My diagnosis is Anxiety and I can't understand it?

I am 32 and have had no health problems my whole life.

About a month ago, late on a Tuesday night as i was playing guitar, my chest and left arm went numb. It wasn't overly painful but it was enough that I went to urgent care. They gave me an EKG, and said I was fine and sent me home.

The following Saturday after having a few beers and a cigar, something I do infrequently but helps me relax, I was woken up by my chest, left arm and jaw going numb. Again, scared that I was having a heart attack, I had my wife call the ambulance. They took me to the hospital where I had several EKG's and they said I was fine and they discharged me. I have close friends who are both nurses and they were appalled no blood work was done so I went to the the ER again and told them what had happened. They took me in and did blood work, an EKG and took some x-rays. All were negative.

I was discharged and given some Pep-Cid for Acid Reflux. (Which I have never had in my entire life). The next two weeks were absolute hell. I started having panic attacks where my whole body would go numb and my chest would be on fire. My back hurt, arms hurts, you name it.

I followed up with my primary doctor and he scheduled a stress test and I took it. I had no issues. Everything came back negative.

A few weeks after this appt, I went to my primary doctor to follow up after the stress test and he said I was depressed and had anxiety. He gave me zoloft. I took it for a couple of days and had horrible side effects. I called and said I was going to stop taking it. During this time, I scheduled an appointment with a psychologist. Her and I met and we had a long discussion. Long story short, I am not happy at my job, my wife recently had told me she was pregnant with our second child and one of my best friends died in a sudden car accident.

This was helpful to talk about these things but the following evening, I drove myself to the E.R. because I was having the same symptoms I was having a few weeks earlier.

The ER took blood, gave me several EKGs, took X-rays, the whole nine yards. Everything was fine. The ER doctor gave me Oxycodone and Ativan and sent me home as he thought it was anxiety as well.

I was scheduled to meet with my primary doctor again and we talked for over an hour. He said that he doesn't believe I have an issues other than depression and anxiety. I have a strong family history of heart related issues:

* Grandmother (Smoker and Overweight)

* Grandfather (Smoker, Diabetic)

* Father (Diabetic, Heart surgery)

* Uncle on Mother's Side (Died of Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure)

* Grandmother of my Mother's Side (Died of Heart Attack, High Blood Pressure)

However, I do not have high blood pressure and I do not smoke. As far as I know I am not diabetic and I could stand to lose a few pound but I am relatively active and coach high school soccer.

So long story short, I continue to struggle. I went for a run last night as my doctor wanted me to exercise a lot to help with this anxiety and I woke up this morning and I felt very tired. I felt like my blood sugar was low and I was in a fog. I am not eating much do to large amounts of gas that I get sometimes which i have been told is related to my breathing due to the anxiety. I can function during the day but the nights are terrible. I wake up all of the time and my mind is racing. There are times when I have some much energy I feel like I can run a marathon. I go for walks and jogs to clear my head but doing that at 10 p.m. wakes me up.

My primary doctor has put me on some sleep medication and prescribed Prozac. He seems to feel the depression is causing my anxiety. He doesn't think I need to take ativan or the other medication I was given by the ER. He wants to get me on a regular sleep schedule and he thinks this will help.

So I guess the biggest issue I have had for the last month is I have had 5 people tell me I have anxiety problems (which I have never had) that just manifested out of nowhere and I cannot stop thinking that I have some sort of heart ailment that they are missing. I just can't stop focusing on it. I firmly believe that I am in the early periods of a heart attack coming because of the constant pains and ups and downs of energy levels I have. I just don't ever feel like myself anymore and I can't stop thinking that I am the only one listening to my body. Like its trying to tell me something is wrong, ALERT ALERT ALERT and no one hears it. My wife is upset with me because she thinks I am overreacting but this fear and worry is just consuming.

So I guess, Am I losing my mind? Does anyone else feel this way constantly? For 32 years, I had no cares. I dealt with my stress, I have been successful in my career, I have grown a family and bam, the first week in November my whole mind and body change. I can't understand this and I want to. I want to know what this happened! I can't get answer other than you are depressed and it causes anxiety. It just seems so sudden and I can't rationalize to myself.

I plan on having this conversation with my therapist on Wednesday next week but I just want to reach out and see if anyone has dealt with this and give me some words of wisdom. Thank you.


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20 Replies

  • It sounds like it is anxiety,it can cause some very strange symptoms that feel real,it can make u feel like somethings wrong when theres not,especially with depression too,I have both plus I'm bi polar,I was fine and could deal with my anxiety untill after I had my baby 5 months ago and then it got bad real fast,ive been having a non stop panick attack pretty much for 5 months now.its about to drive me crazy,the symptoms feel so problem is that I think I have a brain tumor.It keeps me terrified all the time.ive been to the er and doctor about 15000 times and ive had 2 cat scans done,they came back normal but another doctor wants me to go get an mri so I have to do that the 16th,I'm seriously scared all the time,if I'm not thinking about a tumor I'm thinkin about a stroke,if not that then aneurysm and so on and so'll be okay,many of ppl suffer with this,itdoes cause numbness anf ttingling.I hope you get to feeling better.

  • Thank you so much for responding. I am going to keep working. Thanks again.

  • You sound exactly like me! I don't think it's a heart attack as its 1 year later for me and still hasn't happened. I've had blood work chest X-ray 24 hour heart rate monitor an ultra sound on my heart and all good apparently.

    I too have really struggled to believe it's anxiety and depression mine started3 months after my second child was born and apparently it's post partum depression/anxiety however I was really not depressed I fact I thought I was very happy so I was baffled. I went to the doctor because of shortness of breath, heart rate and feeling over all heavy I thought something was medically wrong with me. So I know exactly how you feel. Don't be like me and one year later still haven't accepted it my suggestion is to try and accept the diagnoses and work on treating the anxiety/depression. You have had clear tests just hold onto that and work on getting better.

    Good luck I wish you well :)

  • Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it.

  • I'm so sorry, this sounds really awful and pretty terrifying. Had you been feeling more tired than usual before the first episode?

    I think the fear of the first episode is more than enough to TOTALLY launch you into health anxiety land. And the cause of that first one could have been caused by something benign and transient. I used to get these things which my sternum from moving in a certain way (and *ironically* from the way holding a guitar in my arms stretched my rib cage). It was seriously one of the weirdest and worst pains I've ever experienced... when it flared up it would even hurt to breath too deeply. It had nothing to do with anxiety....*wracks brain for the name of it, googles*...right, it's called Costochondritis.

    Anyway, suffice to say, weird body pains like that can pop up and really set you thinking it's something much worse. Then you become totally sensitized and you'll notice every.tiny.feeling.

    If you can, don't just onto any psych meds just yet. Like you I never tolerated them well either and for someone who is hypersensitve to the stuff going on in your body — the side effects will just trigger so much worry.

    My anxiety came out of health fears too. I'm doing SO much better now. I have tried lots of things—found some that worked, perhaps time helped more than anything. I still haven't died even though I've been so sure it's "the end" hundreds of times.

    Let me know if you want me to go into detail about some of the things I have tried. We're all different though so there's no guarantee that what I've done will work for you!

    Good luck!

  • Anything you can provide would be a great help. The term hypersensitive is want my wife says now. Every ache and pain has to be something and this health anxiety is for the birds. It just consumes you. I actually laugh at it sometimes because I will have a negative thought or get upset and my below will hurt or my head will hurt for like a minute. It's insane to me.

  • Hi I believe it's anxiety your feeling , yes I know it's a awful feeling sometimes it feels like your going to die or your going to stop breathing and no one understands u . Try to stop worrying to much it makes it worse , your mind plays tricks on u you'll be okay your not alone . Seems like you worry your self crazy and it makes you panic continously . If they checked you so many times and your fine , that means your fine . Everybody's anxiety is different and that's how your body reacts to yours . I have really bad anxiety that I worry about everything and I think negative thoughts till I start to panic and can't breath right with a lump tight feeling at my throat . It's awful but I've learn to face my fears with hope and prayer .I too have felt cold spots in my head , dizziness where I can't even walk or drive. I even felt I'm not me , that I don't belong in my body . Which when I tell people they look at me like I'm crazy , which I don't care anymore because this is me and I live with it . Actually zoloft worked wonders for me but right now I'm not taking anything just try to eat well and exercise. I do believe you have anxiety , if you want more options seek a heart specialist to give u a peace of mind and see if there's anything wrong with u . Hope you feel better and always remember you'll be OK . Just think positive always . Merry Christmas :)

  • This describes how I feel exactly!

  • Hope you feel better too. Right now I have mine controlled . Once I start to feel the jitters I snap out of it and face it . Merry Christmas :)

  • I suggest healing practices like long term yoga, deep relaxation techniques, pranayama breath, there are many others. Medications rarely work, and the only thing they do is cover the symptoms. People can suffer from anxiety for many many years trying many different medications, without real relief. I have had anxiety for year and a half, with some debilitating physical symptoms, nothing had worked for me. Recently I turned to natural healing works like deep breathing tecniques, started taking yoga classes consistently, and my symptoms have gone down significantly and I started feeling much better, less worried. Hope this helps.

  • I am stating yoga and I hope this shows results. Thank you for your comments. They are very helpful.

  • Hi. That was one of the most lucid and detailed description of a persons symptoms I| have seen :-). Like other people have said, the symptoms do really tie in with anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is an insidious illness. You will not necessarily be aware of it, or its roots, for a while before it just slaps you right in the face. You say that you don't know where the anxiety comes from, but you have mentioned a sudden death and a new child on the way. Not to mentioned many other things that might be going on in your life. Also, anxiety is not necessarily something that will appear immediately after a stressful situation - it can be much much later. I was happy to see your promptness in seeing a psychologist, but my advice is to see a therapist who specialises in anxiety disorder. A general practitioner is fine for most things, but if you have a heart problem you would see a cardiologist for example. Same with matters of mental health. Seek out a specialist. CBT has good results with anxiety, though of course it will not work for everyone. As far as your heart is concerned - well I had 2 heart attacks this year, so I understand the worry that chest pain brings. Many times I have been to emergency, all caused by anxiety. If your blood shows nothing, and all the other tests show nothing, then you can be sure that you did not have a heart attack. Sorry this is a bit long, but I hope it may have helped your fears in some small way. I wish you well.

  • First of all, you are not losing your mind. I totally agree with kdavid in that anxiety has a way of creeping up on you without you realizing that it is. It's like watching a scary movie and not realizing that your psyche is taking that all in. And then you have a horrible scary dream that night and wonder where it came from. Afterall, you enjoyed the movie and weren't scared at the time. Life has dealt you 3 consecutive stressors.

    A job you don't like, your wife being pregnant and the added responsibility weighs on your shoulders and the sudden death of your best friend showing you that life is unpredictable. Anxiety can happen to us at any time in our lives. Now that the doctors have ruled out any physical anomalies, it's time for you to find a good psychologist who deals with anxiety issues in life. Medication can relieve your symptoms for a while but the deep fears will still be there and need to be talked out.

    My best to you.

  • This is all so helpful! I appreciate it. I am staring to do yoga and I am hopeful this pay dividends. The way i describe this is I feel like your mind has two burners. One in rent and one in the back. I feel like my brain has switched them. Things that were in the back or my kind are now in he forefront and I can't seem to put them back in back or my mind where they should be. Life isn't about being ignorant but is about being able to not worry and focus on things you can't control all of the time.

  • I hear you PatD. I wish you luck with the yoga. I think you will be pleasantly surprised how much yoga can help quiet the body and the mind. Let me know how you do, I was told several times by doctors to try yoga but never did. Take care.

  • Have you had a cat scan? My brother played guitar, he always reached over the guitar to get his cigarette or drink and one day suffered the most excruciating pain. He thought it was a heart attack. After many tests, medications and a few doctors, one doctor booked a cat scan and found a hair-line fracture in the rib below the heart.

    During his experience, he suffered extreme anxiety until he got a right diagnosis. He was fine after that. I hope you too can find the answer to your puzzling problem. My heart goes out to you, all the best.

  • I've just read all of your post and I am so sorry that you feel this way. I am exactly the same, but believe me anxiety can make you think things which aren't even true. I've had acid reflux since I was 17 now I'm 20. The acid reflux symptoms are very similar to anxiety so they come on stronger.

    What you are saying about feeling like you are going to have a heart attack I used to feel the same, but after these two years I haven't had one so ive let my mind settle. I get really bad symptoms especially in my head where I think I have some type of tumour, it is damn scary.

    But I am sorry and I know how you feel.

  • It wasn't until I FULLY accepted that I had an anxiety disorder and nothing more, that I started to turn my struggles around, but it wasn't easy, how can you fully accept the fact that a panic attack can come out of the blue, or heart palpitations that feels like it's rocking the bed back and forth when you're lying down doing nothing? By learning the facts that's how: adrenaline is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland that is released by the body during times of stress, anxiety and fear, it's a protective hormone that sets off the fight or flight response, Increased heart rate, rapid breathing and a pounding heart are all cases of having an 'adrenaline rush'. The hormone cortisol is also produced by the adrenal gland but this hormone works to help the body recover from an adrenaline rush, it restores energy levels in the body that have been lost due to the rush of adrenaline, a lack of the right amount of sleep can cause further release of this hormone, the brain releases information that triggers the instant release of cortisol, and sometimes the hormone is released when it is totally unnecessary. By recognizing the roles that the protective and recovery hormones play you'll have a better understanding of why you're body is reacting the way it is, but i'll try to go through it in more depth in another post..

  • Thank you for your reply. I have read a couple of books about anxiety and you are very right. It has helped me immensely. While I am still a little anxious, a lot of that relates to the constant belching and knot I have in my stomach constantly. It doesn't hurt per se, but when I lay on my back as I did last night, boy I got some sharp pains and other things. This of course plays on my anxiety and health anxiety. It is very frustrating but I am trying to stay focused.

  • I'm just now reading this I know it's a year later but did you get things under control? If so how

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