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crunchynut

My Anxiety Is Back...

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But it probably never went away.

I am having a bit of a rough time. I am currently changing the epilepsy tablets I am on. I have had epilepsy since I was a kid so now its been over 35 years. I have always been on a benzo plus other stuff. Lately my anxiety has been bad. But so have my seizures. I cant remember what came first, I am fairly certain it was the increase in seizures. Anxiety goes along with my epilepsy but I cant seem to accept that. In the past I have been on lexapro, it was okay.

at the moment, I am on extra dose of my benzo until I can be reviewed. I had an eeg and ended up having a panic attack. The thing was, nothing was scaring me. I have never had a panic attack before and I feel embarrassed. I then got home and was so scared it would happen again, I had bad anxiety. I couldnt stop rocking. Thats what I do. I used to do that when I was a kid but no one thought anything of it. Eventually it went away. Now its come back!! Sometimes I try not to rock and do meditation, listen to music but when I am tired, I give in and rock until I am exhausted and then I sleep.

I feel like a freak.

I have to go to gp in about a week, I am not in my home town at the moment. I never ever told him about the rocking. I never told the neuro either and I have been seeing them for over 25 years!!

how do you undo a lie that old?

why cant I accept I have anxiety due to my epilepsy

? I keep denying it or fighting it or making up some reason like under high stress with work, been busy, lack of sleep.

I am tired of fighting myself, how do I stop?

how do I know if I am making my epilepsy worse because my anxiety is not treated fully or could it be the other way round?

please can someone knock some sense into me!

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Hi, I'm sorry to hear how terrible a time you're having. :(

 

I wouldn't consider not telling doctors about a habit you had when you were a child (the rocking) a lie. You can tell them you had this habit as a child, and haven't done it in years, but now you're doing it again. They will most likely assume that you didn't think it was a factor in your life so you never mentioned it. And even if you have done it a few times over the years, so be it. It hasn't been enough to warrant a discussion until now.

 

Having anxiety (and even a panic attack) is nothing to be ashamed of. It's not your fault, and you're not a freak. It's a result of a chemical imbalance and a lot of people suffer from the same condition. You'd be surprised at the amount of people who have had issues with at least one panic attack in their lives. When I tell people about my disorder, the usual response is "Oh, I had a panic attack once and it was HORRIBLE!" People won't look down on you, they will understand.

 

The fact there was no stimulus at the EEG to "scare" you into a panic attack is completely understandable. Panic attacks can be location-based (like if someone has a fear of heights and they freak out in airplanes) but they don't have to be. My attacks happen when I am stressed out, overtired, or it's that time of the month. It doesn't necessarily matter where I am or what I'm doing. Lack of sleep and high stress are definitely factors of increased anxiety so you are totally correct in mentioning those — although they aren't "excuses", they really can be a cause!

 

As for your anxiety vs. epilepsy question, I don't think it matters which one is spurring on the other. I think the best thing to do is to work on getting your anxiety under control. Take a deep breath and stop beating yourself up over this. It's not something you did or could have avoided. The good news is that anxiety is definitely treatable, and you can help yourself by doing these things:

 

1) Avoid caffeine or any stimulants.

2) Make sure you get enough sleep.

3) Stay on a schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. The body has an internal clock and it's fundamental in how we are able to function.

4) Exercise in order to get healthy endorphins flowing rather than having that energy available to come out as anxiety. It can just be a 20 minute walk if you aren't used to exercising. I recommend taking some music or an audio book to listen to. And remember to stay hydrated! :) BTW, You are probably rocking again because your body is trying to get rid of the excess adrenaline from the anxiety.

 

Talk to your GP about possibly getting a referral to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are better for this type of thing because not only did they specifically go to school to learn about mental health, they also have a ton of experience with patients like you and are therefore better prepared to help you. I know the thought of going to see a "shrink" is kind of scary and you feel like you're broken in some kind of way, but that's only because of the negative stigma attached to it. If your leg was broken, would you be ashamed to go to the doctor to get it fixed? Of course not. So the same thing applies to get your brain fixed. :)

 

One more thing... Benzos are good for short-term anxiety help, but you should really talk to the doctor (preferably a psychiatrist) about getting on a medication to stop the anxiety instead of having to experience it and then try to stop it with a benzo. Which benzo are you on, if I may ask?

 

Best of luck, and please let me know if you have any questions about what I said, and don't forget to post again to let us know how you're doing. You're going to be okay, I promise.  :)

 

-Deb

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Hi, thanks for the words of wisdom. The panic attack happened after the 3 minute hyperventilation during the eeg. The thing is, I have had heaps of eeg and never had that happen during hyperventilating! But I didnt feel scared or the impending doom feeling, I think I just felt really anxious, I remember I wanted to get up and walk around.

I am on clobazam for my epilepsy, I cant not take it, I have been on the same dose for a good 6 or 7 years if not longer. I used to be on clobazam but I was too sedated. So, whilst benzos are addictive, and I have been on then since 1991 I dont think I have much choice, HOWEVER, I dont want to be using them for anxiety!

maybe I have become tolerant to the dose? I am on 20mg at night and currently 5 mg in the morning until I get reviewed.

I need to give up coffee, I usually have 2 in the morning and thats it. I do exercise, if I feel strung out I will go swimming.

the problem is when I am tired I have no mental fight to talk myself down out of the anxiety. If I am not tired then I can.

I am going home today, I bought some calm colouring books whilst I was away to add to my other stuff I do. Some of my other craft work I do, I cant concentrate enough to do when I am worked up, like embroidery.

I think my neuro will probably refer me to the neuropsychiatric clinic now. I dont mind going cause I am sick of all this, plus it is also easier for me to tell someone I dont know everything. I have been with my current doctors so long, I sometimes feel like I have to give the right answers and stuff.

will let you know how I get on. I want to get back to work too and back to bring hohum normal eveyday life.

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It's possible that you have become tolerant to your benzo...  I did after years of use but didn't find out until I was faced with a huge panic attack and my Xanax didn't help me at all. I had been taking it preventatively which ended up being dumb because Xanax only has a life of about 3-4 hours (as I came to find out when I started looking things up rather than just taking my p-doc's advice).

 

Good luck and have fun with the coloring. Sounds like a soothing way to spend some time. :)

 

Deb

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Yeah I think I have. I use them for break through seizures and was using alot over the last 5 to 6 months, thsts why tablets sere changed.

I will never get off them, but they are nasty so I think they have made me worse anxiety wise as now not using as much as I was.

Was really stressed and anxious by the time I got home. My flight was delayed so I was over tired and just gave in to the rocking and tuff I couldn't be bothered to fight it, I had no energy and my mind had completely shut down.

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Are the benzos still helping with your seizures? If so, that's great, and I agree that you should keep them around.

 

I recently read an article that said taking anti-depressants can actually lower the amount of seizures in some patients. We aren't allowed to post links on this forum, so you can Google the topic if you're interested. With that in mind, and the fact you need something to control your anxiety, I would recommend getting on an anti-depressant that is known to help stop anxiety. Do you know if you had fewer seizures while you were on the Lexapro? Just curious.

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I think I did have less seizures on the lexapro now I think about it! I know that stress and lack of sleep affect the epilepsy syndrome I have. I also get more seizures at my period which is also typical of the syndrome I have and thats when I take extra meds.

I have had less seizures since starting the new tablet, so not using benzos as much.

The thing I dont understand is that everything I read about anxiety says people worry and feel stressed about things that happen or might happen. Well you know I tried making a list of what I am worried about and its blank! Thats because I am not worried about anything that may happen.

I just get the physical symptoms like tingling, feeling tense, grind my teeth, pacing, cant sit still to relax,

I shall ask the doctor on tuesday.

I was extremely tired yesterday and my rocking and pacing last night was really bad, until I finally went to bed and had a really good sleep!

I feel a bit tense this morning but am bit tired still so going back to bed soon so I dont get myself in a state!

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There really doesn't have to be something to worry about when you have anxiety. When I get anxiety, it's not about anything specific at all. I get the tingles, I hyperventilate, can't sit still, etc. but it's not because of anything I am worried about. It's just part of my disorder. Now, when I have anxiety and then I think about certain things, it can make my anxiety worse!

 

I hope you had a good sleep and you feel better.

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Oh thanks for that explanation because yes that I can identify with. I had a good morning, I had one panic attack but then went to sleep again and was able to settle. I made it to work today do I am pretty impressed with myself.

I want to restart my lexapro but am going to have to wait until I hear from my gp or wait until I see him on Tuesday.

Why are panic attacks worse when I am tired?

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Good for you for getting to work after having a panic attack!

 

Panic attacks are worse when you're tired because when you don't get enough sleep, you don't function as well as when you are fully rested. You could do an experiment next week by going to bed early enough to get at least 8 hours of sleep before work every day, and see if that changes anything with your anxiety.

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I dont think I will be making it to work today. I only slept 4 hours, woke up all panicky. Found out I got my period! That makes me feel better as I have had swollen breasts for a week, odd how the whole anxiety and panic started a week ago too! In a way it explains something. I also have the feeling I get before seizure too and thats making me worse at the moment.

Maybe my epilepsy medication needs to be increased, I am on the lowest dose still. Cant wait until tuesday to see the gp! I really dont care if he increases it or gives me lexapro again, but either way I am not putting up with this rubbish evey month.

I am 47 so I think I may be perimenopausal, I did have blood tests, one came back borderline, so was repeated and came back normal. I had pelvic ultrasound and was then told I had pcos! So I have no idea!

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I always get more anxious during/before my period.

 

I hope you're feeling better. Good luck on Tuesday! I hope you get Lexapro and an increase for your epilepsy med.

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