Hi everyone,

I guess I'm mostly here to vent this time around. It's only been three months since my diagnosis and, overall, I don't think a lot has changed except my mental state. I've been fighting anxiety for years and it seems like it's just gotten worse with this diagnosis. I've been to the ER twice now (once for chest pain, once for a heart rate over 120 bpm) and it feels like nothing the doctors tell me helps me deal with the anxiety I have surrounding having lupus.

I feel like I've lost something. I constantly worry that every ache or pain is going to mean the end of my life. I've been having chest pains off and on for over a month now and even though the ER doctors said I'm fine, I constantly worry that it's my heart and that it's a sign I'm going to die.

On top of that, I missed a few days of work because I went to the ER and now I'm worried about missing more. I feel like no one there understands why I'm trying to deal with or why I needed to go to the hospital. Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day (I work in a bank and pension cheques come in early in December) and there's no one else trained to do the job I do, so I need to be there. But there's a part of me that wants to go back to the hospital because my chest still hurts, even though I'm sure they won't tell me anything different from the last time.

I've been talking with a counsellor, but it doesn't seem to be helping much. She's given me all sorts of tools to deal with the anxiety, but when it comes down to actually having a panic attack, I can't seem to make them work. I try the breathing exercises and I try distraction and in the end, I have to take an ativan. Which is another thing I don't want to be doing, so I worry I'm taking too many.

It's just a lot right now. How do you deal with the anxiety? How do you know when you're just working yourself up or when you actually need to go to the hospital? I feel so completely lost.