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I have been experiencing most of the symptoms of postpartum anxiety for a few months now and I'm just now realizing that is in fact what it is. For a while, I was blaming it on the back and head aches I've been having since my son was born 5 months ago. But after several MRIs, nothing was found and I've been learning to deal with them. Fortunately, most days the pain is not too bad. But the anxiety that set in with the aches has been more debilitating than the actual pains. The obsessive worrying/fears make me so tense, I get a nervous pit in my stomach, I get dizzy and sometimes have heart palpitations. My mind starts racing about all the horrible things that could happen in my life and I can't turn it off. It's exhausting.<br><br>
The anxiety is bad only about once or twice a week. I'll have a really bad day followed by a bunch of good ones, get my hopes up and then wham, another bad day. I talked to my dr about it and he gave me some xanax and told me that if I found I was taking it more than once or twice a week, we should consider something else. I'm a bit worried about taking it - I'm worried it will knock me out (I have 3 kids to take care of/drive around) or I'll get addicted. I had a bad day yesterday and didn't take it. Now I'm having anxiety about taking anxiety meds....am I crazy or what?!?<br><br>
Just wondering if the "occasional" thing is normal, if anyone has advice about taking the xanax or any other suggestions.<br><br>
Thanks
 

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Mine was occasional like that, although for me, I'd have several bad days in a row, then I'd be ok for a good week or so.<br><br>
You're not crazy <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Deciding to take medication is a big deal (IMO) - and can be nerve wracking - at least for me it was. I don't have any suggestions about xanax, other than to say I have a friend who couldn't get through her panic attacks without it. She doesn't have kids yet though, and I've never really asked her about the effects it has on her.<br><br>
I ended up on paxil and took it for a year. It was amazing the difference it made for me. It felt good to feel good, calm, happy and not anxious. It felt incredible to not feel crazy. I had felt crazy for a long time.<br><br>
I do want to say, that for me, acknowledging that something wasn't right was incredibly hard, but it was also the first step for me to be able to get some help and get better. Good luck to you. This is a hard thing to go through!
 

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Hi, I'm sorry you're dealing with this...it can be really challenging and discouraging to have anxiety popping in unexpectedly...<br><br>
I have a few suggestions, none of them drugs, all of them safe while breastfeeding. I have been having occasional anxiety and even full-blown panic attacks lately and its been two years since I had my twins. I think mine are the result of choppy hormone fluctuations (estrogen spikes while progesterone is too low, or something like that). I'm working to balance that out with nourishing herbal infusions. But for anxiety and panic, here are a few of the tricks I run to, sometimes trying one, then another until something relieves!<br><br>
1. Five Flower Formula - this is like Bach's "Rescue Remedy" only I think it is possibly more potent. It uses the same flowers as the Bach RR. These are flower essences, sort of like extracted energy from certain flowers. 4-5 drops under the tongue will often take me right out of those "unreal" feelings or mounting panic. One of the flowers in the formula is even great for just nervous irritability, such as when you might feel some low-level anxiety and it is just causing you to be snappish. Flower essences are safe, gentle and very fast-acting. Whether your anxiety is springing from something hormonal, circumstantial or perhaps even from long-ago-trauma-unresolved, now perhaps dislodged since becoming a mother (as often happens)....flower essences are powerful tools and totally safe for everybody.<br><br>
2. Motherwort extract - the herb motherwort "mothers the mother". Particularly suited for strengthening the heart (its name in latin means "lion hearted"), I have used a 10-20 drops of this in a bit of water when I get palpitations that are either brought on by or worsened by anxiety. Its fantastically calming and good for your heart and safe for use while breastfeeding.<br><br>
3. Homeopathic remedy Aconitum Napellus - You can find them at health food stores or at Whole Foods and even some independent grocery stores; often the brand sold is Boiron and is a little blue tube (chapstick sized) of white pellets. Get 30c potency and hold just one (side of tube says a dose is 5 pellets but this is not necessary!) under your tongue and let it dissolve. For me, Aconitum has helped stop in its tracks a full-blown (1/2 hour) panic attack and all the corresponding irrational thoughts, terror, panicky 'what if's' ....in minutes. Once you start feeling the anxiety receding, you know the remedy is working; don't take any more but wait and see how you feel. With homeopathic remedies, once you feel signs of improvement, you let the remedy work; don't take more pellets unless/until the anxiety returns, or if the first pellet got rid of some but not all of it. In acute situations, homeopathic remedies can often work within minutes, but give it about 15 minutes before judging whether you need another pellet.<br><br>
4. Anything with oats. Try to get more oats in your diet; they are very calming, rich in B vites, great for your thyroid, and have a gentle restorative action on the nerves. Oatmeal, oatstraw infusion, oat milk, oatmeal cookies, you get the idea. Oatstraw infusion (buy bulk oatstraw, add 1 cup to a quart of boiling water in a canning jar, lid, and let steep for 4 hours - overnight; strain and enjoy iced or warm) is a mild, nutty delicious flavor. Totally safe and very compatible for breastfeeding/milk supply!<br><br>
5. Lemon balm. Straight lemon balm or even a nice decaf blend of herbs for moms that includes lemon balm (a pre-made blend). Lemon balm alleviates both anxiety and depression and makes you feel like "hm, things aren't so bad after all". Just a cup a day with a little honey tastes delicious and is a great nerve tonic. Also is high in selenium which in an important nutrient in thyroid health. This and/or oats are great boons to preventive care for your nerves, and both taste great! Lemon balm is also very easy to grow yourself; tea can be made with fresh or dried leaves. With lemon balm, you just take a couple teaspoons to a cup of boiling water, let it steep 10-15 minutes and strain out the leaves.<br><br>
Most, if not all of these, can be either acquired at a Whole Foods or online...<br><br>
--<br><br>
Well, these are some of the tricks I keep on hand; my life with four little ones doesn't stop just because I am having a bad (or terrifying) day and want to run away. I am still nursing my twins so what I choose to help myself has to be compatible with breastfeeding. I've had my share of anxiety and panic and did a lot of searching and these are a few that worked for me; you might give them a try before committing to medications. All of these above make me feel like myself, not blunted or unreal or groggy or anything else. All are safe, even for children; and all are affordable (less than a doctor office co-pay!)....<br><br>
I hope you feel relief and balance soon! [[hugs]]<br><br>
~weegift333<br>
Claire, SAHM to ABC, 03/03/03; IRC, 03/18/06; CCC & MCC, 03/17/08
 

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I was able to get through post-partum anxiety with therapy and meditation only, no meds at all. It was fairly intensive therapy-- I mean, it was only once weekly but I did have to do the meditation and relaxation practices every day, on my own, but it's obviously a med-free option that is safe for breastfeeding.<br><br>
Also, pain often causes anxiety. Even if there is nothing "serious" wrong, you still need to get your pain symptoms under control as well as possible. Either nag your doctor or get another opinion. If your doctor says it's anxiety causing the pain, point out to him that if he is right, there is a vicious cycle going on and you need to break it. Something like physical therapy might help your back (and, again, would be safe for breastfeeding); and it even might help your headaches if they are tension headaches.
 

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I haven't read the replies, and I came to this thread from the main page with the latest one listed, but...<br><br>
I just learned something very interesting that is helping me feel TONS better generally speaking...<br><br>
Did you know the symptoms of low blood pressure include:<br><br>
dizziness<br>
tunnel vision<br>
headaches, especially in the back of the head and upper neck<br>
stiff neck<br>
heart palpitations<br>
anxiety<br>
feelings like your blood sugar is low/sugar cravings<br>
general weakness<br>
eye floaters, flashing lights, seeing stars<br>
and a whole lot more.<br><br>
It may be particularly bad if you are too warm, or have just eaten a large meal. Even if your BP readings are not lower than normal, apparently if you have all the symptoms of low blood pressure, then you have it, no matter what the readings are. And, the reading can flucuate drastically from one time to another anyway. After you have had a baby, your blood levels have to stabilize again because they increased so much while you were pg. And your hormones are stabilizing still as well. Both things can make your system wonky, and effect blood pressure.<br><br>
Try:<br>
getting plenty of rest, water, and iron<br>
consume electrolytes...gatorade is okay, but there are MUCH better options...salt...bananas...etc<br>
take a probiotic and solid multi-vitamin<br>
avoid getting too warm, either in the sun or the shower<br>
eat small, but frequent meals<br><br>
I don't know that any of that applies to you, but I was sure relieved to figure it out. I mean, who wants to feel like their heart is going to jump out of their chest, and have a stiff neck, and feel dizzy, and etc without knowing why?!?
 

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Thanks for your responses. Each one gave me something to think about. I DO tend to have low blood pressure. That's really interesting and I will look into it.<br><br>
lolar2 - I'm constantly trying to figure out which came first...the pain or the anxiety (the chicken or the egg) and I always feel like if the pain was gone, the anxiety would ease. I have considered physical therapy and the neurologist who did my MRIs after I had the baby suggested it too. It's just so hard with 3 young children and a dh who works long hours. But they need a healthy mom, so I'm going to try and pursue that again.<br><br>
weegift333 - I picked up some Bach's RR at Whole Foods today and will keep it handy. I think I will try that before trying the xanax.<br><br>
I also ordered The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook from Amazon today...anyone read that?<br><br>
One day at a time...right? Thanks for all your suggestions.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>weegift333</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15422716"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hi, I'm sorry you're dealing with this...it can be really challenging and discouraging to have anxiety popping in unexpectedly...<br><br>
I have a few suggestions, none of them drugs, all of them safe while breastfeeding. I have been having occasional anxiety and even full-blown panic attacks lately and its been two years since I had my twins. I think mine are the result of choppy hormone fluctuations (estrogen spikes while progesterone is too low, or something like that). I'm working to balance that out with nourishing herbal infusions. But for anxiety and panic, here are a few of the tricks I run to, sometimes trying one, then another until something relieves!<br><br>
1. Five Flower Formula - this is like Bach's "Rescue Remedy" only I think it is possibly more potent. It uses the same flowers as the Bach RR. These are flower essences, sort of like extracted energy from certain flowers. 4-5 drops under the tongue will often take me right out of those "unreal" feelings or mounting panic. One of the flowers in the formula is even great for just nervous irritability, such as when you might feel some low-level anxiety and it is just causing you to be snappish. Flower essences are safe, gentle and very fast-acting. Whether your anxiety is springing from something hormonal, circumstantial or perhaps even from long-ago-trauma-unresolved, now perhaps dislodged since becoming a mother (as often happens)....flower essences are powerful tools and totally safe for everybody.<br><br>
2. Motherwort extract - the herb motherwort "mothers the mother". Particularly suited for strengthening the heart (its name in latin means "lion hearted"), I have used a 10-20 drops of this in a bit of water when I get palpitations that are either brought on by or worsened by anxiety. Its fantastically calming and good for your heart and safe for use while breastfeeding.<br><br>
3. Homeopathic remedy Aconitum Napellus - You can find them at health food stores or at Whole Foods and even some independent grocery stores; often the brand sold is Boiron and is a little blue tube (chapstick sized) of white pellets. Get 30c potency and hold just one (side of tube says a dose is 5 pellets but this is not necessary!) under your tongue and let it dissolve. For me, Aconitum has helped stop in its tracks a full-blown (1/2 hour) panic attack and all the corresponding irrational thoughts, terror, panicky 'what if's' ....in minutes. Once you start feeling the anxiety receding, you know the remedy is working; don't take any more but wait and see how you feel. With homeopathic remedies, once you feel signs of improvement, you let the remedy work; don't take more pellets unless/until the anxiety returns, or if the first pellet got rid of some but not all of it. In acute situations, homeopathic remedies can often work within minutes, but give it about 15 minutes before judging whether you need another pellet.<br><br>
4. Anything with oats. Try to get more oats in your diet; they are very calming, rich in B vites, great for your thyroid, and have a gentle restorative action on the nerves. Oatmeal, oatstraw infusion, oat milk, oatmeal cookies, you get the idea. Oatstraw infusion (buy bulk oatstraw, add 1 cup to a quart of boiling water in a canning jar, lid, and let steep for 4 hours - overnight; strain and enjoy iced or warm) is a mild, nutty delicious flavor. Totally safe and very compatible for breastfeeding/milk supply!<br><br>
5. Lemon balm. Straight lemon balm or even a nice decaf blend of herbs for moms that includes lemon balm (a pre-made blend). Lemon balm alleviates both anxiety and depression and makes you feel like "hm, things aren't so bad after all". Just a cup a day with a little honey tastes delicious and is a great nerve tonic. Also is high in selenium which in an important nutrient in thyroid health. This and/or oats are great boons to preventive care for your nerves, and both taste great! Lemon balm is also very easy to grow yourself; tea can be made with fresh or dried leaves. With lemon balm, you just take a couple teaspoons to a cup of boiling water, let it steep 10-15 minutes and strain out the leaves.<br><br>
Most, if not all of these, can be either acquired at a Whole Foods or online...<br><br>
--<br><br>
Well, these are some of the tricks I keep on hand; my life with four little ones doesn't stop just because I am having a bad (or terrifying) day and want to run away. I am still nursing my twins so what I choose to help myself has to be compatible with breastfeeding. I've had my share of anxiety and panic and did a lot of searching and these are a few that worked for me; you might give them a try before committing to medications. All of these above make me feel like myself, not blunted or unreal or groggy or anything else. All are safe, even for children; and all are affordable (less than a doctor office co-pay!)....<br><br>
I hope you feel relief and balance soon! [[hugs]]<br><br>
~weegift333<br>
Claire, SAHM to ABC, 03/03/03; IRC, 03/18/06; CCC & MCC, 03/17/08</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Can you tell me more about motherwort? I read that it ISN"T safe while beastfeeding. What are your thoughts?
 

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I'm surprised your doc gave you Xanax. It is short acting, which is preferred but usually ativan is the drug of choice for nursing moms. I'm not at all surprised you anxiety is episodic, anxiety generally is. Benzos, when taken occasionally are generally considered safe for nursing. The biggest risk is sleepiness.<br><br>
You can also try GABA, an amino acid that is what xanax and ativan work on and Calm's forte - homeopathic and safe for nursing. A B-50 complex might also help you taken daily. I wouldn't go with a B-100 because you're likely already getting some B's in your prenatal.
 
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