Dizziness, feeling off balance all the time ... true dizziness,GAD or just a fear of dizziness?

I've suffered from panic attack since I was 16. Without medication, I learned how to control the attack but over time, the panic formed into GAD. For many years, I had severe health anxiety and worried I had everything from AIDS to MS. It got pretty out of hand at one point where I lived life so miserably because I was convinced I would be bedridden in the coming years.

About 6 years ago, I was living on my own, trying to put myself through university and working full time. I also had a dog that required constant attention. With GAD running rampant, I couldn't fathom the idea of living alone. Every night I slept with the light on, paranoid of someone instruding, the building burning down, and yes even ghosts.

I ended up developing a constant rocking sensation that my doctor believed was from severe stress. At that time, I had seen an ENT and had cardiologist testing and nothing detrimental was found in either test.

Two weeks later with taking my time, eating well and relaxing, I felt extremely better.

Now, I am 10 months post partum with my second child, self employed and extremely busy with a four year old and the off balance feeling is back. At first I thought it was my neck and have been living off of a google search engine.

But when I am on the phone or looking down I get this rush of dizziness. My adrenaline also kicks in and I have a panic attack. I also feel like off balance/swimming in head sensation 24/7.

One night I awoke suddenly from being in bed for only an hour and could not even comprehend what my husband was telling me. I was dizzy and having a full blown panic attack.

Now I just feel constantly off balance and am trying to find out if my thoughts are making me feel like this or if really am.

Is this anxiety???


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32 Replies

  • I get the same thing. I get waves of dizzyness along with vertigo and extreme pressure. All tests done and my doctors said anxiety and a migraine disorder. I think that focusing on it makes it worse so the more you Google, the worse it gets. Also maybe something to do with sinuses? It os allergy season. I know sometimes that is what I feel causes it for me

  • Thanks. I haven't done full testing with this episode but last I had everything under the sun and nothing was wrong with me. doctor said extreme anxiety. I thought migraine too.. I have cut out migraine triggers which eliminated the headaches I used to get. But yes allergies could be triggering it as well... the rocky boat swimming in head thing is the absolute worst. It is so hard to enjoy yourself!!!

  • I completely understand. It is so hard to remain calm when you feel like your head is full and the floor is moving. I also get visual disturbances such as flashing lights and eye floaters which is part of the migraines I guess. It makes it so I cannot escape the anxiety unless I'm sleeping. .

  • I have so many floaters too which only started making themselves apparent after I got my first bout of anxiety when I was 16

  • Crazy! I wonder if they are more intense or because of the anxiety, we notice them more..

  • I think we become more aware of them but stress may further break the vitreous gel, maybe?

  • Not really sure. For me its the flashing lights and holes in my vision and shadows and moving patterns that really freak me out. .

  • I get that all the time!

  • Wow at least I am not the only one .. I wish it would go away! I could be having a great day and I blink and half my vision goes black for a second and BAM there is my anxiety back with full force.. I am seeing a neurologist at the end of the month to get it re evaluated. I am not convinced it is JUST anxiety..

  • I have been to an opthamothologist like 3 times and there is nothing ever wrong.

  • Yeah I've seen them like 8 times in the last 5 years.. Never anything. I have had blood work, CT scans, MRI, eeg, EKG, and seen an ENT.. everything comes back fine. It doesn't make sense that I can't see straight or feel like the ground is moving but everyone thinks that is normal...

  • Hi Sacolucci, I can relate to what you have been experiencing. It's pretty common for Panic to turn into GAD after a while. Generalized Anxiety can be wearing because it is always with you. Fear of Fear, actually fear of everything. Rocking is used as a self soothing method for severe anxiety. It does help comfort by using the muscles as well as soothing the mind. Slowing down our pace in life, can be helpful as you saw.

    It seems like you have a lot going on right now which is causing your mind and body to be in fast pace mode once again as when you were going to school and working. Actually when I was on the phone or looking down, I too would get this rush of dizziness which would then put me into an instant panic attack due to the rise in adrenaline. What I was left with was that off balance/swimming sensation in my head.

    When lying in bed, I am very aware how my head is placed on the pillow. I use a Kowasocki pillow which I'm able to surround and support my tense neck muscles. Because of my severe stress over the years, I have developed disc problems which relay to the dizziness I can feel when my neck is over extended.

    You might want to start with a doctor's appointment to rule out any neck issues. Stress can play hard on our emotions, thoughts and physical abnormalities. Keep us updated. Wish you well x

  • This sounds exactly like me!!! It's like when I am doing too much the off balance feeling comes in and my GAD flares up! It's funny because the rocking I felt 6 years ago literally felt like I was rocking back and forth involuntarily. It wasn't true vertigo but I couldn't explain it to doctors - they looked at me like I had two heads!

    But I do notice by neck and shoulders are aooo tight too. Where did you buy your pillows?

  • Sacolucci, As much as I have my anxiety under control, my neck and shoulders are so extremely tight. The pillows can be purchased through Amazon. They have been a god send. Hope this helps some. x

  • I know I hold my anxiety in my neck and shoulders!

  • When you used to get that rush of dizziness did it feel like all of a sudden a shot of adrenaline shoots through your body and your head spins?

  • Exactly....Your description is right on point.

  • I'm so glad to know I am not the only one! Thank you!

  • That's been my issue lately. I began a regimen of icing my neck along with stretching exercises and got myself a foam pillow and man it's gotten so much better. Speaking with someone who used to work at an orthopedic clinic helped. They said they'd get patients who would come in with almost whiplash like symptoms from their neck being so tight. Just ease into it if you try it.

  • I have had all of these exact symptoms in the last 2 months, and was diagnosed with iron deficient anemia on May 16th. Since starting iron, I have had NONE of these symptoms and no panic attacks. Have your doc check your ferritin and hemoglobin, because if those are low, they cause all of these symptoms and they will NOT get better until you address the underlying issue. Believe me! I have had all these symptoms and more, and got pretty fed up after all the ER visits and tests.

  • I know I was low in iron before. I thought it could be that so I started taking natural Iron (Floradex) but perhaps it is just not strong enough if I am low in iron. I didn't notice a difference with the natural kind.

  • I found out recently I was low on ferritin. I was told it would take at least 6 months to get it up to a reasonable level again. Your story sounds like mine. I may too many trips to ER thinking something serious was wrong and it was only a panic attack. I have had so many tests and everything comes back normal. Currently, I am experiencing digestive issues and my functional medicine doctor tells me it's all related to my low ferritin. She says once I fix that my digestive issues will resolve. However, my gastroenterologist says not true, and wants to do a colonoscopy to rule out cancer. Ugh! Talk about stressing out!!!

  • I had all the tests at the gastroenterologist and all were normal. My digestive upset was completely due to my anemia, and the anxiety that came with the anemia.

  • That is refreshing to hear. I also experience hair loss (been going on for over 2 years due to low ferritin). I told myself if I had colon cancer that I'd have major issues by now because I know my ferritin has been low for a long period of time. I am a runner and also female (double whammy when it comes to anemia). I am going to probably go ahead with the colonoscopy for peace of mind but at this point I seriously doubt colon cancer. What were your digestive issues, if you don't mind me asking. Mine are excessive belching, gas, stomach pain that all keep me up at night. I seem to be fine during the day.

  • So, I tried serc and it worked instantly. I feel a lot better but found this online...The authors also noted the stumulatory effects on cerebral H1 receptors, which increases alertness. Serc is not approved as a drug by the FDA in the U.S — it is considered a placebo.; however, it can be obtained through compounding pharmacies. Histamine is sometimes prescribed as sublingual drops or subcutaneous injections. It is the authors opinion that sublingual or subcutaneous histamine is a placebo as it is rapidly degraded. Nevertheless, in the authors experience, Serc is moderately effective in suppressing symptoms of Meniere’s disease. Following the pharmacological discussion above, Serc might be expected to be effective in any peripheral vestibular disorder, not merely Meniere’s disease.

    If it's a placebo does this mean what i have is related to anxiety?

  • So are you talking about basically like Benadryl as a histamine ?

  • Yes it is I feel dizzy and really weak like I'm going to pass out all the time can't function at all waiting to see what's going to happen.

  • I totally understand this feeling.

  • I feel so weak all the time that's scares me I try to eat and drink water all day don't know what to do.My Dr is terrible I have to go to him no one else is taking new patients most of the clinics here have closed.

  • I understand. I have a weak feeling too but then I thought maybe because I'm laying down too much are you laying down a lot are sitting down a lot because of the way you feel ? I keep on trying to get up but I feel like oouuuu I'm off balance every time I do.

  • i feel the same, im very scared of dizziness as well. specially when im thinking of it i feel the wave sensation in my head, sometimes lightheaded and when i feel nervous, i feel dizzy. i have panic attacks too.

    i went to ENT he said that its just because of my wrong posture of my neck, so he gave me medicines. then i feel ok but still sometimes theres the wave sensation, i think it is because im overthinking. im really scared of dizziness and panic attacks.

  • I have also felt this dizziness you speak and and it completely totally freaks me out when it happens. One that that has stopped it has been Phos Serine. Look into it...it might help you. It's a supplement and It has done wonders for me. I also agree with one of the other replies about getting your ferritin checked. I just found out mine is extremely low and am now taking an iron supplement. Low ferritin can contribute to anxiety/panic.

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