A reader asks about having severe anxiety and what to do about it.
“I am having a real down day! It has been 2 1/2 weeks since starting my med and today I just feel awful. My doctor wants to increase my dose! Not really sure what to do. Have had 3 panic attacks today and just having the thought of not getting any better, I start to feel flushed and hot all over.
I am really trying to change my way of thinking and be more positive but am not feeling really happy at the moment. Any words of encouragement would be appreciated!”
You are definitely caught up in severe anxiety- and its easy to see why. After waiting for your medication to work, and not only feeling worse but having 3 panic attacks in one day, of course you feel horrible.
Add to that you have the new medication. It can take so long to work and you are already waiting for almost 3 weeks. The waiting is very hard, as I imagine you wake up each day hoping to have relief. When you find yourself anxious again, you feel let down.
I am so sorry you are suffering, and I have suggestions that may help.
First of all I hope upon hope that you do employ some of the anxiety self help methods we talk about here…
Do you have a good program or reference book to calm your mind and give you the armor you need to defend yourself against anxiety and panic attacks?
(Everything that is underlined here is a link to a post for further information. I hope you will look into some of these methods and find things that resonate with you.)
And not to sound like a Drill Sergeant but working on feeling better right now should be your full time job- keep at it during this medication adjustment phase. Do something morning, noon and night. And pray in the meantime.
Are you in therapy- and if so, have you discussed this with your therapist? If not, do you have a loved one to share your struggles with?
More importantly, have you shared everything you told me to your doctor? This is crucial. He can most adequately gauge how you’re doing and can offer advice on when you can expect to feel better.
I hope you will take what I say above to heart and really try your best to stick it out. Surely relief is coming soon. If you are taking your medication as prescribed, it is establishing a blood level in your body, and you are at the tail end of the adjustment period.
If you have done all of the above and I mean really done everything to the best of your ability and you still are getting worse, not better, then it is time to have a serious discussion with your doctor.
This is something only you can answer.
In some cases when a medication takes a long time to work (which is the case with SSRIs), you can sometimes take a shorter acting low dose anxiety medication for a week or two until the SSRI starts to kick in.
This is something you have to discuss with your doctor. If your situation is so bad and you are having severe anxiety to the extent that you can’t function (ie, work or leave the house), it seems to me you should turn to your doctor to help. After all you put yourself in his care for this.
Good luck. Please know everyone who reads this is pulling for you, and please know in your heart that relief will come to you soon.
I wish you peace,