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I have horrible anxiety! I feel like I’m having a heart

Customer Question
I have horrible anxiety...

I have horrible anxiety! I feel like I’m having a heart atrack

Doctor's Assistant: How long have you been dealing with this? Is there anything in particular that seems to make the symptoms better or worse?

I’ve prettt much been dealing with this my whole life. Ever since I turned 40 the symptoms are more aware

Doctor's Assistant: Anything else in your medical history you think the psychologist should know?

No I just want the anxiety to stop or at least subsided

Submitted: 2 months ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 1 hour by:
5/29/2018
Mental Health Professional: Rafael-E-Therapist, Psychotherapist replied 2 months ago
Rafael-E-Therapist
Rafael-E-Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3,467
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Verified

Hello, I'm Rafael. Thanks for asking your question. I'm here to support you. I'm carefully reviewing your question (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

I'm sorry to know you have suffered from anxiety for so long, t the point of having panic-like symptoms. Having developed panic symptoms show how overwhelming anxiety has become for you, and after so many years enduring this condition it is clear you should feel very frustrated and distressed by it.

Are you aware of anything tough, dramatic or overwhelming happing in your life when you were 40 years old, just before you started experiencing anxiety?

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Mental Health Professional: Rafael-E-Therapist, Psychotherapist replied 2 months ago

Most times people who suffer from anxiety develop the condition during adolescence, or after a traumatic or overwhelming situation. It could also arise as a result of chronic stress, which debilitates the person's mental and emotional strength leading to a constant state of tension and fear.

Anxiety itself is not abnormal or something bad, but an essential mechanism we all need in order to survive, to identify what could hurt us, and to prepare for effective coping. Problems arise when this mechanism gets distorted, gets triggered by the wrong situation or for no good reason, or its intensity is excessive.

It is believed that most people who suffer from it do have a genetic predisposition making them more vulnerable, and experience life issues which are painful or hard to handle, leading to the development of anxiety disorders, including panic, phobias, and OCD, as the most common ones.

But having or not a genetic predisposition, just makes us more vulnerable, there must be situational conditions leading to the development of anxiety problems for them to appear, and the lack of necessary support would turn them into chronic conditions. But this does not mean there is no hope, people do rehabilitate from anxiety disorders every day, it is tough but real. It requires consistent work on developing better anxiety and stress management skills, learning more effective ways to cope and to approach our emotions, besides of working on life issues causing stress.

Remember I said, anxiety appears as a mechanism to alert and protect us from harm? Then anxiety most times start by doing just that, bringing our attention to a hard time we may be experiencing dealing with stress from concrete life circumstances, which we need to address, in order to be able to reduce stress levels, so not to trigger or fuel more anxiety.

Rehabilitation from anxiety conditions like panic disorder is totally viable. but takes time, and the most important aspect to consider is this: anxiety and even panic cannot harm you at all, all the fears associated to them are based on imaginary or real painful past experiences, that could not harm you in the present or future.

feeling like having a heart attack? Unable to breathe, trembling, getting crazy or near to dying? These are not fun at all, all panic symptoms, but they are all harmless, this is about a trick of your mind telling you all these and other bad things are going to happen, you could go to the hospital one or more times because of how overwhelmed you feel, but what you find out is that none of those fears become reality. There are fears used by your mind to fool you. While on one hand your mind/body want to protect you, on the other this mechanism has become distorted, dysfunctional, and this is why it just does not work right and needs re-education, training, readjustment, and these can happen with psychological work, ideally with professional psychological support.

My recommendations are to look for a competent professional psychotherapist with expertise in anxiety disorders, and group therapy for anxiety. In case a group is not locally available, a support group would help a lot, and complement individual therapy. if there are no local professionals to support you, because of living in a rural area, or they do not have enough sound expertise, then telehealth/ could be the best option for you, via chat, Skype, or phone, many people could receive professional support and work on their rehabilitation.

rehabilitation is not easy as I said before, and this is why besides of professional support, we all need close support from our own support system, namely "healthy and caring" family members or close friends, to make this work better and faster. Ther last thing a person in your shoes want to afford is isolating yourself and staying passive about this, which most times could only increase and worsen the anxiety condition.

In therapy, some of the most effective approaches are about you learning and working on the following:

1- You already know this: anxiety, even panic cannot truly harm you.

2- Fears associated with anxiety, those around negative situations are most times a distortion of reality, they will not become true. An example of this is the fear of getting crazy or having a heart attack. These fears do not become true unless the person truly already has a heart condition or a mental illness.

3- You can re-educate yourself to experience anxiety in different ways, by gradual exposure to what triggers your anxiety/panic. You can build a list of 10 items, from 1 being the easiest, choosing a situation causing a very low level of anxiety, something you could easily handle with a little effort, not a nice experience, but can handle it for sure. Then number 2 will be a little harder, then 3 tougher, and this way you would choose scenarios you could expose to or create, where you would gradually expose yourself at your own pace, and under your control, so willingly face a trigger of anxiety. You would decide how long you stay, and you can always come back to keep training yourself, body, and mind to face such stressor, under those specific circumstances. This way your anxiety levels and panic response will decrease more and more.

Spend at least around a week on each item, but only move to the next one after you feel you have mastered or at easy with the previous one. This gradual exposure also requires you:

1- Not denying, but fully acknowledging your fears, anxiety and negative feelings. Acknowledging does not mean fueling them, but validating and not denying them.

2- Confront those feelings with reality. reality shows you none of these fears are valid in the present for you, no heart attack will happen, you will not get crazy, etc.

3- Embrace your feelings with unconditional gentleness, compassion, understanding and caring. You do not need to torment yourself for feeling the way you feel, rather need to develop and show real support for yourself, to learn to take things easy, especially when they become tough. if you master these skills, you will rehabilitate from anxiety disorders.

4- Implement any coping.anxiety management skills you have in order to make things easy, more manageable, from positive self-talking to distracting yourself, deep and slow breathing, and similar. Latter are the most commonly effective tools.

5- Consciously and willingly redirect your mind, heart and body towards actions. experience where you fully focus your attention and energy, experiences/actions that require your energy and attention and that happen to be very appealing to you, productive or enjoyable. Or that you know worked for you in the past to make you feel more at ease and more relaxed.

6- Ideally, do not be alone, but look for a supportive person, who knows about your anxiety, and who could support you during this process, reminding you of what you are working on, and reassuring that things are fine and that the anxiety will decrease and go away.

7. Daily engage in creating, having and/or promoting experiences/activities that bring meaning and fulfillment into your life. This is essential.

8. Work on addressing and resolving life issues affecting your mood and functioning.

9. Ensure and empower your health and resiliency by doing regular cardiovascular (aerobic) exercising taking into account any limits and recommendations by primary care physician if having medical conditions.

10. take things easy, and work on reducing your sources of stress as possible, handling responsibilities one by one, setting priorities, so you address the most urgent matters first.

I hope this brings some light and tools for you to work on your rehabilitation from anxiety while looking for or working with necessary professional support.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or to follow up, since I am here willing to support you as much as possible. Please remember to rate my service by using the 5 stars scale at the top of the screen. Please note that rating me now does not close your question. We can continue until you are satisfied. If you need more support, please use the reply box and let me know. Thank you!”.

You can contact me using this direct link to my profile https://www.justanswer.com/mental-health/expert-rafael-therapist/, you could bookmark it for easy access, and just make sure you state "For Rafael only" in your request, for other experts to know you want me to reply, and I will respond in less than an hour most of the time.

Thank you for your trust. Take gentle care and consistent action.

Rafael.

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Mental Health Professional: Rafael-E-Therapist, Psychotherapist replied 2 months ago

Hello. I wonder if you received my response.

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