Difficult Time for Me

Well, this summer has not been the greatest for me. I have been suffering from anxiety since the start of July. I became a hypochondriact and went to two doctors to confirm that I was very healthy.

When I went to see my PCP she listened to everything that I had to say, a recap of what has happened to me since April:

  1. April: Took the MCAT

  2. May: New Baby Born, began getting only 4 hours of sleep a night

  3. May: Began really packing at work to move to our new building

  4. June: Moved to new building, practically co-ordinated the whole thing myself and had to direct where everything was going. Could not restart my work for 3 weeks.

  5. June: Received good MCAT score, needed to change grade on transcript. Found out that the dean was on vacation until August and the grade would not be changed until then

  6. June: Put house on the market to sell: so far no takers. Finances getting tough

  7. July: Get first Panic Attack

  8. August: In-laws/support system sell house and go on 8 month trip

  9. August: Drop price on house, still no takers. Thesis still not finished.

  10. August: Dean comes back grade changed and sent to AACOMAS

  11. September: Had enough went to see PCP.

    I was unable to get the thoughts that I have cancer out of my head. It does not help that I work in a cancer center as a cancer researcher (time to get out of this field).

    In the meantime, my TMJ was flaring since I was clenching my teeth almost all day, I have a knot in my throat that would not go away and I was freaking out.

    My doctor assured me that I was healthy (I had a full workup this past June and the only complaint was that I was too heavy). What I was suffering was normal considering all of the stress that I was under for such a short period of time. She gave me a prescription to help take the edge off and I recently started therapy. Since the therapy is a free benefit I have at work, I decided to take advantage of it.

    Well, since I have been working on calming down:

  12. My TMJ has calmed down significantly.

  13. An ENT checked me out and my throat is fine, the knot was from stress and it has since subsided

  14. The thoughts are going away

  15. Panic attacks are getting less and less.

    Only problem is that I have not been able to focus on my thesis but I explained to my professor what is going on, she should understand. Good news is that I feel focused again to finish up this week and submit it. Getting two secondaries also helped. I am also getting the therapy to learn coping techniques that I will use not only in the future, but also when I start medical school (hopefully) I will not get back into this slippery slope. If I do not get into medical school, I am getting out of cancer research and probably into teaching.

    In through the nose

    out through the mouth…



Hang in there! I know what anxiety attacks are like and they can be tough. You have been through alot! I’m glad you sought counseling for the condition and am equally glad you are doing better. Take care of yourself!

Gabe, hang in there. Anxiety is the most treatable of psychiatric afflictions. Your wonderful plastic brain, which unfortunately has learned a lot of maladaptive responses lately, can be trained to UNlearn those responses too. It will take time and dedication on your part, and it sounds like you are quite prepared and determined to do it. You will be OK.


Keep your head up BRO’… Everything will turn out right… keep the FAITH…


Thank you all for your support. I have my good days and I have my bad days. Everytime I feel some pain somewhere, I have a bad day.

I just wish all the pain would stop and then I can get back to normal. Note, the pain I am talking about is not constant pain. It is a tinge here, a tingle there.

I must admit, I raised my voice for most of the days between May and August and my father-in-law (who is an ENT) told me that the pain I am feeling is because I did not use my voice correctly.

I know that this is the case and more and more I am getting past all of this. But sometimes I just get a pit in my stomach. Day by day is how I am taking it. One step at a time.

All you can do is take everything one day at a time. Believe me, I understand. Take care of yourself!

I don’t know if this suggestion would help, but what the heck…

There’s a book called “Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zinn which is about dealing with anxiety, chronic pain and other conditions with mindfulness meditation. He founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at University of Massachusetts Medical Center using these techniques. I’m not any kind of evangelist, but it really does work. I have had problems with depression and anxiety, and mindfulness meditation has been very helpful (I started this in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioral therapy, which has been a true life saver).

It’s not the traditional sort of “Ommmm” kind of meditation - more like breathing techniques, and practical ways to quiet the racing of your mind in daily life.

Anyway, maybe somebody will get some use out of this recommendation. i don’t talk about this stuff too often because I don’t want to come off like a crackpot… But there you have it.

Good luck to you, and to anybody else dealing with stress and anxiety. It can really wear you down.

all I can say is hang in there gabe, work through things as they come, and it will get better. There is light at the end of the tunnel, whether you see it or not.

We all have our time of trials, and hopefully, we all get through them.

You will succeed if you try hard enough and long enough. Don’t get discouraged and keep on chuggin’.

I have tons of sayings…

take care


So many people dealing with something like this suffer in silence and watch, feeling helpless, as their lives slowly erode away. Good for you for taking steps to get the treatment you need so you can live the life you deserve! I had panic attacks for about two years, a long time ago, and I still remember how awful it felt. It’s very strange while you’re waiting for treatment to work, watching your body try to convince you you’re about to die and trying to pretend you don’t believe it.

Hang in there. You’ve taken charge, and you’re taking care of business AND taking care of yourself. Good for you!


I hope you are continuing to feel better and the therapy and meds are helping, and the panic attacks are continuing to subside. I know how hard it can be to deal with pain and stress, regardless of the cause.

In the mean time try to keep a positive attitude and utilize every support mechanism you have at hand. And remember, we are all here for you if you just need to vent!


Well, it has been several months since I posted about my anxiety issues. I have been going to a doctor who diagnosed me as having mild OCD. Looking back at my life, he is right.

SInce that time, one of my meds has been reduced because I have been able to control my anxiety and fear. My big issue now is dealing with the various symptoms of “the great imposter” aka TMJ.

Anyway, I am certainly in a better place than I was in the summer though I still have to learn how to turn off my brain. It IS possible to think too much. The other day, I had my first panic attack in months but the next morning, I was alright.

My focus now is to release tension, relax, and meditate. Maybe after I move to the rental house and settle down.

Gabe, it sounds like you’re on the right track. And once you get into your rental home and begin med school, learning as you go just how hard to push yourself, I know you’ll be fine!

As to relaxing tension. . . yeah, learn some way that works for you. It’s so easy for people to tell you to relax, but it can be all but impossible. But there is a way, and you will find it.

As for your great impostor, find a good doctor that knows how to treat TMJ with OMT and you’ll be amazed how much better it can feel. I can even show you the treatment this summer at the conference. It really isn’t that hard!