Hi, I'm a 25 year old female, 5'5, 114 pounds. Since I was around 17 and a half I started experiencing strange symptoms that come and go, which range from mild to debilitating and pretty scary and terrifying. Here's a little background which I think could be significant in my case. I was always a very healthy child (physically at least) before this started. No know congenital defects or allergies. Although I always had problems with nervousness and anxiety caused by some crazy life circumstances and unstable living conditions. When I was 11 I had a bout with serious obsessive compulsive disorder, and anxiety which very caused by some extremely stressful events happening in my life that started when I was 9 years old. All the symptoms I experienced of anxiety up until i was 17 were purely mental (no physical manifestations, that's why I am worried that my current symptoms are NOT caused by anxiety) Now back to my current symptoms. It all started one summer, while I was going through an extremely stressful time in high school, I failed a few courses, was worried to death about my parents finding out, eventually they found out. I know this sounds silly in hindsight, but I was really stressed out, I couldn't sleep or eat, I constantly sat by the phone waiting for the teacher's phone call to inform my parents of my failure, praying I would just drop dead and disappear, I didn't think I could survive my parents finding out. For about 2 weeks, I stressed my self about it to the max, I was nervous, shaking and anxious 24/7. I thought I was going to drop dead from the stress, it was extreme. Once my parents found out I experienced great relief and decided to sign up for summer school to make up for the failed courses. Summer school went great, I did well, and once summer school finished (it lasted 4 weeks), 1 week after it finished, one day I got this awful feeling in my throat. Which really scared me, because I wasn't stressed or anxious at that point anymore. It felt like there was this lump and tightness in my throat, I couldn't swallow and was in agony. There was no pain, just extreme discomfort. I went to the emergency room the next day, they swabbed my throat to test for strep throat, the doctor said I was fine, even though I was going insane from the lump in my throat, he just gave me some tylenol 3 with codein, even though I had no pain and was trying to explain that, but the doctor didn't seem to care! Anyways, the result eventually came back negative. Then, 2 days after my ER visit, I started experiencing this tightness in my chest, no pain or breathing difficulties, just tightness. So I went to my family doctor, he checked me out, said I seemed healthy, gave me some antibiotics just in case it was an infection. Which it wasn't, because the strep test came back negative. I still took the antibiotics though. Anyways, the next 4 weeks was pure suffering and agony. The lump in my throat was bothering me so much I seriously wanted to die. I was miserable. My chest still felt tight and then I started having this strange breathing disorder, it felt like shortness of breath, I had to gasp to fill my air with lungs which caused me to panic. I also started becoming physically weak and fatigued and didn't have as much energy as I used to before i got sick. Miraculously, all the symptoms would disappear when I went to sleep. After a while, the lump in throat disappeared like it was never there, but the shortness of breath persisted for a couple of years, which left me weak and panicky, and afraid of exercising.
Anyways, after that incident my health went downhill. I had no endurance, I was short of breath during the day (but not at night), I had heart palpitations and I was depressed and miserable. Once I started college, those symptoms slowly disappeared, reoccurring only occasionaly (slight shortness of breath and some palpitations), but overall everything improved a lot. I was almost back to normal. I also resumed exercising, and started going to the gym and running a lot on the tread mill with no symptoms. But now, I have started experiencing these symptoms again. ( i have had some depression lately, fueled by my unemployment and general dissatisfaction with my life circumstances). It seems that these symptoms have evolved into additional symptoms, such as stomach issues ie: pain, diarrhea, bloating AND dizziness. I would suddenly get this episode of dizziness, fatigue, shallow breathing with slight shortness of breath, chills, and impeding sense of doom like I'm going to die, and then nausea would hit me and then my stomach turns into a knot and it forces me to go number 2. And then I have to lie down to regain my strength, this leaves me weak and exhausted anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours. My blood pressure is usually low (around 105), could that be a cause? This has been happening a couple of times per week now, since 3 weeks ago. The thing is, I am terrified of going to the doctors and finding out that I have a heart problem, which I suspect is probably the case, since I get palpitations and skipped beats often, especially when I'm stressed, drink alcohol, but sometimes out of nowhere. I don't have a lot of caffeine at all. I am afraid that I will need surgery, or worse yet, that this is deadly. I know that dizziness and shortness of breath and chest tightness means a heart condition, and that I why I'm so worried because I have those symptoms. My intuition is telling me that that's what it is. I know this sounds utterly pathetic and crazy, but I am so afraid of doctors, I just can't make myself go. My quality of life is **** right now, I am extremely worried about my health, I can't function properly. I should be looking for a job, but I am too weak and fatigued and stricken by my bothersome symptoms to do that. Ever since that episode at 17, I never felt the same. I feel like I overtaxed my body with anxiety, permanently damaging my nervous system and my heart. Can anyone please shed any light on this? Is this anxiety or something physical? How can I bring myself to go get checked out? I know that's what I need to do, but I am so freakin' afraid, it's like asking a person terrified of flying to jump out of a plane.
It sounds like anxiety and something called vocal cord dysfunction. This happens when the vocal cords spasm and cause breathing problems. It IS real, but can be caused by something like anxiety. The stomach problems could be anxiety and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is common in your afe group. It IS real also, but can be worsened by anxiety.
Sounds like a typical case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCD. (really)
Have you seen a therapist? Been on any medications for OCD or anxiety disorder? I feel terrible that you've been going through this for so long with no help! Read the fact sheet from the NIH link below. GAD has tons of very real physical - sometimes debilitating - symptoms.
Wow, you just described pretty much myself. I have a few different symptoms, I worry it might lead or/be a beginning of a stroke. I'm also so terrified of doctors. I know you, like myself would like an answer for this . You are sure not alone.
I agree with the other posters. This definately sounds like Anxiety! I've had the same symtoms that come and go over the years. Sometimes they go away but the least little thing sends you into a tailspin and it starts all over again. Try to relax and realize that it didn't kill you last time so it most probably won't this time either . Unfortunately, things will never be as they were before all of this started, but you will learn to cope. Hang in there
I'm sure this isn't vocal cord dysfunction. VCD is often misdiagnosed as asthma because of the sound one makes while trying to breathe. It's a tightening of the throat and one wheezes terribly while trying to get a breath. You don't sound like you have these symptoms.
It sounds exactly what I have which is LPR (reflux going to the throat and damaging that area around the vocal chords). At least, it causes that feeling of something in the back of your throat (globus) and dryness, sore throat.
It's a little understood disease. You need to go to a good ENT doctor and make sure that they know about LPR or silent reflux.
Also I just joined these boards today. How have you been since then? Did you recover on your own? Let me know.