Worrying about my heart: tests normal, but I'm anxious

Posted by tngirl1 @tngirl1, Jan 27, 2019

This is my first time posting on here. I have been worrying about my heart ever since I went to the ER three months ago. I had a EKG blood work CT scan. All test came back normal. Then I had a echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test. All came back normal. I am not sleeping good at night due to worrying that something in my heart has changed since having all the test done. I am dealing with anxiety. Doctors have told me that I’m ok and that my heart is good. I have been having tightness on the left side of my chest and a burning feeling on my left side. It makes me worry more. I don’t know what to do.

@jenniferhunter

@tngirl1 I have been where you are, and had the same tests with the same symptoms. My dad actually was a heart patient and I was afraid that would happen to me. I saw him talk himself into having the first heart attack, and he couldn't let go of stress and it took a toll.

Take a breath, and be thankful that the doctors didn't find heart disease. That is a gift. Your tests are recent, and 3 months won't change that. You don't want to have heart disease. I know you want an answer, and you can find one. There are other reasons for having chest tightness like stress. This happens to me, and it happens in a rapid response to stressful situations. You can learn to be resilient and cope with stress. Stress is a major playing in the cause of about 80% of all disease according to doctors, and it takes a toll on your body. We evolved in a way to allow stressful events to get our full attention because it was a survival mechanism, and this gets triggered by events, and our body reacts as if it was life threatening. You have a choice to move past that thinking or get trapped in it. What you think has a big impact on your health. Don't talk yourself into having a problem.

I have thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) which makes my neck and chest muscles tight. If I am stressed by someone treating me badly, my muscles get tighter and can trigger a muscle spasm and pain into the left side of my chest. It starts with a neck spasm, and a few seconds later, causes the chest spasm. I have taken myself to the emergency room before for this, and was cleared as they only found anxiety. It's important to rule out heart disease, and then confront the causes of the stress and try to gain some resilience over them. When this happens to me, I can use my hands to stretch the muscles out and release them which stops the chest pain. I wouldn't be able to do that if it wasn't a chest wall muscle spasm. It can also happen because of moving my head to a certain position compressing nerves because of the tightness in my neck and chest. You might want to get a blood pressure cuff and take readings so you know what your normal pressure is and consult a doctor about that if yours is elevated. After a stressful event, mine can instantly shoot upward, but I've also learned how to lower the BP with deep breathing and relaxing music. Those were things I learned to do because I had to confront my fear of surgery. I was using music as therapy and measuring my blood pressure before and after the music session and I could lower my blood pressure 15 points.

Here are some suggestions I can give you.

Join the Gratitude discussion group here on Connect, and share what you are grateful for. That goes a long way toward banishing stress and fear and helping you feel valued and connected.

See a physical or massage therapist who does Myofascial Release work. This is how you can learn to physically release tight fascia and muscles in your body. It helps me a lot with TOS, and the stress causes layers of tightness that may take time to unravel. http://www.myofascialrelease.com

Get some exercise. (as long as your doctor agrees)

Volunteer somewhere doing something you like… maybe an animal shelter.. nature center…museum….

Take a soaking bath with Epsom Salts. You'll absorb magnesium through your skin which helps muscles relax.

Spend time in nature, or with anything that inspires you with art, music or creativity. All of that has a calming effect. We have an "Art for Healing" discussion here on Connect too.

Work out the reasons that you have a stress reaction in your life. You can do that by writing journals, listening to Ted Talks, a counselor, asking yourself why you feel like you do… and is there another way to think about the problem instead?

I would also recommend the books by Dr. Sood, a Mayo physician with a mind body practice. I didn't have these when I was going through my anxiety before my surgery, but reading them explained why my methods worked to overcome my fear and anxiety. I had spine surgery at Mayo. I was afraid of having major surgery, and also afraid of not having the surgery because of the disability that would have happened to me because of spinal cord compression, and I decided that fear would not make that choice for me. I had to find a way to overcome it and I did.
Here is my story. https://sharing.mayoclinic.org/2019/01/09/using-the-art-of-medicine-to-overcome-fear-of-surgery/

I think you can go to Mayo and take a course in Resiliency and these are the books that are used. I recommend them and you'll find way to cope and think differently instead of letting stress take over.
https://marketplace.mayoclinic.com/shop/healthy-lifestyle/book/mayo-clinic-stress-management-combo_752700

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@jenniferhunter I like your reply Stress will consume you unless you learn what tools will help you .My Mother was a worrier and I saw what it did to her I decided not to be that's a hard lesson to learn

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@tngirl1

@jenniferhunter thank you for your reply. It has been a rough three months but I’m taking medicine for my anxiety. I’m having a hard time sleeping because that is when my anxiety is the worst. The medicine that I was taking to help me sleep would cause my heartbeat to beat all over my body and I couldn’t sleep. I am so physically and mentally drained.

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@tngirl1 If you can't sleep, get up, and write down what is bothering you and consuming your thoughts. By doing this, you've acted upon it, and can get it off your plate. You can also get up and do housework to train yourself to substitute chores for anxiety, then you'll work off some nervous energy and get tired from the housework and maybe you can sleep then. I had a problem with my allergies causing lots of phlegm and it would become a chest infection and drive my resting heart rate up over 100 beats per minute. That of course got my attention and a trip to the ER (as it should), but I now have the allergies under control and this isn't happening anymore. It was a learning experience, and another chance for me to overcome something that scared me. I took action and advocated for myself, and after some antibiotics, I was fine. What is important is to listen to your body when you need to, and think objectively about solutions. Live in the present and don't imagine that something bad is going to happen in the future. Start asking yourself questions about why you feel the way you do, and write down your answers.

All of us have medical issues at some time or another, and you'll need to handle them as they arise, and sometimes advocate for yourself. When you do get results of good health, understand that you are doing OK and celebrate that. Not everyone has that good fortune. In my life, I have taught classes for some extremely disabled people and to know someone who is disabled who looks only to their achievements and not their disability can teach you a lot. It's all about your perspective and how you look at things. With the internet, there is so much information available and it can be easy to imagine that you have every disease you read about, and once you start thinking about it your mind can fill in all kinds of symptoms to go with that fear. If you are on medications that raise your heart rate, you can ask your doctor about them. It took me 4 months to beat my anxiety over surgery. I started with learning to lower my blood pressure. You might want to pick something like that to try to see if you can teach yourself how as your first step toward beating anxiety. You can do this, and you will need to uncover every part of your past that is feeding the fear. That is work, but very worth it when you prevail.

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@lioness

@jenniferhunter I like your reply Stress will consume you unless you learn what tools will help you .My Mother was a worrier and I saw what it did to her I decided not to be that's a hard lesson to learn

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@lioness Good for you! If we let stress direct our lives, we are no longer in control of our choices. Seeing my father go through heart disease and strokes was hard, and I didn't want to follow that path.

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@jenniferhunter Very well put Your so right if you don't learn to control your stress then it has Won so please @tngirl1 try to find away to let it go you will feel much better Writing down on paper is a great way to help you tell stress to go jump in the lake ,take control of your life

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@jenniferhunter Good for you I hope with your words that @tngirl1 will take this to heart

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I think I’d rather have anxiety and insomnia instead of doing housework.
Jake

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@jenniferhunter

@tngirl1 If you can't sleep, get up, and write down what is bothering you and consuming your thoughts. By doing this, you've acted upon it, and can get it off your plate. You can also get up and do housework to train yourself to substitute chores for anxiety, then you'll work off some nervous energy and get tired from the housework and maybe you can sleep then. I had a problem with my allergies causing lots of phlegm and it would become a chest infection and drive my resting heart rate up over 100 beats per minute. That of course got my attention and a trip to the ER (as it should), but I now have the allergies under control and this isn't happening anymore. It was a learning experience, and another chance for me to overcome something that scared me. I took action and advocated for myself, and after some antibiotics, I was fine. What is important is to listen to your body when you need to, and think objectively about solutions. Live in the present and don't imagine that something bad is going to happen in the future. Start asking yourself questions about why you feel the way you do, and write down your answers.

All of us have medical issues at some time or another, and you'll need to handle them as they arise, and sometimes advocate for yourself. When you do get results of good health, understand that you are doing OK and celebrate that. Not everyone has that good fortune. In my life, I have taught classes for some extremely disabled people and to know someone who is disabled who looks only to their achievements and not their disability can teach you a lot. It's all about your perspective and how you look at things. With the internet, there is so much information available and it can be easy to imagine that you have every disease you read about, and once you start thinking about it your mind can fill in all kinds of symptoms to go with that fear. If you are on medications that raise your heart rate, you can ask your doctor about them. It took me 4 months to beat my anxiety over surgery. I started with learning to lower my blood pressure. You might want to pick something like that to try to see if you can teach yourself how as your first step toward beating anxiety. You can do this, and you will need to uncover every part of your past that is feeding the fear. That is work, but very worth it when you prevail.

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Speaking from my own personal experiences with panic attacks, I can find no pattern, no warning signs, no reason for the onset. Each attack has materialized suddenly out of no where. I got a sudden foreboding sense of darkness and fear, with a racing heartbeat and dufficulty breathing, fearing I was having a heart attack and near death. Total panic with little ability to use my brain, especially with the first few attacks when I had no clue what was happening to me. As a woman who has always been at the top of my game and able to control my world, the attacks were incredibly scary and left me wondering what had happened to my body AND my mind.

Then I saw my primary, who told me I was having panic attacks. They won’t cause a heart attack but sure make you feel you are having one. She said they are common after a major surgery, especially heart surgery. I had had a TKR two weeks before my first attack. I now carry Alprazolan to control them. I rarely need it, and I believe having it available has helped calm me and prevent some attacks. I have the greatest sympathy and empathy for anyone who has ever experienced the debilitating effects of a panic attack. Truly an ugly experience. The loss of control is terrifying.

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@capausz You are so right. It is a time you are out of control in your mind and body. The fear is at its worst. If you are raised that everything you do wrong you are going to hell and burn as a child That has a toll on your mind. My parent still tells me when I do wrong. My Guilt keeps me down. I have a hard time believing God has forgiven me. Of course, so does the family.

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@catcatanzaro60 One thing I have and still do for childhood problems whatever they maybe , depression,panic,anxiety pain or whatever Tappingsolutions.com can help you

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@catcatanzaro60

@capausz You are so right. It is a time you are out of control in your mind and body. The fear is at its worst. If you are raised that everything you do wrong you are going to hell and burn as a child That has a toll on your mind. My parent still tells me when I do wrong. My Guilt keeps me down. I have a hard time believing God has forgiven me. Of course, so does the family.

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@catcatanzaro60, I got those same lessons as a child. It took me 43 years to realize and ACCEPT that God loves me — and all that means for me. Stay strong.

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@capausz

Speaking from my own personal experiences with panic attacks, I can find no pattern, no warning signs, no reason for the onset. Each attack has materialized suddenly out of no where. I got a sudden foreboding sense of darkness and fear, with a racing heartbeat and dufficulty breathing, fearing I was having a heart attack and near death. Total panic with little ability to use my brain, especially with the first few attacks when I had no clue what was happening to me. As a woman who has always been at the top of my game and able to control my world, the attacks were incredibly scary and left me wondering what had happened to my body AND my mind.

Then I saw my primary, who told me I was having panic attacks. They won’t cause a heart attack but sure make you feel you are having one. She said they are common after a major surgery, especially heart surgery. I had had a TKR two weeks before my first attack. I now carry Alprazolan to control them. I rarely need it, and I believe having it available has helped calm me and prevent some attacks. I have the greatest sympathy and empathy for anyone who has ever experienced the debilitating effects of a panic attack. Truly an ugly experience. The loss of control is terrifying.

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@capausz Yes, I also have empathy for people with panics attacks. I had them for 4 months every morning as soon as I woke up and thought about having spine surgery. I felt like I was stuck on the train tracks, and couldn't move and the train was coming at me. I struggled with that a long time, and then one day it occurred to me that I wasn't born fearing surgery or fearing anything. Fear is learned somewhere along the way by our experiences and how we process or can't process the experience. That was a defining moment for me, and I reasoned that if fear is learned, then it can be unlearned, and I set out to figure out how to do that with all the resources I had from my life experiences. Being a creative person, I used music and art, and even singing to help me cope, and I checked in with people I knew who had faced significant fears in their lives as an example to me of what was possible.

Fear can be defeated. With anxiety, there is a link to something frightening from the past and something about the present subconsciously triggers the memory of the fear. When you discover what that is and can process those feelings from the viewpoint of your adult life, you can understand where it came from, and think about it differently. This is what I had to do to deprogram fear. There were lot of things I did, but one of them was giving myself permission to be fearful. I learned to accept fear as a normal emotion and make peace with it to understand why I was fearful. I think of that as making friends with the fear, and then it became something that is known and understood instead of an irrational force in complete control of my life. The belief systems we have as children don't always work when we grown up, and I was still thinking about surgery like a 5 year old. I found a new way to think about it and to be grateful that I could make the choice in my life to have the medical intervention that I needed to get my life and abilities back. I know that if I didn't have the pressure of future surgery that I had to face, I probably would not have confronted my fears. My life was completely changed by doing this, and the first step toward freedom from fear is to believe that it is possible to achieve. Give yourself permission to discover and to think in new ways, and to let go of the beliefs that are holding you back.

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@catcatanzaro60 As Jennifer said we need to take control of our life not our emotions one tool to help with this I'd Tapping on our Meridians

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