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Question
Posted by: Leah | 2011/09/05

Stress now mixed with panic

Hi Doc

I have suffered from stress for many years, mainly to do with worries about providing for myself and my child (I am a single mum). Every day seems to be about how to hold it together  of late I wake up and feel anxious just at the thought of getting thru the day, I have also had a number of job changes over the years, and periods of unemployment where it was all I could do to keep my child in school. I am desperate for her not to go thru life in a state of compromise.

Of late, I think my stress levels are skyrocketing. This past weekend I went to try and give blood, sth I have been doing for years and they told me my blood pressure is unusually high. It has never read high before. They also told me my iron levels are depleted, this despite my not changing my diet. Additionally, as of just the last two weeks, I experience a racing heart very often, breathlessness and strange ‘ tics’ , as though something has scared me. I find myself shivering when it is not that cold and I often go into a state of unexplained panic. People who hug me hello ask why my heart is thudding so wildly. When I hold something I often grip it till my palms are white, unless I make a conscious effort to hold it normally. The wild panic is offset by periods of extreme dizziness and fatigue, a state of waking somnolence if you will, sometimes accompanied by mild nausea. During the sudden panicky episodes, I can’ t breathe properly and perceive myself as being in a very threatening situation or that I am going mad.

Yesterday in my bed I shivered although it was warm and I kept looking around the dark bedroom to check who was watching me. I was well aware I was alone but could not help looking around nervously. What on earth is going on with me? In between all of this I have a child to raise and a job to hold down. I feel like a half-mad woman, I honestly feel I am slowly going mad.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Stress is what happens to us when we feel stressed and anxious. Stress is the hot stove you've leaned on, and anxiety is the pain you feel from the heat.
You seem to be describing a developing anxiety disorder. Raised blood pressure is typical of anxiety, one of the many physical symptoms it can cause ( such a trembling, rapid pulse, sweating, etc. )
The iron levels are probably not related to stress. Women easily develop low iron levels,( because of factors like menstrual bleeding ) especially if there is not much in their usual diet. This is why it is important for them to test vefore accepting you as a blood donor, as of course one shouldn't draw blood from someone already anemic, as this wouldnt be good for you or the recipient of your blood.
Depending on whether you are significantly anaemic, that can itself also cause some symptoms which can overlap with those of anxiety, such as feeling faint, change in pulse rate, breathlessness, dizziness, fatigue, etc. One or other or both might be the main cause of your troubles.
All very unpleasant. Fortunately, both respond well to proper treatment. Anaemia to iron and other meds, even to transfusion if its realyl severe. And Anxiety responds well both to proper counselling of the Cognitive-Behaviour therayp ( CBT ) formatand to medications also used to treat depression.
Ideally you'd want to see a psychiatrist to assess and recommend treatment for the anxiety, and at least a GP to assess and continue to manage the iron-deficiency anaemia and continue managing the anxiety.
You are not going mad, and should start feeling better before long

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/09/05

Stress is what happens to us when we feel stressed and anxious. Stress is the hot stove you've leaned on, and anxiety is the pain you feel from the heat.
You seem to be describing a developing anxiety disorder. Raised blood pressure is typical of anxiety, one of the many physical symptoms it can cause ( such a trembling, rapid pulse, sweating, etc. )
The iron levels are probably not related to stress. Women easily develop low iron levels,( because of factors like menstrual bleeding ) especially if there is not much in their usual diet. This is why it is important for them to test vefore accepting you as a blood donor, as of course one shouldn't draw blood from someone already anemic, as this wouldnt be good for you or the recipient of your blood.
Depending on whether you are significantly anaemic, that can itself also cause some symptoms which can overlap with those of anxiety, such as feeling faint, change in pulse rate, breathlessness, dizziness, fatigue, etc. One or other or both might be the main cause of your troubles.
All very unpleasant. Fortunately, both respond well to proper treatment. Anaemia to iron and other meds, even to transfusion if its realyl severe. And Anxiety responds well both to proper counselling of the Cognitive-Behaviour therayp ( CBT ) formatand to medications also used to treat depression.
Ideally you'd want to see a psychiatrist to assess and recommend treatment for the anxiety, and at least a GP to assess and continue to manage the iron-deficiency anaemia and continue managing the anxiety.
You are not going mad, and should start feeling better before long

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