Undiagnosed Is it more then anxiety?

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I have been suffering for a very long time. At 13 Police were at our door . Something happened to my older brother from what I could understand in my bed waking up from sleep. I heard my parents car leave. Hours later I awoke to my parents screaming over and over that he's dead.A mentally ill man had gotten angry that my brother was with his girlfriend in the apartments hallway. An argument ensued and the man came out of his apartment and shot him with a shotgun. My brother just turned 18. Nothing in our home was the same after that. Years later when I was 27 my aunt called me to tell me my parents were on their way to my other older brother's home. He was not answering his phone. While I was preparing dinner for my family I received a phone call with my parents crying screams on the other end of the line that they found him dead on the floor. He was 32 and died of an overdose. There was some abuse on his part with me when I was young. My mother is the only one that knows.I don't feel she truly believes me. They are elderly now and I don't want to take away their feelings of love and sainthood for that passed brother.
I am now taking care of my elderly parents. They live very local. I am retired and spend a lot of my time back and forth to doctors and helping any way I can when asked. I cook extra to give my mom a break from cooking . They are still self sufficient enough to stay in their home. However, I have been in and out of the hospital with my dad over the years for numerous health reasons including falls. I speak to my mom at least twice a day and also go over several times a week. Sometimes to drop off food, walk her dog etc. (she has a large backyard other times for her dog and a pooper scooper). Latelywhen she calls I start holding my breath and my stomach knots up. All the anxiety starts again and I get spaceyand frozen. I hate not to tell her to call but she always "forgets" to tell me something. I know I associate her calls, especially recently, with my dad falling or worse. I also have sleep issues for years. I have panic attacks over and over and over. Some nights I only get to sleep at 6 in the morning and sleep two hours. My husband drops something and I jump out of my skin. I hold my ears if I hear a siren. I hyperventilate if I see lights and police cars . I hear the noise of children playing outside and even though I KNOW they are not screaming because of something horrible happened, that's how I hear their voices. My biggest problem now is involuntarily tensing my stomach. It makes my heart pound, I get spacey and my stomach fills with gas from the tension. I was given paxil MANY years ago. I still take a low dose but it has pooped out. I DO NOT want to be are another antidepressant though. Any help with relaxation techniques are appreciated. I did go to a therapist years ago. I don't know if this sounds like pTSD or just anxiety.
 

Sideways

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No one here can diagnose you. And it sounds like you could definitely do with some additional support, because you have a lot that you're trying to deal with right now.

With ageing parents myself, who are requiring an increasing level of assistance from me, I can definitely relate to the immense stress that can bring. It can become pretty consuming - physically, financially, emotionally. So getting some support for you, whatever that looks like, is something you deserve.

You've referenced 'just anxiety' in your post. I may be misreading, but know that regardless of whether you have anxiety, ptsd, or something else:
(1) you deserve extra support, it doesn't need to get any worse to warrant seeking that out; and
(2) ptsd isn't necessarily worse than Anxiety (in the clinical sense of them term) - for many people, living with an anxiety disorder is extremely debilitating, sometimes more so than what another person with ptsd might experience.

Either way, give some thought to seeking out some additional support. Our parents aren't getting any younger, and supporting them isn't getting any easier, yeah? So look after yourself, and do feel that you need to do that alone. Improving your lived experience doesn't necessarily need to include anti-depressants:)
 
Thank you for your reply. I take the lowest dose of xanax for the night time panic attacks. My body is in such a state of alarm that I don't ALLOW the xanax to work in helping me sleep. I am so embarrassed since my son lives at home saving for a house and probably hears the loud noises from my room. I was up suddenly jump out of bed and fling myself into the tall dresser . I don't know why I do that with the panic. I can feel it coming on when and try to stop it with no success. My husband tried many times to hold me down with no success. I have to get away. I work on self talk at night telling myself that I am deserving of sleep, relaxation and I alone am not responsible for everyones well being and happiness. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When I take the xanax for a few nights in a row I finally can sleep with only two or three wake ups to panic. However, I then suffer in the day with more anxiety. It seems what doesn't come out at night will rear it's head in the day. I am working on being aware of my body responses to stress and triggers which cause the involuntary clenching stomach muscles. I had read on a PTSD forum a very good description of how people suffering from PTSD handle stress. It stated that everyone has a cup of stress daily. Then they get relief from the stress and their cup goes down. However those who suffer with PTSD have stress in their cups already .So any stress added will overflow already filled cups. That description fits to a tee with me.
Right now while typing I am consciously working on relaxing my muscles in my stomach and breathing correctly. I'm using the mantra "I deserve to relax". Any other tips would be much appreciated.
 

Sideways

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There's an app called PTSD coach which has sleeping tips and guided breathing exercises to help relax. You may find some of that helpful:)
 
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