would like to know what the next step should be for me and also if this sounds like anxiety, depression, or maybe bipolar? One more thing I need to mention. I will find myself throughout the day thinking about past things that have made me happy (going to the zoo with my son etc.) and I will literally go into a complete panic almost as if I may never have fun again or something. Also I did forget to mention that I change my mind a lot and one minute I am happy and no more than five minutes later I am completely sad almost to tears. I am 34, happily married with two kids, both boys, 15 and 2. Please help me!!!!
Submitted: 5 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
6/27/2012
Mental Health Professional: Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist replied 5 years ago
Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor
Verified
Heidi LPC :

Hi there! I am a licensed psychotherapist and I hope to be of some assistance to you today! I have read your description of what is happening, and it certainly sounds like an anxiety disorder. The good news is that you can get past this!


Heidi LPC :

Anxiety is simply a fear-based reaction to life, and for some reason you are focusing on all of your fears of the unknown rather than looking forward with a mindset of being grateful for what is... right now... good in your life. Thoughts are choices, and although it takes practice to learn to change them, it can be done! Does this sound like something you have tried in counseling yet?


Heidi LPC :

This is a link to one of the most helpful sites I have found on the web regarding self-help for anxiety: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm


Heidi LPC :

Also, learning to control your physical symptoms of worry and stress can be helpful, and something called progressive muscle relaxation may be of help to slow down your mind and body when you feel anxiety taking over: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=progressive+muscle+relaxation+youtube&mid=586048E5937FAF6961E3586048E5937FAF6961E3&view=detail&FORM=VIRE3


Heidi LPC :

Learning to be able to "change the channel" in your mind to something positive when you are focusing more on the "what if's" can be the key to gaining back control over the anxiety. Something called cognitive behavioral therapy works very well with this issue. You said you'd prefer not to use medication, so this is why I have suggested the links above, but the right anti-anxiety medication can also help to slow down the feelings of anxiousness is the self-help strategies don't solve it for you.


Heidi LPC :

Was any of this information helpful to you or do you still need a bit more? I will wait for you to look it all over; I am happy to continue to provide as much information as you need... just let me know!


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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
Just reading your answer brought me to tears. I have dealt with anxiety my entire life and I am so tired of it. The reason I asked if I might have bipolar (which I hope I don't) is because I go from happy one moment to extreme sadness the next which then causes panic feelings to come on. Sometimes when I am sad, the really small things will cheer me up (going out for ice cream, movies, etc) its as if I won the lottery or something, the feeling I get from just looking forward to something small. Can you explain the cognitive therapy in a little more detail? Thanks
Mental Health Professional: Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist replied 5 years ago

Let me first say that you will be ok! Next, CBT is a form of therapy in which you become aware of your thought processes and then learn how to take control over them: here is a link to an explanation of what it is: http://soultherapynow.com/videos/cbt-explained.html

There are very simple exercises and tools that can be used to get anxiety under control, and I hope that you can speak with your therapist about this. If he/she isn't well-versed in this type of therapy, maybe they can refer you to someone who is! I am happy to give you some ideas that you can begin to use, as well, if you'd like. I will just have to reply in a while, as I will be going offline temporarily soon! Let me know!! :-)

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Mental Health Professional: Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist replied 5 years ago

Hi Justin--- I just thought that I would attach one more piece of information on self-help strategies for what you seem to be experiencing:

First, identify the source of anxiety. Many sufferers are afraid to do so but it must be done simply because solving the problem starts with identifying the problem itself.

Second, solve the mini-crisis. Anxiety disorder self-help often means that an individual learns to differentiate between things he can control and things he cannot control and take action accordingly. If you can control the situation, then do so. If you cannot control it, then learn how to adapt to it. In your case, you seem to be highly concerned with having control over circumstances in your life, some of which are outside of your full control. This is a very common trap, a thinking error that many people have fallen into. Accepting that we cannot control many situations and must learn resilience and how to adapt to the unexpected by facing your fears is crucial to being able to teach our children resilience and courage. Asking yourself: what is the worse possible thing that could happen, and what would be a plan to deal with and manage that? Reassure yourself that you can survive most everything with the proper plan, and that you are strong.

Third, keep to the three R's - remember it will pass, reassure your inner self and relax. Keep in mind that very few things in life are permanent, if indeed there are any especially as change is the only permanent thing in life. Your source of anxiety, especially if no real danger exists at present, will pass away. You must reassure yourself that everything will be alright simply because your source of anxiety will pass and then try to relax with methods like diaphragmatic breathing.

With regular practice, these steps in mind control in anxiety disorder self-help will often fight the anxiety attacks almost as soon as it starts. Hence, there will be less and less need for medications and professional counseling.

Physical Control

To complement mind control, sufferers who want to help themselves conquer the illness must also make dietary and lifestyle changes. You will feel better, function better and cope with your anxiety better when you adopt these changes.

  • Eat more foods rich in complex carbohydrates like whole grains instead of simple carbohydrates like sugars. Complex carbohydrates stimulate serotonin production, thus, providing for a calming effect.
  • Drink plenty of water and fruit juices since dehydration can and will affect your mood.
  • Limit the intake of natural stimulants like alcohol and caffeine as well as cigarettes. You want to be calm instead of be agitated by the foods that you eat.
  • Eat tryptophan-rich foods like dairy products, soy, nuts and shellfish. Tryptophan stimulates the production of chemicals in the brain that aids in relaxation and mood improvement.
  • Get sufficient sleep and rest. You will feel better during the day and, hence, able to cope with the stresses of life that bring on anxiety.
  • Exercise regularly. It releases the so-called happy hormones, which will make you feel better.

Anxiety disorder self-help is a possible option for individuals who wish to take their lives back for their own. This circumstance just might open up a whole new world of learning for you, and give you the tools to teach your children healthy patterns of coping and thought! I hope this was helpful to you--- please let me know how else I can be of service!

Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience: Licensed Professional Counselor
Verified
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Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
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I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much

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I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well!

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