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Jessie's Story

by Jessie
(Missouri)

"It all started after I had my third child. I was diagnosed with P.P.D. (post partum depression) Actually I was then re diagnosed with anxiety. It started when I had bronchitis, I didn't know I had it at the time. It was a Friday night and I started feeling "cotton mouth", then I started feeling like my throat was closing shut and I couldn't breathe. I thought I was going to die, which is my biggest fear. I don't want to leave my kids. Then I just couldn't function at all, I was fine when I was sleeping then when I woke up it was like a rush you could call it that went from my toes all the way up. Then I started to feel like I couldn't catch my breath and etc. I finally talked my fiancé into taking me to the E.R. because I really thought I was going to die!! They did chest x-rays and said that I had a touch of bronchitis. I felt better after the E.R., or so I thought. I started to slowly realize, that I didn't want to be left alone. Every time I was left alone, I started feeling like I couldn't breathe, and etc. Finally a couple days after the E.R. visit my mother in law took me to the walk in clinic. I didn't want to go because I was afraid they would call me crazy and put me in the psych ward if I told them I thought I was going to die. It would be many, many months later that I learned that anxiety could actually cause you to have a fever and you can work yourself up to about any symptom. The walk in doctor gave me some pills (short term relief) and suggested I following up with my regular doctor. My regular doctor is a very down to earth person whom has stated she has been through similar ups and downs. She put me on 25mg (lowest dose you can get) of Zoloft. I was to take one daily. I did take one daily religiously so then on my own which I had learned was a COMPLETE no, no, I stopped taking them because I didn't think I needed them anymore. Sure enough a couple weeks later I was in my doctor office again. She bumped me up to 50mg daily, because I told her that I didn't think the 25mg were doing anything. I did really well for awhile, then a couple weeks ago I got the "flu" or flu like symptoms, I couldn't keep anything down, including my pill. I freaked out double fold, I mean really thought I was going to die!! I went to the E.R. on Friday because several days ago I found an attached kit then I saw in the paper where a perfectly healthy man had died from a tick borne illness, so I freaked and automatically assumed that's what I had. Due to my extreme fear of dying I went to the E.R.. He said he did not think that's what I had because it takes four weeks for that to take effect. He diagnosed me with anxiety and the flue and told me to get back on my meds. So I still had the diarrhea and puking, he also prescribed me Doxycycline which is the antibiotic that is used to treat the tick borne illness. I went back to work that Friday and read on the internet about tick borne disease and my symptoms, so then I scared myself even more. I was so bad with the panic attacks this time that I went to my nurses house on Friday and Saturday. I talked to her on the phone Saturday and she said that I need to get out of the house and do something to get my mind off of it and try to relax. After I got off the phone with her I felt better (sometimes that's all it takes) I went fishing had a good day then that night same thing diarrhea and puking. Between my bouts of puking I had read in the paper that a man had died from a tick borne illness from kidney failure. Almost immediately my kidneys hurt, mind you I was taking my pill but not able to keep it down, nor anything else. So I left from there went to my nurses house again on Saturday night and told her I thought I was having kidney failure. She talked me down and look at me and made sure she didn't see anything medically. I went home and went to sleep. I was fine until I woke up then it was like "Oh Gosh" I am still sick, what the hell. Okay I had to work Monday, I woke up and didn't think I could go to work, I felt like a rat in a cage, I just didn't know what to do, I had gotten bit by a mosquito Sunday night and told myself I probably had West Nile !!!????? I know right!!?? I went to see my doctor that Monday and she said until I feel I can handle myself, don't watch T.V. programs about illness or surf the internet to look at the symptoms :I think, I have" she said if you have questions, call me don't look on the internet. She said "If you could get good sound doctor information on the internet, no one would go to a doctors office" I was like yea, you know what your right. I struggled for the next couple days going to work, because I was afraid I was going to freak out. My friend that I know is a masseuse, she told me to use this oil called "valor" it really does help me at least kinda stay calm, or at least I think it does, either way I don't care as long as I am not freaking out. I still everyday if something hurts or I get bit by a mosquito, or I get dizzy, think oh gosh, I am dying. But I am able to talk myself down a little or I just go to sleep then my thoughts don't run wild, but in the morning guess what's waiting for me" My crazy thoughts" I just wish I could feel normal again. I guess I really don't know how to handle myself because until I had my third child I never had any of this. Its been a year now since I have been diagnosed and I still struggle everyday. I know I am not crazy but I feel crazy, I really do, I don't know how else to describe it. I don't want to be on meds all my life, I just want to feel like I used to."

Susan's Comments:
I am sure so many people can relate to Jessie's story. One of the many jobs that anxiety has, is to make you question everything you feel or think. It's really common for anxiety sufferers to search the internet looking for other reasons that could be causing them to feel the way they do. It's really hard to believe that something like anxiety can create such distressing feelings. For many, they are not convinced and keep searching for answers that will never be found. Countless trips to the doctor or the local emergency room are common traits. The anxious person is afraid there is something more serious wrong... something that their doctor has not checked or ruled out.

It's important to realize that until you accept what you are going through is nothing more than anxiety, you will continue to struggle and suffer emotionally. One of the most important things you can work on is positive thought replacement. Anxiety is always trying to talk you into scaring yourself by focusing on the different feelings and thoughts that you have. Anxiety is a LIAR! Stop believing the lies! I know it's difficult, but it's time to tell yourself the truth! Repetition is so important in order to recover from an anxiety disorder. It takes some time to conquer this but you can do it! It's important to keep your head up high and do what's necessary to get better. Even if you don't feel like it's working, do it anyways.

It takes a long time before you feel the effects of your positive thought replacement. But it's important that you continue daily.

Focus on also practicing the tips listed in Stress Management. They all play an important role in bringing you towards recovery.

I can tell you that you will never be the same as you were before. I know many people say they wish they could go back to the way things were before the anxiety happened. I have even said this myself before, but the truth is, you don't. If you were, you'd always be faced with the initial challenge of anxiety.

It is your experience that is going to teach you to become a stronger, more capable person. I know this is hard to believe but it's true. I've been there myself and I don't regret any of my experiences with anxiety and panic. It is because of my experience that I am more willing to step out in life and take risks. Please be encouraged! Things will be even better than before. Listen to the experience of others who have recovered and believe for yourself enough to do what it takes to get better. You are never alone!

It is important to fill yourself with reassuring information. Hearing the truth about anxiety repeatedly helps to break the negative cycle inside your own head.

Comments for Jessie's Story

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Mar 04, 2010
"That is me"
by: Yolanda

After reading Jessie's story, I thought to myself "That is me." Since the birth of my son 4 years ago, I have had issues with anxiety and "paranoid thoughts." I too believe that any illness that I have is an automatic death sentence, which of course is not the case. I would search Web MD and the worst possible scenario that was listed, I assumed that applied to me. The anxiety finally came to a screeching halt when I called my mother crying and told her I was convinced I had cancer and was going to die. I told her I was going to make out a will and name her as my son's guardian- I sounded like a raving idiot! My mother had enough and insisted on going with me to my doctor's appointment. Since I have a history of this type of behavior, the Dr. wasted no time in prescribing me Zoloft. I have since had to have my dosage increased. I am so ashamed that I have to take medication just to function normally. Hopefully one day, I will be able to function without the use of medication. By the way, I do not have cancer and I am not going to die. I found out I have Interstitial Cystitis, which is very treatable.

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