Cures for Health/Death Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
Happy 2020 all!
I am trying for my new years resolution to be a happier person. I've gone to bed early because while I've felt great for most of the evening, around 1:AM was when I started feeling hot flushes, fatigue, dizziness and just an uneasy feeling. The night shouldn't be over for me yet because people who know me will tell you I'm a notorious night owl. Normally I love eating and drinking and watching TV past midnight and this marks this beginning of a new DECADE. I should be ecstatic.
Instead I'm sitting up in bed trying to calm my anxious feelings. It started earlier in November or December of 2019 and escalated after I caught a stomach virus. I thought I was dying, phoning my parents to collect me from university and bring me home which they did. I went to the doctor and they did some tests: blood tests came back healthy, my heart rate was in the low 100s and my oxygen levels were 99%. I could also focus and move fine. Yet after a confirmation from my GP and a prescription of beta blockers (which work great by the way,) I still feel awful every day.
I'm getting much better but I'm sad that I'm wasting my life by not participating in it. I just don't feel able to. The panic attacks come at random but I usually anticipate that I might have them at some point in the day. My symptoms are dizziness, nausea, weakness in my legs, fatigue, shaking, shallow breathing, I fear that I might lose breath, slightly increased heart rate, an uncomfortable feeling in the left side of my chest (not pain just heightened awareness) and an overwhelming fear that I might be dying.
I am obsessed and preoccupied with the idea of my own death via illness or heart attack, even though I have no reason to be. This could be spiked by my move to a new city, being sick in early December and the death of a relative this year from cancer. I usually don't mind discussing the macabre or watching media where death is a theme but now I'm wary of things that remind me of my own mortality.
I also found out that something called the Nocebo effect exists and it's the opposite of the placebo effect where just by thinking about having symptoms can make you feel them and that by thinking over and over that you're going to die you can actually die! I have OCD and Anxiety and I have a huge fear of my own death even though it's likely not going to happen for a long time. But I also hear stories of teenagers and 20 somethings who have been murdered or killed in accidents and then I think what's the point in going outside?
So, I'm just wondering if I should speak to yet another therapist. Deep down, I know I'm not going to die, but in that moment of feeling hot and sick all over I am certain I could fall unconcious and not wake up. How do I stop feeling hot and uncomfortable when I feel like this?