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At random times during the day, I have these anxiety attacks at times. It's not when there is a crisis. Then I'm fine since there's action that needs to be taken. It's the in between times. It's the anxiety about what could happen that does it. I just find myself with a loudly beating heart and cold with fear.

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What are you worried about that’s causing you concern? You may benefit from therapy to teach you how to overcome these occurrences and learn how to identify the triggers and overcome them.
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AlvaDeer Sep 27, 2019
If need to wash is like me, Ahmijoy, it needn't be real. I can MAKE up the most awful set of circumstances all hitting at once. I don't need real life at all.
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You are not alone. I long for the days when Drs gave out Xanax like candy sigh😥. The time to get worried (IMHO) Is when you get panic attacks that aren't connected to anything. My aunt had that. She thought she was going to die the first couple of times. Agoraphobia. If you know where they're coming from then I think that means you're human. It still sucks though. I do miss the days when you have a panic attack and vodka+ Xanax boom you're all better lol. i
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Jean1808 Apr 24, 2019
I miss the days of wine and roses! I stopped wine a few years ago and am allergic to roses! I'm miserable company needless to say!
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I went through a period of that around the time my brother was dying from cancer, I'd be doing something ordinary like watching TV or sitting in church and suddenly be overwhelmed by panic - a crushing weight on my chest, nausea, lightheaded, numb extremities - the whole package. Not fun. I mentioned it to my doctor but since it wasn't interfering with my daily life he was blasé. I learned to control it with square breathing - in to a count of 4 (or whatever number works for you), hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4, repeat. Given that your circumstances are ongoing I think you should talk to your doctor, I still suffer from residual effects almost 20 years later.
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Need to,

The others have given good advice.

I will add my experience since it’s a little different.

My body had been sending me signals that I was ignoring.

After the deaths of my Dad, Stepdad and Maternal Grandmother within 2 years and the management of their care I was fried. But Mom was still in her home alone with Dementia after my Stepdads death. She was refusing help.

About a week before Christmas and after a heated discussion with Mom about her care or lack thereof I was driving home. I felt I couldn’t breath, my chest was tight, I felt cold but sweaty, queasy and lightheaded. I was passing the hospital. I wheeled into the chest pain center there.

I was kept overnight for observation and had a stress test the next morning. Everything checked out. I was fine but referred to my GP because of my diagnosis...STRESS.

My family physician talked to me and put me on a temporary, low dose of Lexapro. I think I took it for 6 months.

My advice would be when your body starts sending you messages that it’s on overload, listen. If you can’t get things under control yourself, see a counseler or your family physician.
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Jean1808 Apr 24, 2019
Yep, I had a similar experience earlier this month with other complications for the VERY first time in my life and called 911. In addition to the cold shivering sweats, nausea, light-headed, and band sensation around chest, I had head to toe inflammation of my joints, stiff neck, sensation of shoulder separation, and some muscle spasm of the back. It was like a combined heart attack and rheumatoid arthritis attack.

Paramedics said I was ok but said I was tired and suggested warm bath. I'm an asthmatic and as of two years ago I do have diagnosis of heart disease. I'm 55. Never married, never had children. My mother easily triggers my startle responses and we live together.

Today I cheered myself up a bit imagining buying MYSELF a mother's day gift. I may even shop a mother's day card for ME.

I have not seen doctors yet to start checkup after what happened, but I talked to friends and we all agree it's a sign not to push myself so hard.
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I do suffer from PTSD (childhood abuse) and while it is 90% under control and you wouldn't meet me and think "wow, that lady is a real tweak fest", I am just 'managing' the anxiety that I suffer from, despite my meds.

When I am overloaded with emotional stuff, or go through some stressful things with DH (he is a walking miracle, he's lived through so many things that should have killed him) I tend to ramp up the panic attacks.

I DO have an anti anxiety med to take, and I so grateful, b/c it works every single time.

Sometimes I have to back off of things and say no to people. Caring for mother is huge anxiety trigger. I spend minimal time with her. DH's health, while currently good, is rocky. He had 2 heart attacks last summer and I am still feeling 'uneven' about those. My doc said it would take a year or more for both of us to accept the 'new norm'--meaning, we wouldn't freak out over every little mis-beat of his heart.

It's easy for docs to say 'take it easy, relax, blah blah' and really HARD to do when you are having that heart pounding attack that will NOT end.

I am trying to cut down on other's expectations--starting with my family. My kids are old enough to take over the party hosting stuff. I can put myself first. (This is harder than I thought).

And I also don't ever have the attacks when the actual trauma is happening--it comes popping out in other ways--with no seeming trigger.

If this is causing you to be miserable and fearful in your daily life, talk to your doc. A low dose of Zoloft for me keeps me from being anxious and a 'as needed' benzodiazepene. Not proud of this, but glad I can handle life.

Deep breathing and mindfulness also help. Whatever works for you. Most times we cannot handle the stressors because we live with them. Gotta learn to live around them.
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Hi! This site has a lot of information on anxiety. Click on ‘care topics’ on the top RHS of the screen, scroll down the alphabetical list to ‘anxiety’. The net has information on panic attacks. I get the Oz sites up first, and the ‘Beyond Blue’ and ‘Better Health Channel’ sites are both respectable places for information without ads etc. The information is along the lines that the attacks are unpleasant and can be scary, but rarely have any health disorder implications. Of course prolonged stress is one of the causes, and all the advice on meditation, calm breathing etc is in there. I hope that you can keep it under control, and that it is not too upsetting.
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I have found Ashwagandha, to relieve my anxiety that I obtained when I started the care giving journey. It may be helpful to you. If you try be sure you get the right kind and not just any.
I think anxiety goes along with this labor of love. And I know that I stay in prayer mode most of that day and that is the only way I make it, through.
Best wishes to you, May God help you through these times.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 24, 2019
Health food store?
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I think anxiety and general stress goes with the territory of caregiving.

Speaking to a good therapist. I had a great social worker that really helped me sort out feelings that I had.

Don’t let anyone make you feel inferior either, such as relatives who don’t do the caregiving or contribute in other ways. Make an excuse and hang up the phone if they call.

Some family members aren’t able to or not interested in the hands on caregiving but they could call just to offer support and they don’t. That’s a shame. I used to take those things to heart, not anymore!

My mom has anxiety. It rubs off on us. I had to learn how to let it roll off my back. We started to feed off of each other, otherwise, know what I mean? Happens with too much togetherness!

Actually do some housekeeping, eliminate any negative people who create anxiety in your life. I have had to do that with a couple of people. Ended up being liberating for me. Now they are bothering others but it not’s me anymore!

Choose to be around or speak with people who lift you up, not knock you down, commonly called, energy vampires! They will drain the life out of you and make you feel like things are much worse than they are or that they know so much more than we do. As caregivers we have enough on our plates.

Deep breathing. Soothing music or hey, loud rock music from our youth! I have such eclectic taste in music, adore jazz and blues, classic rock, soothing classical to unwind, any variety of music that is good.

Exercise! Great stress buster! I will do thirty minutes to an hour on my exercise bike. Don’t laugh but I also love chopping vegetables to make a large pot of homemade soup.

I am a coffee drinker but I find sipping hot tea very soothing. Same as a hot bath. When I get the chance I am going to schedule a massage too!

Take care, mega hugs!
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Texasgal Apr 25, 2019
Wow great answer and I can relate to everyone of them. I too take care of my 92 year old mother. Do I get support - emotional or otherwise from my family - i.e. 2 brothers/2 SIL. NOPE - NOT EVEN! ALL they do is sit back and bash me - the nerve. It almost drove me over the edge but then I took a step back and realize I'm an awesome person, friend, co-worker (yes I work full-time still) and will not beat myself up over anything anymore. Friends and co-workers can't believe I do all that I do and still look damn good doing it. Meaning don't let yourself "go"...somedays I do but I'm glad I have a job that I get up for, get showered, dress nice and throw on some makeup. It makes one feel so much better. I make sure I schedule mani/pedis, lunch with friends and day trips when I can. No I don't get to do on a week long vacay - haven't done that in years but just a 1-2 day respite works wonders. My mom can still drive, cook and take care of her needs. But that will probably end soon. But maybe not. I try not to think too far into the future because that causes a lot of anxiety for me. I live close to a good hospital and a nursing home. If I have to get in-home care I will. But I will not give up my life totally for her. She has been relying on me for emotional support, entertainment for most of her life. And if I'm not doing for her she can get very unpleasant real fast. So everyone take care of yourself - you will be of no use to anyone if you don't take care of your health - mental and emotional.
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I'd get a complete physical to confirm what is causing it. Make sure, that it is anxiety with the help of your doctor. And, if that's it, I'd follow his advice for treatment. It can be very debilitating, so, I wouldn't take it lightly. I know people where it has really taken a hold of their life. But, there is hope.

I used to have anxiety attacks years ago and they were terrible. Once, we figured out what it was, I read everything I could get my hands on about it. And, then practiced relaxation methods to get me through it. I kept a small dose pill as a back up, but, never had to take more than a couple, before they went away. To me, understanding what was happening and that I was really in control of my body helped me greatly.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 24, 2019
Great suggestion, Sunny
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My husband had "anxiety attacks" after eating foods with MSG in them. Trips to the emergency room and overnights at the hospital didn't help him. Our observations on his reaction to certain foods, did. Note that the attacks could come many hours after eating these foods.
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I know that feeling ... you're waiting for the other shoe to drop ... for "the" phone call ... for the next emergency or intractable catastrophe. Have your Dr. prescribe 1mg Ativan for use as needed - just don't make it a daily thing and it won't be an issue.
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OnlyChildAlone Apr 27, 2019
I've hated the sound of a phone ringing for over 10 years now. My mom had a stroke in '08, my dad had a heart attack in '09...and even though those were the really serious events my mom had several hospitalizations with pancreatitis and some other things. My dad got really sick in '13 and died in January '14 so for about 9 months anytime the phone rang it was almost always bad-terrible news.

My mom had a fall and a head injury a couple of weeks ago. It happened between me checking on her when I got up at 5:30a and getting showered and dressed by 6:30a to take her to dialysis. She was hospitalized and I hoped they'd send her to rehab for a few weeks so she could get stronger before coming home. The first few days she was back here she was at a huge risk of a fall because she was so weak and wobbly. It's hard to sleep or do anything when you're constantly hypervigilant over someone's safety. Even if I do manage to fall asleep I usually wake up suddenly thinking I heard something happen. At this rate the stress is going to do me in.
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My anxiety was so bad that I was waking up feeling sick to my stomach and would throw up/dry heeve all morning. I finally went to a therapist who gave me some tools to help me cope with my anxiety. Go for a brisk walk, try to calm your mind down by repeating to yourself that you are doing the best that you can, concentrate on slowly breathing in and out. Taking care of my parents has taken a huge toll on my health, but I keep reminding myself that they sacrificed so much for me to give me the best life and now it's my turn to do the same for them. It's ok to be sad and get stressed out, just remember why you are doing what you are doing. You love your parents and you are thanking them for a lifetime of happiness by taking care of them as they took care of you.
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beejaycee Apr 25, 2019
Sorry to hear your anxiety was so bad, but glad you are able to cope better, and share such good advice. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but it is what we do. I loved everything you said about your parents! I have said all along I am just giving back to my mom for what she has given me. Thank-you for your answer this morning. It helped so much when I needed some encouragement!!
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If you are a caregiver, the worse off and weaker your loved one becomes, the worse your anxiety and depression will become. That is because it is problem that cannot be fixed and their weakness and cognition will decline no matter what you do or how hard you try to keep them going. Anxiety and depression are my constant companions and sometimes they cripple me.
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I've been my mom's caregiver for most of my life. My life is severely intertwined to hers to the point I lost myself. However, I try to get a perspective of things. When she dies, how will I survive? Actually I tallied up the monthly bills and I realize I can make it. How can I get over her death? I probably will be destroyed..but we all know life goes on and human beings are SUPPOSED to die. Still I have been with my mom all my life and I find the thought of her death quite intolerable.
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ACaringDaughter Apr 25, 2019
You will survive. It is not easy. Be kind to yourself.
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I had these for many years because there had been so many close calls for my husband. Finally one day driving home I was having one and I told My Lord that he needed to take my burden of fear. I determined that fear was taking away my joy and enjoyment of being with him and I was tired. It is not easy though. If you're the caregiver to someone you love; when they're gone don't have regrets of being anxious instead of enjoying your time with that person.
I take a mild anti-anxiety medication too b/c it runs in my family. Deep breathing has always been a big help! I feel for you. I hope you have faith in God. I cannot make it without Christ being with me daily.
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Oh my yes! Over the last few weeks, with the holiday, etc. the anxiety was crushing and unexpected. It's like you reach a tipping point and if just one more thing happens, your body is saying No Way!! I think that all the months of caregiver stress leading up to the last couple of weeks had finally taken its toll. The physical symptoms are scary, especially when they are sudden, but the mental blackness (for lack of a better word), is the worst for me. I know I should talk to someone but finding the time for that actually adds more stress! As others have said, breathing exercises help but when that doesn't work, a low dose of Xanax gets me back on track. But that can be addictive so it's my last resort. Oh, and camping is great too - especially if there's no cell service :)

Being a caregiver is an extremely stressful job. You are making decisions for more than just yourself and holding the quality of someone else's life in your hands. And, because most of the people we are caring for are elderly, frail, have health and/or mental issues, anything can happen at any time. Not knowing when the other shoe might drop can produce anxiety in even the most laid back person, I think. Add to that many months or years of this and it will finally reach a point where anxiety is your body's way of saying "time out".

This forum is excellent for finding others who are experiencing similar things. I've found that most of the people in my life don't understand the anxiety and think I can just get over it. But here, there are many of us who know exactly what you are talking about and it definitely helps not to feel like you're alone. And there are always many good suggestions on how to cope. I wish you all the best in finding a good solution for yourself - and if you do, please also share it with us.
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DobermanLover Apr 25, 2019
I actually forgot about Easter this year until 2 days before...I always have a dinner for family, not huge or fancy but I totally forgot this year. No family dinner this year...nice not to have the stress of it though ;)
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When my mother started getting bad, I had these little anxiety attacks all the time and when it got so bad I was getting afraid to drive, it led me to see a therapist. She taught me how to do "belly breathing" which I now do for half an hour every morning in bed and other times throughout the day. Eventually my mother was moved to a memory care home which took a lot of the stress off. I'm okay now, but I really suggest you learn that breathing technique and consider joining a support group.
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Of course.
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Sounds like GAD. General Anxiety Disorder is being anxious about things you don’t really need to be anxious over. Have you seen a dr.? There is medication and behavioral therapy that may be able to help you. Sometimes, especially if we are busy , we ignore our physical , mental and emotional health but imo stress is going to find our weak link. There is no shame if it’s mental vs physical.
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I used to get severe anxiety attacks. Ones that would send me to the emergency ward. They usually came when I would shove my emotions down during times of crisis. Then when I was sitting outside looking at a nice view or something relaxing out they'd come.

I went for cognitive training and one thing I learned that has helped me when I start to feel one coming on is focus on something if you can. Anything. Look at something totally unrelated to you and concentrate on it. Like, oh look at the cloud, the shape of it, what does it look like. I know it sounds dumb but I find it works. Plus knowing that in the past when I've had one that I didn't die and remembering that cause when you are in the midst of one that is what makes it spiral out of control. So just remind yourself that you won't die. You didn't last time.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 25, 2019
It’s not dumb. It’s redirecting. Smart choice.
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I'm codependent on worry and anxiety. I can honestly say I don't know how to function if I don't have it. I find myself waiting for something to happen (because it will), on my down time. I have most people believing I am okay, but sometimes I (think) want to just fade away. Yet, I know I can't, because I (think) I have to keep all my ducks (people who [I think] need me), in a row. Wow, am I messed up, or what? So to answer the question, YES, ALL the time.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 25, 2019
MumsHelper,

May I share something that my dear MIL once shared with me? Her mom was riddled with anxiety but 99 % of what she worried about never happened! That put it in perspective for me when she told me how miserable her mother made herself and others around her with her chronic worrying.

Save your worry or concern for legitimate issues. For instance, when my teenager totaled the car and was in the ER covered in blood! Poor kid, just an accident. She wasn’t driving recklessly, just inexperienced. Then I was very worried! But that’s a genuine concern.

She was unconscious and when she came to, she looked up at me and said that she was sorry about my car. I told her I didn’t care about the car and that I only wanted her to be okay. A car can be replaced, she couldn’t have been replaced. Thank God she wasn’t killed. She suffered injuries and has back issues but she’s alive! Other stuff usually isn’t as bad as we think it is and doesn’t deserve that much focusing on.

I sometimes overreact like everyone else. We all do! No one is perfect. But I remind myself constantly of her very wise words.
Take care and many hugs!
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Yes, I think it's pretty normal to have moments of shear terror when faced with care-giving for a loved one. Add to that those moments of despair, self-pity, overwhelming anger and others like those and things can go downhill in a hurry. It really sucks when it all hits you at once. As @millerkat said, breathing exercises will help. For me, combining breathing exercises and what I call "self-talk" is a must. Focusing on remembering why I'm doing what I'm doing, remembering that this moment will pass as they always do, remembering to notice my feelings and deal with them in an ongoing way, all help too. If it becomes a debilitating issue for you, disturbs your rest, and/or manifests in physical ways, then, seeing a doctor who can refer you to counseling or therapy is very good advice. (hugs)
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Yes, i recently started having them i live with my mom for the past 3 years she has her own apartment which we added on for her when we built our home i guess everything just caught up with me i breathe, i started reading again and yes i have been on xanax i read alot about anxiety on the internet and it has helped me alot being a caregiver is not EASY at all it is a BIG adjustment i'm grateful she still manages to shower and cook for herself its the attitude she has sometimes towards me and the nastiness i don't deserve. she was always like this if she didn't get her way (like a child) she's not pleasant to be around, now i understand what my father went through. You are not alone breathe focus on something else take walks distract yourself this too shall pass
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cherokeegrrl54 Sep 27, 2019
the first time i witnessed my mother pouting(yes,just like a child) arms crossed, bottom lip pooched out, tapping her foot on the floor, i couldn’t believe what i was seeing! I broke out in hysterical laughter....just could not help myself. She is still of sound mind and in pretty good health for her age(86)...
she does this every so often, if she thinks someone has “done her wrong”. Or rather, she perceives someone has slighted her, in her opinion.....
she has had depression and anxiety most of her life i think, undiagnosed for sure, because “ she” isnt the one with the problem..... me, my sister, and everyone else is. One time i was trying to get her to speak with her dr about depression and she literally screamed at me in the most sarcastic voice, “well just what do i have to be depressed about??” I mean it came out as a hissing noise....well i just shut my mouth and walked away saying “nothing, mom, absolutely nothing.”
what else can you do???? I live in the same apt complex so i see mom every day, drive her and her friend everywhere, help them whenevr they need it, cook meals for them, clean their apts, take them grocery shopping, anything i can do to help. But she calls my sister and tells her i spend ALL my time at the pool with my 2 friends....sis says moms jealous of them. That was a real eye opener!!!! Guess we need to keep an open mind and laugh a lot and breathe deep, when it comes to caregiving......blessings to all who are walking this journey 💖 Liz
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I can relate to the calm during a real emergency, and also the anxiety about what could happen next. Match that up against constant fights with your care recipient's health care provider about mis-steps on their part, at a time when the recipient (my spouse) is in constant neural foot pain so bad that he's wheelchair-bound, and more need for opioids. He's a stroke survivor on 7 1/2 years and way too young for this (66). The health care provider, a PACE program, botched two specialist referrals within the last few months. The first, they referred us to a brain tumor specialist, which is NOT the problem he has (thankfully). The specialist immediately told us that her expertise would be of limited help for us but nobly did her best. Second, a neural test, administered a month later, was declared invalid by the tester because of Botox shots that compromised neural function. We had not been warned in advance that Botox given within a specific time frame would compromise this test. It would have to be repeated. So I threatened to file a grievance with the PACE program. They responded and met me about halfway in my requests, but the halfway they did meet me was useful so far. Anyone reading this may be able to detect the stress of not knowing what you don't know until it becomes an adverse result. Last night I had a dream in which I ran over a woman with my car because I didn't see or hear her. I think that's indicative. As for my part, my (new) primary care doctor recommended that I take anti anxiety- and depressant drugs but warned me about the risk for suicidal thoughts. She said if these occurred, I should take an ambulance to the ER, not drive. I declined the recommendation. It defies logic that a primary home caregiver should EVER consider taking such a drug. Not only that, but if I did comply and opt for the ambulance ride, and later received a four-figure (at least) bill for the ambulance ride because my insurer determined that it was not medically necessary, how anxious and depressed do you think that would make ME?
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Yes --I have had them myself many times. You are human and dealing with difficult times. First you need to take care of you! So seek help in getting your anxiety under control. There are many good suggestion below. I use breathing techniques, trying to distract my mind and realizing this is all just temporary. A good breathing technique I learned in Yoga is to count you breaths (4 in, 4 out) or whatever number works for you. This helps with your breath and also distracts your mind as you are focused on the count. My GYN also suggested taking a B-complex vitamin which sort of helps take the edge off. When possible I also try to get some time out in nature. Focus on the beauty and grounding that nature gives us. Your situation, as bad as it is, will not last forever! Best wishes to you to find your strength to get through this.
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Absolutely. I call it swirled brains. I cannot think when it happens. Cannot even hear. It can happen in the middle of the night. The brain is like someone opened the head, stuck in an old-fashioned egg beater and just whipped the brains into a mess. The same thoughts. I think shrinks call it hystericalizing. The thing is that we KNOW that any of these things CAN happen. But for me it enters the land of the ridiculous with thoughts of tree roots ruining the septic system and hot water tanks exploding on TOP of all the things that can go wrong with and for my bro. It is an anxiety disorder, and for those of us who try to "control" and line our ducks in a row, the out of control la-la land we have bumped into now makes this so hard for us. I use tricks like remembering an old film scene by scene, counting backwards, taking in breath to count of five and letting it out to count of seven. Some work, but often the anxiety is too strong for it. And yes, cold with fear, and the heart just SLAMMING away can make you frightened for your own health and sanity. Normal flight of fight body stuff, but the feed in of cortisol and adrenaline not a good thing if happening too much, so consider some help, some tricks to deal with it if you can get it somewhere. Do know YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
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I get anxiety when my grandmother is alone with her caregivers. A couple have proved that they are more focused on their own personal needs. One doesn't like working night shifts. Boo hoo.
I cared for her 3 days/nights a week and asked for nothing while I was injured and away from work. Now, she has a different person every day and night and the so-called accredited agency has been less than responsive. The owner who gave me his card said to call if I ever have ANY concerns. I call him once, and he has his assistant call me back. Disgraceful. I will never recommend these types of agencies that just stay in business off the backs of others.
Taking care of a loved one is the most rewarding experience in life. Ask yourself why everyone is always in a rush to have kids.
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Stay away of benzodiazepine anti-anxiety meds if living a clear-headed and focused life is important to you. Being a caregiver should mean being your best self for someone else. I swear one go my gm's CG's looks high when I check in on her. I wish I knew so I could get rid of her.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 25, 2019
Troubled,

I totally agree. So many people are hooked! Those drugs are extremely addictive. I think everyone knows at least one person that ended up in rehab. Addiction happens very quickly for some people and they don’t realize it until they try to get off of the drugs. Even taking them as prescribed by the doctor. Very sad.

People never think it will happen to them. Thanks for posting a realistic warning about benzodiazepines.
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Yes. It's a horrible feeling. Normally, I'm a pretty calm person, but during the last 4 years of my Mother's life, I was filled with worry & anxiety & pre-anticipatory grief. After she died, it took a little while for the anxiety to dissipate & feel like myself again. But then 7 months after her death my Aunt (age 92) suffered a CVA so the anxiety is back. I worry about the toll this anxiety can or will take on me.
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NeedHelpWithMom Apr 25, 2019
CaringRN,

This answer surprised me coming from a nurse. Nurses are awesome! Very knowledgeable with tons of experience. Calm and organized to do a very challenging job! Guess I never thought of nurses falling apart like the rest of us do at times. Nurses are the ones who beautifully care and comfort others.
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Every single day! If you find anything to help, please let me know.
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