Anxiety Support
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Health Anxiety or something Physically wrong?

Hello. I have posted here before and am hoping for some feedback. I am so very discouraged.

I feel ill 24/7 and that is not an overstatement. I am nearly always trembling, but also have spells where I shake hard. My head never feels "right" (lightheaded / dizzy type of a feeling). Nausea. Digestive issues. Constant upper body soreness / pain (shoulders, chest, neck, left arm pain). I get agitated very easily. I have trouble staying focused. Short of breath at times. This is every day!

I have had several tests performed. Exercise stress test (2 years ago). EKG (2 months ago). MRI of the brain (2 months ago). Complete blood workup (1 month ago). In-depth thyroid blood work (1 year ago). Upper GI endoscopy (I do have Barret's Esophagus). Colonoscopy (3 months ago). Abdominal Ultrasound (6 months ago). The only thing that has shown throughout all of this testing is Barret's Esophagus.

Because of this, my doctor feels I suffer from severe anxiety (including health anxiety) / panic disorder. He referred me to a psychiatrist on June 29. The psychiatrist put me on Sertraline 25mg along with 0.5mg of Clonazepam. I did that for 2 weeks with horrible side effects. He feels I am very sensitive to medication, so he lowered me to 12.5mg. I realize that 12.5mg (or even 25mg for that matter) are not therapeutic doses. I am so very down and discouraged.

It is so very difficult to believe that all of my physical symptoms are anxiety related. I have it in my head that there is something seriously physically wrong with me that the doctor is missing. I can't get that out of my mind! I mean.....I truly feel ill every minute of every day! How can it be anxiety when I feel like I am dying?

Any feedback / thoughts/ ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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The problem with health anxiety is that everybody else can see that your symptoms are due to over sensitised nerves whilst you yourself feel convinced that it's physical illness and the old cliche "the doctors must have missed something."

Oh yes, AllianceMike, anxiety can indeed make you feel like you're dying: anxiety is a highly accomplished impersonater of real physical illnesses. It can mimic everything from brain tumours to heart failure to such a degree that it's hard to tell it from the real thing.

Except that you CAN tell it from the real thing because you've had a whole battery of tests and nothing of note was found. As an outsider who can see the wood from the trees I can tell that you've had so much medical attention both recently and over the years that it's inconceivable some major problem has been overlooked.

The cause of all your bad feelings is yourself - by fearing every ache is something life threatending you generate fear and stress hormones which maintain your nervous system in a state of permanent over-sensitisation.

Your nerves will only recover when you master your fears or exorcise your fears by accepting all your bad feelings and other symptoms for the time being.

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Everything you are feeling is real. Unfortunately the mind is so powerful that it can create physical symptoms so terrible that you literally feel like your going to die. I was housebound because of these same symptoms that your describing for 3 years! I was convinced everyday was my last until one day I got so angry at the non existent life I had,that I said enough is enough I don’t care if I die ! I’m gonna do everything I want to do whether I feel like death or not . So I almost accepted that I was gonna die so treated every day as if it was my last but I didn’t care anymore because the life I had been living was no kind of life. Eventually with my new don’t care attitude my life threatening symptoms started to fade and I began to enjoy life like I never had before. Everything was so beautiful to me because I felt so good and I never thought I would again. The smallest moments of joy make me cry like a baby haha. The moral of the story is do not give up your not alone and this won’t last forever! If it was anything serious you would be dead already. Where there is life there is hope. And hope is the only thing stronger than fear! You can beat this ..... 😁

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The only possible draw-back, Carcarn is if the person suffering from severe anxiety...can also, be like I was...depressed on top of the anxiety. I had no DESIRE, to go out and do anything! THAT....is a horrible road.

Glad you're better!!!

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I totally agree with the two other replies. You have to break the cycle of worry which your brain has got into the habit of doing. Like any other habit. You are analysing everything. I too have been there and it was only when I became a Christian and put my trust in Jesus and asked for his help that I was gradually on the road to recovery. I still took my medication at the time for many years but over time all my fears have faded as replaced my fears with the truth of Gods word. Also make sure you are on the correct medication for you if the tablet you are on is not helping. Also if you feel up to it find a good Church to have friends who will really understand. You would be surprised how many other people are fighting battles too. There are also Mental Heath Rethink Groups all over the Country. If you google this you may find one in your area. I will pray for you too. Godbless Gill

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Man, Jeff and Carcar totally said it all. Mad props to them both!

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Doesn't sound like you're on the correct dose of Clonazepam. When my anxiety is that bad, I take .5 up to 4x a day. I make lots of lists and breathing techniques. It sucks. I also found journaling when I'm in that place gives me some relief as well. Best of luck to you Mike!

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Elle...if your Dr. hits the proper combination...you won't have to do all those mind tricksn anymore!

I did the SAME THING!!!!!

Stay on your Doc! HE....wotks FOR YOU!

YOU PAY HIM/HER!

Do not allow them to lord the "God Complex," over you!!!!!

Take charge of YOUR LIFE!

FIRE your Doc if they won't listen!!

Annnd...EDUCATE yourself to your condition! I only say these things...because, I'VE BEEN THERE!

Len G.

BamaLen

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AllianceMike...

I know how you feel, brother. In 2006, I had a situation in life, that threw me into PTSD. I had anxiety/panic disorder for 90% of my waking hours. Because, of my faith in my Savior, I would not commit suicide. But, I was about ready to commit myself. My Dr. prescribe med after med...for yeeears! Nothing helped. Until, 2012! He NAILED IT! He put me on a combination of 1 mg of Clonazepam and 7.5 mg of Mirtazapine, daily. Within 2 weeks...my Anxiety disorder...was "cured."

The ONLY side effect of the Clonazepam was...it would make me really groggy, the next day. I had to experiment with it, until I found that perfect setting. I dialed it in.

I got my life back, Mike!

I remember reading responses, like the one I just wrote to you and thought, "WHY? Why can't I be one of those with a wonderful success story?"

Well Mike...I finally got my story!

D O N 'T G I V E U P!!!!!!

Ask your Doc about Mirtazapine, Mike!

It changed my life, when coupled with Clonazepam...

Good luck, my brother!!

Len G.

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BamaLen,

Thank you for the great post and for the encouragement! I am so happy for you! Yes......I am, unfortunately, in the stage of still thinking that the doctors have missed something physical due to the way I feel each and every day. So many physical symptoms. I also have a strong faith and I pray daily for many people and situations. It seems that I lack that faith when it comes to me though. I have asked God to lay His healing hand on me for two years now with no positive result. I know that it isn't true, but sometimes, I think that something I have done in my past may still anger God and therefore He isn't granting me the healing.

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No no no AllianceMike God is never angry with you. He is a loving God not with a big stick. You have done nothing wrong you are not well. If you have asked God to heal you he will. Whatever way it comes through doctors or supernaturally. Just keep praying to Jesus. Do not stop fellowship with Him. Just pour out your worries to Him and ask the Holy Spirit to come into the situation and comfort you in your distress.

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Gillybabe,

Thank you so very much! Yes......Jesus is the great physician! I am going to be more diligent in spending time with Him! Thank you for the kind words of support!

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NO! Don't EVER thonk that! God does not punish us, AM. WE.....punish, us. Sometimes we do go through trial...tribulation. But, it only serves to make us better people down the road! For instance...had "I" not suffered with this same malady for yeeears...only to FINALLY be delivered...I could NOT be encoraging you, today! You see?

I just KNOW you are going to be delivered from this...so you, too...can pass it on to some other tortured soul, some day! 😁😉😁

Hang tough AM! And, STAY ON THAT DR! Don't let him/her give up either! You tell them..."Ok Doc...on to the next thing! This one's not working either!"

Some Docs become jaded from working with those who are dealing with manipulative personalities so much. Then when a legitimate patient is reaching out...they may not go that extra mile unless YOU PUSH THEM TO!

Remember...contrary to popular belief, Dr.s are only people too. Not gods!😉

Never stop pressing!!

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AllianceMike...

May I ask you one question? Since these issues are SO PERSONAL...PERSONAL questions must be asked. So....are you now, or have you been, in the past....addicted to narcotics? Prescribed or otherwise?

I was addicted to Oxy, from more than 10 surgeries before I was 35.

The "pills," were the beginning to my anxiety and health anxiety.

Ixm just ASKING, Brother...NOT accusing...😔😕😞

BamaLen

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BamaLen,

I have never been addicted to any medication (legal or illegal) and am not even a drinker. That's what makes my physical symptoms so discouraging. I have nothing that I can look back and blame them on.

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I must say, I can still relate, my brother. Talk about feeling like you're the ONLY HUMAN on Earth, going thru this! I've been there, my brother. The Oxy addiction, for ME, only made it worse! Because, this IS such a "mental issue." You have been poked, prodded, molested, stuck, you name it! If it IS physical...they "should" know it, by now.

The human brain/mind...is as unexplored as the Mariana Trench! They simply do not know what is lurking and festering in the human brain. They're learning more all the time. However, the problem with our brains...is EVERY PERSON IS DIFFERENT...in the mind/brain. It's not like appendicitis. It flares up, they remove it, problem solved. But, the mind is so susceptible to so many different items of input! The Medical field just hasn't figured out how to track it properly. It's not an appendix!

I'm thinking of you, brother.

Just do not give in! I'll never forget when I woke up that one morning...and thought, "Wait a minute...I feel differently!" From that day on...I've never flipped back! Thank God!

I used to tell friends, "It's like being in a living nightmare! And, I can't wake up from it!" But, Mike....you WILL!

Just don't let your Dr. ever stop trying new things! And when you do start something new...be patient. Give it 3 to 4 weeks before bailing on it.

All I can say is that if the Klonopin/Clonazepam, is having a negative reaction...try Valium or Xanex or Ativan. One of them just may be YOUR golden ticket!

Man...best of luck to you.

I'll keep you in my prayers, if that's ok, AllianceMike...😊😊

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I would greatly appreciate your prayers. I won't give up or give in. I know that God works all things for good!

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Yes he does and I have been through the same Alliance Mike and will pray for you constantly that you will be delivered. My son has been through similar due to a head injury OCD and PTSD and he has found relief with paroxetine (think that is how you spell it). He is also a Christian. We are not exempt these troubles but as the Bible says "in this world you will have troubles, but I have overcome the world". Jesus words. The Holy spirit abides in us as believers, so that power within us is greater than he that is in the world. Hang on in there and you will overcome in His Name.

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Gillybabe,

Amen and Amen!! I am going to consciously set my focus on the Lord. I am going to praise Him and thank Him for touching me with His healing hand! For He makes a way when there is no way!

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Hi AllianceMike,

I am so sorry you are feeling this way. I can sympathize with you, as I went through similar feelings last year. Everything you are feeling is real, and it is certainly scary. Unfortunately, with health anxiety, it becomes a vicious cycle. The sicker you feel the more anxious you become and vice versa. I have suffered from anxiety disorder since I was 17, and I am now 41. At age 18 I began taking sertraline and stayed on this until just a few years ago. I stupidly took myself off it. Over months the anxiety slowly built up again until one morning right before leaving work I had a full blown panic attack. I was convinced something was wrong with my heart and went to the ER, followed up several times with a cardiologist, had blood work, stress test, echo, EKG, etc. I finally gave in and asked to be put back on sertraline. Just like you, even low doses I could not tolerate the side effects. I had to cut it down to 12.5mg daily. On the 25mg I was more anxious, could not eat, and felt nauseous all the time. I had to take zofran for the nausea just to get me through the day. I took a leave of absence from work and within about 7 weeks I started to feel like myself again. I did take comfort in the fact that all the tests from the doctor came back normal and this eased my anxiety. When I would start feeling palpitations or any other symptoms I would think of what the doctor said or look back at my test results and this would help me. Stay persistent with your doctor though. If you do not feel that something is right, ask for another test or get a second opinion. I also take comfort in reading through the posts on this page and knowing I am not alone. There is plenty of help out there and the support from others in this community is wonderful. Stay strong!

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Nursebeth,

Thank you so very much for the detailed and uplifting post. Over the past 2 years, I have had the following tests performed:

Exercise stress Test (2 years ago - Results were good), Complete blood workup including in-depth thyroid panel (2 months ago - all results were good), Upper GI endoscopy (1 year ago - I do have Barret's Espohagus), Colonoscopy (3 months ago - all results were good), EKG (2 months ago - results was good), Abdominal Ultrasound (5 months ago - Overall results were good, but I do have a mildly fatty liver), MRI of the brain (4 months ago - all results were good).

So, overall (with the exception of Barret's Espohagus and the fatty liver) the results have been good. You would think that would provide me with a sense of relief. But......Oh no!!.......I keep thinking that they missed something. I know that sounds goofy, but I am literally feeling ill each and every day! Dizziness / lightheaded, sweats, nauseous, digestive problems, shakes / tremors, etc.

My doctor knows of all of my symptoms and he tells me that he fully believes that I feel each and every symptom I have noted. However, he feels that it is my chronic anxiety / panic that is causing me to feel this way as opposed to some physical reason (disease). I am so discouraged as I just want to feel well and happy again.

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Just a thought Mike did this just come out of the blue after a virus as fibromyalgia can also have these symptoms. Even then a doctor could put you on low dose of antidepressant. Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose. Still will pray for correct diagnosis if it is not anxiety. Keep in touch on forum. Very helpful and kind people here.

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Gillybabe,

To be totally open and honest.........I haven't felt well since I was in my mid 20's (I just turned 53). I have suffered with varying physical symptoms over the years, but they seem to have gotten more severe over the past 2 to 3 years. It has gotten to the point where it is affecting my entire life. I am bring very honest when I tell you that I feel ill each and every day. Very discouraged.

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Another thing Mike. I do not know where you are but there are Christian radio and television studios in Britain where you can ring for prayer and help. Revelation tv is good which you can get online and on Sky 581 and Roku box and various other platforms which are really encouraging. They have some live interactive programmes also which makes you feel less isolated in the situation. Godbless Gillybabe

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Hi Gillybabe! I live in the U.S. and we do have The Trinity Broadcast Network which is Christian television. It is awesome!

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Yes we have TBN UK here it is very good quality. Ray Bevan who preaches on TBN has a Church in Wales which we have visited and his speaking on Grace Speaks Louder is awesome.

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That is awesome! You are blessed!

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Just a thought Mike can you pin point what triggered your symptoms in your twenties? Sometimes there is a root which triggers our problems. I hope this is not an intrusive question.

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Gillybabe,

I, honestly, have no idea. I was at work one day and got this strange pain in my right side. I started to not feel well and then I walked out into the hallway and got very dizzy to the point where everything turned upside down and I had to grab onto a table to keep from falling. I rested my head on the table for approximately 3 minutes and I slowly started to feel better. Left work and went to the Emergency Room and everything checked out just fine. They said I had an anxiety attack. I have been feeling sick off and on since that day, but it's gotten worse over the past few years.

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Did it make you fearful to the point where you were frightened it would happen again?

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I think so. I mean, up until that point, I had always felt great (strong, happy, full of energy, etc.). After that episode, I had periods of time where I felt well, but also had periods where I felt ill. As I noted, these past few years have been especially bad and it's so frustrating, because all of the medical tests I have had performed don't really show anything catastrophic going on, yet I have these "spells" every day! UGH!

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The right side from head to toe or side or back?

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Right side into the rib area

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Did they test for ME as my brother had this and it is difficult to diagnose. Did they give you test for Epstein-Barr virus (glandular fever).

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No. I have not been tested for chronic fatigue or Epstein-Barr. How do they test for that? Blood?

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Yes Epstein-Barr is a blood test. Chronic fatigue and ME took years to be diagnosed and some doctors did not understand and called him a malingerer. But I know my brother and he was not. I remember him laying in bed with no energy and he used ti get a flutter in his chest which made him feel worse. Then he would have a few good days but only had to do a bit more exercise and he was back to square one. I think the doctors are a bit more understanding now thirty years later. He is in his sixties now and he leads a better life. I think he did have anti-depressants at one time as the physical symptoms really got him down.

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I am so sorry that your brother has had to deal with that. It had to be very hard for him. Yes....I am to the point where I just want answers. I am not denying that I have anxiety issues as I can clearly see that I do. But.....I'm just not convinced that ALL of my physical symptoms are the result of the anxiety. I could be dead wrong as my doctor has told me that anxiety can cause many physical symptoms. I'm just not 100% sold that it's all anxiety and I don't know where to turn, because all of the major tests (heart, brain, thyroid, etc.) that have been performed have not indicated a problem.

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