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LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 588
Experience:  10 years post-MSW experience
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Basically my husband passed away last year, I'm easier 2

Customer Question

Basically my husband passed away last year, I'm easier 2 children. I don't sleep and have panic attacks. I couldn't afford the COBRA coverage. I've tries several things but nothing seems to help.
JA: How long have you been dealing with this? Is there anything in particular that seems to make the symptoms better or worse?
Customer: Stress of course, I'm selling my house, my son is ADHD and struggling. Sleep and anxiety is the worst of it. Sometimes I'm the middle of grocery shopping or a crowded place, I can't breath, I've just got to leave
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the psychologist should know?
Customer: No, I'm pretty healthy, normal blood pressure, cholesterol, healthy weight.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 2 months ago.

Hello and thank you for writing to us. My name is ***** ***** am really sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. Raising two children on your own, especially when they need special attention, must be extremely hard. Happy Mother's Day to you - you deserve major props for your hard work and courage.

I am curious what you have tried to manage anxiety in the past? I understand that without insurance, getting to a doctor is difficult. There are some over-the-counter things available to help with anxiety and also depression (the pair often go hand and hand). You could go to your local health store or pharmacy and see about trying St.John's Wort which can help with anxiety and depression or Valerian Root which also is known to help with depression. Sam-e can also assist with depression but you would want to avoid taking combinations of these medications as they can cause too much serotonin in your brain which can be dangerous.

My other thought is that lacking insurance should not stop you from receiving healthcare and there are prescriptions that may help significantly that don't cost very much out-of-pocket (Lexapro is free at Sam's club, Paxil, Prozac, Celexa are all inexpensive at <$5/month) . Have you considered accessing your local "community mental health" agency which targets people who need mental health support and are uninsured or uninsured? How about a free or reduced cost health clinic to establish care with a primary care physician who can help oversee you care for you this anxiety? Also, there may be free local grief groups which could give you a safe place to discuss these things and also local agencies that may provide free or sliding-scale therapy which can be a huge help in teaching you tricks and coping mechanisms to mange anxiety. If you send me your zip code, I can help you look-up resources if that would help.

Also, there are programs online and books that are self-help for treatment of anxiety. Here are some links...


There are also many skills that are tried and true and pretty easy to do. To be most effective, these skills should be practiced routinely. You can read about these in a blog I wrote recently...

Lastly, I know that managing anxiety is very hard and it becomes easy to fall in the traps of anxiety, such as by letting it boss you around and control you. one simple example is leaving a store during a panic attack. That behavioral reaction to anxiety actually promoted the anxiety making you more likely to experience it again as it teaches your brain that the anxiety was warranted in the first place. so instead of listening to your anxiety and allowing it to affect the way you feel, think and behave instead start to ignore it and push through it. Yes, this is tough at first when you are having a panic attack riding out the attack without compensating for it can help reset you anxiety alarm quickly. It can also help to keep perspective that most panic attacks only ast around the 15-20 minute mark so while pushing through them is not exactly fun, it can be liberating to perceive that they won;t last too long, are not dangerous, and will definitively stop. So next time the panic flares up, simply group that cart tighter and keep walking through the store reminding yourself the end is near and you are string enough to make it through. Keep exposing yourself to the things that promote your anxiety and your brain's anxiety alarm will subsequently get less and less sensitive.

I hope this helps give you some ideas and some hope. You are already doing so much work to keep going and to make things good for your children. keep up this bravery and know that this resilience and dedication to challenging your anxiety head-ion will help calm it. I wish you luck and success and am here to chat more if you'd like!


Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I've tries a variety of anti depressants, Cameron, wellbuterin, etc. I've tries At Johns wort and other over the counter. I've tried African but it wasn't that effective. The dose was probably too low. I exercise. I'm just tired of feeling this way.
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 2 months ago.

I can imagine you are feeling completely exhausted. Even though you have tried many, there is likely a medication or combo that will work for you - but the trial and error process sometimes is a struggle. that is why receiving ongoing healthcare is important - results don't always come fast or easy. Evidence-based help for anxiety includes therapy too - have you ever invested yourself in this?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I see a counselor twice a week as well as family group therapy
I can call a little later. I'm running later 4 an appointment
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 2 months ago.

The call is optional and an automatic thing sent to customers although I would be glad to talk if you'd like! Let's keep chatting after you return from your appointment. If you decide you would like to talk on the phone, you can accept that offer and we can get something scheduled but again, totally up to you.

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