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Penny Rayas, MFT
Penny Rayas, MFT, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 395
Experience:  I have 20 years experience in the mental health field
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The week of January 25th, my period was late. My husband and

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The week of January 25th, my period was late. My husband and I were worried that we were pregnant. I was 38 (turned 39 the following week). On Thursday of that week, I went to bed but I went to bed crying because I did not want to be pregnant. We have two healthy boys and I had post partum anxiety after both boys were born. I was treated and back to my old self. A person who does not let much get to her. I work out 5 days a week. I do get stressed but I don't get anxiety from it. I could not sleep well that night. I went to work in a funk. I talked to a friend. I cried. I felt myself and purchased a pregnancy test. It was negative. I cried of relief to my husband. I went to lay down and then my period came. My husband and I had a good laugh. That night I went to bed. I was sweating and I started getting the pain of anxiety in my chest. I could not sleep. I go to my pcp on Monday because I was not sleeping and I had anxiety back. He prescribed clonazapham. I was to take .5mg at night. If I could not sleep, I was to take another one. If I had anxiety during the day, I was to take 1/2 a pill. It worked one night. I never got upset and cried. I even went to a meditation class. The following week, I was able to get into my psychiatrist that help me with both post partum anxieties. She prescribed tranzadone and said to take the clonazapham. I took 50 mg of tranzadone at night. I slept one night. The next night, I did not sleep. She told me to increase it to 100 and then we tried 150. I was not sleeping. She then switched me to remember pm. I take 15 mg of remeron and 1 mg of clonazapham at night. It has been two weeks. I feel more myself despite the pressure in my chest I get on and off or the head tingling. My appetite has returned. I have lost about 10 lbs. I have not had a period yet. My thyroid was checked on feb. 7th by m pcp and all are within normal ranges. My ob/gyn checked my hormones and said all was normal. I am not drowsy in the morning. I do sleep. I can focus at work now. I never stopped working out. When will the tingling and chest pressure go away. It goes away when I take deep breaths. I email my doctor with symptons. She said I am fine. She told me I will be better sooner rather than later. She said I caused the anxiety from focusing that I may get post partum anxiety. Just want to be back to 100 percent. Thank you.
Hello there and thanks for asking this question. I am a a therapist who has been working with clients who have anxiety for over 20 years. I would like to help. I would like to know if you have seen a therapist who has prodived some copying skills for your anxiety. Let me know what you have tried and what work and what did not work so I don't give you the same suggestions that have not worked
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have not seen a therapist. I went to my psychiatrist who helped me with both post partum anxieties. When I went to therapy after my first post partum, I thought it was useless because the therapist would ask me to pick words as to how I was feeling. I felt fine. I felt myself.

The 2nd post partum, I would cry alot and practice deep breathing. Both times, I was better after the meds started working and I started feeling myself.

This time, my psychiatrist said I developed the anxiety from thinking about being pregnant again and I did not want post partum again. I work out 5 days a week at the gym. I started go for meditation classes once a week on Saturdays since February 2nd. I do deep breathing. The meds have helped me sleep. I feel more myself except with the chest pressure once in awhile. If I take a deep breath, it goes away- most of the time. I know it is only anxiety. I know the remeron is working. I just get frustrated sometimes because I want to be back to myself. When I could not sleep before bed because I had a lot on my mind, I would read. Then I wouldfall asleep. That was not alot of the times. Just once in awhile. But I never had the chest pains or the constant mind wandering. I am usually the type of person that if everyone is healthy, then everything is good. I could stay at my desk and work through lunch just to get through things if work got too busy. I always know there is a light at the end of the tunnel with work and every day I am not busy. Yes, I do think I need to learn meditation. I have been. I do think I need patience for the meds to work and try not to get frustrated. I do see progress. I do think, will this happen again especially if I go through menopause. I know I cannot die from anxiety. I just do not like the feeling. I like when I feel myself. I am not a positive person a 100% of the time. I do have bad days. I do yell at my husband, sisters, kids or mom when I get really upset.

My psychiatrist says I will get better. I have not had a period since February 1st since this all started. I am not worried that I am pregnant. I am wanting to make sure I am doing the right things or I want someone to be honest with me that it may never go away. I guess no one can know that answer. I do not fully understand why this has happened and pray to God it never happens again. But I cannot worry about that. I know there is no magic pill for anything. I just want the truth in what I am doing is going to make me better or not and I do want to learn other coping mechanisms. I thought I had good coping mechanisms. Just a person who is inpatient, confused, wanting for the next day to come to see if I am better than the other day, etc...

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Joanne Kass

Dear Joanne,

Thanks so much for your detailed letter. It looks like you know yourself well and this is a temporary incident that is related to your fear that you are pregnant and relapse to your anxiety. I wonder if your MD has tested your hormones to see if you are also suffering from a hormonal imbalance. Many women even early in life such as there 30's suffer from hormonal imbalances. Some of the symptoms you describe remind me of low thyroid symptoms. Your gynecologist can test you and make sure all your hormones are in the optimum levels. As for anxiety, anxiety is the body's and mind's response to a harmful event (something the mind or body identifies as harmful). The minds identifies an experience of anxiety in the past as harmful automatically because this is the way humans developed to protect ourselves from harm. I wondered if your therapist was a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist or not. The activating event was thinking that you may be pregnant, some automatic thoughts may happened in your mind such as " I wonder if I will have post partum depression and anxiety", those thoughts even if you don't take time to think them create anxiety and if you are too busy the anxiety may manifest as a panic attack. I am glad you are learning how to meditate and deep breathing that will help. One more recommendation is when you take a deep breath notice if you have any thoughts that trigger anxiety and if you do take time to write those thoughts down. It is important to take a deep breath and dispute those thoughts as they come to you. For instance, an anxious thought may be " I will be overwhelmed and anxious and will not be able to finish my project" your response would be " I am ok and always manage to do my work". Replacing your negative automatic thoughts with positive ones will help you relax and feel better. I also want to tell you that I noticed that the first incident of anxiety is the worst one that my clients have. Why because most learn how to cope with anxiety and know they have overcome it before. I would also want to discuss stressors that increase anxiety such as working long hours and not taking time for yourself. I know as a mother and a professional we are often stretched too thin. We tend to be so many things and do some many things for everyone else. Do you have dedicated time to yourself? Do you have time to follow a hobby to fills you up and makes you happy? Maybe 3 hours on the weekends to go shopping or hiking with a friend or getting a baby sister to spend time just with your husband. I hope this helps let me know if you have any other questions about this

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, Penny. My primary care doctor checked my thyroid. Although, lower than from other years it was still in the normal ranges of 0.89 (hTSH). My Free T4 was 1.24 and Free T3 was 2.9. My psychiatrist said my levels are find. I did check years past and noticed my hTSH was between a 1 and 2. Is that cause for concern?

My ob/gyn checked my hormones and said all was normal.

I go and workout everyday after work. My husband and I have a good balance. Kids are in bed by 8 and then I sit down and just relax.

Thank you,

Joanne Kass

Thanks Joanne,

I wonder if there have been changes in your job a new study found that stress in the job can create anxiety and depression. I am glad that you have a good balance in your life. Do you worry about being getting pregnant?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Penny,

I do not worry about getting pregnant. A couple of months ago, I was thinking maybe we should have a 3rd child when I saw two people I graduated with froom high school that were pregnant. I thought it would be nice to have three children and I love my boys so much. I am blessed to be a mom. I also have my niece who is 7 and is here every weekend. I love having her here and it gives my sister who is a single parent a break since she watches my two boys and has her daughter during the week. When I thought I might be pregnant, I knew my husband and I would get through it and thought of names and who would be the Godparents. But then Thursday night that week when I went to bed, I was crying saying I did not want to be pregnant again. We have it good. I did not want to go through post partum again and I am 39 and the financial burden of having another child. I was also on the internet Thursday looking up ways to prevent postpartum anxiety. I saw how people have their placentas turned to pills and that helped some people. Friday, I felt in a funk and after I spoke with my friend, I felt better. Instead of going to the gym, I went to the store to purchase a pregnancy test. It was negative. I cried from relief and guilt. Then, I got my period and was laughing. I kept telling my husband that if I did not get my period by the weekend, then I would get a pregnancy test. I kept telling my husband I did not feel pregnant.

Do I worry about getting pregnant? No. Just the one time, my husband came before putting on a condom. Otherwise, we use a condom and he is getting a vasectomy. We talked about this before all this happened because he hates condoms and I really do not care to take birth control pills or have an IUD even though they are hormone free. Today, I cleaned the one level of my house. Sometimes cleaning is therapeutic to me. I tell my husband when I am sitting on the house and not seeing all the toys on the floor, I feel more calm. Although, I also tell myself that when I see the toys they will not be there forever. This is a house that has kids with too many toys. This phase in life of the kids being young goes by in a heart beat. I just am frustrated that the symptons of anxiety came- not able to sleep, eat, racing thoughts, and chest pressure. However, each day it is getting better. I am eating. I am sleeping but with the help of medication. I was able to focus and clean. Sometimes, I like to sit down with a good book and other there days I just want to do things. I think I am normal. I just want to make sure I am on the path to getting better. I believe I am. I have trust in my doctor. But sometimes when I feel that pressure in my chest, I think maybe I am not getting better, maybe I need another opinion. I scheduled my physical because I just want to make sure all is well with me. This anxiety scared me but I still went out for my birthday even though I wanted to sit home. I still went to my cousin's baby shower even though none of my sister in laws or other family members were going. I still kept up with working out. I did not call in sick to work even though I felt sometimes like I just wanted to be locked away until I was all better. I joke that I am going to have a talkk with God when I see him in Heaven. I want to ask him why humans have to deal with mental illness of any sort and why women have to deal with hormones. We should all be on Earth just to enjoy the life you gave us annd have fun. But that is for another topic.

Penny- is there anything I should do? I know I cannot worry about preventing this. I am a little worried that it has been since February 1st since I had my period. I am thinking it will come back once I am fully steady but of course, I will ask my psychiatrist and my primary care physician when I see her at the end of this month for my physical.

I have a lot to look forward too. My sister had a baby boy that I will be his Godmother. I am going on a 5 day European cruise with a friend in April. I will miss my husband and kids like crazy but to see the history will be great. I have a family cruise at the end of this year. Life is good. I need to focus on that and not when I have a chest pain.

Thank you so much! Joanne

Hello there Joanne,

I think you are doing all you can do so far and I am sure you will get better. I do suggest that you see a therapist. A cognitive behavioral theapist can help you deal with the anxiety by providing more tools and teaching you how to stop the thoughts that cause anxiety. I think you are doing all you can do without therapy. I believe that maybe 5 visits with a therapist that is mostly covered by your EAP plan would clear your anxiety. The progressive relaxation techique helps many of my clients when they get an anxiety attack. Try it, here is the method. Tense and relax different parts of your body starting with your toes all the way up to your head and breath in and out. Your body will feel more relaxed and your breathing more even and you will feel more relaxed.

Thanks so much, for talking with me and I hope this helps

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain everything and help me. I did get my period yesterday. However, I was unable to fall asleep after taking my medication. I did fall asleep eventually but did not sleep for long. I think that had to do with my period.

I know I am not a 100%. I went to a friend's child's birthday party and I could not relax. I just wanted to leave. I do not know if it has anything to do with the time change, my period, the anxiety, etc...

Once I returned home and sat down, my husband and I watched Saturday Night Live. Justin Timberlake was hilarious. I actually sneezed during the show.

It has been awhile since I sneezed. I cannot wait to get back to 100% myself. At work, I will get tensed now doing work. Never happened before. Anything that I can do at my desk? I just want to feel relaxed again all the time. Thank you for everything. Joanne

Here is a progressive relaxation techique. I do this one when I am on my desk. It takes about 10 minutes. The first time it may take less.

Feel your feet. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and sink into the bed. Start with your toes and progress to your ankles.

  • Feel your knees. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the chair
  • Feel your upper legs and thighs. Feel their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the chair.
  • Feel your abdomen and chest. Sense your breathing. Consciously will them to relax. Deepen your breathing slightly and feel your abdomen and chest sink into the chair
  • Feel your buttocks. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the chair
  • Feel your hands. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them heavy into the side of your body
  • Feel your upper arms. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the side of your body
  • Feel your shoulders. Sense their weight. Consciously relax them and feel them sink into the chair.
  • Feel your neck. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and feel it relax
  • Feel your head and skull. Sense its weight. Consciously relax it and feel it let go of stress
  • Feel your mouth and jaw. Consciously relax them. Pay particular attention to your jaw muscles and unclench them if you need to. Feel your mouth and jaw relax and open your mouth.
  • Feel your eyes. Sense if there is tension in your eyes. Sense if you are forcibly closing your eyelids. Consciously relax your eyelids and feel the tension slide off the eyes.
  • Feel your face and cheeks. Consciously relax them and feel the tension slide off your face
  • Mentally scan your body. If you find any place that is still tense, then consciously relax that place and let it sink into the chair.

Another short techique is called the stop techique. When you get an anxious thought ask yourself is this thought helping me?

Is it making me happy?


If not take 3 deep breaths and let go of the though

Smile with your whole body.

Remember a memory of love or peace. Fill your body and mind with the memory and continue to take deep breaths.

Continue and go back to the though if you need to from a place of compassion for yourself and everyone else.

How do you feel? You will usually feel free of anxiety.

Thanks so much for working with me. I really enjoyed to get to know you.

I will check back with you in about a week to see if those two methods help out.

Penny Rayas, MFT and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.