ME/CFS and anxiety?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Marta608, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Hi friends,

    I'm going to see a new doctor tomorrow afternoon. Most of the doctors .... no, ALL of the doctors I've seen diagnose me with an anxiety disorder. I have yet to see a specialist in the field, not that there are many of them.

    I'm the first to admit that I have a lot of anxiety, but much of it comes from having to constantly pace and monitor my days so I don't end up in a flare or relapse. "If I do this today, can I do that which I must do tomorrow? Can I go up and down the stairs again today? Can I go to the grocery store and back AND put the food way?", etc. It makes for self-absorption but I don't know any other way to handle it.

    How many of you who have been diagnosed with M.E., not general chronic fatigue, have (sometimes severe) anxiety as well? If so, do you feel it's part of the illness or a separate issue, but each impacts the other?

    If you could miraculously lose the anxiety, do you think you'd lose the extreme fatigue? How about visa versa?

    Thanks for your time and energy. I'll be back tomorrow to see your answers.


  2. neoplus1

    neoplus1 Member

    component to it. I think part of the anxiety is do to the symptoms, but I think it is also a consequence of the illnesses effect on the nervous system. Since I became ill, I am more sensative and reactive to things. I also have very poor stress response as well as experience some internal tremors. It is not the anxiety that causes it because even when I am not anxious, I can still have the other symptoms.

    This doesn't mean that stress and anxiety don't make it worse. It can actually make it much worse. I think it is important to try to treat the anxiety as well as the other symptoms to remove a complicating factor that could make you worse. You are definitely not alone with anxiety.
  3. Jittle

    Jittle Member

    I just have to find one. I saw one therapist last year for just two visits.... Then I lost my job and insurance. I did not care for her. I don't even know how to pick someone who can connect with.

    I feel like I am becoming less independent and "NEED" to rely on my husband. I also get nervous, I guess it is anxiety, when I have to explain FM to someone, when I have to go certain places or call people on my own. This is all knew to me, before I was sick I moved across the country by myself: Now calling the doctor stresses me out.

  4. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Thanks for your replies. Yes, I do agree with the neurological component to the illness; in fact, my original doctor at U.of M. Hospital eighteen years ago said he thought CFS was due to dysfunctional neurotransmitters. There are many other theories now, but this still makes sense to me, as well.

    Therapists want to make everything into a mental illness. After all, that's their specialty. I know we get zonky - nervous and anxious - but it's not all in our head. I think it would be natural to become more dependent when you have someone to depend on. Even when you don't have someone, you crave being able to let someone else carry the ball now and then. Being alone is overwhelming when the going gets tough. Don't blame yourself.


    Edited to correct a silly typo[This Message was Edited on 08/22/2012] Make that two silly typos!
    [This Message was Edited on 08/22/2012]
  5. jole

    jole Member

    I've been to a therapist for the FM/CF emotional issues. I was first diagnosed as bipolar, and a few months later they said, no way. The mental stress of going through this 'hell' caused severe anxiety/panic attacks for me. I think part of it was caused by the judgement of others.....and the therapist agreed. When others say you're lazy, not trying to recover, etc. it wears at you.

    Don't know if that is your problem, but I have a horrible time being in public now, and worked as a nurse for years. Didn't have this problem before getting sick. For me, it's all the stimulation of lights, noise, etc. that sets off the panic attacks/anxiety the worst, although there are days even at home that I feel the 'restlessness'.

    The only thing therapy taught me was to wear a loose rubber band on my wrist, and whenever I get 'anxious', snap the rubber band agains my arm. It draws your attention away from the thoughts that cause the anxiety for a bit, and sometimes I can get past it. Also, Xanax has been a lifesaver for me.
  6. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Yes, the judgement of others AND the self-judgement as well!

    I had to stop Xanax in order to use Valium for quitting Tamazapam. YIKES! Where's my rubber band??

  7. neoplus1

    neoplus1 Member

    topic about meditation. Have you tried it? I started about a week and a half ago and too my surprise, my nerves have started to calm down. There are many different types of meditation so look to see which kind may interest you. It is free and easy so it may be worth a shot.
  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    I do some meditation now as well as prayer and some CBT.

    I have to share this with all of you: I had the appointment with the new doctor this afternoon and guess what??? He knows that CFS/ME is viral! He encouraged me to contact Dr. Lerner when he returns at the end of the month, see if he takes Medicare and we'll go from there.

    People here have reported various degrees of success with Dr. Lerner's treatments so we'll see.

    But I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to be BELIEVED! :)

  9. sunflowergirl

    sunflowergirl Active Member

    As I get older, and practice the art of deep breathing, I've come across a really wonderful book. "Finding Serenity in the age of anxiety" by Robert Gerzon.
    He talks about 3 types of anxiety....natural (this spurs us on in our work, etc.) toxic anxiety (this is what a lot of us have trouble dealing with) and sacred anxiety.....thinking about the more deeper meaning of life, etc.

    Something I read today hit me.....paraphrasing.....anxiety is putting our attention on what we don't have or might lose (this could be the pain and fatigue or the life we've lost) and gratitude is looking at what we do have or can create.

    He talks about learning to listen to the inner voice.....the one who's is beating us up constantly, telling us we'll never get well, never be able to be what we want to be, etc. etc. We ALL have this voice going around in our head. Is it the voice of a parent, a spouse, ourself?

    Years ago I HAD to go to work in the evening to change a computer out.....I hated working at night but I HAD to do it. I started with the most unbelievable anxiety attack ever......I couldn't let it take over, not only did I have work that HAD to be done but there were a lot of people around me. I stood up and FACED it, instead of running from it. I let the feelings wash over me, telling myself I wasn't going to die and forcefully putting my attention on my work instead. Those feelings left, and I had such a feeling of triumph when I left.

    I highly recommend this book. It's slow reading, but I'm getting a lot out of it. When I reread it I'll remember even more.
  10. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    You've all said it so well. I need to come here more! It's so easy to feel like you're the only one struggling with this illness. Actually, it sounds like we're all Super Heroes! Dealing with the fatigue, anxiety, fear, estrangements, unbelievers, not to mention keeping up with our lives as well as we do..... Amazing! We Are Amazing People!*

    I will get the book by Gerzon. Thanks for the recommendation. And don't you love hearing how well it works to just keep going when we can. I image that that emotional push was fatiguing but it helps to know that our anxiety is only as strong as we allow it to be. Still, I thank God for Xanax now and then!

    Thanks again. May you have a wonderful *WAAP day.
  11. sascha

    sascha Member

    i'm certain that our conditions put us in state that carries anxiety along with it. we are weakened and compromised. our lives are much more difficult to manage. of course there are consequences like anxiety.

    Dr. Cheney coined the term "excitatory neurotoxicity" that i think perfectly expresses the state we are in. we are highly reactive to most anything/everything. i know i am.

    as for help, EFT could be well worth exploring. it helps me with pain, bearing sickness, fear-- lots of inf about it online, youtube has many videos of people using it, has inf to get you started.

    i use it because i need it and it helps. best of luck to us all! salome
  12. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Thank you, Sacsha. I'll look into it.