Medical Questions > Mental Health > Anxiety and Stress Forum

Physical symptoms of anxiety ?

I'm writing this because I have just woken up with a strange panicky episode and am generally sick of the plethora of different symptoms that have cropped up in my life for the past five years.

I have always been a very anxious person as far back as I can remember. It wasn't necessarily in all facets of life, but quite a few. I was always a shy kid and was always anxious when it came to girls and dating (my great girlfriend is really the first actual relationship I've been in and I'm 27 - we've been together 10 months), being employed (didn't start working until age 20 and quit the first couple jobs I had in the first 3 days due to anxiety. I've always had an irrational fear of confrontation, people being critical or angry at me. I feel I must always make people happy. I have extreme guilt when calling in sick for instance - which doesn't help when I need to because of my anxiety. I also have the strange fear of not wanting to check my e-mail, I've gone through many different e-mail accounts because of this. Whether it's e-mailing a boss about me being sick for the day or e-mailing a professor (I'll explain my school issues below) or dealing with e-mail in my current hobby, which I try to track down notable people to interview (I run a website based around my hobby), I sometimes avoid checking their response because I'm so worried it will be mad or angry or I'll get some notice of rejection (another irrational worry, fear of rejection, of not being good enough or worth someone's time)

I've also been a bit of a hypochondriac for a very long time. I remember thinking I had AIDS as a kid because the commercials/public awareness made it seem so common. It was completely irrational, but I remember manifesting symptoms in my head when we'd have classes on diseases in health class. I still to this day change the channel if there are any symptom specific disease commercials on.

In general anxiety and fear have held me back quite a bit. I still live at home, I now work two jobs for very low wages and still can't get myself to finish school which is another story. I am only 12 credits short of a degree, but school either causes anxiety or I feel like it is something I don't have any extra energy for that I struggle in completing it. For many years now I've failed to attend class, I drop all my classes or get F's (and later W's through petitions) or just don't sign up for school. I've been close to graduation for years but simply can't get myself to finish school. I'm embarrassed to face my instructors and advisors who I feel I've betrayed numerous times by my inability to cope with school stress or whatever the reason is I reject school in my life.

Anyway, the symptoms. They started sometime in 2005, though I recall some earlier that I was able to easily cope with for short periods of time (include a couple times when I woke up with the taste of bile in my mouth).The main symptoms started in the summer of 2005. I had head pains, an odd dizziness and dizzy spells, eye twitching, sometimes having feelings like I might pass out or - when trying to sleep - like a shock that would always jolt me and keep me from falling asleep for awhile. I'd also be very fatigued and usually needed to sleep in the afternoon. I had an fairly intense stomach cramp one night that left pain that wouldn't totally go away and I lost my appetite.Of course, being a hypochondriac I assumed cancer or something and this freaked me out even more. I was working in retail at the time and I remember the job getting more stressful for me at the time - with new rules forcing us to excessively nag the customer and meet sales goals. This didn't jive well with me at all, as I knew how much I hated being nagged in stores (another anxiety thing) and I hated doing it to other people obviously, thinking they felt the same way I did in those same situations, and I can't stand being perceived as the bad guy.So yeah, during this time period I did become excessively anxious with work.

It got so bad that I quit my job in September that year. Even though it was part-time I just couldn't take it nor could I take living with my current symptoms and having to go to work.So I was out of work and living at home, meanwhile skipping every class and just hanging out at home while dad was at work. One night I hung out with a friend and felt like I was going to die after eating something, nasua/dizziness/etc and after that I wouldn't even go outside anymore, for fear of being dizzy or passing out. I even was supposed to fly to see family at Christmas that year but skipped out on the day of the flight because I felt I couldn't do it. I was alone at home for Christmas, I couldn't believe it.

Somehow I kept going. I'd eat food even though I wasn't hungry and it made me feel weird to eat (like a momentary lightheaded sensation). I avoided a doctor because I didn't want him to spell out my inevitable doom, or so I thought. I managed to continue my yearly summer job in 2006 (which was at night and was stressful, but seditary and something I was skilled and confident in handling) even though I fought through symptoms to do it. That fall I took another p/t evening, seditary job and managed ok while fighting through symptoms again to get through most nights. At least I was making a little money again and getting out.I even traveled to see my family, though I'd stay inside while they went out. My mom was concerned enough to have me check out a doctor. I got bloodwork done and numerous tests, I was told I was likely suffering from anxiety and was prescribed a couple drugs at the time which I didn't try.I just figured if it was anxiety I can stop worrying about a real disease and just cope better. I had also seen a heart doctor and came back healthy from that too.

I even started seeing a girl I met online in early 2007, but we generally dated at home, as I wouldn't go out. I was surprised she put up with this to be honest, but she was shy and seemed just happy to have me to hang out with.

Then later that year my dad had a heart attack and I had to rush him to the hospital one night. I fought through symptoms to do this but noticed they gradually began to dissipate as I was forced to deal with my dad being in the hospital and then taking care of him at home. I started to go out on my own better and I even started to regain an appetite. It was like I was kicked into action and rebooted myself somewhat. The symptoms didn't necessarily go away completely, but rarely showed up and up until a couple months ago I was doing quite well - though still exhibiting the same mental anxiety I always have had.

In May of last year I took another job. I felt I could handle it and I absolutely needed the increased income. My weekends are literally a mess. I work my night job still, which has a Thursday shift from 6:30-10:30. Then the next two days I work both jobs from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m (with two one-hour meal breaks). It's pretty non-stop, esp. for my conditioning. I was impressed I could get through it, though I was increasing my caffeine intake, something I had generally quit in the prior two years

While the 50-hour work week schedule was hectic (on top of managing a new relationship, who I intend to keep around for the long haul as I love her dearly and general life requirements) I somehow was able to keep going without any debilitating symptoms kicking back in.

Then it started again, last December. I got sick, then got this subtle pain near my chest. Then one night, after drinking a lot of caffeinated pop and playing video games quite late - something I'd usually do to relax (my sleep schedule was never very good) I woke up feeling nauseous and uneasy. My girlfriend and I had planned a shopping trip to the mall but I couldn't handle it. We ate there and I began to feel sick and dizzy and just wanted to get home. I couldn't believe it was happening to me again. I got home and felt a little better. But the localized stomach pain returned again, and now sternum/back pain which I think is new (I've had so many symptoms from the onset that I can't remember them all), gone is my appetite. Dizziness isn't really an issue, but I get that "shock" or imbalance feeling sometimes when falling asleep or maybe doing a regular everyday activity. I feel more nauseous on a general level and more tired. Some days are a little better, some are not. The other day I had some appetite and ate a bit, then the next day I felt bad. Three weeks ago I felt cold/allergy symptoms and then when those seemed to be going away I got hit hard with a flu-like nausea and very scary upset stomach that I survived the night without throwing up but made me call in sick for three days from both jobs. That seemed to increase the symptoms some what. Twitching is back, but has moved from my lip to an area near my right pinky finger. My problems seem mostly associated with my digestive system these last few weeks I guess. I get very tired when eating, sometimes I have pain in my sternum after eating, but sometimes I don't. Sometimes that pain seems to leave. I have had a few heart palpitations and heavy beating, feelings of slight tremor all over my body sometimes - esp. when tired. Some days are better than others. I never have restful sleep, but this has been an issue for years since this started with me. Even if I sleep for 8-9 hours I wake up generally groggy.

I'd be lying if I didn't say the last couple months have been more stressful than usual. The night job is especially hectic during this time of year (december through february/march) and the day job has had issues pop up when I became exceedingly anxious about (issues that closely resembled the demands of my old retail gig). I've also been more pressured than ever to finish school, make more income (full time job) and move out of my parents house (something I've always wanted to do, but never been able to do with the way anxiety stunted my life). All of this has added up to a great deal of anxiety for me.

I fell asleep at 3 a.m. this morning and was jostled up at 5:30 a.m. with a feeling of nausea and a fast beating heart. I took a low dose klonopin (something I've taken rarely, but much more so recently) which seemed to calm me down a little and get me on the computer to tell someone about it all (which is somewhat cathartic anyway).

To end, I'd just say that it's highly obvious to me I have GAD, I've been a chronic worrier for a very long time. There's no question whatsoever. The symptoms I suffer could represent physical medical problems though and that always makes me worried because I'm a hypochondriac as well, though these symptoms seemed to be triggered by high times of anxiety in my life and while they tend to linger when I get them, they do come and go or tail off in severity at points (like I say, I have good and bad days). I imagine a real physical issue wouldn't just take a day off (and in my case, lie relatively dormant for almost two years). I've looked at other possibilities as well, maybe chronic fatigue or post-viral syndrome since the triggers have seemed to be illness too, but that could be a somewhat fabrication explanation as well.

I just wanted to share that with people who have experienced anxiety as well. Maybe find an answer, maybe find a better remedy, I don't know. I want so bad to move forward with my life, but I feel so held back by this. I'm pushing 30 and really need to have my own life. I want to get married soon, I want to move out, I want to graduate and I want to get a full time job so I can support all this, but I feel somewhat hopeless in that pursuit with anxiety and these symptoms keeping me very measured and - for lack of a better word - lazy. I feel desperate, as I just ordered some herbal remedy I saw on a TV infomercial two days ago. Sometimes I wonder why I can't just relax and feel markedly better. This week I have vacation and will be traveling, but that is not necessarily relaxing and I am nervous how my body will respond.

Just reading some of the accounts on this website helps. I hate the idea of "self-medicating" myself to no end, but with anxiety it seems to be an endless quest to find ways to cope and deal with mental and physical symptoms.
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First Helper PSHope
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replied May 26th, 2010
Hey buddy, just wanted to say your not alone. I deal with this everyday, I can't handle it anymore, I am in constant fear that I am going to drop dead to a heart attack. Even though I am only 19 years old. Any pain I get I think oh Shaite, here it comes. 2 months ago I had some pretty bad panic attacks, although at the time I never heard of panic attacks, both times I felt like I was going to die, I felt like I was having a heart attack, (its always been a fear of mine) I check my pulse all the time thinking that its going to be different, or checking that my heart is still working. I've done a fair amount of drugs, smoked for 4 years, and drank heavily). So it makes me think that I do have a heart problem or that I am going to die from a heart attack at such a young age. Many doctors have told me that everything sounds fine, and that my breathing is fine and whatnot (ever since my panic attacks, I've been very short of breath ALL THE TIME, like I gasp for air every 10 minutes). I've had many tests on my heart, ECG's EKG's, chest xwray's, blood work etc. Everything came back normal. But yet I still fear that I am going to have a heart attack, everyday. Sometimes I tell myself come on Tom, you know this is just in your head, but my symptoms get so real sometimes that I have no choice but to think that there is something seriously wrong with me. Recently I have been in fear that I am going to have a stroke, or something worse. In the last few weeks I've had "Brain Fog", it feels like my brain is so heavy, it feels like I can't process anything. It literally feels like I am going "retarded". I can never focus on anything, I "zone out" really, really easy. I am so sick of feeling this way. I can't enjoy life. I don't know whether this is from "anxiety" or if these symptoms are something real. Maybe I'm just really stressed, I lost my license, I no longer have a steady job, still haven't gotten my grade 12. I no longer have my beloved Ford F150. My family is just brushing me off now, saying "Tom, how can this many things be wrong with you?". "You are fine, this is all in your head". It's easy to say its in your head but when your experiencing it, it really doesn't feel like its all in your head. It's SO REAL TO YOU. Night time is the worst for me. I am always in fear of sleep because I think I might die durning it. It sounds ridiculous I know. But I am being so serious. Sometimes my heart will pound, or something and I'll start panicking. I will literally stay up till I am exausted and say "screw" this, if I'm going to die then so be it, I am just to "effing" tired.

Anyways I'm sorry for typing you my whole life story I just have no body to talk to, and my family thinks that I am going crazy. I've never EVER felt like this before, I used to be the most fun guy to be around, I was never scared of anything, I could talk to anybody with ease. And pick up almost any girl, and now its the complete opposite and I feel like my life is over. Thanks for reading all of this, even though it sounds pretty crazy.

Just wanted to say your not alone at all, and I experience the same thing everyday bro. Just gotta keep positive.

Take care man I'm sure we'll get threw this.

Tom
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replied October 25th, 2011
hey guys,until now i believe i hav a GAD and amazingly i felt better knowing that there are others like me out there.PShope i hav all of ur symptoms and was diagnosed with anxiety and also gerd but lately i think its the anxiety thats bothering me the most,i do hav all ur symptoms and i ended up here not by guess but i hav been looking for answers to my many symptoms and been praying to God and declaring in the Name of Jesus that I will be healed and I am trusting Him for my healing.I was put on Xanax to treat with my anxiety stated it but never completed it due to reading the type of drug it is and I jus deceided to leave it all up to God,even as I type i hav symptoms but its a bit comforting knwing that I'm not alone in this.take care of urself and hope to hear how u doing .

Cherry
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