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Author Topic: Anxiety sucks! :-/  (Read 5191 times)

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Offline MoMorrison

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  • Posts: 57
Anxiety sucks! :-/
« on: June 05, 2012, 07:36:32 PM »
Hey everyone. I just wanted to vent for a bit. I have been dealing with my anxiety for about 10 months now. I have been seeing a therapist on a weekly basis and I am taking 1 mg. ativan daily to help combat it, and it does seem to help but I just wish that I did not have to take it. I really wish that the anxiety would just f!@# off altogether! I have my good days and I have my bad days. I think that I have been dealing with my positive diagnosis well. If I didn't have this damn anxiety I would be peachy keen.

My wish is to be able to go back to before the anxiety started. A panic attack I suffered back in August of 2011 set into motion this whirlwind of anxiety. Now, I just can't stop thinking of negative things, like dying young. I am 29 years old and I feel like the end is near. I am otherwise healthy and have never suffered from an opportunistic infection regardless of having an "AIDS" diagnosis over a year ago. This anxiety makes me feel like there is something terribly wrong with me that has gone unnoticed by my doctors. My main concern is my breathing. I get the sensation of air hunger and it freaks me out when I feel that I am not getting a good breath in.

I also have concerns about the complera that I am taking. I don't know if the medication is causing extra breathing problems or what. I am afraid I would not be able to tell the difference if it's anxiety or induced by the medication! It freaks me out! :-/ I don't want to stop taking the complera because it seems to be helping with my numbers as you can see from my signature. I also think about the side effects of complera a lot. One of them being lactic acidosis. I'm afraid that if I exercise and take complera, I am doubling the risk of it. It's such a vicious cycle of negative thought after negative thought.

My latest labs showed an increase in my CD4's and a drop in Viral Load and I seemed to be happy for a while, but eventually that wore off. I seem to think that it's not enough. My partner is on a different regimen (Truvada/Isentress) than I am and he seems to be doing so much better than me. I get fatigued, loss of appetite, lack of energy and having anxiety doesn't help at all. My doctor told me at my last appointment, that I seem to be taking to the medication well (according to my numbers) and that she fully expects me to die an old man one day. Her saying that did give me a spark of hope for a second, but now it's back to me thinking otherwise.

My anxiety is pretty much all about my health. If I get any little sensation in my body anywhere I automatically think that there is something terribly wrong. I can't stop that pattern of thinking and I don't know how to. :-( It's really taking a toll on my quality of life. I miss being the old me. Care free, life-loving kinda guy. Now, I struggle to make it through the day. I'm sorry for going on guys but sometimes I just want to get things off my chest. Any advice from fellow anxiety sufferers as to how to deal with anxiety in a healthy way? I would really appreciate any and all feedback. :)
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline Cojo

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  • Posts: 201
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 08:19:07 PM »
Hey buddy,

Anxiety super sucks! It sucks the life blood right out of us and is as debilitating to the spirit and soul as an amputation can be to the body.

I have had generalized anxiety disorder for decades now. Two things have really helped me.

Xanax and/or ativan are good for acute attacks, but are not really indicated for ongoing therapeutic purposes. I have taken Cipralex (Lexapro in USA) for a decade now and it works wonders. It is one pill a day and zero side effects. It inhibits the re-uptake of a brain chemical called serotonin and restores the "normal flow" of this chemical in the brain. It evens things out enough so to speak that rarely, if ever do i need an ativan

I have also taken to practicing mindfulness body stress reduction. Do google search of it and the guru is Jon Kabat Zinn (sp?). There are a ton of his books at most major booksellers and a range of audio meditations on I tunes. It has made a huge difference for me.

You need not feel defenseless in the face of anxiety. There are many ways to hit is head on with both meds, therapy and mindfulness practices. Roll up your sleeves and kick it right in the butt!
May 2011 - Tested Positive
June 2011 - CD4 330   16%   VL182,000 no resistance
Oct 6, 2011 - CD4 300  20%  VL 60,000
Oct 7, 2011 - start Truvada / Isentress
Nov 29, 2011 CD4 280 26% VL 54
Feb 7 2012 CD4 260 25% UD!
Mar 20 2012 CD4 400 28%
June 2012 CD4 330 26% UD
Sept 2012 CD4 450 32% UD
Dec 2012 CD4 310 28% UD
May 2013 CD4 500 32% UD
Oct 2013 CD4 460 33% UD
May 2014 CD4 360 33% UD
Aug 2014 swap out Isentress for Tivicay
Oct 2014 CD4 320 33% UD

Offline MoMorrison

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  • Posts: 57
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2012, 03:56:05 PM »
Thank you for caring enough to reply Cojo. I really appreciate it. I am sorry that you also deal with anxiety. No one can understand what we go through unless they themselves go through it as well. I want to do all that is possible to "roll up my sleeves and kick it right in the butt" as you so wisely put. :) My therapist says that I need more things to do with my time other than sit around and think about HIV and anxiety. I do exercise daily and I read from time to time, but I need something more like volunteer work or something. ANYTHING to get this anxiety to fack off once and for all.
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2012, 11:40:01 AM »
Mo, you might be an excellent candidate for a therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (aka CBT). With CBT, you are taught how to stop the negative thoughts. (Yes, it IS possible!)  You can even get books on the subject, although I'd recommend a real-life therapist to at least get you started and use the books more as a refresher course or boost when needed.

I haven't done CBT myself (at least not under a therapist, but I do know, understand and use the principles behind it) but I know quite a few people who have done the therapy and they are all thrilled with the results - so I feel I can highly recommend it. Give it a try, and good luck. Anxiety sucks!
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2012, 12:18:46 AM »
Thank you for your reply Ann. I have actually heard of CBT and like I mentioned before I am willing to give anything a try. I just want to go back to being the old me. I know that it is possible to stop thinking those negative thoughts I just need help getting there. I really appreciate your input. :)
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2012, 07:31:04 AM »
You're welcome, Mo. Keep us posted as to whether or not you try CBT and if you do, how it goes for you. I think there are probably quite a few people here who could benefit from CBT and it would be nice to have feed-back from someone currently learning it. :)
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline BT65

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2012, 06:53:29 AM »
Mo, as an anxiety sufferer, I have to agree with Ann.  CBT is sooo very helpful when dealing with anxiety.  Because, if you change the way you think, you'll change the way you handle the panic attacks. 

I used to get panic so bad I actually fainted in a Kroger's once while writing out a check for groceries.  Luckily my ex was there to catch my head before I hit the cement floor.  Anyway, I had been on benzo's for years, but have not had one in almost 7 years now.

I would definitely check into this.  I did see a therapist, but you can also change the way you think by practicing on your own.  I talk myself through the anxiety now, and it seems to help.  Good luck with this, I know how tough it can be!
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2012, 02:13:20 PM »
Ann, I surely will look into CBT. I will ask at my next therapy session if that is something that is offered at my HIV clinic. I will also keep everyone updated as to how it's going if it is offered.

BT65, I can totally relate on how anxiety and panic can make you want to faint.  I, myself, have never fainted but I have felt that I could at any given moment and that further adds to the anxiety. I guess I just wouldn't want to cause a scene at public place were that to happen. No one knows what anxiety sufferers go through other than other anxiety sufferers. My goal is to kick the crap out of the negative thoughts and have no need for any more benzos, or any kind of anti-depressants, for that matter. 
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline forrest

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  • Posts: 162
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2012, 05:42:54 PM »
Hey MoMo,

That stinks that you are doing well on Complera as far as numbers go... but struggling with anxiety/depression :(

I have struggled with depression/anxiety for many years... have been on about every antidepressant available and really, only one ever did any good. However, I am not on one now by choice.  I have recently started counseling again though and the reason why I wanted to reply to your thread was because you stated your level of negativity is great right now.

Bingo! Me too!  In fact, it's been the topic the last two weeks in counseling! I reached out to some good friends as well as my parents and got some honest feedback - note... I won't say that wasn't painful.  However, it really bothers me that I think so negatively these days. 

In speaking with my good friend, who btw, excels as leadership and teaching others about leadership.. said that she has a gratitude journal that she writes in every day.  My counselor also (starting just this last week) to write 3 positive things that happen every day.  I have to report that to him. Also, my friend has been holding me accountable too. 

But the focus is to look for some positives during the day because he said my brain is just on autopilot with the negatives.  Yes, the negatives are still there right now - of course - but the goal here is to begin training my brain to look for positives.  I expect this to be a long process... but I HAVE been able to think of positives during the day. 

For example, I got my hair cut on Thursday... I really like the girl who cuts my hair and we talk quite personal. I was thankful for the conversation we had. That was a positive for the day.  Also, texting with my friend that day was positive. It made me smile and feel better.  And, my dogs were a positive.

I still had plenty of negatives... but those were the positives.  It makes me look for them.  I can't say today that I have any positives yet... I am hoping to have some yet... but today I am struggling. However, my positives today may just be my dogs, that it's been relaxing, and who knows what else.

I definitely have a heightened sense of awareness right now on my negativity.  FO SHO!  I was thinking something negative on the way to work on Thursday... I interupted myself and was saying, shut up, shut up, shut up until it went away.  However, in speaking with the girl who cuts my hair (like I said, it's a good relationship), she suggested not repressing it.... but acknowledging it... but then refuting it and moving on.  I liked that idea.  Accept a negative thought... but then try to refute it. 

I think as being newly diagnosed as HIV+ and coming to terms with it all just inherently adds negativity - rightfully so.  I think it's okay to have some negativity right now and we feel the way we feel. However, there are also positives going on in our lives that apparently get overshadowed with the negatives.

I know his attempt with me (as well as my friend) is to help me train my brain to look out for those positives to help me train my brain to think positively again.

Anyway... for whatever it's worth... I wanted to comment and pass along those things as that is exactly what I am working on right now.  List them out... like in a spreadsheet, on a piece of paper, via text with a friend.... whatever... list them out - you must name three positives per day!!!!!!!!  Hell, some day... it may just be that you are breathing... you had a great date with Rosie (wink), you smelled baked cookies... whatever... look for some positives so we can quit thinking negative!!  :) 

I hope this is helpful.  I am in the same boat!

Peace.
2011-03-26:  Tested Positive

Date           |VL        |CD4 |4%  |CD8 |8%  |C4:C8
2011-04-06 |48,653 |603 |32.0 |646 |35.0 |0.61
2011-05-23 |64,324 |577 |36.0 |576 |36.0 |1.00
2011-08-02 |18,319 |574 |36.3 |587 |37.2 |0.98
2011-12-06 |10,375 |480 |30.1 |616 |38.7 |0.78
2012-02-22 |  9,674 |570 |33.6 |655 |38.7 |0.87
2012-05-04 |  8,439 |559 |30.4 |706 |38.4 |0.79

Offline forrest

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  • Posts: 162
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2012, 05:44:15 PM »
OMG that was a long post! Sometimes my fingers just blaze...  :-\  It's a topic that hits home right now so easy to relay info and talk.  Sorry for being so long.  At least I broke up the paragraphs!!   ::)
2011-03-26:  Tested Positive

Date           |VL        |CD4 |4%  |CD8 |8%  |C4:C8
2011-04-06 |48,653 |603 |32.0 |646 |35.0 |0.61
2011-05-23 |64,324 |577 |36.0 |576 |36.0 |1.00
2011-08-02 |18,319 |574 |36.3 |587 |37.2 |0.98
2011-12-06 |10,375 |480 |30.1 |616 |38.7 |0.78
2012-02-22 |  9,674 |570 |33.6 |655 |38.7 |0.87
2012-05-04 |  8,439 |559 |30.4 |706 |38.4 |0.79

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 5,086
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2012, 02:56:33 AM »
Mo, your post reminds me so much of myself.  Sometimes it helps to know you're not alone.  I've had some depression going back to highschool.  However, I don't think I had much anxiety during that time.  About 2 years before my HIV dx, I began to have a lot of anxiety and occasional panic attacks.  I do wonder whether HIV can cause this, without even knowing you have the virus.  Perhaps it was just a coincidence. 

After my dx, I began having tons of anxiety and frequent, terrible panic attacks.  They are so frustrating.  Like you, if not for the anxiety, I think I would be just peachy.  And like you, I began to focus on every ache and pain, thinking something physical was wrong with me.  When I learned my HIV status, I had gotten very ill, basically with no warning.  I begin to think this could happen again at any time.  That played so much with my mind.  My therapist says I have PTSD.  I withdrew from many things I use to do, for fear I would wear myself out, or I would be far away from medical help.  I didn't want to travel.  I use to get in the car and drive a few hours to see old friends.  I haven't done that since my dx.  I have become a tad co-dependent on my partner.  I don't like going to strange and new places with new people, without him. 

Things have gotten better.  Before, I could count on a daily panic attack.  Now, I have daily anxiety, but the panic attacks have gotten further apart.  Having a panic attack in public caused me to want to avoid that place.  If it happened after eating a certain food, I would avoid eating that food again.  It is so damn frustrating and hard for many to understand.  Also like you, I still have this feeling of air hunger, as you put it.  I often feel I'm not getting enough air.  It can be a scary feeling.  I was recently on a family trip with my partner's family to the Smoky Mountains.  We drove deep into the mountain to see these very old cabins.  I began having that feeling of not being able to get a good breath.  We got out to look at this one, and I began gasping for air.  Even though this had happened before, my mind went to something bad like a pulmonary embolism or something..lol.  Well, I shouldn't laugh at myself.  Or, maybe I should.  I took a Xanax and calmed down.  I felt I obviously had worries about being so deep in the mountain and so far away from medical help, and it caused me to have a bad panic attack.  But, it happened again the next day on a very busy street.  This is the strange thing about anxiety and panic attacks.  This time, I was having a great time and not thinking negative thoughts.  Since I wasn't thinking negative thoughts, it caused me to wonder whether something was wrong.  Is my RBC low, so I'm getting extremely winded?  But, this has happened before.  Actually, I think most of my panic attacks happen these days when I am having a good time.  I can be with friends and laughing it up, but out of no where I get this feeling of panic and doom come over me.  So, I can work on negative thoughts, which I have.  But, if I'm having them when I'm having fun, then this is obviously a chemical imbalance.  Or, the negative thoughts are still there in the background, even if I don't realize it. 

I wish you the best as you deal with your anxiety.  It is so frustrating and debilitating.  I echo what you said about wanting to be like I use to be.  I'm trying to get there.  It would be a shame to live to be 80 with HIV, but not have a good life due to this anxiety.  I am interested in the CBT.  I need to look into that as well.               

Offline MoMorrison

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  • Posts: 57
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2012, 05:33:54 PM »
Thank you forrest, and tednlou2 for your replies. Reading your stories gives me encouragement knowing that I am not alone in this vicious cycle. I wish anxiety was not such a monster in any of our lives.

I'm gonna let you in a little secret. I smoked pot for the first time in years yesterday, and the day before that. I can honestly say that I have never felt more at peace while I was stoned. I can admit that at first, I was scared to smoke in fear of having an anxiety/panic attack, but nothing! I was totally relaxed and felt no anxiety, fear, or negative thoughts whatsoever. I miss that feeling. :-/ Even though it is a temporary relief, it felt good to not have to deal with anxiety and be happy for at least that moment in time.

I can't go around getting high every day however, because I am on probation and am subject to random piss tests. Although my probation officer knows of my diagnosis, I doubt she will let a positive marijuana test slide. So I really have to be careful because just the thought of coming up dirty on a UA is cause for anxiety. I don't want to violate my probation!

I really want more than just temporary relief. I wish to one day wake up and not deal with it all anymore. When I was stoned, I felt so good. Nothing that usually bothers me, bothered me. My breathing felt good. Like my body was telling me, "hey, look at me. I do all the work. You're not just gonna stop breathing." It was so freeing, knowing or feeling like I have no need to fear that or fill my head with thoughts of it. Of course, like I mentioned, it's only temporary relief. After it wears off, I am back to the same thing. As I type this I am feeling kinda winded. That's what makes me feel anxious. It's so annoying. I feel like I have nothing to be anxious about, but the "air hunger" always gets me. :(

I hate that we all have to deal with this. I agree with you tednlou2, it would TOTALLY suck to live to be 80 with HIV, but not have a good quality of life due to anxiety. I would hate to be on anti-depressants. I just don't want to be an over medicated zombie. I will look further into CBT because I do think that it could help. I wish you all the best.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2012, 05:36:37 PM by MoMorrison »
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2012, 01:41:32 AM »
Glad to hear you got some relief.  Although, like you said, it would be difficult to use pot during the day and still be able to function.  I guess that is something that would work, when you're at home for the evening.  But, you have the probation situation.  I know pot works for many people.   

I had an appointment with my therapist yesterday.  At the end of the session, I asked him about CBT.  He said, "That's what we're doing."  I guess I need to read up on what exactly CBT is.  I didn't know I was doing it.  He said he would talk to me about it at our next session, because time had run out.  I hope to conquer this anxiety.   

Offline Joe K

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2012, 02:25:43 PM »
I hate that we all have to deal with this. I agree with you tednlou2, it would TOTALLY suck to live to be 80 with HIV, but not have a good quality of life due to anxiety. I would hate to be on anti-depressants. I just don't want to be an over medicated zombie. I will look further into CBT because I do think that it could help. I wish you all the best.

Hey Mo,

I suffer from PTSD, clinical depression and anxiety and you are dead wrong with your assumptions.  The proper use of medication and some form of therapy is the only way that I learned to tame my beasts.  Is it easy?  Hell no, but what option do we really have?

There are so many facets to mental illness, in whatever form and assuming that you won't find peace, or that you need to be over medicated, is just more of your negative thinking.  I urge you to work with a therapist, to discover how the use of medications and/or therapy can help you conquer your issues.  You should be viewing your anxiety issues, just like your HIV.  You need to treat them both and with the right tools, you can treat them both, but you need to keep an open mind.

I take various meds for my mental issues, including anti-depressants and an anti-anxiety drug and I have not had a panic attack in over five years.  I was able to do this, by working with a great psychiatrist (for the meds) and an equally talented therapist.  My goal has always been to learn how to live with my mental illness.  Wishing it away, or ignoring it, is never an option and there are so many things you can do, but you have to be willing to put in the hard work required.

I've been poz for 27 years and lived with depression/anxiety for all my life.  It's a constant struggle, however, the very thought that I am doing everything I can, to help myself is a great comfort to me.  I suggest you stop thinking about what you are unwilling to do and instead concentrate on what you need to do to help you.

I'm also going to suggest that you stop viewing your mental health as some by product of living, as if you have no control over it or your life.  As empathetic as I am to your situation, you need to get a grip and do something, anything, to start treating your anxiety.  Where there is a will, there is a way.  It will not be easy, but in the end, what option do you really have?

Joe

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2012, 05:49:32 PM »
I appreciate your input Joe. I seem to need reassurance when it comes to being "overly medicated". I do want to do everything in my power to tame this beast, so I am not 100% against taking anti depressants. I know I must get my mind right by thinking that the medication will help and not harm. Perhaps I need a change in medication. I have been feeling so sluggish lately. Anxiety has been creeping up also in the form of "air hunger" and I can't take it anymore. I feel like crying! :( I feel like my life is on hold and that there is nothing that I can do about it. I am totally not convinced that anxiety is the culprit behind the "air hunger". I'm afraid to ask my doctor about it because she will most likely say "it's all anxiety". Perhaps I should demand some kind of tests? Maybe then, after anything else is ruled out, I can relax at least a little.

I have another appointment with the psychiatrist who prescribed me the ativan, in July. I am sure that he will insist on a anti-depressant. I am not against it, like I said. I know that I need to do what I need to do to get some sort of normalcy back in my life.
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline Joe K

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  • 31 Years Poz
Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2012, 06:51:37 PM »
I suggest you do some reading on what mental illness entails, including the physical changes that can occur within the brain.  Essentially, mental illness usually involves some form of a chemical unbalance within the brain, that can affect how you perceive reality and can cloud your thinking.  The idea of the medications is to help restore the chemical balance in your brain, so that you engage in therapy, because your mind is operating more clearly.

It's a sort of catch-22, if you will.  When depressed or anxious, your brain is not operating normally, so therapy can be a real challenge.  You may need some form of medication (and that doesn't mean it's forever) to help correct your brain chemistry.  Until you restore the chemical balance in your brainy, your thought process will be muddled and your grasp of reality may also suffer.  So think of the meds as a way to get your brain "ready" for therapy, by helping it restore your normal chemical balance.

The meds today are far superior than anything we have ever had and sometimes, even a small dose of one or two meds, is all it takes to make you feel, more like yourself.  I also think your breathing issues, are all in your head, because you say they only happen when you become overly anxious.  I've had breathing attacks, with one being so severe, that I went to the hospital, thinking I was going to die.

I wasn't, I was just overloaded with anxiety and after two breathing treatments, I was fine and I went home.  It was then that I realized that my anxiety was growing again and so I worked with my shrink to alter my meds and resumed therapy to address this issue.  I also want to caution you about how you view your mental illness.  It's a disease, plain and simple and it can be treated.  You do not become non-normal just because you have mental health issues.  Instead, you are often overwhelmed by feelings you cannot control, but with some time and guidance, that does not have to be your future reality.

I suggest, that between now and your appointment in July, that you keep a journal describing what happens when you feel overly anxious.  Try to be specific and don't worry if what you write seems to be crazy, because often mental illness, makes no sense whatsoever.  Your goal is to explain to your shrink, what you believe is happening in your head and the more information you can provide, the better.

Most of all, believe that you can and will get better.  Try and see this as a temporary thing that you will overcome, with the help of others.  Be kind to yourself and understand that sometimes our minds respond in very strange ways.  It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with you, rather it means you suffer from mental illness.

Believe me, you can beat this thing and if I can help in any way, please contact me.

Joe

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2012, 09:31:44 PM »

The meds today are far superior than anything we have ever had and sometimes, even a small dose of one or two meds, is all it takes to make you feel, more like yourself. I also think your breathing issues, are all in your head, because you say they only happen when you become overly anxious.  I've had breathing attacks, with one being so severe, that I went to the hospital, thinking I was going to die.


Believe me, you can beat this thing and if I can help in any way, please contact me.

Joe

Thank you once again for you insight, Joe. The more I know, the more equipped I am to hit this head on. About the breathing problems, actually I said, that I could not be feeling anxious at all and then the "air hunger" hits which in turns causes me to have an anxiety attack. Although, I pretty much know that I am concentrating way too much about my breathing, I can't help but to. Then comes the feeling that I could just stop breathing all together. :/

Your idea about having a journal is a good one. I will get on that starting tomorrow so that I can have all the information I need to help the shrink make a good call as far as meds are concerned.

I appreciate your input and I thank you for allowing me to contact you if I need any help. I wish you all the best. :)
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2012, 01:46:46 AM »
As I revisit this thread, I'm struck again how much you sound like me.  As I said, I get these anxiety/panic attacks probably more now, when I'm feeling fine.  This happened again tonight.  We were sitting watching "The Daily Show" and laughing it up.  Then, I felt this sense of extreme anxiety come over me, with that feeling of not breathing enough.  It causes me to do the pulse checking thing, etc, etc. 

When I saw my therapist a few days ago and discussed how this often happens when I'm actually having a good time, he said this-- Positive stimuli (such as laughing and having fun) can just as easily not be processed by my brain correctly.  He said my brain senses a strong stimulus, but doesn't know how to process that--unable to differentiate between negative and positive stimuli.  Or, something like that.  I had never thought of it that way.  It happened recently while talking to my neighbor.  We were laughing about something funny the old neighbors did.  We were having a good time.  Once again, I had this sense of panic come over me.  My demeanor changed.  I was no longer laughing, and I'm sure she thought I had gotten bored with the story.  I excused myself, saying I was busting to pee. 

About this air hunger-- Like you, I often find myself wondering whether I'm dismissing some physical issue, thinking it is just anxiety.  I've thought about going to a pulmonary doc or a heart doc.  I thought maybe if I rule that out, I will know it is all anxiety.  I haven't done that yet, because I do feel anxiety is the obvious culprit.  But even when I'm not in a full-out panic attack, I still have that feeling of not getting that deep breath. 

Have you been sick with something where you really did have a hard time breathing?  That is the case with me, and I know that has to play a role in this fear.  But, I know HIV neg people who've never had any physical medical issues, who have depression and anxiety and say they have that same feeling of air hunger.  I think it is very common with anxiety disorders.  For whatever reason, I didn't want to go back on a depression medication.  I let this go way too long, before remembering how depression meds helped me in the past.  So, I hope with medication and therapy, I will put this behind me.  I hope the same for you.             

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2012, 11:33:21 AM »
Oh my ted, I do the pulse checking too! It's crazy (no pun intended) how this beast has us act. I ALWAYS check my pulse when air hunger hits. My partner looks at me like I am nuts and I have also done it around family, but they have never mentioned anything to me about it. They know I deal with anxiety and the main symptom being the air hunger.

My main concern really just is this air hunger. I know that a lot of negative people who go through anxiety and have air hunger issues without ever having an illness that contributed to it. I am the same way. Even though I am positive, I have never had any medical problems. I am thankful to God for that but yet I still wonder if it is something that is underlying. I myself, have thought of going to a pulmonary or heart doctor because I can't wrap my head around that anxiety is this vicious to cause this air hunger on it's own. :/

I don't smoke cigarettes. I used to smoke pot almost daily for a while years ago, but I've had xrays done of my lungs which I am told are good. I really just want to get to the root of it all. If I do have a "mental illness" I want to own it and get it corrected. I miss living my life. I miss being the old me. I hate that this beast makes me fear more than HIV does. :(

Best wishes to you also. Let's kick this anxiety in the arse!
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline Joe K

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2012, 02:26:18 PM »
... I have never had any medical problems. I am thankful to God for that but yet I still wonder if it is something that is underlying. I myself, have thought of going to a pulmonary or heart doctor because I can't wrap my head around that anxiety is this vicious to cause this air hunger on it's own. :/

Hey Mo,

The comment I highlighted is why you need to learn about anxiety disorders, because mental illness can and often does, induce physical ailments.  The "air hunger" you feel is very real and physical, so the issue becomes why does your body undergo these changes, when you experience high levels of anxiety?  Part of the physical ailments may be tied to brain chemicals, or not and that's where the meds can help you.

Take some time to learn about these issues, so you won't be so surprised about how much our mental state can affect our physical being.  I also suggest that you don't look for any logic in what you are experiencing, because logic and mental illness are two totally separate issues.  I would also hope, that as you learn about anxiety, that you will feel more confident when such attacks happen.  If you can wrap your brain around the idea, that no matter how anxious you feel, you are not starving for air, then the battle is half won.

Logic won't help you here, only understanding what stimulus causes your anxious state and ways to reduce or eliminate that stimulus.

Joe 

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2012, 05:04:19 PM »
Hey Joe! It seems that you always know the right things to say! Are you sure you aren't a counselor? I'm sure dealing with this beast for as long as you have, you have a much better outlook. Thank you once again, for your insight.

I know that anxiety can cause physical symptoms. It's something that I need to 100% wrap my head around. I know that I am NOT starving for air, it's just the feeling that makes it feel, or should I say, make me think that I am. I have been dealing with anxiety for about 10 months now and I know that I am NOT going to stop breathing all of a sudden. If that was the case, it would have happened long ago. If this is a chemical thing then I want to get it corrected for sure. Like I have mentioned before, I am DESPERATE to get back the life that I used to love to live. I know many of us, who suffer with anxiety, feel this way.
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline Joe K

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2012, 05:47:08 PM »
Like I have mentioned before, I am DESPERATE to get back the life that I used to love to live.

If I may, a little more food for thought.  Your goal should not centre on regaining a life that has passed.  Rather it should be centred on obtaining the life you want to live.  Don't look to the past for help in building your future.  If you build the life you want, then you will be content and in the end, that's all any of us can hope for.

Joe

Offline MoMorrison

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Re: Anxiety sucks! :-/
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2012, 08:17:58 PM »
Great advice once again, Joe. Thank you. I know that my goal should not be to get back to a life that I used to have. Being diagnosed as HIV positive has opened my eyes, mind, and heart on so many levels. I want to be a better person in every aspect of my life. Overcoming the anxiety will definitely help me to get to a place in life that is comfortable. I know that it will take time and effort and I am up for the challenge. Thank you, once again. :)
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

 


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