Dealing with Anxiety

I am only about a week away from meeting Dr. Samji (to get more clarity on my conditions). These few days I suddenly started to have panic attacks and just... really high anxiety. It's silly since I know Dr. Samji is one of the best specialists for the condition and some people don't even have the luxury of being only an hour's flight away from him. I guess I am feeling overwhelmed, and not ready... to have to face yet another chronic condition and/or surgery. These past few years my health has really deteriorated, with one heartbreaking diagnosis after another. Starting with Endometriosis, (two surgeries for that), then Ankylosing Spondylitis, then chronic reactivated EBV (Mono), then TMJ and now Eagles.... it's absolutely exhausting both physically and mentally. And the financial concerns and social alienation out of illness just add another whole level of stress to deal with. I am sure many of you know exactly what's it's like as many have been dealing with this chronic condition (or multiple conditions) for years.

I wonder, what do you do to help bounce back when you are feeling overwhelmed? I find it really difficult to concentrate on my usual relaxation techniques. Because of the anxiety, I feel like crying all the time, and my jaw, neck and throat get even tighter than usual (which causes me to have more anxiety about being seen by Dr. Samji in this state), and I even started to feel low grade but constant chest/heart pain, and don't know if it's just brought on simply by stress, or a flare of symptoms due to my Ankylosing Spondylitis or EBV (more paranoid thoughts ---> more panic!) I am thinking about trying to see my primary doctor or go to the urgent care for some anti-anxiety medicine to help before I make the trip up to San Jose. I hope those don't actually end up making things worse with side effects.

Thanks for hearing my worries... :p

Bella, you've been through a lot, and it's perfectly reasonable to feel stressed and anxious. So please don't think you're being silly for feeling that. And it's hard to go see yet another doctor and get geared up for all that entails.

I've had two surgeries with Dr. Samji and I thought he did a great job and he was easy to talk to, so please don't worry about seeming stressed. I think he's seen it all. I think you're doing a good thing by going to him. You're taking the steps you have to take to get well.

I also think that in very stressful, difficult times, it doesn't hurt to try an anti-anxiety medication if your doctor approves it. I had a couple periods in the last seven years of so of my "saga" where I took them and it helped me get through it all. So if you need to take them for a week or so and your doctor is ok with it, I think it could possibly help. Good luck Bella.

Thank you heidemt for your encouraging words. I went to the urgent care today and the doctor there prescribed Ativan to help me get through in the meantime, before I can find and schedule to get seen by a psychologist/psychiatrist for anxiety. I don't know why I struggled so long with even this simple step to ask for help. Immediately after the urgent care visit I felt more calm/safe and feel that I can tackle things again.

Thank you for re-assuring me about Dr. Samji. I've heard nothing but praises about his skills and personality so I know I will be in good hands. I guess I am just having anxiety attacks due to too many stressful events lately.

I think we can all understand that anxiety seeing another doctor, and without all the other health problems that you've had too! What helped me was taking a little bit of control and getting some info ready to take with me- I printed out some research and the symptoms survey results etc., although I needn't have worried as the doctor was great- and I'm sure Dr Samji will be too.

Glad that you've got some help, and hope that you can see a psychologist soon as well. Don't know if it helps, but I'll be praying for you!

My son has Eagle's and we found a wonderful hypnotherapist (who is a licensed social worker and a PhD). This form of therapy has helped my son cope and survive. Maybe you can find someone similar in your area (if you can't tolerate the medications).