dealing with anxiety

Hi everyone, im having such a hard time dealing with my anxiety. Im writing to you from my desk and for some reason today is unbearable so much i needed to take a lorazpham. It feels like im having a heart attack and it really sucks the feeling im in. HOW DO SOME OF YOU COPE WITH THIS DIBILATING FEELING. It just really does a number on me.I first experienced it six months afetr my implant and boom! my first panic attack. Im on 10mg of lexapro but im also 6' 240lbs in decent shape. i try to stay active with hitting the gym and at times it just enters my body with no warning and i feel a bit lightheaded. Maybe im on wrong medication or im not taking enough of lexapro. My primary care put me on this and ive been on it for 7 months and its been a rollercoaster ride. I really hate living like this and i was wondering if i could get some feed back to at least help get along each day. I was diagnosed with general anxiety but some days are worse then others. Thanks for listening.


You aren't going to like my answer

by AgentX86 - 2021-04-29 18:39:08

Forget yesterday.  You can't do anything about the past.  Look forward to tomorrow.  You can do something about that.  Something great!

Long term antianxiety drug use isn't good.  It's a crutch and like all crutches becomes necessary to function.


by athena123 - 2021-04-29 19:01:48

thanks, im looking for a little more substance.

You're not alone

by Persephone - 2021-04-29 19:03:37

Dear Athena - you have very eloquently expressed your intense feelings of anxiety and pain.  I am so sorry that you are experiencing these feelings.  Please keep in mind that when anxiety rears its unwelcome head, a good thing we can do is breathe.  Breathe in for a count of 4 in through the nose, hold for a count of 5, then exhale slowly through the mouth for a count of 6. Do it for as long as you can tolerate.

In the bigger picture, you say your PCP prescribed the lexapro but did not state where the general anxiety diagnosis came from.  I would strongly suggest - if you have not yet done so - that you consult at least a psychologist or potentially a psychiatrist to help determine if this is the right approach for you.  

There are so many changes we go through in life; the PM may or may not be related to your anxiety... hormonal fluctuations with age can affect how we're feeling, as well as a myriad of other issues.

Please take care and keep us apprised of how things are going for you.


by athena123 - 2021-04-29 19:44:34

Thank you for your warm advice, I should of mentioned that im a male and athena is my daughter. god bless


by Persephone - 2021-04-29 21:07:39

What a wonderful, strong name you've gifted your daughter! 

Gender aside, however, SSRIs like Lexapro are potent drugs and a PCP may or may not have the skills to manage your use / dosage / duration of treatment, and you may want to consider seeking advice from other medical professionals if you have not already done so. Other anxiety treatments are available.  While SSRIs are not considered to be in the same dependency-forming category as "benzos", discontinuing SSRIs can be difficult.

keeping a positive attitude

by athena123 - 2021-04-29 22:05:01

Thank you persephone and i will do just that. Athena in greek is goddess of wisdom. She is my foundation and keeps me in check.

Athena is the treatment of choice

by Gemita - 2021-04-30 04:22:14

I think we all know the cure for you and so do you.  And that is Athena.  What better way to help you through those darker moments than to focus on her?  She will bring light and a reason to find peace of mind faster than any doctor or medication can ever hope to do.

I see from your previous posts or your comments to others’ posts that you have sought talking therapy in the past.  I urge you to consider, if your insurance will cover it, asking for another course of talking therapy, be it CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) or Mindfulness therapy since both these therapies can really work to break the vicious chain of negative, fearful thoughts.  

I have been there coping with serious illness myself and today face serious challenges in my daily life and often have to draw upon my deeper strengths.  It is not easy, I know, but the benefits of doing the very best I can keeps me going.

You recently may have seen we have had some posts on this subject about the benefits to our health of positive thoughts when facing illness.  I truly believe that if we can break our negative thoughts and fears which are often far far worse than the reality of the situation we are facing, we stand a better chance of returning to better health and maintaining it.  Positive thought is so powerful.  Often as we think we become.  We can fill our minds with happy thoughts (in your case you have given life to Athena and now she is giving life to you if you nurture her and give her what she most needs - a father who is free to love her and himself without reservation, to learn to accept himself as he is would be a good starting point).  He needs to talk about his fears and to slowly replace those fears with happy, strong, positive thoughts again.

In the past I have had therapy (CBT) to break the vicious chain of fear during illness.  I can remember my therapist telling me during my first consultation that she wants me as I am, ideally off all anxiety/anti depressant meds, since “talking therapy” was about facing my fears, not burying them.  Although medication may be necessary for some of us to help us through those darker moments or to allow us to take those first few steps to recovery, once we have done this, it is better for us to work with a therapist on minimum medication, so that we can allow true healing to occur.  Medication long term can at best only patch over the difficulties, often preventing us from truly opening up and accepting ourselves as we really are.  Until we do this, until we release and face these inner fears, they will stay firmly inside us waiting for the next opportunity to cause harm.  Release those fears, talk about them, face them, accept them and they can no longer hurt you.  Bury them and they will continue to cause harm and sometimes even serious illness.

I wish you and Athena well.


by Julros - 2021-04-30 09:52:51

Anxiety is awful to experience and I am sorry you are having to deal with this.And if you experience for long periods of time, your brain chemistry becomes altered. You are most likely experienced high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone but this can be lowered with relaxation and yes, actually slow controlled breathing. 

 If you are not doing so already, I urge you to adopt a mindfulness practice such as slow, rhythmic breathing or meditation. There are some wonderful apps for phones that I have found helpful. And there is a short series on Netflix called Guide to Meditation.

As far as meds, I think they can be helpful, but what works for some may not work for others. I would go back to your doctor and discuss a different regimen, or consult with a psychiatrist. Yes, benzodiazapines can be additive, but many of the others are not. You wouldn't tell a diabetic not to rely on insulin, so I disagree with the opinion that drugs should be avoided. 

Best wishes to you. You deserve to be free of the misery of anxiety. 


by Pharnowa - 2021-04-30 12:02:09

I also am NOT opposed to the use of  medication. Beta blockers are sometimes used off-label to treat anxiety.  If this is a sudden onset of symptoms and not a history of similar response, I'd be more inclined to suspect brain chemistry needs a reboot. Counseling can help, but I'd definitely consult a psychiatrist. Medication may be temporary but it's not wrong, and does not reflect weakness, to remain on it longer. All your efforts in the gym are helpful too! I personally greatly benefit from nature and walk at a lake often. 

This may seem like fringe stuff but I know a man who became highly anxious after two immediate family members died of pancreatic cancer. He pursued genetic testing and endoscopic screening yearly, but for the first time in his life, he got a kitty.  It's 7 years later and he reports owing his life to the kitty. We could say well he directed his thoughts  outward, of course. But he believes the restorative power of the purring has calmed him all these years. Maybe so.

Best wishes to you!


by Persephone - 2021-04-30 13:38:45

If this forum offered a "like" button, I would certainly have selected it for your posting.  The power of pets!  Also, in my very small data set of one person (me), I have found the option of taking a beta blocker as needed for anxiety much more preferable to a daily SSRI.  Some people find antihistamines to be helpful; these can also be taken as needed and not long-term.

Anxiety and/or depression

by TLee - 2021-04-30 18:50:25

I had anxiety at first, more over whether I would heal properly, if I might damage the device, if it was going to help me at all...the usual. I never experienced panic-level anxiety, and it is decreasing as I do in fact feel better. I am dealing with another issue now, and I don't really know if having this procedure 3 months ago has triggered something. I have experienced fairly mild depression off & on throughout my life, and one or two occasions when it got serious enough that I felt it needed to be brought to the attention of a doctor.(I was taking a mild antidepressant until I started heart meds that could interact). Now, I find that symptoms are worsening. I want to sleep more than I need to & feel too tired to even do things I usually enjoy. I am quick to anger, I don't enjoy being around people (social anxiety).

When I was diagnosed with arrhythmia (and in my case COPD became a serious issue at the same time), a family member who is a cancer survivor reached out to me, saying she understood how difficut it can be to confront our own mortality, & offering a friendly ear. At the time I was a little put off, thinking, Well, I don't have one foot in the grave! I'm beginning to wonder if each test, each procedure, each medication we add to the list, each new ache or pain serves as a reminder that we're not super-human after all, just human!

For me, I am trying to build a stronger spiritual foundation. NOT religious, that's not really my thing, but an understanding of the place & purpose of every living thing & the cycles they experience. I find that nature helps me with this, so I go out for a walk every day. I also garden & make certain to have plenty of green, growing, beautiful things around me. I agree that animals, whether pets or wildlife (I have bird feeders & bird houses) are wonderful, spiritually fulfilling creatures.

Still, if my depression remains oppressive, I WILL seek medical assistance in the form of a medication that I can safely take. I know that anxiety disorders & depression can be genetic, & have good reason to believe that is true in my case.

Whew! That helped me, if not you! Anyway, don't let anxiety carry you away over the fact that you needed a pacemaker--lots of people do & are quite healthy & happy. Yes, it's hard to realize that we are not indestructable, but that's life & life is still a wonder! Medication can help, but you should have other supports to lean on. Good luck finding yours!

much appreciated

by athena123 - 2021-05-01 20:23:32

Thank you again for your warm support. I just have to realize that medically im ok and i just have to work on my mind sense. positive attitudes will prevail

one day at a time

by dwelch - 2021-05-10 00:18:21

One day at a time. as needed one hour at a time.  as needed one minute at a time.

I dont know if this anxiety or panic is related to your heart condition, having a pacer, how you came to have a pacer or is unrelated.

We have been told to count to ten to calm down before getting into a fight.  We are told to count imaginary sheep to try to sleep.  There is some magic to counting for calming the mind.  I got through the first year of my pacer by taking my pulse for a full 60 seconds.  No cheating.  Two things happen.  That calming magic of counting.  And turns out my pacer and heart had never stopped, they were still working, every time.

TV and movies are completely wrong about pacers and what they do and dont do.  In particular a pacer does not make you disabled nor fragile.  Quite the opposite.  Your condition is the problem the pacer is the solution, like wearing glasses.

I wouldnt be here today and would not know my daughter without this device, it is that simple.

I have no issues with my heart nor pacer, have a good EP, etc.  I have other things that creep into my mind and I cope with them one day at a time.  I have someone I talk to on a regular basis, doesnt have to be a doctor with a fancy degree and diploma.  Social workers, priests and preachers, etc can for some of us be much better than the expensive fancy docs.  Groups work for some folks.   There are coping mechanisms you can be taught as needed.  Ways to find and use distractions to get you thorugh the dark period (not drugs/meds nor alcohol of course).

If this is device or heart related, this site represents a tiny fraction of the people with pacers, and just like reviews on amazon, a lot of the activity here is from the tiny percentage with issues.  The vast majority have no reason to post questions about how wonderful life is with their pacer and how it solved all of their problems and how easy it is to live with.  Nor even to seek out a site like this.  If your cardiologist or EP is not helping you with the physical/medical part, get another one, you dont owe them anything, they work for you not the other way around.  

If you are having a bad moment go kiss your daughter on the forehead and think about how wonderful it was to give her that name and all that it means.  Even if it is 100 times a day.




You know you're wired when...

Your old device becomes a paper weight for your desk.

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I have a well tuned pacer. I hardly know I have it. I am 76 year old, hike and camp alone in the desert. I have more energy than I have had in a long time. The only problem is my wife wants to have a knob installed so she can turn the pacer down.