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I have anxiety about my anxiety

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Larkspur, Jan 7, 2021.

  1. Larkspur

    Larkspur Peer Supporter

    I thought I'd post here just to get this out of my head. I have been experiencing heart palpitations on and off for years now. I've had an EKG and they say everything is normal. I mostly believe that, except when it gets really bad, and my heart starts beating wildly and irregularly--doing flips in my chest, and pulling crazy stunts. It's very hard to ignore when it is really bad, and hard to ignore even when it's mild. To be honest its driving me a little bonkers because it will be present sometimes for 8 hours or more a day, and often well into the night while I'm sleeping. And then some days it will disappear and I feel fine. I can't find a link between when it's fine and when it's not. I definitely don't feel like I'm under any particular stress right now other than the usual...but I do feel like my body has lost the ability to deal with any level of stress after years of so much stress and trauma that it kind of broke my "gauge" if you will. I guess I'm in semi-permanent fight or flight now, or something like that. Even when I'm having a perfectly relaxing day at home drinking tea my body can still be acting like its in the danger zone. Mentally I feel fine, but the physical symptoms create their own anxiety, so then I become anxious about the symptoms, and I guess that's its own feedback loop. I also have a recurring eye twitch, and the heart palpitations and eye twitching seem to trade on and off for kicks--when one gets bored the other takes over, like they are playing a game of tag. Fun!

    I've tried meditating and breathing exercises, and it doesn't affect these symptoms in the slightest. Not one iota. So of course then I feel frustrated, and that probably adds to the stress. I'm going to just let it all be, Try to accept it without judgement, feel the palpitations and twitching and observe them with "gentle curiosity" as they say, and not try to fix or change anything. Onward!
     
    TrustIt, JanAtheCPA and Ellen like this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Good post @Larkspur! I am focusing on mindfulness. The two methods I'm using to work on achieving this are writing and meditation.

    I've been really good about the writing for a year - and it's been even more helpful during the shitstorm of the last 10 months. I write for a few minutes every night before going to sleep - I find that it almost always clears my mind for sleep.

    I have a hard time with the meditation, however, because my brain is very resistant - which I think means something similar to what you described, which is that my "normal" state has become, over decades, one of being revved up with stress all the time, and my brain freaks out when I try to achieve a different state. So I'll sit down to do a short meditation (using an app) and my heart might be racing, or thumping, or palpitating, or my whole body will just feel "jangly" and I think "well, I can't meditate feeling like THIS" - so I don't. What I've managed to achieve only recently (thanks to my meditation app, in fact) is to reject that last message. I've learned that it's fine to meditate no matter how I feel. Accepting what is - as you said @Larkspur: without judgement - that's a huge component of mindfulness.

    Two more things I've committed to more recently:

    - Exercise! Even if it's just a ten minute walk, I use the time to counteract the constant negative chatter - another form of mindfulness. I also take a long walk every week in a nice outdoor setting with different friends, I attend two paid weekly live workouts (one is yoga), my health plan sent me two free DVDs (yoga and tai chi, which I love) and of course we all have access to unlimited online resources.

    - Finally cutting way back on added sugars. I've spent years fooling myself into thinking I wasn't overdoing it, and that avoiding HFCS and never drinking sodas was all I needed to do for good health. But now with RA, the holiday season of 2020 really almost did me in with all of the seasonal treats that I love so much (Curse You, Trader Joe's!) I've finally accepted that added sugar in any form is an unnatural and addictive substance and it's also the one thing that is known to exacerbate RA pain, which I've finally admitted applies to me. Keeping the added sugars to less than 25 grams a day for a couple of weeks has led to a significant reduction of RA pain, fatigue, and brain fog, resulting in a significant increase in my sense of well-being. All of which make more exercise more achievable! Win Win!

    I mean, at some point you just gotta laugh, right? :hilarious:

    ~Jan
     
  3. Larkspur

    Larkspur Peer Supporter

    Yes to everything you said, Jan! I also have a lot of trouble with meditation--I just don't really enjoy it the way I enjoy exercise or being in nature. I love exercising, and going for hikes and I do those things all the time. But meditation is something I have to force myself to do and I wish it came more easily. But, I do know it will help a lot if I can keep at it. I'm trying to do small chunks a few times a day rather than one big lump.
    Oh I know you are so right about this one and I've been putting it off. I LOVE sugar in all its forms! But it's got to go. Yesterday I did a test run with no added sugars and I didn't have any heart palpitations--yay! But it's an uphill battle for me. I've done it before so I know I can do it again and I'll feel better when I'm sugar free, but jeez I wish I had to give up broccoli or kale instead:)

    :p(I wonder if that could be a new TMS technique--laughing our symptoms out of existence!)

    Thank you for your encouragement and I hope you are feeling better on your journey as well!
     
    JanAtheCPA likes this.

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