What Happened to Me?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. Last month I feel like I was doing ok. I was a little depressed (lots of things going on) but, I got a job and I was sooo excited. My first day I satrted feeling dizzy and lightheaded. I went to the dr. and I had a sinus infection. The next couple days I started having panic attacks and lots of anxiety. Then I woke up the next day and was so anxious I couldnt think straight. I didnt feel like “me” anymore like I was walking around in a fog. this kept up for 3 weeks. I started going to counseling and when I go there I just kinda shut down and talk a little but it doesnt feel like me talking. they started me on celexa and I feel a little better anxiety wise but I still feel like Im on auto-pilot and I dont remember how it felt anymore to be normal. I am so scared i will feel like this forever. whats wrong with me??? has this happedned to anyone before??? I feel like Nothing will ever make me happy. I dont even know what I like anymore.

A. Given that I have only a small part of your “story” it’s difficult to know precisely what has occurred. It does not make much sense that you were doing seemingly okay and then you weren’t. If I were your current therapist, I would explore your history of anxiety and depression and also try to pinpoint what event has or set of events have led you to start having panic attacks and anxiety.

People generally have panic attacks and anxiety when they feel that their life is out of control. And generally, when the anxiety and panic begins, some aspect of their life is out of control. Sometimes people cannot make the connection between what is happening in their life and their panic attacks and anxiety. In other words, sometimes the panic attacks and anxiety symptoms seem to the individual experiencing them to come “out of nowhere.”

My suggestion for you is this: be evaluated by both medical and mental health professionals. See a medical doctor to rule out any medical issues that may be causing your symptoms. You mentioned that you have had a sinus infection. It is plausible that the sinus infection is having some effect on how you have been feeling. For instance, you said you are walking around in a fog. When people have sinus problems and/or allergies, they often describe that they are unable to “think straight” or that their thinking is “cloudy.”

But having a sinus infection may not have anything to do with what’s wrong or it might only explain a small part of the problem. This is why I suggest that you see a mental health professional also, and not for medication only. As you have said, medication can work to take the edge off of your anxiety but you need something more.

It would be helpful for you to find a therapist who can work with you to explore your depression, panic attacks and anxiety. He or she could teach you strategies to decrease your symptoms. At this point in time, you experience panic attacks and anxiety but have no way to control or stop these occurences. It does not seem that you have any way to combat these symptoms. Medication is simply not enough to correct this issue. A therapist can help with this. I wish you luck.

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jun 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). What Happened to Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/06/02/what-happened-to-me/