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Chest Pains / Anxiety / Stress / Bereavement


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Guest Anonymous

 

Hi all, 

My dad passed away 4 months ago and ever since, I have been experiencing chest pains. These chest pains sometimes go away, but they always end up coming back. This past week, the chest pains have gotten far worse than normal to the point where if I leave the couch / bed, I feel a stabbing pain / pressure when I walk or get up. 

I'm obviously under a lot of stress at the moment and my anxiety has gone through the roof. I can't stop thinking of possible catastrophic scenarios and obsess over them over and over again to the point where I can't do anything other than think of these scenarios I made up in my mind. I've always been prone to slight anxiety, but ever since my dad passed away, I can't stop obsessing over various fears and think "what's next now". I live in a permanent state of fear and anxiety. Once I manage to get over the anxiety of one fear, I shortly start focusing on another one. 

Coupled with the chest pains, I've experienced a loss of appetite and a permanent state of exhaustion. I know I need to see a doctor, which I did twice, and they all said it was "stress induced". 

What can I do to get better aside from seeing a therapist?

Please do not mention exercising because I used to run 5K every single day for a very long time, but as long as my mental health and anxiety aren't managed, I can't go around exercising. There is just a strong mental block there.

Thanks.

 

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53 minutes ago, Guest Anonymous said:

My dad passed away 4 months ago and ever since I live in a permanent state of fear and anxiety. I know I need to see a doctor, which I did twice, and they all said it was "stress induced". 

Sorry this is happening. Condolences on the loss of your father. Do you live at home? Is your mother alive or siblings? How old are you?

Do you work? Go to school? 

You have had a complete workup from a physician? If you are experiencing this go to an ER even if it's panic attacks, it can be  better managed.

Research local hospitals for bereavement support groups.

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Posted (edited)

I would get over the mental block by taking no excuses actions.  Don't run 5k.  Run 1k or walk 1k -do at least 20 minutes of cardio of some sort.  5k not needed.  Get your workout clothes ready where they are right near you when you wake up (set your alarm earlier if needed).  Have your water bottle ready and your sneakers by the door.  Be on autopilot so mental blocks are irrelevant.  Download some uplifting music and/or interesting podcast and use headphones if safe.  Get it over with in the morning.  Have a reward ready like your favorite coffee and/or a luxurious shower. 

Mental health and anxiety are precisely the reasons not to give in to 'mental blocks" to exercise. Or telling yourself it's a "block" -it's your choice and to me there is absolutely nothing better for mental health and anxiety than exercise with great hydration -plain water I mean.  Secondarily sleep helps too.  But the instant gratification rewards of exercise are unequaled.  

I would get an EKG to rule out medical causes.

I am very very sorry about your loss.

Edited by Batya33
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I have similar issues but no death in my family.  I have a tightness in my chest that sometimes makes it hard to breathe and it can hurt a lot.  I am seeing a naturopath/Chinese medicine doctor and she is helping me with several different treatment plans.  You might want to think about trying that.

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57 minutes ago, RuedeRivoli said:

I think you have the wrong person, sorry. 

When you edit a post it removes the anonymous label and replaces it with your actual user name. So everyone can see who posted the OP and then look up your posting history.

I too was suffering from severe anxiety. Going for walks helped tremendously. Sitting inside alone with my thoughts made it way worse. 

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1 hour ago, Guest Anonymous said:

I think you have the wrong person, sorry. 

My advice is the same, either way. Take care of yourself. Get better  management of panic attacks and anxiety, if it's overwhelming, go to and ER.

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5 hours ago, Guest Anonymous said:

 I know I need to see a doctor, which I did twice, and they all said it was "stress induced". 

What can I do to get better aside from seeing a therapist?

^ I have a hard time understanding the above.  First of all, what did the doctors recommend to help you? Were you given any medication to help relieve your anxiety/stress etc?  If not, why not?  Did they simply say, "it's stress related"  ...goodbye, and leave you with no advice and no help?

Secondly, I also don't understand why you want to avoid the very thing which can and will help you?  You are never going to beat the kind of anxiety/stress you are going through right now without professional help (imo).  It makes no sense at all to have these serious health concerns, ask a message board for help, instead of looking to true professionals who WILL give you the help you need.

If you broke your arm, would you put a bandage on it and simply hope it goes away and heals on its own?  No.  You would get help from a surgeon who would set your arm and fix it. Mental health needs the same kind of help - professional help.

That said, I totally agree with Batya - there is no need to run 5k's.  A brisk walk for 1k is a good start and indeed ANY form of exercise is a good start.  If you refuse therapy, then all that is left to you is exercise.

I would suggest seeing a doctor again (maybe a different doctor), discuss at length exactly what is going on, get some medication and preferably a recommendation to a therapist.

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A lot of people say they can't afford therapy. But there are multiple services that offer online appointments and charge a minimal fee or use a sliding scale. All you need to do is a Google search.

I personally would never have been doing as well as I am without therapy and medication. I'm off the meds now but the tools my professional team taught me have helped so much that I haven't needed meds in about a year. But I will go back on them if it's determined I need to. I don't want to go back to where I was cowering fearfully on my couch in the fetal position, afraid to even open my apartment door.

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7 hours ago, Guest Anonymous said:

 

Hi all, 

My dad passed away 4 months ago and ever since, I have been experiencing chest pains. These chest pains sometimes go away, but they always end up coming back. This past week, the chest pains have gotten far worse than normal to the point where if I leave the couch / bed, I feel a stabbing pain / pressure when I walk or get up. 

I'm obviously under a lot of stress at the moment and my anxiety has gone through the roof. I can't stop thinking of possible catastrophic scenarios and obsess over them over and over again to the point where I can't do anything other than think of these scenarios I made up in my mind. I've always been prone to slight anxiety, but ever since my dad passed away, I can't stop obsessing over various fears and think "what's next now". I live in a permanent state of fear and anxiety. Once I manage to get over the anxiety of one fear, I shortly start focusing on another one. 

Coupled with the chest pains, I've experienced a loss of appetite and a permanent state of exhaustion. I know I need to see a doctor, which I did twice, and they all said it was "stress induced". 

What can I do to get better aside from seeing a therapist?

Please do not mention exercising because I used to run 5K every single day for a very long time, but as long as my mental health and anxiety aren't managed, I can't go around exercising. There is just a strong mental block there.

Thanks.

 

You don't have to go back to 5k running  straight away. 

Start with walking in nice/scenic and peaceful areas such as parks, woodland, near rivers, lakes etc.

Listen to ASMR. 

Meditative sounds of rain for example.

Deep Breathing  exercises

There are apps you can download onto your phone which may help manage your stress. 

Talking therapy. May help for you to speak to someone face to face.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I'm seeing a therapist, hence my sentence "aside from seeing a therapist".  It's not reluctance. 

Yes, the doctors told me it was stress related and suggested therapy. That's it. One suggested medication, which I refused because at that point, it has only been a month since my dad passed and I was in the thick of it with grief, so I didn't want to jump the gun. 

I'm against medication, regardless of what people say. Unless I have a particular physical condition, any mental-health medication is a no go for me. 

Edited by RuedeRivoli
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I am not sure why . So so so many people live productive lives on mental health medications. My husband does and he is 100% completely functional and has a great life and career. Or he could be floundering around totally anxious, fainting and losing jobs. 

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1 hour ago, RuedeRivoli said:

I'm seeing a therapist, hence my sentence "aside from seeing a therapist".  It's not reluctance. 

Yes, the doctors told me it was stress related and suggested therapy. That's it. One suggested medication, which I refused because at that point, it has only been a month since my dad passed and I was in the thick of it with grief, so I didn't want to jump the gun. 

I'm against medication, regardless of what people say. Unless I have a particular physical condition, any mental-health medication is a no go for me. 

So then you don't medicate with alcohol or caffeine or sugar, correct? When I have stress or anxiety  it presents physically very often -stomach or headache, increased blood pressure, and you claim it's resulted in some sort of "mental block" preventing you from exercise -that's a physical condition, yes? Do you know that certain medication affects your mental health as well?  I'm not a doctor but I know if I take advil it often helps me sleep - so I take it at night specifically.  To me anyway it's interrelated - and certainly sugar/caffeine affects your mental health (if you use either).

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1 hour ago, Seraphim said:

I am not sure why . So so so many people live productive lives on mental health medications. My husband does and he is 100% completely functional and has a great life and career. Or he could be floundering around totally anxious, fainting and losing jobs. 

I strongly believe my father would have died as a young/younger man had he not taken meds for depression for many decades (he lived to 83) -either by suicide or simply because he wouldn't have taken care of himself physically as a result of depression.

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1 hour ago, RuedeRivoli said:

I'm seeing a therapist, hence my sentence "aside from seeing a therapist".  It's not reluctance. 

Yes, the doctors told me it was stress related and suggested therapy. That's it. One suggested medication, which I refused because at that point, it has only been a month since my dad passed and I was in the thick of it with grief, so I didn't want to jump the gun. 

I'm against medication, regardless of what people say. Unless I have a particular physical condition, any mental-health medication is a no go for me. 

Well, now you know that it's not physical. Have you considered changing therapists, or perhaps attending group therapy for people going through the grieving process?

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20 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I strongly believe my father would have died as a young/younger man had he not taken meds for depression for many decades (he lived to 83) -either by suicide or simply because he wouldn't have taken care of himself physically as a result of depression.

My dad’s lack of taking his mental health medication is completely responsible for my father’s complete and utter lack of any friends or family and his death . 100% related. 

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Posted (edited)

I have anxiety and after the loss of my mother my anxiety and grief was at an all time high.  I reached out to my therapist who I hadn't seen in years, but his practice is now so limited he couldn't see me.  I checked into grief support groups, but made excuses not to go.

I am sorry about the loss of your father and one thing that might help is to be gentle with yourself and know that what you experiencing is normal.  I think we tend to spiral further when we think there is something wrong with us.  Embrace the grief instead of fighting it.  It tends to loosen it's grip.  Give yourself the permission to feel the intense emotions rather than struggling with them.

There are plenty of grief support groups and if your father was in hospice, that's a great resource to find one.   I regret I didn't do it.  It would have been helpful to share experiences with others who understood and were going through the same thing. Honestly, I was a mess for about a year.  But the anxiety was the most acute the first few months.

I wouldn't consider meds unless this continues for an extended period of time.  I know you mentioned having grief for a month, but it sounds to me that you are still grieving and possibly labeling it something else.   I personally wouldn't want to take a pill that would mask a normal response (albeit painful) of the loss of a loved one.

Wishing you the best. . .

Edited by reinventmyself
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2 hours ago, RuedeRivoli said:

I'm seeing a therapist, hence my sentence "aside from seeing a therapist".  It's not reluctance. 

Yes, the doctors told me it was stress related and suggested therapy. That's it. One suggested medication, which I refused because at that point, it has only been a month since my dad passed and I was in the thick of it with grief, so I didn't want to jump the gun. 

I'm against medication, regardless of what people say. Unless I have a particular physical condition, any mental-health medication is a no go for me. 

The chest pains are a concern. I would seek medical advice for that if it persists. In regards to any catastrophic thinking or anxiety, working on smaller projects helps. Stay busy and productive and try to watch your thoughts, remaining positive along the way where possible. If you know there are certain hours of the day where you feel extra fatigued or exhausted, plan to take rests and don't stay up too late and try a different routine. 

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3 hours ago, RuedeRivoli said:

I'm seeing a therapist. the doctors told me it was stress related and suggested therapy.

The combination of long standing family dysfunction, estrangement from them then being forced together through your fathers death can bring a lot more stress than grief alone. It sounds like in addition to underlying anxiety, getting reinvolved with family in an overinvolved way is causing unnecessary strife.

Take a break from your mother. Take some yoga or tai chi or meditation classes. Try massage or other relaxing stress reducing techniques. 

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Posted (edited)

I had something very similar to your chest pain experience happen after my Grandmother died.  Went to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack or had had one.  

They ran all kinds of tests and did an EKG and everything came back completely normal.

Then they asked the psychological questions and found out my Grandmother had just passed, and the Dr and nurse told me this is a normal thing that can happen when experience severe grief - the chest pains.  

So it may just be the grieving process for you.  Everyone grieves differently.  I do think it can be dangerous, as your heart muscle can be affected (think of the, "dying of a broken heart," medical condition).  

Usually if it's the broken heart syndrome thing it gets better within a few months, but doctors recommend taking it easy as I think the heart muscle is stressed and damaged physically and needs that time to repair.  Ironic that *emotions* can be SO strong that they affect the heart physically.

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiomyopathy/what-is-cardiomyopathy-in-adults/is-broken-heart-syndrome-real

Edited by maritalbliss86
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Posted (edited)

Marital‘s advice above I think is correct Anon,

 

I am just so sorry about your loss. Most of us can’t imagine it if we have never lost anyone close, especially a parent.

 

You sound like you are experiencing heart ache. Of the deepest kind. Heart break, all those phases we hear in songs have real, physical manifestations. It’s very true. You can be in real pain. There is science to back this up, if you wanted to research online.

 

I don’t know if that would help you. Therapy, talking to trusted friends, a sibling, family members? Trying to dull the thoughts of grief by engaging in things that ease your burden, even if just a little and very temporary. I think during this time, the instinct is usually right - to curl up and protect yourself and go easy. 
 

I’m not a doctor, I’m not a psychologist - but my instinct when someone experienced great loss, so recently as yourself, is to trust your own gut and do what feels right for you. Keep life as light and easy as you can, things are already hard enough right now for you emotionally. 
 

Do you know anyone else who has lost a parent who you can talk too? Or join any groups for grief? Sometimes, depending on your personality and what feels okay, just talking or writing about feelings can help us process them.

 

A spa day, light hearted movies, shopping trip, starting a project - or even just getting plenty of sleep if you can, a hot bath - letting yourself go through all the different feelings and emotions. There are many. Some people think there are stages to grief, that someone has to go through before we reach acceptance. I’m not completely sure, I think it never fully goes away depending on your relationship to the person that passed but, just know you will get there. Take each day as it comes, each passing hour. You can do this step by step. It will start to feel better.

 

I’m sorry for your heart break. People’s hearts do literally ache in times of deep stress and grief. 
 

If it continues and you are concerned, I would double check with your doctor. There are many people who will be able to relate to your symptoms after the loss of someone so close. 
 

I wish you all the best.

 

Keep letting your feelings out somehow, however which way that is natural and easy for you. You’ll feel better eventually.
 

x

Edited by mylolita
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Sorry that you lost your father, I can’t imagine the pain you’re in. Never lost a parent so I don’t know what to say. But I lost my grandmother and she was the person I loved most in this world, I didn’t leave my house for 2 months. I changed my country because I couldn’t stay away from my family. Now I regret that I changed my life because my grandmother wouldn’t have wanted it. I can’t say anything about your pain, you should talk to the doctors for them, but other than that, life goes on and don’t let it slip away. 

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On 5/16/2022 at 10:56 AM, RuedeRivoli said:

I'm against medication, regardless of what people say. Unless I have a particular physical condition, any mental-health medication is a no go for me. 

Well, you do have a particular physical condition, and the harm to your body is tangible, chronic and destructive. Research it, and decide whether you'll want to suffer even worse consequences because you didn't take prescribed steps to treat the source condition early.

If you were told that it's a heart condition, would you be opposed to meds then?

I would do whatever it takes to treat the source, and if that included meds to help me normalize my chemical imbalance, then my goal would be to wean back off of them with careful monitoring after I've improved.

Meanwhile, nixing basic exercise makes no sense, either. Even a simple walk in the morning or evening while focusing on an audio book can reset your focus for longer and longer periods.

I'm not being dismissive, I DO understand anxiety, unfortunately, and I recognize that it's not something that I can 'think' my way out of. It's involuntary, it's reflexive, it's definitely PHYSICAL as well as mental, and which comes first--the physical response or the mind drills into obsession is nearly irrelevant because it's so tightly interwoven.

So why not address both with your own version of physical therapy as well as medical treatment along with talk therapy. And, if you're not finding your therapist helpful enough, ask your doc for a referral to another therapist who specialized in anxiety and monitoring anxiety meds.

Either it's important enough to you to treat this properly, or it's not, but it's not going to resolve itself--have you noticed?

Head high, and my heart goes out to you for your loss. Write more if it helps. 

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