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    Old 07-15-2005, 08:25 AM   #1
    serafina
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    convinced I have a terrible disease

    I have recently been diagnosed with GAD after seeing many doctors for a variety of physical "symptoms". I'm really having trouble believing that my symptoms can be attributed to anxiety and not something more sinister. It started 3 years ago when I developed a problem with frequent urination. I had numerous tests of my bladder and kidneys, ovaries and for stds, which all checked out fine and was prescribed xanax (which I only took 3 times). I also had a colonoscopy because I get terrible bloating and stomach problems and was told I have IBS. I then felt fine for awhile - the problem pretty much went away and resurfaced only once in awhile, but I could handle it. Then last Dec. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was having a heart attack. I was so nauseaus, dripping in sweat and felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Got checked out (ekg, chest x-ray) and again was told it was anxiety and was prescribed lexapro. Took lexapro for 2 months, but was terrified of gaining weight, so I tapered off in March. After that my sweating problem started. I got terrible hot flashes and had cold sweaty hands and feet constantly. Had more tests and nothing was found. That subsided a little, but comes and goes and now the joints in my fingers seem swollen. My rings are tight and my hands are stiff in the morning. I am terrified that I have something autoimmune going on. I went to a dermatologist for my annual check up and asked him about lupus, which he totally dismissed and said my hands were fine. I don't know if I'm going crazy or if I'm going to be one of those people that says "it took them 10 years to diagnose me . . ." The anxiety is consuming me and I am miserable. I just want to be happy again. I have a great life and I'm ruining it with my obsessive thoughts of being sick. Any advice would be appreciated.

     
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    Old 07-15-2005, 09:07 AM   #2
    Lilly10
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    I know I feel like I have some horrible disease as well! For the past 2 months it is one thing after another with me. I have some weird feeling in my eye that no one can find what the issue may be. I am shaky in my hands and feet and they get extremly cold even if Im outside in the warm weather. I also have had this weird gas bubble trapped in my thoat for a few weeks (it has gone away now). My pupils have changed from being normal to now being of unequal size (that I know is not anxiety!). I have felt dizzy and nauseas from time to time and I get headaches!! The best explanation I get is that it may be a migraine? But I have felt like this for over 2 months and I doubt a migraine would last this long!

    Am I anxious YES of coarse I am I have not felt right for 2 months. All the doctors I see tell me to stop worrying about things so much yet they dont tell you how to stop worrying!! I dont have an "on" and "off" switch that controls my worry.

    Im going to try not to look up health conditions all weekend and do my best to enjoy things. Even if I dont feel like my normal self perhaps just trying to act like myself may help some. Please try and do the same! I have tried to tell my self that if there is something seriously wrong eventually I will find out! But letting this consume our lifes will not help. Good Luck! You are not alone.

     
    Old 07-15-2005, 09:27 AM   #3
    mickey56
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    Get back with LExapro! I know quite a few people who have lost weight on it-it does not increase appetite.Best of luck.

     
    Old 07-15-2005, 10:20 AM   #4
    twanger
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    serafina, I don't know how to help you but I know how you feel. You described me perfectly. I have had the frequent urination. It seems as if I hold my muscles so tight that it irritates the urethra and I have to go alot which I really don't. I have learned to check for tight muscles in that area and sure enough.

    The same with the rest of my symptoms. I seem to tighten my bowel when I get upset and then the gas and IBS starts.

    All the other symptoms are related to tightening of the muscles when I am experiencing anxiety.

    The only thing that works for me is yoga and exercise. Those two things, in addition to realizing nothing too serious is going on here, have helped me relax the muscle tension and the symptoms go away.

    I hope this helps a little bit.

     
    Old 07-15-2005, 10:25 AM   #5
    haylz79
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    I feel like this most of the time over the past couple of years. i convinced myself i had cancer, heart problems, lung problems, joint problems and throat problems, and guess what test after test come back normal!. I am 25 yrs old and I had my first panic attack on holiday when I was 13, I went undiagnosed for years until I was about 18.For the past 7 yrs I was prescribed zoloft (sertraline) 50mg to start and increasing to 200mg. I have decided to come off these tablets after a discussion with my GP due to side effects that I did not like. I have now discovered I have GAD and have just found this site and it has been of great comfort, although my family are a great I feel that they do not fully understand my illness. At the moment most days are a struggle but I work part time 8am -12pm although sometimes i am in a bit of a state when i arrive for work. I have to sit in my car in the car park for several minutes to catch my breath as this is one of my major things i have problems with, the feeling that i cant breathe, and I know I can but once the rapid shallow breathing begins i cant stop it, then the other symptoms happen the pains in my arms the tightness in my chest the dizziness the headache etc. I am now med free taking St Johns wort to see if any improvement in symptoms. If I had one wish it would be to invent a tablet with no side effects that was 100% reliable to cure panic attacks GAD and anxiety! Well till then I will continue being posotive and hopeful for a future free from this.

     
    Old 07-15-2005, 11:31 AM   #6
    Jennita
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by serafina
    I have recently been diagnosed with GAD after seeing many doctors for a variety of physical "symptoms". I'm really having trouble believing that my symptoms can be attributed to anxiety and not something more sinister. It started 3 years ago when I developed a problem with frequent urination. I had numerous tests of my bladder and kidneys, ovaries and for stds, which all checked out fine and was prescribed xanax (which I only took 3 times). I also had a colonoscopy because I get terrible bloating and stomach problems and was told I have IBS. I then felt fine for awhile - the problem pretty much went away and resurfaced only once in awhile, but I could handle it. Then last Dec. I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I was having a heart attack. I was so nauseaus, dripping in sweat and felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Got checked out (ekg, chest x-ray) and again was told it was anxiety and was prescribed lexapro. Took lexapro for 2 months, but was terrified of gaining weight, so I tapered off in March. After that my sweating problem started. I got terrible hot flashes and had cold sweaty hands and feet constantly. Had more tests and nothing was found. That subsided a little, but comes and goes and now the joints in my fingers seem swollen. My rings are tight and my hands are stiff in the morning. I am terrified that I have something autoimmune going on. I went to a dermatologist for my annual check up and asked him about lupus, which he totally dismissed and said my hands were fine. I don't know if I'm going crazy or if I'm going to be one of those people that says "it took them 10 years to diagnose me . . ." The anxiety is consuming me and I am miserable. I just want to be happy again. I have a great life and I'm ruining it with my obsessive thoughts of being sick. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Perhaps you are being a bit obsessive but also the anxiety is not uncalled for since you do seem to have alot of physical symptoms, especially the frequent urination and swelling/stiffness of joints. The thing is, luckily, if you've had all the physical tests show up negative, that's good! But that doesn't mean something isn't going on....not necessarily a disease but your body clearly has some malfunctions that seem almost hormonal. Well, hormones are produced by the brain so it would be important to not be taking in adverse chemicals that are psychoactive like AD's, benzos,stimulants, etc. also no smoking or alcohol. Exercise at least 4 times a week with weights and cardio, and eat right to maintain nutrition so the body can produce proper hormones.....be at a decent weight not under or overweight. Get all the necessary fats (Omegas) like in fish, olive oil.

    Did you ever get a hormone test?

     
    Old 07-15-2005, 12:08 PM   #7
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    To the comment about Lexapro helping you lose weight, that is incorrect. I am currently taking lexapro and I was advised before I went on it that it does cause weight in SOME people, not all. However, no where does it say weight loss. My doctor told me it actually slows your metabolism down. I have gained 40 lbs in the 2 1/2 years I have been on it. I am trying to slowly taper off. It has been horrible for me, as far as weight gain.

    The only SSRI that has clinical proof of weight loss is Wellbutrin.


    -Angela

     
    Old 07-15-2005, 12:24 PM   #8
    serafina
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    thanks so much for your replies! Actually, the sweating and swollen fingers started after I stopped taking yasmin (birth control pill, of which I have been on some form for 12 yrs) and I am slightly underweight and always have been (5'4"/100lbs). I eat very healthy and exercise moderately. I had my estrogen, fsh, lh and cortisol, and thyroid hormones tested and all were normal. However, I need to take progesterone in order to get a period. So, I do believe hormones have something to do with it - but docs don't really take it seriously. My doc is an endocrinologist too so I keep telling myself to trust him (and all the specialists I've seen in the past 3 years). My other reassurance is that I'm never really tired or anything - I mean I don't feel "sick". However, I do feel like I'm plummeting into an abyss of depression and anxiety because what I am experiencing is not normal and all of these symptoms are aggravated by anxiety. I keep rediagnosing myself - from an autonomic nervous system disorder, to PCOS, to ms to lupus, to acromegaly and on and on - even though I've mentioned all these things to my docs and they say "you don't have that." It really helps to know that I'm not alone. I am seeing a therapist now and should take her advice to not do research on the internet! If I didn't know about all these diseases, I probably wouldn't be so worried!

     
    Old 07-15-2005, 10:33 PM   #9
    Jennita
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by serafina
    thanks so much for your replies! Actually, the sweating and swollen fingers started after I stopped taking yasmin (birth control pill, of which I have been on some form for 12 yrs) and I am slightly underweight and always have been (5'4"/100lbs). I eat very healthy and exercise moderately. I had my estrogen, fsh, lh and cortisol, and thyroid hormones tested and all were normal. However, I need to take progesterone in order to get a period. So, I do believe hormones have something to do with it - but docs don't really take it seriously. My doc is an endocrinologist too so I keep telling myself to trust him (and all the specialists I've seen in the past 3 years). My other reassurance is that I'm never really tired or anything - I mean I don't feel "sick". However, I do feel like I'm plummeting into an abyss of depression and anxiety because what I am experiencing is not normal and all of these symptoms are aggravated by anxiety. I keep rediagnosing myself - from an autonomic nervous system disorder, to PCOS, to ms to lupus, to acromegaly and on and on - even though I've mentioned all these things to my docs and they say "you don't have that." It really helps to know that I'm not alone. I am seeing a therapist now and should take her advice to not do research on the internet! If I didn't know about all these diseases, I probably wouldn't be so worried!
    Actually, you are quite underweight. I read somewhere that underweight women tend to not have periods. Now I'm not saying pig out and gain 30 lbs but I think if you continue to exercise and eat good food, an extra 15 lbs would not be too much. At 5'3 in my best shape exercise wise, in my 20's, I weighed around 116 lbs and everyone thought I was skinny! I wasn't, just nice and thin. Now I need to lose some weight but since I've gotten into more muscle-building exercises I wouldn't want to be that weight again; more like 125.

    Anyway, my mother who is 4'11 at her thin/young weight was your weight...well, actually 98 lbs but she was much shorter than you. Old pics show she had a very small waist.

     
    Old 07-17-2005, 05:24 PM   #10
    Jitterygal
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    When I had panic disorder, I had a BAD problem with frequent and urgent trips to the bathroom. My doc says that is a symptom of an anxiety disorder. It did go away eventually once I was treated with medication, but it seems like it took a few months for it to go away...I also had really bad vertigo, and I was constantly worried about brain tumors and the like. So I know how scary it feels...but if all tests are negative, you should feel assured that you are OK--just anxiety!!! And I finally decided to "get mad at it" and conquer it no matter how I was "feeling." Now it doesn't rule my life like it did...It helps that I have a loving and supportive husband...I hope you have the support you need--it really helps. If you ever need to talk, just address your messages to me!!! Take care, Jitterygal

     
    Old 07-17-2005, 07:47 PM   #11
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    Im adding myself to the list. I dont know what is physical and what is caused by panic and depression.
    I have symptoms of colitis, later followed by pain in the left shoulder blade area and lower back, which lead to neuropathy, tingling, burning feet, tremor in my left arm, etc. etc.
    The question is though, how much testing is enough?I had extensive blood testing.I know i have panic and depression and i did a pretty thorough testing of the g.i. system since that was first, had x rays of the spine but i stopped there. I could theoretically go for emg, mris, spinal tap, stress test,and more, meanwhile im stressing myself out more each time.

    Best wishes to us all

     
    Old 07-17-2005, 08:22 PM   #12
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    Is'nt that what most of us uptight people do when we have a pain or symptom is self diagnois??? God gave us a brain and if he only knew (maybe he does...) what goes thru some of ours-you think of everything under the sun is wrong with you and we have all these test and they show nothing. I myself am trying to face the fact I have lots of stress and anxiety and I worry way to bleepin much about my health and I'm going to make an effort each day to stop my thoughts of dread and despair. I want to live life happy, enjoy the days I do have on earth and quit my worrying! (Easier said than done!) NOW I FEEL BETTER....Good luck and have a nice evening all, Jules

     
    Old 07-17-2005, 08:39 PM   #13
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    I was really glad to read this thread. I can relate to it totally.I know I have a long way to go BUT am so glad for you people out there to just be there.Thanks!

    Take care Serafina...

    Biya

     
    Old 07-18-2005, 06:45 AM   #14
    serafina
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    It makes me feel so much better to have the support from all of you on this board. I had a really tough weekend. My husband even said to me, "this is getting really bad." This weekend I was sweaty and had a stomach ache and broke out with acne. I just don't understand how I got this way - I don't remember always being so worried about getting a disease. Maybe it's from the information overload we're exposed to - the news is even saturated with health "news" and it's just too much. I realize that anxiety can cause many physiological symptoms, but what makes it get so bad all of a sudden? For me it's come to a point at which I am obsessed with my health. The anxiety then leads to depression, which is how I felt all weekend. Even though all the tests come back negative, there are always more tests to be had and more specialists to be seen. Where do we draw the line from being irrationally obessive versus educated and diligent about our bodies? I really like the idea of getting angry at the anxiety and being able to laugh at myself too. I will try to do that more because I am deterimined to get over this and lead a happy life, and all of your support makes it much easier!

     
    Old 07-18-2005, 09:32 AM   #15
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    Re: convinced I have a terrible disease

    You didn't say how old you were. I know that you are concerned about the symptoms coming on so fast and there could be several things that could cause that, one of them being a hormonal swing. Maybe you could check that one out.

     
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