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Old 03-16-2006, 11:48 AM   #1
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Anxiety (Self-diagnosing)

I've posted before on this topic, but I feel the urge to do so again. :-)

I have been having digestion problems for the past month, churning stomach, pain in the upper abdomen, acid reflux, etc. After doing a lot of "research" on the internet, I'm sure I have gastroparesis, a condition where the stomach doesn't dump into the small intestine. I have terrible nausea in the morning, shakes/trembling that come and go, and a continued obsession with dying or disability. I'm positive that my gastroparesis is connected to MS (something that I have never been diagnosed to have). I'm especially bad after awakening from a nap or a night's sleep. I also get the pins and needles sensations in my toes and fingers.

Does this sound like a textbook case of anxiety? I've been sitting at home for the past few days waiting for my stomach exams....doing nothing but worrying! I feel like depression is setting in as well. I'm 29, good physical shape, good job and thought I had a bright future ahead of me, but for the past several days it seems like my world is falling apart.

 
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:04 PM   #2
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Re: Anxiety (Self-diagnosing)

HAve you been to the dr, coz before you put all your symptoms down to anxiety it is best to get checked to make sure nothing else is really wrong.

 
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Old 03-16-2006, 01:19 PM   #3
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Re: Anxiety (Self-diagnosing)

yes go to your doctor and have him/her check you over really well before putting it all to anxiety it is a process of elimination have to check for and eliminate other things before diagnosing as anxiety it is also very possible to have anxiety PLUS other issues

 
Old 03-16-2006, 03:20 PM   #4
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Re: Anxiety (Self-diagnosing)

I went to the doctor, and he says its all in my head. Bloodwork came back ok. However, its impossible to test everything, so I continue down this spiral of looking for a specific cause. I cannot stay off the internet, as much as I try.

 
Old 03-16-2006, 04:06 PM   #5
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Re: Anxiety (Self-diagnosing)

You sound exactly like me. I know how you feel completely. I am a very healthy guy, 25, I workout... all that good stuff. Most of the time I'm ok with a little worrying here and there but nothing earth shattering. Sometimes though... I am sure I'm dying. All of the things you mention remind me of myself. Chances are your stomach problems stem from all the time yu spend worrying about dying. I've gone through the same thing. I even chuckled at the MS part... there have been times I was sure I was developing MS. I've been going through it for years but recently (over the last two years) it's become more managable for me.

I think I've figured it out on my own without having to resort to meds. I hate the thought of being dependent on medication just to feel normal. In fact, I hate the thought of meds all together. I don't know if this is something people with anxiety do but I often worry that taking foreign substances may just harm me more in the long run. I never take them unless I am really very ill. Anyway, I think anxiety is a disease that can be managed proactively with healthy thinking habits. If I may, I'd like to maybe tell you what I do to manage.

I'll first tell you about my first experience with anxiety. I think for many people with anxiety it's something that they are prone to naturally. For me I believe the every day stresses of life growing up got under my skin a little more than most. I worried a lot, even as a kid. I can remember worrying that my mom would get into a car accident or someone I loved would get hurt or even that I would get hurt... more than most kids I think... I worried.

When I was about 18 years old one night I was hanging out with my friends at a party. After a long night of partying suddenly at about 4am I was sure I was having a heart attack. My chest was pounding, I was short of breath and I was dizzy. I was begging my friends to rush me to the hospital but they were telling me I was fine. At the moment I hated them because I thught they were just going to let me die. After about 30 minutes everything settled down. I didn't know what hit me or if I had had a heart problem or what... I was really baffled by the whole experience. That was my first anxiety (panic) attack but it would definitely not be my last.

After a couple years of having them (usually in spurts for a month or two then settlling down for a few months) and shooting out of bed at night for no reason with my heart pounding I started to research it. I found out that what happened to me happened to a lot of people and it was called anxiety. At that time I didn't know what caused the attacks but I knew that I dreaded them. The attacks were no longer simply heart attack attacks but sometimes I felt like I was losing my mind during the attacks. They were very dark and very scary. I spent a lot of time thinking about death and dying. The only thing I feared more than death was my next anxiety attack. I read somewhere that something you sould tell yourself or have someone else tell you during an attack was "What you are feeling is painful but not dangerous." Strangely telling myself that during my attacks had become like a teddy bear that a little kid would squeeze at night when he felt the boogie man was around.

I had thought about getting medication for it but like I said above, I hate the thought of chemical dependency. I felt like it was something I could manage if I could learn more about it. Around then I was very computer savvy and I was in the Army so libraries became my friend. It was then that I learned that the attacks weren't the actualy sickness, but a symptom of the sickness. The attacks are caused by constant stress of worry and self torment for hours, weeks, months and years. It seems they are some sort of release for me because after I had them I would stop worrying for a while. It seemed like it let all the pent up worry and stress out of the flood gates.

I read this book back then which I won't mention the title of because I don't want people to think this is some sort of ad. Anyway, the book was about trying to live in the now and not thinking about the past or the future as much as possible. It was about only going to the future to plan and then imediately coming back to thinkin about right now. The theory is that pain and worry can only exist in the past and the future. They cannot exist right now because right now you are fine unless you dying right now. I could go on forever about it but it gave me a new outlook and I started to try to change my thinking.

It's been years since then and I continue to keep an awareness of my anxiety problem. I've learned ways to manage it but I still have my worries although I usually only have attacks about once ever 6 months to a year. I really try not to think about what will or has happened to me. I try to live in the now. There is nothing that can be done about the past and nothing worrying is going to solve in the future. There are hitches to get around with this concept but for the most part it works.

Another thing is exercise. Exercise not only makes you feel good physically but it allows you time to let you mind focus on the simple rythms and breathing patterns rather than problems and stress sources. If you are always worried about being sick you need to keep yourself away from sites that tell you about disease and sickness. You are not a doctor. Let your doctor handle it. You need to also have an escape from your own mind on a daily basis. Something that is pleasant and completely stress free. It's important you find something like this. Finally, you have to know that life is not in your control. It never was. When you die, you will die and there is nothing you can do about it. There is nothing no one can do about it. The FACT is your death will be but a fraction of pain compared to the lifetime of pain you will put yourself through worrying about it. More importantly there is no reason to think about it. Think about right now. Think about the mouse in your hand and the smells in the air, the sounds in the room and outside. Again, THERE IS NO REASON TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT HASN"T HAPPENED. RIGHT NOW YOU ARE FINE! BE HAPPY ABOUT THAT. ENJOY THAT. THERE ARE TIMES YOU WILL NOT BE FINE BUT RIGHT NOW YOU ARE... just learn to savor it.

Chances are, you are ok. You aren't just going to drop dead. You need to get your worrying under control otherwise you'll spend a lot of time and money going to the doctor for problems you don't have. For someone with anxiety it is impossible to get everything checked that you think it wrong with you and it doesn't help the problem. You need to realize you have anxiety and you cannot trust yourself telling your there is something wrong. You ahve to get it under control. You are never going to get to a point where you feel you are perfectly healthy unless you do. Even if doctors tell you that you are fine you will think they are mistaken. It's up to you to make yourself feel well.

I have never written anything like this anywhere although I've had some long discussions with friends on this issue. I'm not anxiety free by any stretch but I am better than I ever have been and I believe that knowing what's going on is a HUGE step in managing it. I sure hope I was able to put it in perspective for someone. At the very least it was nice to talk about it. Thanks for reading.

Last edited by arden; 03-16-2006 at 04:15 PM.

 
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:39 PM   #6
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Re: Anxiety (Self-diagnosing)

Amen to that!! I completly agree! Very good post Arden

 
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