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Stress, Depression, Anxiety and other Mental Health-related things

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I had a severe sinus infection along with an ear infection last month. For the first time in my life I had an anxiety attack. I'd had a sinus infection before but nothing like this with the ear. Pain, dizziness, and feeling like I was drowning. Emergency room gave me medication for both anxiety and for the infections. I now understand what it is to have severe anxiety and feel bad for those who have it. 

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3 hours ago, rcc said:

Pain, dizziness, and feeling like I was drowning.

I'm getting stressed just thinking about how that feeling would be. 

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On 8/13/2017 at 2:44 PM, rcc said:

I had a severe sinus infection along with an ear infection last month. For the first time in my life I had an anxiety attack. I'd had a sinus infection before but nothing like this with the ear. Pain, dizziness, and feeling like I was drowning. Emergency room gave me medication for both anxiety and for the infections. I now understand what it is to have severe anxiety and feel bad for those who have it. 

I feel for you.  I suffered from panic attacks many years ago.  It was so terrifying.  I eventually ended up in the ER with one.  I honestly thought I was dying. After all the tests, they found nothing, so we deducted it was panic.  I followed up with my primary, ruled out cardiac issues with a cardiologist, just to make sure it was anxiety and then was given a VERY small does of med to take just in case I felt it coming on.  The good news is that once I knew what it was, I could handle it.  I read everything I could get my hands on about it.  Many people suffer with it.  Then, I started mental strategies to keep them at bay.  I kept the med with me to take only in an emergency.  I soon could feel anxious, but, calm myself with soothing thoughts.  I didn't even need the meds after a couple of weeks.  I only had 1-2 after my diagnosis!  So, there is hope.  I hope you can find some comfort in that. 

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2 hours ago, SunnyBeBe said:

I feel for you.  I suffered from panic attacks many years ago.  It was so terrifying.  I eventually ended up in the ER with one.  I honestly thought I was dying. After all the tests, they found nothing, so we deducted it was panic.  I followed up with my primary, ruled out cardiac issues with a cardiologist, just to make sure it was anxiety and then was given a VERY small does of med to take just in case I felt it coming on.  The good news is that once I knew what it was, I could handle it.  I read everything I could get my hands on about it.  Many people suffer with it.  Then, I started mental strategies to keep them at bay.  I kept the med with me to take only in an emergency.  I soon could feel anxious, but, calm myself with soothing thoughts.  I didn't even need the meds after a couple of weeks.  I only had 1-2 after my diagnosis!  So, there is hope.  I hope you can find some comfort in that. 

After I recovered from the ear infection, which took a month, I haven't felt any anxiety anymore. I guess I had medical anxiety, if that makes sense. Not being able to breath or hear did me in. If I ever get it again I know what I need and what to do about it. Anxiety is serious.

The doctor told me that "I was in a state" and would get better. I did. But I feel bad for anyone who is "in a state" long term and not just because of infections.

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Has anyone been to a therapist/psychiatrist/mental health professional who used more alternative methods?  Or even one with a therapy dog?  I was referred to one once.  Only they never told me she had a therapy dog.  I don't like dogs and asked if she could leave him in another room.  She said that the dog is ALWAYS with her when she is seeing a client.  Well, why didn't they tell me? 

Edited by PRgal
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I tried Reiki once and was surprised at the physical and mental changes it causes (lacking a better description).

For those who do not know it is where a therapist places here hands near and over your body without touchings it. A warmth generates, seriously, from her hands to your body. About half way through the session I went into a dream like state without falling asleep and it was so transcendent. I just can't describe it very well. I've not been able to do that even while meditating. It was so peaceful.

Another time I did aromatherapy where a series of body oils were rubbed on my back and the bottom of my feet. It was really nice and relaxing. I haven't returned but dd invest in a case of essential oils and use them regularly. They really do lower blood pressure, relax you and whatever else they are recommended to do. Edens Gardens is the brand name.

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On 9/23/2017 at 7:57 AM, PRgal said:

Has anyone been to a therapist/psychiatrist/mental health professional who used more alternative methods?  Or even one with a therapy dog?  I was referred to one once.  Only they never told me she had a therapy dog.  I don't like dogs and asked if she could leave him in another room.  She said that the dog is ALWAYS with her when she is seeing a client.  Well, why didn't they tell me? 

That seems to be very counteractive and selfish. How were you supposed to get any value from your time with her if you were annoyed, etc?

That reminds me of a question I asked the aromatherapist. There is one essential oil I do not like. So I asked if it would have an effect on my outcome if it was used. I mean, I feel if I had to smell it all day I would be agitated by it and undo any meditation I'd accomplished. 

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I'm dealing with PTSD and it has been turned up to 11   I suspect it will be elevated for a while.  While I take a low dose anxiety med already, I have asked the good doctor for something to treat the panic attacks I have been getting.  He has and they work, but I really don't want to be dependent on a pill to regulate things (My doctor is used to me trying to get off medications so he knows I will look into other methods of treating things if possible).

I've upped the appointments with my therapist and we've have a couple of sessions to devote to EMDR.

It is a bit New Age-y for me, but after trying a couple of different techniques/exercises, I felt one had a fairly significant result for calming my anxiety for a period of time.  I'll be practicing doing it on my own several times a day so it becomes more familiar and reflexive for me.  I'll see the therapist again next week to reinforce things and/or to try alternative EMDR exercises.

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Does anyone take any natural remedies, like herbs, for mild depression? I hate even saying "depression" because I don't really feel like it's that extreme, but I definitely feel like I need a little support. I would describe it as being in a funk, really. I'm just not my normal positive self lately and I've got some minor back and head aches and fatigue. There's nothing physically wrong, my physical in Oct. was great, I think I'm just a little off.

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33 minutes ago, emma675 said:

Does anyone take any natural remedies, like herbs, for mild depression? I hate even saying "depression" because I don't really feel like it's that extreme, but I definitely feel like I need a little support. I would describe it as being in a funk, really. I'm just not my normal positive self lately and I've got some minor back and head aches and fatigue. There's nothing physically wrong, my physical in Oct. was great, I think I'm just a little off.

I found that when I started seriously working out (lifting weights and cardio), then changed my diet by going low carb my mood and energy level shot up significantly. By low carb I mean lessening the amount of wheat products, starches, added sugars and absolutely no sodas. After several years of not drinking them I found that Kombucha has the same throat hit, far less sugar and has health benefits. Certain fruits take the glycemic index way up then you crash.

Because my sweet tooth is serious, limiting fruits to blueberries, strawberries, watermelon helps tremendously. If I crave orange juice I eat the whole orange because it has fiber and fiber is not soluable so your carbs are less. When I want to eat a cookie I do and especially pound cake. But never anything with corn syrup or HFCS. No chemicals at all.

It is surprising how much better and how much energy our body revs up the sugary diet is replaced.

And chocolate does count. The darker the better.

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17 hours ago, ethalfrida said:

I found that when I started seriously working out (lifting weights and cardio), then changed my diet by going low carb my mood and energy level shot up significantly.

Me too. 

What a terrible answer though. Heh. "All I needed to do was eat better and exercise a lot, and I started to feel better about everything."

Blech. Although now I can't imagine not jumping on my exercise bike or going to the gym regularly. It was just adding that stuff to my life that was difficult to do. 

17 hours ago, ethalfrida said:

And chocolate does count. The darker the better

I used to go with alcohol and comfort food. Turns out, that was a bad plan.

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1 hour ago, JTMacc99 said:

Me too. 

What a terrible answer though. Heh. "All I needed to do was eat better and exercise a lot, and I started to feel better about everything."

Blech. Although now I can't imagine not jumping on my exercise bike or going to the gym regularly. It was just adding that stuff to my life that was difficult to do. 

I used to go with alcohol and comfort food. Turns out, that was a bad plan.

It is hard to discuss some things without sounding preachy, obsessive or cult-like. But nutrition is often at the center of our well-being. 

Lol, alcohol and comfort food...

My comfort food was redone because I can't imagine giving up chicken wings, fried, at that. Whatever meets my daily caloric, carb, fat and protein requirements works really well. I fry my chicken with any coating and season afterward. Never ever miss the flour I used to use.

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I think I was a wee bit facetious but I did try St. John's Wort during an especially difficult time. I really don't know if it was effective and if it was, whether it was psychosomatic.

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Does anyone have any recommendations about sites or books to read about aromatherapy? 

I am completely clueless about this, but it has been recommended that I give it a try to help reduce my anxiety levels and for more restful sleep.

I've heard some essential oils can be toxic for pets, but I don't know much else other than lavender is supposed to make you sleepy.

I'm assuming there are more reputable sources for essential oils, but I have no idea what to look for.  Plus, some of the starter kits I looked up are quite pricey (at least to me).

If any one can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated.

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This is all I know, which admittedly isn't much. Not all essential oils are the same. They are not regulated by the FDA, so different ones have different amounts of the actual oil. When I googled "essential oils fda" (without quote marks -- they're here just to set apart the terms I used), I found letters the FDA has sent to essential oil companies about what they are marketing them for (including apparently ebola). Some of it may have been not the company, but the people selling the essential oils.

I have sat through party/sales pitches from sellers, and some of them do say the essential oils do things that I just don't believe they'll do. Also, one said that using them topically even on kids' skin is OK and won't cause any allergic reactions because they are all-natural. I so wanted to ask if she had any poison ivy oil because that's all-natural, but I was polite and kept my mouth shut because she was a (sort-of) friend's daughter.

That's not to say they don't work at all. I don't know. I've never tried them. It's likely that they do help with relaxation, especially in diffusers, although the ones my co-workers use just give me a headache. There's something in tea tree oil that bugs me, and I don't like flowery scents. If you do, lavender might help.

Some of the oils are poisonous for pets. Eucalyptus is especially bad for cats. I just read an article about this the other day, but I can't find it now.

Unfortunately, most of the sources for information about essential oils seem to be from the companies that make them and the people who sell them. It makes it harder to know what's what.

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I use essential oils extensively. I have found they work for what they recommended. LIke reducing high blood pressure, sleep inducement, relaxation. In fact, my blood pressure went so far down it was alarming. Some formulas, however, do not work for things like getting rid of ants and crawley pests or flies. The little buggers seem to like  peppermint, lol. If you want reliable recommendations:

www.mercola.com

www.draxe.com

www.edensgardens.com (this is the brand I use. They are pure and organic. Some companies dilute theirs with other oils. Some of which are not good in the first place. Some companie also use chemicals. I would use the advice of of Edens Gardens.)

Doterra (is a brand and widely used)

Rosemary Gladstar at https://www.sagemountain.com. I used her formula for menopause symptom relief and I couldn't live without it. The only reason I stopped was because I started a new health journey where I figured if it was a natural evolution of my body then I would let it be that. But then later on I started with acupuncture.

The effectiveness of natural products like essential oils is played down because it interferes with profits somewhere else.

Edited by ethalfrida
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I use lavender oil on the bottoms of my feet at night to help relax and fall asleep. I don't know if it actually works or if it's just part of the routine my body knows for bed, but I do sleep better. I also use thieves in a diffuser when I'm sick. Again, have no idea if it does anything but I like the smell so it's comforting.

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Thanks for the replies - it helps.

I'm iffy on whether it would actually help or just act as a placebo, but I am open to giving it a try on the theory that it can't (or shouldn't) hurt. 

I've been perusing starter kits and they all seem to come with peppermint - I'm not a fan.  But maybe if part of a blend, it wouldn't be so in your face abrasive.

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3 hours ago, DeLurker said:

Thanks for the replies - it helps.

I'm iffy on whether it would actually help or just act as a placebo, but I am open to giving it a try on the theory that it can't (or shouldn't) hurt. 

I've been perusing starter kits and they all seem to come with peppermint - I'm not a fan.  But maybe if part of a blend, it wouldn't be so in your face abrasive.

If you go to www.edensgardens.com you will find blends listed by scent and by symptoms.

These oils work so well but you have to keep them away from pets and younger children. My advice is to read the criteria before purchasings. 

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Could you buy actual dried plants instead? Could that be less potent and worrisome? You could get one of those breathable fabric parcels full of lavender and smell it before bed, for example. 

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I bought a diffuser in order to start using essential oils right after Christmas.  I really like it, but, I'm not that knowledgeable. I purchased something called 100% natural, but, can't attest to it.  I HAVE ordered a sample kit of oils from a friend who sells a good brand. I think it's Doterra, as Ethalfrida mentioned upthread.  I hope to get them in soon.  My friend started using them at our office and OMG.  I really liked them a lot and swear they work.  They make me feel so good.  It's a sense I can't describe.  Just a feeling of well being.  To me, it's worth the investment of time and money for this type of therapy, based on what I have seen.  And oh, I've never been diagnosed with depression. I did have anxiety a number of years ago, but, just sought out the stuff due to how great it smelled and how good it made me feel.  

Edited by SunnyBeBe
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On 1/23/2018 at 10:23 AM, SaySay24 said:

Could you buy actual dried plants instead? Could that be less potent and worrisome? You could get one of those breathable fabric parcels full of lavender and smell it before bed, for example. 

Yes, dried lavendar works really well. I used to get little wands of interwined lavendar that were tied with ribblon and laid them around. You can also put the dried flowers/plants in little casings and put them inside your pillow case. BUT, I would research all that before using. They are just as potent as the oils in some ways. Like dried peppermint for tea. You can OD on some of them.

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20 hours ago, SunnyBeBe said:

I bought a diffuser in order to start using essential oils right after Christmas.  I really like it, but, I'm not that knowledgeable. I purchased something called 100% natural, but, can't attest to it.  I HAVE ordered a sample kit of oils from a friend who sells a good brand. I think it's Doterra, as Ethalfrida mentioned upthread.  I hope to get them in soon.  My friend started using them at our office and OMG.  I really liked them a lot and swear they work.  They make me feel so good.  It's a sense I can't describe.  Just a feeling of well being.  To me, it's worth the investment of time and money for this type of therapy, based on what I have seen.  And oh, I've never been diagnosed with depression. I did have anxiety a number of years ago, but, just sought out the stuff due to how great it smelled and how good it made me feel.  

There are all types of usage (for better word) like making your own Frebreeze. You don't necessarity have to diffuse it all the time. Using it as Frebreeze, making your own deodorant with the oil and alcohol, scenting your bath or shower. Shower bombs are fun and good for things like stuffy noses even. I would love to hear more about how you use and what your favorites are.

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On 1/29/2018 at 12:54 PM, ethalfrida said:

There are all types of usage (for better word) like making your own Frebreeze. You don't necessarity have to diffuse it all the time. Using it as Frebreeze, making your own deodorant with the oil and alcohol, scenting your bath or shower. Shower bombs are fun and good for things like stuffy noses even. I would love to hear more about how you use and what your favorites are.

So far, I've just used the oils in the diffuser.  My friend sets it up at the office and it's so nice.  I'm not sure which ones she uses their, but, it is Dotera.  I hope to get mine soon.

The oils I have at home are Lavender, Eucalyptus, and peppermint.  I don't know what I'm doing yet. I know that some oils are for different things. I need to read up on that.  

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2 minutes ago, SunnyBeBe said:

So far, I've just used the oils in the diffuser.  My friend sets it up at the office and it's so nice.  I'm not sure which ones she uses their, but, it is Dotera.  I hope to get mine soon.

The oils I have at home are Lavender, Eucalyptus, and peppermint.  I don't know what I'm doing yet. I know that some oils are for different things. I need to read up on that.  

You have some nice ones and they are a part of the most recommended oils. 

I sometimes use peppermint during my workouts. Lavender is a great deodorant scent (I haven't purchased deodorant in almost 6 years). Eucalyptus is wonderful in the shower for opening up the sinuses and pores.

Post when you get your Doterra so we can see what you got.

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Okay.  I asked for the sample pack.  I can't recall what was in it, but, I trust that brand more. The oils that I have now say for diffuser use only.

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About a year and a half ago, my mom suffered a sacral insufficiency fracture -- basically a broken butt  -- it happened by being older and sedentary, after her stroke. She was in a lot of pain, but due to the hemorrhagic type of stroke she had, she can't use any kind of anti-inflammatory drug, even topical. I'd read that lavender works on the pain-sensing areas of the brain, so I gave her a cotton ball with several drops of lavender oil on it. She'd sniff it when the pain got really bad, and it worked, even if it was just the placebo effect.

I imagine it would work for anxiety, too. I'll have to try it. I bought a metal pill bottle on a keychain at the dollar store. I think I'll fix a little roll of lavender-infused cotton and stuff it in there, so I can carry it with me. I have low-dose Xanax but try to avoid taking it unless I'm in a full-blown panic.

Not mental health-related, but since we're discussing oils -- years ago, I used this for bad sinus headaches -- heat a cup of water in the microwave to almost-boiling, and add a few drops of peppermint oil. Make sure to close your eyes before inhaling the steam, it's pretty powerful. It works great, but I haven't used it since I found Sinus Buster nasal spray (with capsaicin).

Sorry to be so long-winded!

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I'm all about using alternatives to traditional medicine.  Just wanted to caution the cat lovers on this topic that essential oils can be toxic -- even deadly -- for cata.  So please proceed with caution if you "do" essential oils in a house where there are kitties.

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On 2/10/2018 at 3:28 PM, CatsAndMoreCats said:

I'm all about using alternatives to traditional medicine.  Just wanted to caution the cat lovers on this topic that essential oils can be toxic -- even deadly -- for cata.  So please proceed with caution if you "do" essential oils in a house where there are kitties.

And some oils not good around children. Please check before using.

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I haven't actually got any yet - I'm still overwhelmed by the variety and pet concerns.

My Mom's masseuse I saw over Christmas gave and she gave be a jar of Yoga Balm.  I've taken to just dabbing a bit under my nose a couple of times a day and before I go to sleep.

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On 2/14/2018 at 3:07 PM, ethalfrida said:

And some oils not good around children. Please check before using.

Or even some adults with health conditions.  Apparently eucalyptus and rosemary oils can increase the risk of seizures.

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41 minutes ago, PRgal said:

Or even some adults with health conditions.  Apparently eucalyptus and rosemary oils can increase the risk of seizures.

Do you mean they may cause seizures if ingested or on the skin or just breathing the oil in a diffuser? 

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24 minutes ago, SunnyBeBe said:

Do you mean they may cause seizures if ingested or on the skin or just breathing the oil in a diffuser? 

I believe it may be all of the above.  I basically stay away from that stuff. 

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I was gifted with a bottle of Yoga Balm.  I've taken to just dabbing a bit beneath my nose a couple of times a day and before bed.  A bit of aromatherapy without any of the worries about exposing the pets to anything.

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4 hours ago, DeLurker said:

I was gifted with a bottle of Yoga Balm.  I've taken to just dabbing a bit beneath my nose a couple of times a day and before bed.  A bit of aromatherapy without any of the worries about exposing the pets to anything.

What is Yoga Balm?

Be sure, if anyone is using just the oils, to mix it with a carrier oil or cream. Direct contact with skin is not advised.

Seriously all, when you learn the few little precautions using the oils is easily done and safe.

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6 hours ago, ethalfrida said:

What is Yoga Balm?

Some kind of fancy schmancy stuff, but since it was a gift...

It’s made in small batches from a blend of organic oils and essential oils. Yoga Balm has seven ingredients: Yakima Peppermint Essential Oil, Frankincense Essential Oil, Cold Pressed Olive Oil, Hempseed Oil, St. John’s Wort, Plantain, and Beeswax.

I'm not a big fan of peppermint, but that doesn't overpower the other items in it - I can't really identify a particular singular note myself.  I think it is for using in conjunction with a massage or on sore muscles. 

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16 hours ago, DeLurker said:

Some kind of fancy schmancy stuff, but since it was a gift...

It’s made in small batches from a blend of organic oils and essential oils. Yoga Balm has seven ingredients: Yakima Peppermint Essential Oil, Frankincense Essential Oil, Cold Pressed Olive Oil, Hempseed Oil, St. John’s Wort, Plantain, and Beeswax.

I'm not a big fan of peppermint, but that doesn't overpower the other items in it - I can't really identify a particular singular note myself.  I think it is for using in conjunction with a massage or on sore muscles. 

It sounds so nice. Should be very calming. Do you feel it when you use it? Would love to have a massage with it, lol.

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Hello there. I am not sure if this is anxiety. I get palpitations out of nowhere sometimes, like when I am really stressed. Like my hands and feet get really sweaty especially when I am under pressure, or in situations where I am with other strangers. I also tend to stutter sometimes when I talk to another new person. Is this anxiety?? How do I cure it?

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2 hours ago, libby80 said:

Hello there. I am not sure if this is anxiety. I get palpitations out of nowhere sometimes, like when I am really stressed. Like my hands and feet get really sweaty especially when I am under pressure, or in situations where I am with other strangers. I also tend to stutter sometimes when I talk to another new person. Is this anxiety?? How do I cure it?

It does sound like "anxiety," but I'm not a mental health professional, and I don't play one on TV, heh. I've sought professional counseling and tried medications off and on since the 70s—some with better results than others. I recently started seeing a therapist/"life coach" again and was pleasantly surprised by both the quantity and the quality of practitioners available today, which I suspect is in part because health insurance companies and the large employers whom they serve through insurance benefits have created a market to "fix" employees who are not performing optimally. So you might try making an appointment, or you could first read up (libraries are free) on "cognitive behavioral therapy" and "mindfulness," which might give you enough tools and techniques to turn off the sweat reaction (I hate it when that happens!) or at least acquaint yourself with the techniques, which might speed up the process if/when you do see someone, which can save time and money.

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21 hours ago, ethalfrida said:

It sounds so nice. Should be very calming. Do you feel it when you use it? Would love to have a massage with it, lol.

I think it helps me to feel more settled when I dab it under my nose.  I haven't tried it topically since most of the aches and pains are in parts I can't reach.  I may bring some to my next massage appointment to see if it has any impact there.

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7 hours ago, libby80 said:

How do I cure it?

Physical reactions to an emotional or mental situation are not uncommon but definitely unwelcome. If at all possible, go talk to a doctor to get some direction on what you can do.

Edited by JTMacc99
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8 hours ago, libby80 said:

Hello there. I am not sure if this is anxiety. I get palpitations out of nowhere sometimes, like when I am really stressed. Like my hands and feet get really sweaty especially when I am under pressure, or in situations where I am with other strangers. I also tend to stutter sometimes when I talk to another new person. Is this anxiety?? How do I cure it?

I also advise talking with your doctor. Have you ever had labs done? They test your blood and urine to get feedback on your blood sugar, chlolestral, thyroid and all other body functions. Cometimes, low blood sugar or pressure cause the palpitations as well as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Getting tested will be the best thing. 

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Some of you may know that I'm expecting by surrogacy.  And unlike the "traditional" mom-to-be, I've found that there is little support for people like me.  It's awkward sometimes, walking into stores where people assume you're shopping for a friend (the weird some people get when you tell them YOU'RE the one registered (especially when you're with a male partner)...) or when people don't really know how to treat you (I think some people forget sometimes).   I feel a bit left out from the mom-to-be game.  And factor in all that information ALL parents-to-be get from others (what to do, what NOT to do, what/where to register (or NOT register), etc, etc...) AND the lack of general support (I've contacted some postpartum/new mom groups and few have experience/specially tailored programs for people who had children by surrogacy or have adopted), period. The stress isn't getting to me THAT MUCH just yet, but it would be NICE if more people...understood. 

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@PRgal, I live in a completely different place than you (you're in Canada, right?), so I can't help with registering, but any information or advice you want, ask. I've got an almost 7-year-old. I don't know everything by a long shot (sometimes I still feel I don't know anything), but I'm always glad to share.

One thing I can tell you is to stay away from mom boards on the internet. No matter what you're doing, someone will be happy to tell you that you're wrong and you're ruining your child's life. Basically, because you are the mother, it's your fault -- whatever it is. (Learn to laugh at that idea, or you'll go crazy.)

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Congratulations on your upcoming motherhood PRgal.  I hope that things fall into place. I'd practice telling people what you think they ought to know, if you want them to know. Like in a store, if you're shopping.  There are so many types of families now.  I know so many blended families, families of different ethnic groups, same sex couples, even very different age differences. It's risky to make any assumptions. Plus, I never assume someone is pregnant....no matter how large their belly, I never assume and wait to be told. That's a risky mistake. lol  Will you have childcare after the baby is born? That's a good way to find friends, play dates, etc.  Not sure if you attend church, but ,that's also a good place to share in your joy as well. Please post about the progress.  It sounds so exciting. 

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@SunnyBeBe Thank you! :)  It's really hard when you're a mostly integrated, first-generation-to-be-born-in-Canada person.  The older generation expect things to be a certain way (yes, it's also a generational thing), while you want things done the "Canadian" way.  Then you have the super-PC/super-sensitive people who're like "WTF are you doing?  That's not how people in YOUR CULTURE do it!  Are you ashamed of your heritage or something?"  And you have cousins who are STILL in the old country who somehow seem surprised that you're doing things a certain way.  Like, I casually mentioned that we just finished our registry and my cousin (who was born/raised in Hong Kong) was like "you have a registry?"  As if she was surprised.  Unless I misinterpreted (it was an email).  

I DO have childcare in place for after the birth, which is good.  I don't exactly GO to church, but I attend a meditation group there and yes, they - most of them, anyway - know about the upcoming baby!  People are so sensitive these days about culture and whether they're offending someone of a different background.  To the point that once in a while, I feel like I can't be my normal self - since so many people assume and believe that I'm trying to be someone I'm not. 

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