Anxiety and depression

So completely out the blue I had a panic attack. It was awful. I had a bout of anxiety 6 years ago and completely recovered pretty quickly after a few months and nothing since.

I’m talking to my doc and discussing different meds at the moment I’m on Benzo for 2 weeks only but they want to switch this to an anti depressant.

I would love to hear others views experiences if anyone is currently on long term medication how they overcame it etc.

Last time I got deep in to exercise running , cycling, gym And a great diet and it must have worked so may try that again but my Dr really pushing the anti depressants.

For those who are on medication how does it effect your training? At the moment I don’t want to work out in case I get out of breath and spiral into another panic attack.

I would appreciate to hear others experiences with this

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Hi - I’m sorry to hear about your problems - mental health is a complex issue and here in the UK society is only really just coming to terms with it’s importance in comparison to physical health. All I can say is that although I have never been on medication, when my long term relationship of nearly 20 years broke down a couple of years back the ONLY thing that got me through it was riding and racing my bike. Same for the current situation - we can’t race but when I’m out riding solo in the sun then I can forget about viruses and it’s affect on society. So unless there is a medical need I would say the last thing you want to do is stop exercising and riding your bike. Just keep it easy - try and get outside if you are allowed where you live and go somewhere scenic and peaceful. One of the downside of this all hands to the pump attitude in the UK is that other health services - dental health, cancer treatment and of course mental health provision has been completely forgotten (understandable to a certain extent) - however, in the long term I think increased mental health problems are going to be a hidden tragedy of this virus. Try and stay safe, keep in contact with friends and family and try and stay on the bike…and finally anti depressants never work in the long term I’m afraid - good luck :smiley:

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Hi NewbCyclist,

First of all you are not alone, you will manage through this.

I went on to anti-depressants about 3 months ago. It wasn’t my first choice but I had spent 2 years trying different options. Medication is just one of the many tools you should use. On the training front. Initially there was a bit of lethargy and some weight gain. That evened out after about 6 weeks. I am starting to drop weight again and my training has been more consistent that ever.

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I have my fair share of experiences in that area. Though all I want to say is, that I would get off the meds as quickly as possible. Also wouldn’t add more to the mix. It will only get worse. Way worse.

My recommendation would be to find a good therapist and work yourself out of it. There is no other way about it.

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If this seems like a acute problem, then going on medication temporarily might be a good idea. If this is a chronic problem that may affect you throughout your life, either all the time or in spurts, then you may want to think about building sustainable coping habits.

For me this has been diet and exercise. If you are like me then you don’t like the idea of being on medication permanently. Diet and exercise is not a cure, only a treatment of the symptoms. but then so is medication.

Other things that have helped me are;

  • making sure i get outside often (more of a winter problem), or taking Vitamin D supplements if I can’t
  • Being proactive about socializing. I can easily fall into deep isolation, so i have to push myself to get
    together with freinds and family.
  • keeping daily routines.

These may not be applicable to your situation, but i have been living with depression and anxiety for 25 years and this is how i have learned to cope.

Its good that you have already reached out to get help. I would imagine that there are many reading this thread that have these same issues and never talk about them.

Best of luck to you,

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Thanks for all the replies so far I hope to get some more!

To answer a few questions/ add more context.

Six years ago I did two weeks of lorazepam and did the linden method and had been anxiety free ever since.

Life has been great, a great easy low stress job that pays way more than it should, a great family so supportive and a few friends and my cycling was going great.

Although my diet and exercise has suffered since Hernia operation. Before that I was training for a marathon and had lost 4 stone and ran approx 60 miles a week. Hence why I took up cycling as I couldn’t run after my operation.

Back to my latest episode - The medication (Benzo) was a god send. I was a wreck for 3 days I slept 2 hrs in 3 days and ate 1 meal of oatmeal. I nearly called for an ambulance as I thought I was having a heart attack. It was so unexpected out the blue I was just a quivering mess. I’m on day two and I’ve managed to eat a breakfast lunch and dinner each day and got 8 hours sleep. Already feel a million times better.

But I am apprehensive of anything long term. The Dr mentioned a few things such as SSRIs (anti depressant) Also supplied me with some meditations and things to work on my mental state with poss referral to a psychologist etc and some tests to rule out other things she never elaborated On what that would be but She said it was totally up to me.

Now I know he is a marmite kinda guy but I watch Jordan Peterson and he said anti depressants can’t fix a bad life/ living situation so will be limited but in my situation where things literally couldn’t be better (Maybe a higher FTP and some weight loss) than they can really help but I don’t want long term meds.

I already do yoga on a regular basis and exercise and sine my panic attack I’ve cut out caffeine.

So anymore suggestions or just hearing your stories have really cheered me up. I think with the COVID thing I would get super worried by being out of breath so I’m torn on the exercise thing at the min

I have been on lexapro twice to deal with anxiety. I find it helpful. I like to call them “duck pills” as in things role off your back like water off a ducks. Im a persevorative worrier so it has been useful. I also found that I developed better coping habits while dealing with anxiety but only after starting medication to get me over the hump so to speak. I had a jittery feeling when I started for about a week then felt fine. I do find I tend to drink more while on an antidepressant for some reason, so I have to watch that. There remains a general distrust of medications for mental illness which is very unfortunate. These problems are fundamentally organic in nature, i.e. they have to do with brain function, and medications can help. I would avoid benzodiazepines such as lorazepam for anxiety, they are really problematic and can worsen it over time.

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I dont tend to be anxiety prone…though I did have a panic attack about 6 years ago. Work was going to hell, with draconian commission changes, and my wife had just had our daughter. My monthly income with the plan in place could change by 50% in a single day based on criteria largely out of control. I legitimately thought I might have been having a heart attack or stroke…went to the doctors office and everything (not ER…he was confident over the phone it was a panic attack and told me to go straight to immediate care).

I had something similar yesterday, though I at least was confident I knew what it was. I got put on leave last week, and we’re staring at a 15K sewer replacement se need to do sometime soon. Our bathroom sink was all plugged up yesterday in addition (unrelated issue…)and I tried fixing it. Totally made it worse over 2 hours, so it was leaking heavily in addition to not draining. I gave up and went to the grocery store…where I started stressing about the virus, thinking about my wife (who works as an x-ray tech in a covid only hospital). I literally teared up in the store, and started getting tightness in my chest, hyperventilating, etc.

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There is a real stigma attached to mental health issues etc I feel like I’ve failed in some way. But as my super supportive wife pointed out if it was diabetes or some other issue I wouldn’t and I’d happily take medication for that if it would fix it.

I just want to say thanks for everyone who has commented it has been very helpful hearing others experiences.

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So looking back over my life, I think I’ve always suffered from Anxiety and get lose bowels when ever I am in a situation that I can’t escape from, traffic jams, parties e.t.c, but over the years I was convinced by partners family e.t.c, that I was putting it on, beign weird, selfish you name it.

So beginning of last year it was getting worse and I was really struggling to leave the house, it would take about a hour to leave for work, get to the front door and turn around and need the toilet, got caught in a traffic jam and had a complete melt down, didn’t ride outside for 4 months. So i went to the doctors and they put me on lorazepam (i think thats what it was) and it made me feel awful, came of that and doctor pescribed Sertraline, which I decided not to take, got some help from Wellbeing (in the UK) but didn’t really help me move forward was very confrontational. In this period, I did start self harming, and took the wrong amount of medication (for existing health issue) after a very frustrating day at work.

So that finished and I decided to go private, I see a private counciller every two weeks, and that really has helped, and really helped, I did have bit of a backwards step, and I was signed off work for 3 weeks, and they insisted that I got on sertraline, which I will say makes me feel shit in the morning, and has stopped me really training hard in the morning, counciller was supportive, and just pointed out that people do have ups and downs, and I dealt with it, and that it’s ok to be on meds, but you have to work with it, and any victories are still your victories

But i’ve been out for early morning a run this morning (somethign I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing 6 months ago) with no dramas before hand, the feeling of finding yourself half way to work before you realise that you didn’t have a issue leaving the house is amazing.

The Virus has scared me as lockdown is everything I’ve been fighting against, been been making plans each day, only watching the news in the morning, keeping away from social media and forums (stops me getting into bickering fights with people) and if somebody does dislike something I say and starts arguing with me, just delete the post, then I don’t get tempted to resond

I always thought that I was confident and outgoing and the above came as a big shock to me, but my counciller recently asked me how I felt about the last couple of years, and I just wish it had happened earlier in my life, if it wasn’t for the Virus I would have come of the sertraline, but I could never perform in races, and now looking back it was the level of anxiety before the race

One thing you will learn (if you share) is who your friends are, I think the meds have held me back in my training (a little, but my ftp has stayed the same) , but once I come off I’m sure that me new found strength of mind !!! will help me out in the future, I didn’t want go on meds as I wanted to defeat it myself, and my victories be my victories, but the concilling and the meds have helped me face my fears and deal with them

Good luck, hope you find what you need, and it does happen to a lot of people

OH, and … (hate to plug another product) but doing the sufferfest yoga videos in the morning helps as well

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Thank you for sharing this! I too am doing sufferfest yoga I always do the 3 minute calm down breathing first then a mixture of videos, but at the moment it’s the breathing that’s kicking off my anxiety I’m too focused on it I think.

I’m also worried when I run out of these meds I’ll be back to square one. I took 2 Benzo last night and slept best I ever have for 10 hours and feel great but am slowly going down hill focusing on Breathing again I’m trying distraction techniques with limited success.

I know I don’t have any true friends that I would ever tell them about this in real life, more work companions which I hear is very common for men in their 30s and above.

Actually just typing it out has helped so if anyone else in same situation give it a try the support here is amazing

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So I ignore her during the counting, I do it but not to her “5” or what ever it is, I just breath in hold, release e.t.c at my own pace, talked to my counciller about it, and she was of the opinion you should plant your feet and breath slowly, but not force it, the video are a little to long for me and holding by breath of 5 makes me anxious as I struggle to reach the end.

For me I spent a lot of time in my own head, and the bad things bounce off the walls and get faster and bigger, the councilling put them back in their box and makes me focus on the good things. Even when I was signed off work, she pointed out that I had dealt with it, gone to the doctors, accepted being signed off work, thought about the meds and decided to take them, before seeing her I was all “I’ve failed and gone backwards, this will never end”, I more scared of losing the counciller than coming off the meds right now

Anyway, I hope I’ve helped, the thing that I would suggested, is to look at all your options, try them all, if it does’t help or work, move on, and if abi carver say hold your breath for 5 and it makes you anxious, try 2 and see if that works, as we are all different, nothing fits all

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Hey! Hope you’re doing okay! Good for you to take charge of your mental health and seek (professional) advice, that’s literally the most important step and you already have it down! I have no experience with anxiety, but plenty with depressive disorder. Happy to share some of my learnings.

  • First and foremost, there’s not the one thing that works for everybody! If anybody tells you so, stop listening. It’s a process of figuring out what works for you,
  • Exercise has been proven to be beneficial in many cases!
  • Medication can be tremendously beneficial, but it’s neither a magic fix, nor does it work for everybody. I have a huge issue both with people discarding medication in general and docs prescribing them like sugar pills.
  • Get professional help and don’t be afraid to look for someone new, if you don’t feel like its a good fit! Not knowing the speciality of your Doc, GPs are often out of their depth when it comes to mental health. While it seems the anxiety meds helped you in the short run, it seems strange to me that they would recommend you to go on SSRIs, if
    i) this was your only episode in 6 years
    ii) assuming you haven’t had any sessions with a mental health professional to evaluate your situation

Regarding your question about training & medication: I’ve been on SSRIs for a while and they have been a game changer for me (in combination with therapy). They take several weeks to go into effect, only work for about 2/3 of people with depression and have no benefits to the general population. Older forms of SSRIs are known to cause weight gain in some cases – a side effect very rarely seen in the newer ones. They are not known to have a negative impact on performance otherwise and a positive impact only in so far, as they help you with your mental health. There can be other side effects to keep an eye on – your doc should be aware of this.

All the best to you!

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Thank you,

Yes first issue in 6 years. I will add I 100% have no depression at all. Actually things were going as good as they can. First time got over it very quickly with the odd wobble once or twice a year but barely registered as I focused on diet exercise meditation and yoga and gym and running.

I’ve only ever spoken to a GP first time he said I had GAD gave me the lorazepam and that was it then after my two week course of meds said up to me I can go on Citalopram which I declined and was last I heard from him. Then decided off my own back to do the linden method which I guess must have worked.

Again this time was just a GP, so very limited knowledge she did make some murmurs of a referral but in the UK it’s awful I think up to a year wait and only 6 sessions and 90% time just CBT but she did text me a link to some online help stuff that is free and there are better resources online I can find myself.

The crazy thing is I have a degree in Psychology and my last year focused on psychopharmacology but that was over 10 years ago and I’ve done nothing in that field since but know a thing or two but probably mostly out of date.

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Hi, had been dealing with stress and anxiety , which led to drinking problems. Doctor wasn’t keen on meds due to alcohol issue. Went through few support groups and different counselling sessions. Nothing done much to lift the fog . Mediation started to help - Headspace is the app I use and find alot of good stuff on there.
Then I found hypnotherapy, was a revelation, I can only describe it as a reboot for the brain. First session was a tester to see how I responded to hypnosis and to start working on stress anxiety problems, next session was drink related.
It was like someone flicked a switch or pulled back the curtains.
I hope you find what works for you

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I will try the headspace app thanks. The app the GP text was called the waiting room.

I would literally try anything especially hypnotherapy.

But funds at the moment are none existent. I’m gonna have to choose between sufferfest or trainer road in very near future and at the moment the yoga is helping so think I know which will have to go unless I can find a good free yoga on YouTube?

I’m lucky as I have never smoked and gave up drinking 10 years ago I don’t tend to have an addictive personality. So meds from GP have never been an issue.

I just want to wish everyone who has commented on this thread so far all the best and to thank you all massively :+1:t2:

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Yoga with Adriene.

The Insight meditation app has a lot of free guided meditations on the subject.

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2018 was my “year of panic attacks.” I had never had them before, and they began as shortness of breath when running very hard (intervals, trying to stay with a faster friend), which led to fear that I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I didn’t know they were panic attacks. Spoke to a doctor who couldn’t figure out the problem. I had a few more in confined spaces as well (hot cars, a gondola ride), and I had trouble with them getting in bed, especially on hot nights. Then a few weeks after a very stressful life event I had an extremely terrifying episode that continued through the night while out backpacking.

That’s when I learned it was a panic attack, and that I’d been having them for months on a smaller scale. I tried one therapist, who didn’t seem like a good fit at all.

What helped was doing research on my own about panic attacks, and learning that they aren’t dangerous, and then talking myself through the feeling every time I had it. “It’s a panic attack, you’ve had them before, it will pass. Just breath through it and it will eventually go away.” They started lasting less time, and being less severe. I’d put myself in a panic state on purpose (I could get there just by thinking about it in bed or while driving) and then talk myself out of it/let the feeling pass. I practiced this a lot. No meds, mostly because my research didn’t suggest they would solve the issue and I was able to manage mine reasonably well. But also because I didn’t really have a doctor/therapist.

By the beginning of 2019 I wasn’t getting them any more. I was lucky and had what I think of as a mild case, with only one really bad attack. But it still defined my 2018, and it wasn’t an easy year. I’m glad to be through it, and to have the tools to hopefully deal with it when it happens again. I still get anxious about a lot of things, which is a bummer—used to be a very carefree guy. But it’s manageable, and I understand others who deal with anxiety now. Feel like I’m a better person for it.

Good luck @NewbCyclist

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I think that’s also an issue for me I used to be so carefree and I’m usually a very logical person guess it proves it can strike anyone

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Not to sound like “that guy” but there are some natural things you could indulge in that may help. For some people it makes the symptoms worse, for me it did the opposite years ago and I’ve been fine ever since.

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