How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Tim Brown Your Own Question
Tim Brown
Tim Brown, GP
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 4079
Experience:  GP in Sussex
108371854
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Tim Brown is online now

Since 3 days ago I find myself frequently conscious of my

This answer was rated:

Hello, since 3 days ago I find myself frequently conscious of my breathing, this is worse whenever i try to sleep as if im not distracting myself im permantly aware and in manual control of my breath. Hence preventing me from sleep.
JA: The Doctor can help. To begin, what are your symptoms? Have you used any medication for this?
Customer: Not specifically for this, i started taking Sertraline for anxiety/depression on the 2nd june.
JA: Thanks for that. Have you seen a doctor about depression?
Customer: And have been taking metoprolol for 8 days. I have spoke to my G.P. over the phone.
JA: Thank you so much for your answers. Finally, is there anything else in your medical history the Doctor should know?
Customer: I don't think so.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Although its possible i had some symptoms of anxiety and depression before, to me this all started (or at least seemed to blow up) on the 23rd May. I was lying in bed and suddenly it felt like my heart was pounding, and from then on i was pretty much permanent aware of my heartbeat which freaked me out quite alot. I rang G.P. and she said its almost certainly anxiety, said I should come in for an ECG when Lockdown goes down and perscribed me 50mg Metoprolol twice daily. This did stop me noticing my heartbeat, but the anxiety was still there, I often felt my gut clench and more often than not I didn't even know what thought triggered it. I also started feeling generally gloomy and down, not being able to enjoy things i usualy would, with waves of hopelessness so I spoke to G.P. again and was perscribed 50mg Sertraline daily. I did feel abit better (Don't know if dew to medication or placebo or anything else), i fell asleep relatively easily on the day i first took Sertraline (2nd June) and the day before, but since the 3rd June when i attepted to go sleep, I noticed I was conscious of my breathing, which automatically put me in 'manual breathing' mode. I couldn't seem to breathe in my normal rhythm once I was in manual breathing mode, which was always unless I was distracting myself. I did eventually get to sleep somehow after hours of lying there. And that leads to my first message/question.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you answer

Good evening, I am Dr Ruff. Please could you tell me your age? Thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Good evening, 28 years old

Great thank you, ***** ***** you for the information you have provided. I can promise you that your breathing is not going to stop, it is not possible to stop breathing because you forget. You are clearly describing anxiety. Would you agree?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
definitely
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But as soon as I focus on my breathing, which I can’t seem to stop myself from doing, I just cant seem to let go of control. Unless I distract myself.

It is not uncommon, but then a bit of a vicious cycle.

What have you been doing for your anxiety? Did you say Sertraline was just started?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well because I was so tired after 3 nights of minimum sleep I messed up today and after waking up to take my medication at noon I sorta just lay in bed till 5 drifting between very light sleep and semi conscious when a noise or something disturbed me.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
But before then sunset 24th May ive been getting up at 11am and lowing down to sleep between 12-2am. Doing at least some exercise everyday (which isn’t much as I’m so unfit) quit alcohol (used to have between 50-70 units a week) and caffeine

Okay, so sertraline would start becoming much more effective from day 7 to day 21, maximum effect by 6 weeks. So at 2 weeks this is normally a good time to decide if the drug needs to be increased or consider stopping and trying an alternative

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Started taking vitamin supplements and eating less crap (diet is still not great as appetite is pretty low), tryed various mediations n breathing exercises, and although I know they require practice I find it extremely difficult to do what they seem to ask

Okay, so there are few things you need to read about as they may benefit you. The first is sleep hygiene, improving your sleep quality massively reduces your anxiety, the next thing is about Mindfulness, a way of using your breathing as a way of relaxing yourself (including other things), and finally Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, this can be done with a psychologist, but there are online options to do this yourself.

These in combination with your medication will do a lot of good for you. There is strong evidence that CBT is as effective to an SSRI (Sertraline) for mild symptoms, moderate symptoms the SSRI has strong evidence it is much more effective compared to the placebo. You have started doing the right things, just a few more things to do...

What do you think?

I can find you some useful links for those things if you like, would take me a bit of time though

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
please, if I have spent a lot of my time online looking at things, but tend to get abit overwhelmed flitting from one thing to another when a method or suggestion doesn’t have immediate effect. I’ve always had a lack of motivation and have a tendency to do the minimum to get by. I either truly thought (or managed to convince myself very thoroughly) I was content with just spending most of my time reading and watching various media (generally fiction) and lazing about on my imagination, using alcohol when I felt things where getting dull/monotonous. And then the anxiety hit me seemingly out of no where, then the waves of hopelessness and the inability to enjoy reading like normal or even just sitting n talking/joking with my mum n older sister (I live with them both), and now I can’t even get any sleep because of the ‘manual breathing’ thing. It’s like my entire life has changed potentially forever and I’ve got so much work to do to get control back. Work I don’t feel prepared for in any way as I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life being essentially as lazy as I can get away with.

Fair enough, but you are still asking the right questions, doing nothing wouldn't lead you to this website, but I also appreciate this website is much more accessible than phoning your GP etc.

If you could kindly rate my response to your question, I will happily look for some useful links for you to start the process. May take me about 10minutes though to find them

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you and of course, I’m on the app do I just click ‘rate expert to finish’?

Yes please, this doesn't close the thread though, but allows Just Answer to acknowledge my response

Tim Brown and 2 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What do think about my thoughts that everything seemed to just come out of no where? Does that happen?

Sorry, just look this up now.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much, I’m now taking a look.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you think il be able to find someone to meet in person?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I hate how I’m so uncertain about my own mind and thoughts that I can’t even be sure what I think.. but I think.. I may still be clinging onto the hope that some miracle cure/method will make me feel ‘normal’ again. Reason and available evidence suggest hard work and lifestyle changes are the only reliable path forward and as far as I can tell I have accepted that, but I feel I should be more motivated if that’s the case.

Yes, face to face will exist, but most will start on the phone or video.