calypso

Feeling of impending doom?

20 posts in this topic

I have been having this for the last week or so. I had it early on when my POTS began, but not this bad.

I tried taking clonazepam (a benzo) and it did not help. I thought that was odd, since I have always responded to this drug. Anyone here have any advice on good short-acting drugs that can be taken as needed to take this horrible feeling away?

I have tried meditation, yoga, distraction, exercise, etc. -- the yoga meditation helps a tiny bit, but of course that helps with any problem in my opinion. I just feel so horrible, and I cry at the drop of a hat. But if I go back on the Lexapro, it has such yucky sexual side effects and makes me just feel spaced out.

Amy

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Can you try a different SSRI at a low level? I think that has helped me with the bad anxiety as well as just toning down my overly responsive nervous system. I had to take it for awhile though for the side effects to go away and the benefits to start. I take 20 mg of Prozac.

Sorry you are feeling so badly.

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Hang in there Calypso! I don't know about the meds. Are you maybe having a rough time because of your hormones. I do know that I felt my darkest days when my hormones were raging or subsiding. Ovaries dump chemicals too and with pots, you know, we can over dump or under dump estrogen, progesterone and androgens. I hope you don't drop your hat anymore...please feel better!! hugs, tearose

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Amy,

I too am sorry that you feel this way. I agree that hormones can do a lot- have you noticed any correlation between your cycle and this doomed feeling? Not even necessarily PMS, but anytime during our cycles things can fluctuate greatly- and I've noticed since having POTS that the swings are much more prominent.

I hope you feel better soon!!

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I don't have a cycle yet b/c I am still on the tail end of breastfeeding. Maybe the cessation of breastfeeding is making me worse -- but I have been doing one feeding a day for quite some time now, and I don't think that's it.

Thanks for the input.

Amy

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Amy-

Maybe your cycle is preparing to return soon? Just a thought!!

Lucky you- as soon as Ethan started sleeping 6 hour stretches as night, I got mine back!! He was only 4 months old...but my hormonal ups and downs got much more noticeable once I started having periods again, and even a little before that.

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Amy: So sorry you're going through this rough patch. The feeling you describe is, in my opinion, one of the worst side effects of having an out-of-kilter ANS.

I'm not sure of your med history, but I agree with MomtoGiuliana about potentially trying a LOW DOSE SSRI like Prozac or Lexapro. (I emphasize low dose because so many of us with autonomic dysfuction seem to be very sensitive to meds and the SSRIs can actually make panic/anxiety worse at first. My doc likes to tease me about taking "crumbs" of medication - but I started on 2.5 mg of Lexapro and worked my way up to 5 mg and that was fine for me. I never got near 10 mg, which is the standard minimal therapeutic dose for most people.)

For what it's worth, I was given a script for Xanax (also a benzo, like your Clonipin) when my symptoms were at their worst and it barely took the edge off. I think an SSRI (which can actually help rewire our ANS, according to some POTS / dysautonomia specialists, in addition to helping with the anxiety/panic/depression symptoms) may take a bit longer to work, but may be worth it in terms of longer-term relief.

Assume you're also on a beta blocker of some sort? If not, a low dose of that could also potentially take the edge off some of your anxiety.

Good luck to you. I know it's small consolation when you're in the middle of an episode, but the feelings WILL eventually go away. Hang in there!

RunnerGirl

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Amy,

I can relate to that feeling and I know how uncomfortable it can be. I take Ativan for sleep and will take an extra half during the day when I get that feeling. Sometimes it helps take the edge off. I can't take SSRI's.

Another thing I do that often helps is to rub some lavender oil on my neck and wrist ( it has a calming effect) and I warm my hands with a heating pad. I learned that trick in bio feedback. Afer a while it really seems to calm down eveything down.

Just remember like someone else said, the feeling eventually will pass.

GayleP

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Hi Amy, just wanted to add that if you haven't talked to your doctor about this, that's where to start. I agree with others who say that perhaps a different SSRI, or a shorter acting antidepressant might be worth trying. Other classes than SSRI's don't need as much time to start working and/or wash our of your system. Your primary physician or even your OB/GYN should be able to help you... in all likelihood, you're going through hormonal changes which could be triggering your symptoms (recall, we've had many discussions on this and other boards that with women, our cycles of hormones DO effect how we feel on a daily basis).

Hang in there and I hope you find something that works,

Nina

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I realize prescription meds are sometimes necessary, but there are many herbs and supplements that are safe to try as well for anxiety and depression. SAM-E is the most prescribed antidepressant in Europe. S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is an amino acid that is used in the treatment of many conditions including liver disease, osteoarthritis, depression, fibromyalgia, schizophrenia, and migraines. SAMe influences the body?s production of melatonin, serotonin, and dopamine, which influence our sleep, mood and social interaction. Not to mention it's non-toxic and has far less side effects than RX drugs.

I work part-time in an herb shop and I've seen SAM-e work wonders in people. It's important to keep your dosage the same though...usually one in the a.m. and one in the evening seems to be the most prescribed way to take it. For faster results, I know some folks who take two capsules to get immediate relief if they're just extremely depressed or crying. It's most effective in the body when taken along with B vitamins (either a B-complex or mult-vitamin).

Hope you find relief soon. I get the same feeling sometimes in the middle of the night. It's an awful sensation.

And here's the disclaimer...Of course you should research this supplement or any precsription drug and discuss it with a qualified health pracitioner before taking. :)

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i can relate too to the anxiety, wish i had some helpful hints, its a miserable feelings, but know that you are not alone and it does ease, hang in there,

radha

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You guys are so sweet and supportive! Thank you for all of the ideas and kind words.

I have been e-mailing back and forth with a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with panic disorder 10 years ago. She is a friend of my sister's (who is in family practice but knows very little about treating dysautonomia), so she is going to squeeze me in next week. She wants me to try Cymbalta. I think this is the newly improved Effexor without the blood pressure-raising side effect. That may be a good match for me because I don't need my BP any higher! And it's supposed to have fewer side effects than even Lexapro, which I tried and didn't have much luck with.

But this means no more breastfeeding for my daughter, and she is not going to be happy about that. I get so frustrated that I have to choose between what is natural to my baby -- being breastfed by mom -- or continuing to feel as though I am going to drop dead. I have been doing it for 11 months. I just think I'm cashed at this point.

I will try the Sam-E first, too, Gena, although I can't breastfeed with that either. Thanks for the Rx-free perspective. I am a massage therapist, so I appreciate that. And the lavender idea is a good one too, Gayle! I love aromatherapy and have been experimenting with several blends for anxiety. I find bergamot and geranium oils to be very helpful.

You guys are the best, as always!

Amy

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amy,

i don't know anything about cymbalta...i fear i am falling behind on my research these days! oops!

please let us know how things work out. i hope you will not beat yourself up too much about not being able to breastfeed any more...

your baby is blessed that you breastfed as long as you have and had that "special mommy bonding time."...but also, i think the flip side is that when mommy is happy baby is happier too...you know? so that is the flip side...that taking care of yourself is taking care of baby...and is most important at this point.

you are not less of a mom for making this decision! k? i know, easy for me to say....i'm not a mom....but i have a mommy who isn't good about taking care of herself and that makes me sad b/c i'd rather she take care of herself and give up something she does for me...you know?

so, that's my sphiel for the day. :D

i hope you are having an okay day. and hanging in there! please keep us posted!!!

emily

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Dear Calypso,

I was an active La Leche League member for over a dozen years. My advice would be to follow your heart in terms of your little nursling. Sometimes that may lead to a decision to wean. And that is OK. Other times we really have to fight very hard to find a supportive care team who understands our nursing diad. I have walked out of many doctor's offices until I found professionals who understood my desires.

My personal health journey also includes two decades of panic disorder, so I know the fear and pain you describe intimately. The really good news about panic, is that unlike depression which can be related to brain chemistry issues, panic disorder can be treated sucessfully without any medications. (Not that meds are bad. They are simply a choice in this instance.)

Here's my favorite book of the day ... "calming your anxious mind" how mindfulness and compassion can free you from anxiety, fear and panic -- by Jeffrey Brantley, MD.

You mentioned how meditation helps "a little bit", so you may really welcome this books approach. Here's the thing about meditation .... it's not intended to make us feel better. It doesn't wave a calm wand over what we are feeling inside of our bodies (or listening to in our minds.) Meditation, in this example, is a tool that we can use to allow ourselves to sit peacefully with whatever turbulence our mind tries to stir up. e.g. We still may have serious feelings of impending doom. But in meditation, we don't have to act on them. We don't need to identify ourselves with these thoughts. We can sit, and gradually develop a spacious sense of stillness around these feelings. And once we can do that, then we know that we are more than our thoughts and that's is what gives us the strength to move through the panic attack. I say this with great sage advice, but the reality is this is something I am learning for myself everyday.

You are welcome to send me an email if you would like to talk more.

Good luck on your healing journey.

EM

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Amy,

I have seen you struggle with the decision whether or not to wean your daughter for many months now, and I couldn't possibly understand more. It's such a special bond, and so tough to give up when you've come so far. When Ethan was a baby, I went round and round with the medication decision, and ultimately ended up trying out some meds that were compatible with nursing...and got lucky enough that they stabilized me for the most part. Now I am struggling with the decision to stop meds that have been keeping me stable and still get through this pregnancy...and it's so tough. I realize that now I have another child to take care of and I have to be a good mom to him...but it's been tough going without my meds. I really understand this decision, but it's one that only you can make. You have done a great job with your baby and she will reap the benefits for a long time.

EarthMother- How awesome that you were involved with La Leche League! I am in the process of becoming a leader right now :D What a wonderful group of people...they were my saving grace when I was confronted with the choice of whether or not to continue breastfeeding with POTS and all the issues surrounding it, and that's how I initially got started. Amy- if you're open to it, maybe you could call a leader in your area and discuss this issue, that is if you are really desiring to continue nursing your daughter. They may have some suggestions such as partial weaning (which it sounds like you are already doing) or nursing around the times you take your medications. There are hardly any meds that can't be safely taken while nursing if precautions are used.

I wish you the best, and hope that this feeling of impending doom will leave you very soon. B)

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Calypso - again i have this in common with you.

When my POTS is worse i get that feeling of impending doom - its a terrible and overpowering feeling - according to my doctor it is a result of the sudden overproduction of adrenaline to maintain bloodpressure to the brain - therefore my doctor says that beta blockers and rest are the best remedies for it.

I use betablockers to get through it - if i feel it coming on - i start to feel cold, get tachycardia rising, skin goes pale and weird (due to hypovolumia ive been told), i take a beta blocker then and go and ly down. If it comes on and i strat to get the really bad tremors and panicy feeling i just jabe to keep taking beta blocker and stay in bed and read a book to try and ease my mind.

It is equally the worst symptom for me - the overactive adrenal reaction causing the anxiety and the dizziness i get every mornign when i walk around.

My panicky periods usually come on at the start of an episode of symptoms.

I have them usually only now after i drink alcohol (not good when your already low on blood and liquid).

Keep the fluids up.

Its very similar to the feeling of an overactive thyroid - when i described it to my mum and my endocrinologist they were both quite sure it was my thyroid until it was ruled out and i started getting dizziness and orthostatic intolerance.

I know how you feel exactly - its rough but beta blockers are a short term solution for me.

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can you just take a beta blocker whenever u feel anxious? wouldnt it lower the BP too much if you had already taken your daily dose earlier?

radha

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I dont actually take a betablocker everyday - since i found them to make my orthostatic intolerance worse - i just take them every third night or so to help sleep without my heart throbbing in my head - i have thankfully improved recently.

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Oh there is so much I want to say! First and foremost I think it would be a big THANK YOU to all of you!! I plan on setting aside part of this afternoon to going through everything and taking notes down about what I want to look into and remember :D

As others have said, I want to add that you are not alone in the feeling of impending doom, especially at night. I'll get the feeling from my chest or stomach. I often feel my heart on my right side instead of left and I near always can feel it in my stomach, so worriesome :angry:

So many wonderful suggestions have been made, I myself cannot make any, but I know I want to definatly look into near all of them.

As for the breastfeeding, follow your heart and do what you can to take care of you and the baby. As said and is true, a happy mommy is a happy baby!

There is just so much, all of you are so wonderful, when I first posted here I was overwhelmed in a more negative confused sense, but now I am overwhelmed by the warmth and compassion from all of you. You're all so wonderful

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I should mention that its important to realise that this sort of uneasy, panicky feeling of impending doom can be a symptom of POTS. The bodies way of maintaining blood pressure and flow to the brain when it is impared due to nervous system disfunction is to use adrenaline to boost heart rate and thus pressure and flow - therefore, my doctor suggests that a hieightened level of adrenaline in the blood can make you 'very anxious and restless' according to him.

My anxiety is only a problem when im very symptomatic - then i get that feeling of impending doom - as my dizziness, palps, etc ease, so does that feeling.

Serotonin Reuptake Inhibators may help the nervous system disfunction that causes pots, but if the anxiety is related to adrenal hyperfunction rather than brain chemistry, maybe less daunting remedies are another option.

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