Just to give some history, I am a working mom with 2 boys ages 5 and 2. My awesome husband stays home with them. I had a series of mainly work events (scary potentially dangerous subordinate coworker and just tons of other general work stress) and a bit of family issues (loss of grandparents, issues with my mother, feeling distant from husband) all last winter, spring and a bit into summer. Thankfully, these issues are resolving, however I am afraid I tripped up my body and now have some big issues...
I had a few full panic attacks in the spring ( can't breathe, feeling paralyzed etc) and got Xanax. I tried Zoloft bc my psychiatrist also thought I have underlying depression/anxiety issues and I don't totally disagree with him. I had been managing all that well with regular exercise and other routines that would calm me down. I just think the extreme-ness of 2012 has been too much for my usual defenses.
Anyways, Zoloft was a disaster. I had so many side effects on a low dose of .25 and I constantly had to be on Xanax or buzzed in order to feel somewhat normal. I think that was what speed feels like. So I stopped the Zoloft. I still take Xanax when I need it. Mainly during my luteal phase.
Yeah I think I have pmdd... I get numb hands and the quick heartbeat often from the moment I ovulate until I get my period. Lately i can't fall asleep with ought Xanax or drinking. My main issues are weekends (all that unstructured down time!) and trying to fall asleep.
I've been doing acupuncture which has slowly helped some. I need to do more yoga I think. I still need the Xanax and/or alcohol though... Id like to know what has worked for others. I think the Xanax runs out in a month and I really don't want to do a different med (psychologist seemed to think Xanax was not good as a treatment).
I know this was way rambly... I'm interested in anyone else's rambly thoughts too
The Xanax you are on to sleep is really not a good idea and I highly recommend talking to your psych about the issues because benzos are highly addictive and it sounds like you need to be weaned off it and onto something else to help you sleep and help you deal with the panic attacks. Xanax should be used as a last resort measure after things like muscle relaxation, visualization, and deep breathing aren't working. It shouldn't be a daily thing. For the sleep, have you tried melatonin? I know it sounds simple but it really does work and it's non-habit-forming and "natural" so it's really a better choice than xanax or alcohol if it works for you. Even getting your doctor to write you a script for a sleep aid would probably be a better choice than what you are doing right now.
Don't give up on all antidepressants just because Zoloft didn't work for you. I tried Paxil first and had lots of awful side effects at an extremely low dose. My doctor switched me to Effexor and it's just starting to work for me but we are still trying to find a dosage high enough to work properly. But don't give up on the entire group of meds just because one didn't work. They may all be SSRI's but they all work differently from person to person and they are extremely effective at what they do.
*hugs* No one should have to live through panic attacks. No one. It's horrible.
thank you both for your replies! i've this week started to really focus on regular excercise, yoga, meditation and prayer. I'm hoping this really helps with the daytime anxiety I get. I felt a panic attack coming on yesterday and I was able to stop it on my own.
Something "switched" yesterday and my mood lifted. This was after the near-panic attack, 2 beers, hearing about a friend's mom in a car accident and a run. I was able to fall asleep like normal last night and thank God did not need the Xanax.
I think I will talk to my psychiatrist at my next appointment about getting something specifically for the sleep issues, so thank you both for leading my thoughts in that direction. I do think I can get through the day without Xanax. My panic attacks these days are very few (I've only had 2 over the summer vice 6-7 last April) and not so uncontrollable anymore.
Hmm... If you think you have PMDD then I would go see a Naturopathic Physician who is well trained in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
I had pretty terrible PMS, with social anxiety so severe I could not answer the phone, the doorbell, or go out places. I could barely even write emails or post comments on blogs. I had panic attacks regularly.
But I started taking bio-identical progesterone, and I became so so so so much better. :) I go out places now, and talk to people, and write stuff, and like answering the phone. I'm even going to university this fall. So if there is something like a progesterone deficiency at the root of your problem, it would be really great to find out. :P
If you are interested in considering this possibility, check out Dr. John Lee's website. He has some questionnaires, similar to those your ND would probably give you, you can take to determine if this might be the right track. Has informative articles as well.
This article from Ray Peat is really interesting also: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/progesterone-summaries.shtml
I wish you the best of luck! I know how horrible it can be to deal with the symptoms you describe.