Do I have Anxiety?

Hi all. I've been suffering for some time now (3 years or so) with what I can only assume is something related to anxiety. I've always been quite physically fit, but about 3 years ago I managed to get the end of two of my fingers bitten off by a dog (it wasn't the dogs fault, and they put the finger tips back on ... all is fine). Since then I have had an almost daily battle with surges of feeling feint and light-headedness. I also have trouble swallowing certain things (bread, steak etc) that I never had before. I get the feeling that it's going down the wrong hole sometimes. These are all things that I never had before. An initial visit to the doctor suggested that it could be some form of post-traumatic stress based on the accident with the dogs which was a huge, and unexpected, shock. I thought it would go away with time, but apparently not.

I have recently had my yearly health-check at work, and everything checked out fine. Blood pressure, Cholesterol, Blood Sugar/Glucose etc ... all fine. I am not as fit as I used to be by any means, I walk a lot, but my current job and location prevents me from doing a lot of the sport that I used to do. I am not overweight though, actually underweight!!

The worst part of the symptoms though is the sudden feelings of light-headedness, as if I am about to black-out. It's never actually happened, but my legs have almost buckled beneath me before and I can feel my back-teeth go cold (I know that sounds weird). I try to hide it when I'm around people, but sometimes it feels like I am walking on cotton. It usually happens when I am walking, or doing something active, but it sometimes also happens when I am just sitting down at the PC. It also seems to get worse when I am more active. I think part of the reason that I have lost some of my fitness is that I am scared I will get this feeling when I am done. For example, if I run any sort of distance, as soon as I stop I will get light headed. But recently I went on a paintball event which was very physically intense, and I was fine. My feeling is that when I THINK about what could happen, it means that it does. But with the paintball I was focused on something else (not getting shot) and it seemed to be fine.

I am sorry for such a long post, it's just gone on for so long that I would love to hear if anyone else has/had similar symptoms, and what can be done to get back to how I used to be. I am a very calm, positive and relaxed person. It annoys everyone I know because I rarely get angry or flustered. I have a comfortable life, permanent job, acceptable wage etc. I think that's another reason why I never really thought of stress/anxiety before because I have no real reason (compared to other people) to have it!!

Thanks very much, and sorry again for the novel!!

Regards, James

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5 Replies

  • Hi James.

    Welcome to the site. The things you describe could certainly be symptoms of anxiety,and believe me you do not need a reason to have it.Sometimes it can be triggered by a traumatic event others say it started with a mini panic attack, I am no doctor but I would go and have a word with your GP and see what they say you could even ask for an exercise stress test just to be sure.You will always find someone on here that will offer you tips and advice on how to handle it.

    Take care Kenny-w

  • Hi James,

    A lot of the symptoms you mention are signs of anxiety/panic attacks. I suffer from several of the same symptoms (light-headedness, feel feint) and the majority of the time something will be triggering these effects. How often do you feel like this? Is it constant?

    Like you I have a decent job, doing well and work in front of a PC, unfortunately anxiety hits people not necessarily who are down/stressed/etc, so don't worry you are not alone!

    Like kenny says, worth seeing your gp/potentially a therapist as I found therapy really useful in getting cooing strategies and speaking to someone who was able to help me mentally rather than just physically like a doctor may do.

    Hope things get better and I am sure you will find this site great for talking to people with similar conditions/symptoms who are really helpful and give great advice.

  • Hi guys,

    Thanks for the replies! I don't feel like this constantly, no ... but I can expect what I call a "wobbly moment" a number of times every day with no real consistent reason for it. Sometimes I am walking, sometimes I am at my desk, sometimes I am eating or talking to someone. There doesn't seem to be any specific trigger that I can put my finger on apart from the fact that, as far as I can remember, these symptoms only really started after the dog bite. This in itself is a bit strange for me as I am no stranger to accidents, broken bones and hospital visits! But I guess watching part of your finger flying across the room is a step up from a broken bone which isn't a very "visual" experience.

    One of my bigger problems is that I am currently living and working in Spain (I'm English), so finding a doctor that I can trust, and who can understand English is a bit of a challenge. It's the main reason that I haven't really spent a lot of time on this problem, and I've just decided to live with it.

    I know it's wrong, and I know it's stupid, but I find that after a couple of drinks (beers) I can function "normally" without the constant fear in the back of my mind that I am going to "have a wobble". I don't mean excessive drinking to the point where I no longer function, or care ... but just a couple of drinks to "take the edge off" certainly helps. Which is just another reason why I am sure this is a psychological issue as opposed to a physical one.

    Thanks again for the help .. I guess I'll look into finding a decent GP here!

    Cheers, James

  • Hi orias. I agree with olliebear when he mentioned trying a therapist. A good Cognitive Behavioural Therapist would be able to help you get to the bottom of your underlying fears and also teach you to practice "mindfullness" which basically means, living in the moment. What happened to you with the dogs sounds horrendous, so no wonder you are not getting off scott free! I just wonder whether your Gp could refer you to a Cbt therapist or see one on a private basis? At least it cannot do any harm even if there is a medical, underlying reason that needs ironing out? Hope you can get back to your normal self soon. Lynne x

  • Hi Orias,

    I've been suffering anxiety and depression since I was 7. I'm now nearly 61. When I was little I remember my parents saying I just had bad nerves (like my mother). But I soon worked out that my parents were very dysfunctional; my father very violent especially towards my mother, and my mother an alcoholic. I was an only child and spent much time in my room creating other worlds in my imagination - anything to escape. I married at 18 to get out of the house however I did love my husband at the time. I find the real world very hard to deal with and hence still suffer anxiety. Each day is a challenge for me but I've learned that sometimes I just have to 'float' through the anxiety. I'm on meds etc. but don't really find they help, though if I were to stop them I just might be a lot worse. I bought a book by Dr Claire Weekes (you can get them on Ebay too), and she was an American doctor who specialised in the anxiety state. She also explains why we get the symptoms we do and how these symptoms can make us feel. Once you read WHY you feel the way you do, it takes the fear out of the attack because you now know what is causing it and why you feel the way you do. She then tells you how to handle the attacks and why you should not fear them, but accept them, understand them, and soon they become less of a problem. Even at my worse, if I have to go out, I lock the house, get in the car and go do what I have to. Nothing yet has happened to me although it can be uncomfortable.

    Please talk to me if you need and do buy Dr Claire Weekes books and read. They will help you.


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