Anxiety & anemia, but is there more?

On Dec. 31 of last year I wrote that my big goal for 2009 was to take care of my mental and emotional health. I knew I needed to do this for a few reasons. Not only was I treating my children and husband with the love and respect they deserve, but I felt my physical health was starting to suffer as well. I had started having anxiety or panic attacks – again.

I thought they were a thing of my past. I had experienced anxiety attacks while Jody and I were trying for month after month after month to conceive Ava. It was a difficult time in my life. I so wanted to be pregnant and to be a mom. I was charting using the Fertility Awareness Method and we seemed to be doing everything right, but it was not happening for us. It obviously eventually did happen (with a little help) and the anxiety attacks went away. That is until several months ago.

I don’t remember exactly when they started up again and because the symptoms weren’t consistent with what I’d experienced in the past, I wasn’t entirely sure they were anxiety attacks. My heart would start racing which would make breathing a little more difficult. I was also feeling dizzy at times, tired, lethargic and sometimes depressed.

Over the past month, the frequency of the attacks increased dramatically. I started having several anxiety attacks a day or ones that would last for a long, long time. I started getting worried that this was more than just anxiety. After consulting Dr. Google and my favorite resource, Twitter, ;) I thought I might have a thyroid issue or even a heart problem. After a particularly bad attack, I finally called my doctor’s office and scheduled an appointment. It was five days out. Five very. long. days.

During those five days the attacks continued. I debated about going to urgent care once or twice. I thought about going straight to the ER. And then, the night before my appointment, as I tried to go to sleep I had one of the worst attacks ever. My heart would not stop racing no matter what I tried to tell my brain to calm myself down, no matter how much I focused on my breathing. I told Jody I was doing really bad and that I wanted to call the doctor on call (while I was really thinking, “maybe you should call 911″). I had all of these fears that I would die the day before my appointment because I had put it off too long. That I was going to leave my children motherless and my husband a widower. It was too much.

I called the doctor’s office and spoke to the woman at the answering service. She told me to stay on the line and she would try to call the on-call doctor (not my doctor, but one in the same practice). To my relief the doctor answered the phone (even though it was 12:30 a.m.). I talked to the doctor for about 20 minutes. She reassured me, based on the symptoms I was describing that it was likely anxiety and not a heart issue, but she was also glad I was scheduled to come in for an appointment. I felt better the longer we talked and had calmed down a fair bit by the time we hung up. Of course, my heart started racing again after we were off the phone and there was no way I was going to sleep any time soon, but after watching Scrubs with Jody for an hour, I felt better and was able to go to sleep at 2 a.m.

Photo courtesy of Neeta Lind

Photo courtesy of Neeta Lind

The next morning I happily went to see my doctor. I told her my symptoms, she examined me and said she felt I was likely experiencing anxiety. My blood pressure was normal and my heart sounded, in her words, “perfect.” She did want to rule out thyroid and heart issues just to be sure, so she sent me for blood work and an EKG.

I had told her that I did not want to go on medication unless absolutely necessary, but I was looking for natural ways of treating this. She recommended a therapist, acupuncture, a $300 biofeedback video game called The Journey to the Wild Divine (it looks really cool, but pricey!), as well as fish oil (double the amount recommended on the bottle). She gave me a prescription for Xanax too, just in case I really needed it. (I haven’t taken it, although I was tempted to today.) She said she felt confident that we could get this under control and she wanted to see me back in two weeks.

In the meantime, I had my blood drawn and my first EKG. The EKG came back normal, but the bloodwork revealed that I am mildly anemic, so it was recommended that I go on an iron supplement and increase my green leafy vegetables.

It’s been nearly two weeks since my appointment and while the anxiety attacks do not seem to be happening as often, they are still happening – some worse than others (like last night’s when I was up until 2 a.m.).

I really want to believe that everything I’ve been experiencing is just from anxiety and anemia but honestly, I feel like it could be something more. And I don’t think I will be satisfied until I’ve ruled out those other possible issues.

This week I’m going back to my doctor for a follow-up appointment and I have a therapy evaluation scheduled. I might be making an eye appointment with the doctor who did my strabismus (eye muscle) surgery several years ago and revisiting my old neurologist too. I just want to get to the bottom of all of this. While I feel like there have been improvements in how I feel just in these two weeks, I still have a long way to go before I’m back to feeling like my old self. I miss my old self and am going to keep trying to get her back.

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60 thoughts on “Anxiety & anemia, but is there more?

  1. Pingback: Chiropractor Back Blog » Anxiety & anemia, but is there more? | Crunchy Domestic Goddess

  2. Pingback: Chicago Chiropractor Blog » Anxiety amp; anemia, but is there more? | Crunchy Domestic Goddess

  3. A simple blood test will tell you if you are reacting to gluten in your diet. It can cause depression, anemia, fertility issues, and lots of other things that are seemingly random, but when put together they suddenly make sense. I was diagnosed last May and got an additional gluten reactivity and gene test through http://www.enterolab.com just to make sure. I hope you get this figured out! :)
    My husband has occasional anxiety and it sucks, but I will tell him about the schwarzbein information that I saw in a previous post.
    Yay Chickens!
    Tarah

  4. Typo in URL of comment above, should anyone wish to follow link. Why don’t more blogwares allow comment fixes?

    I had double vision for weeks after an accident with flying shredder debris (and I was wearing my safety glasses, too!). Was very, very, glad to get over it! Good health is the true wealth.

  5. I am one of the many who suffered from anxiety disorder. I cry when the “evil” feelings come upon me. I know exactly what you are talking about and it is from the pit of hell.
    My advice… drink plenty water and do not stay hungry….

  6. Pingback: Anxiety amp anemia but is there more Crunchy Domestic Goddess | Menopause Relief

  7. Thank you so much for this post. I suffer from the same disorder, but i am still in denial. It’s been nearly a year since i had my first panic attck but i beleive its something more. I don’t understand it and i am suffering so much with this. Like you said i feel like my old self has gone and i really want her back.

  8. Hi! I am also a mom to 5. I have had terrible anxiety/depression for 10 years. The only tests that have come back abnormal is iron, but even when my iron numbers are normal, I still have the symptoms. I have severe muscle pains as well, mainly lower back and legs. I could very well see adrenal fatigue being an issue with me, as Ive gone through so much stress. I’ve never had medical/dental insurance so I am limited with medical help I get. As of lately, Ive been exploring the natural world and natural options. I love “Floradix” for Iron. Still searching for things for anxiety on a limited budget. Just know you aren’t alone, I also have never believed it’s all in my head……something feels off.

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