My name is Miriam and I'm a 28-year old Canadian in my 4th year of a PhD program. Right when I started my program, I started having chronic foot problems that put a great deal of stress on my life. After dealing with school stresses and a variety of moves (3) I started having panic attacks. The first was was an extremely sharp chest pain with ever step to the point where I couldn't walk and then I started having a lot of difficulty breathing. I thought I was having a heart attack and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Throughout that summer (first attack was in May) I had constant chronic panic attacks despite ruling out potential heart problems (halter monitor and ultrasound) and finally went on effexor the following October. School became busier and it just compounded the problem. I was on effexor for about a year and a half and it was highly effective for me. My husband and I have been talking about children and so in the past couple of months I weaned off of effexor while doing a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) program with a doctor at the university. CBT was a very useful technique and has allowed me to function quite well off of the medication.
HOWEVER, the course is over and part of the reason I found it to be effective was because I had a weekly meeting with the doctor to review my CBT homework (which kept me accountable and continuing to do it) and because it felt like talking about my issues in depth with such a supportive person was very helpful for me.
It's been about a month since I completed the program and I've been experiencing pretty bad anxiety on and off. I'm trying to keep up with the CBT (if you've done it it is an ongoing process) but I'm finding it hard to do so sometimes. I could definitely use some support right now as I work on my weight and get ready for some major (and wonderful!) life changes in the near future.
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