Anxiety

Lycanthrope

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
13,279
#1
So, I thought I'd give a bit of a blab out of curiosity and see what thoughts you have on a minor problem of mine.

I have vertigo, agoraphobia and acrophobia - lucky me. Means I can't stand open spaces, heights or the significant perception of depth :p I deal with it though, shrug it off and it doesn't affect me too much and isn't my direct problem. My problem, however, is one of the symptoms.

I have difficulty swallowing ;)

I first became aware of it when a close friend of mine, my other half and I were at the restaurant at Cape Point. Needless to say - huge wide open space fairly high up. It didn't bug me too much and thought it was beautiful, but it seems to have bugged me on a subconscious level since when the food arrived... eating it became troublesome.

It was literally as though I'd forgotten how to swallow. Every bite was a new sensation of, "Am I going to choke on this?!" Every time I managed to swallow, it was with a release of adrenaline and shock - heart thumping, breaking out in a cold sweat - that sort of thing.

After leaving the restaurant, walking around for a bit and exploring it started feeling a bit better, but was still there. It had passed completely by the time we arrived home.

The only other time I've experienced it has been the last time I went to a large cinema with my other half. It felt uncomfortable and, again, same symptoms.

I was just wondering if anyone's experienced this before or has any idea of how to deal with it when it happens? I find that I just try my best not to think about it and get through it :) Short-term solution though.

Thanks :)
 

Nick333

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Joined
Nov 17, 2005
Messages
33,807
#2
Take up smoking. :D
Just kidding.

Clearly the problem is the anxiety and not the symptom. You get rid of symptoms by treating the cause. Drugs would probably work for a while but you don't have to be a genius to see the flaw in that approach.

I recommend mindfulness meditation. Its really very effective for anxiety, although its not for everyone for a couple of reasons.
Most people have an image of meditation as a hippy, new-agey, "spiritual" practice so they tend to try it for a very short time before giving up because nothing "magical" happens and its hard work and boring.

Other options are years of therapy or drugs.

Five minutes of meditation a day will work wonders and its cheap and has no side effects.
 

VanZan

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2007
Messages
567
#4
Advice along the same lines as Nick I can suggest hypnosis - I know somebody (fully qualified MD) that uses it very effectively patients with smoking and weight problems. Phobias can be managed in the same way. Just make sure you get a competent person to help you.

If it is not too severe - mind over matter approach could also help. I have a bit of an issue with height - went and did a rope access course and does it now and again as part of my work. Not so difficult anymore. Still don't like it initially but after a while it doesn't bother me at all.
 

Gazer

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2005
Messages
1,059
#5
So, I thought I'd give a bit of a blab out of curiosity and see what thoughts you have on a minor problem of mine.

I have vertigo, agoraphobia and acrophobia - lucky me. Means I can't stand open spaces, heights or the significant perception of depth :p I deal with it though, shrug it off and it doesn't affect me too much and isn't my direct problem. My problem, however, is one of the symptoms.

I have difficulty swallowing ;)

I first became aware of it when a close friend of mine, my other half and I were at the restaurant at Cape Point. Needless to say - huge wide open space fairly high up. It didn't bug me too much and thought it was beautiful, but it seems to have bugged me on a subconscious level since when the food arrived... eating it became troublesome.

It was literally as though I'd forgotten how to swallow. Every bite was a new sensation of, "Am I going to choke on this?!" Every time I managed to swallow, it was with a release of adrenaline and shock - heart thumping, breaking out in a cold sweat - that sort of thing.

After leaving the restaurant, walking around for a bit and exploring it started feeling a bit better, but was still there. It had passed completely by the time we arrived home.

The only other time I've experienced it has been the last time I went to a large cinema with my other half. It felt uncomfortable and, again, same symptoms.

I was just wondering if anyone's experienced this before or has any idea of how to deal with it when it happens? I find that I just try my best not to think about it and get through it :) Short-term solution though.

Thanks :)

I have the same vertigo, anxiety, depth perception problems...the neurologist has put me on anitseizure (low dose of Lamictin 12.5 mg) medication which seems to be helping and I need sleep. Late nights seem to make the probem worse.
 

HavocXphere

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
31,488
#6
Kinda a band-aid fix to a real problem but: If you know that you are going to be in such a situation then some beta blockers might help. Kinda last resort though...I'd try everything else first.
 

stoke

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Joined
Aug 7, 2003
Messages
10,532
#8
Wax on Wax off young grasshopper.

When we were doing the Bloukrans jump off the bridge thingy, I was speaking to the bloke that dangles off of da cable that comes to pick you up while you are hanging upside-down hoping that the cord does not slip off your feet.

He loves his job and recons that it's one of the best jobs in the world.

I was flabbergasted, I don't get how this bloke can do that for a living, every time I looked over the edge, I panicked.

So, I was wondering if we were different kinds of people, but I have given this a lot of thought, and it's not that we are different kinds of people, it's because, when he was growing up, probably in a mountainous area, he got used to heights and he probably progressed to climbing, with rope, and then probably took up parasailing and then maybey hang-gliding ...

Point is, he trained himself to not be afraid of heights, but, he did it over a lot of time.
 

Lycanthrope

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Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
13,279
#9
@ Nick333 - Mindfulness, huh? I'm willing to look into it and give it a shot. Thank you :)

Best cure for anxiety is to stop giving a **** and to jsut go with the flow. :D
I tend to do that. Doesn't change anything though. Every time I fly it's still there, I just ignore it and read a book. Would like it GONE :D

@ VanZan - Hypnotherapy gives me the creeps :p I think I'm a control-freak in that regard. Same reason why I don't drink or smoke. Also, I have trouble wrapping my head around walking into someone's office saying, "Yeah, so... I'd like to be hypnotised, thanks" :)

@ Gazer, HavocXphere & Mephisto_Helix - I hate drugs. A lot. I tend to avoid them whenever possible. I'm stubborn :D Since I still consider this a minor irritation, it doesn't warrant pill popping just yet.

@ stoke - Yeah... I can believe that. I just find it frustrating since I can deal with the phobias pretty easily. They're there (heights, spaces, etc), nothing I can do to change it, so I get on with it. But I found the swallowing thing a bit distressing since it just "happens." I suppose because it feels like it's something which directly affects me, it's made "worse" in my mind.

Thanks for all your input. At least I have some options to consider in the future should it ever get worse or more constant. Worst case scenario I'll start drinking :p
 

HansieH

Active Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
52
#11
@ Nick333 - Mindfulness, huh? I'm willing to look into it and give it a shot. Thank you :)



I tend to do that. Doesn't change anything though. Every time I fly it's still there, I just ignore it and read a book. Would like it GONE :D
It's there because it was there before and you expected it to be again. Self perpetuating is the word. If you believe it shouldn't happen and won't happen then it won't. You've created a whole lot of anxiety about it that has in itself created a problem.
Simple really, but not easy to resolve.
 

Lycanthrope

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Oct 26, 2006
Messages
13,279
#12
It's all a matter of teaching yourself to RELAX! Forget about taking drugs.
Try deep breathing.
Heh... Tried that - usually get light-headed after a while :D

It's there because it was there before and you expected it to be again. Self perpetuating is the word. If you believe it shouldn't happen and won't happen then it won't. You've created a whole lot of anxiety about it that has in itself created a problem.
Simple really, but not easy to resolve.
Possible, also probable, but both times it just happened out of the blue - wasn't really much thought involved, just realisation or awareness thereof.

As I said, only happened twice so far. First time was scary as heck, second time was just, "Eh, I'll get through it" and I did :) We'll see what happens the third time... Maybe it'll have resolved itself if I anticipate it. Then again, perhaps that'll make it worse lol :D Will see :p Worst case scenario it'll be a funny story :p
 

Lord Anubis

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2005
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3,764
#14
I had two fears, both stemming from childhood. Once when I was little my parents went to visit a friend and their dog bit me. Since then I was terrified of dogs, I would avoid them at all cost, even rfuse to viit people who had a dog (claiming I had allergis etc which was a cover-up). How did I get over it..well when I got married to my first wife, I told her of my problem. She said we should get a pet. We went together to a petshop and I instinctively avoided the dogs and went straight to the fish tanks, took a tour of the birds, bunnies and kittens and said to her that the place was stinky and I wanted to leave. She turned around and said I must wait one second, she came back with a tiny black ball. It looked like a little bear?? I immediately picked it up. It was a tiny chow! We took it home and six years later, I had two chows, two staffies and two pitbulls on my property. I was completely over it. I had even started becoming a bit of a local expert on pitbulls and my males were studs. Then my wife and I split. She took everything. The house the dogs etc. I haven't had dogs since but my current wife has a few cats and I love them just the same.

The other problem was a fear of heights. I never experianced until I was in standard 5 and I had to go on a veldschool. I was in and afrikaans primary at the time. On this veldschool we had to cross a river on two cables one to stand on and one to hold on. I couldn't do it. I froze. I was mocked and jeered. Later when I went to highschool, I could never go to the third floor. If I looked over the banister I would feel jelly legged and want to faint. It was like I was being pulled over! In matric, I went to the PT teacher and told him my problem. I said I was very worried because when I went to the army I would be terrified and probably wouldn't be able to do my basic and would humiliate myself. He said not to worry and devised a plan. I told my best friend and after school, he and I would go to the school gym, where the PT teacher had devised a course for me. First day, I had to stand barefoot on the JHB telephone book, the second day I had to stand on a pile of rubber mats (about 30cm high), the hird day I stood on a chair. Then it was back to the phone book, mats and chair repeated for a week. and so on and so on. By the third week, I was walking on the balancing bar, climbing the gym rope to the ceiling and had competely lost my fear. My friends father had a small plane and the final hurdle was getting me airborne. I have never looked back and lost all my fear.

I'm not advocating that you "confront" your fear like a fearfactor type of thing, but sometimes there are easy therapies to overcome them. Drugs imho are last resort, they can cause you later to develop other anxieties, such as running out of meds etc
 

Lycanthrope

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Oct 26, 2006
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13,279
#15
Thanks for sharing that, BTech - it's appreciated :)

I'd hate to think that my fears control me. I feel them, I can't control that. But if I want to go up Table Mountain, I'll go up Table Mountain. I won't like it, but I'll do it to prove a point to myself. The whole "swallowing" issue I have makes me feel helpless because I can't "stop" it when it happens. All I can do is just try to do my best to deal with it until I'm out of that environment.

It's... annoying me more than anything else.
 

Mephisto_Helix

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Jan 29, 2008
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27,258
#16
if you want to leave the drugs for now, a suggestion I can make is that you take a bottle of cold water with you whenever you can ..... that helps alot with the swallowing thing ;) (tap/room temp water doesn't do it btw).
 

Lycanthrope

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Oct 26, 2006
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13,279
#17
hehe... Meph... If there's one thing I hate more than not being able to swallow in a cinema, it's having to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes :D I'll consider it though :p Thanks :D
 
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