Forgive me for this extra long post, but I'm honest and truly at the end of my rope. The "s" word has crossed my mind a lot in the last few days, and I was hoping a session of hypnotherapy would relieve it. It didn't, in fact only moments after leaving I fell to my knees in tears. I'll explain my story from the beginning and hope for the best.
6 months ago I started experiencing chest pains, palpitations, tightness and other symptoms typical of anxiety. I was convinced something was wrong with my heart and went to ER twice. Despite my irrational fears, that worry only took a month and a bit to fix thanks to an echocardiogram. What I'm trying to say is that it's fairly easy to rule out heart problems, among other disorders many people with anxiety suspect. That's why I no longer worry about my heart, but I've never gotten over my current worries throughout these 6 months. I'm utterly terrified that I have [B]Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease[/B], also known as LPR or Silent Reflux. Doesn't sound too serious right? Believe me you don't' know how wrong you are. I know the worst possible thing to do is consult Google, but these last few months the one thing that has kept me sane is that LPR COULD be due to anxiety.
It's not. How do I know? I've been through CBT, Self-Help, Hypnotherapy, medications (both prescribed and O-T-C) and lifestyle changes. I've been trying to lead a normal life with my friends and family, and even been enjoying myself. You'd think 5 months of treatment like that would fix me up, but no dice. I'm as bad as ever, if not worse.
I match almost EVERY symptom to do with LPR, and since some people hardly have any symptoms it only makes things worse. My symptoms aren't to do with food allergies, as [B]EVERYTHING[/B] makes me worse, and it isn't anxiety or stress alone, even medical professionals like my GP agree with me on that. I've tried PPIs, H2 Blockers, O-T-C medicine, lifestyle and diet changes, the above methods of relieving stress, exercise and more. Not a single thing works. Furthermore when I get tested in the next few weeks with a barium swallow and endoscopy, the tests are sure to come back negative. LPR hardly ever causes visible damage the way GERD does, so many patients are written off with anxiety and a LOT more patients with LPR go on to get Barrett's Esophagus or Throat/Esophageal/Lung cancer from the pepsin or bile or whatever the medication can't block. Surgery doesn't fix everyone either, in fact it can make people worse. In short, I have the one thing I've always feared most - an incurable, complicated and dangerous disorder that can destroy me inside out, and cannot be easily detected or managed. LPR is a chronic condition that people have for life, and that is exactly what I worry about.
Before I began having symptoms I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle. I worked out at a gym, I went swimming and walking/running, I had a pretty healthy diet too. So why have I been cursed with this disorder when there are plenty of other people who do a lot worse than me?! I get:
- Constant mucus in my throat, especially after burping or eating ANYTHING.
- Waking up to a sore throat every morning.
- Burping whenever I so much as move. The burps always bring up something, and they always make me feel hot, dizzy and breathless. They also cause my throat to become sore and add to the mucus.
- A constant feeling of a "bubble" in my throat. If I belch it moves away but it makes my throat become tight too and gives me a headache.
- A mild burning sensation in my neck, particularly the sides and back. It can extend all the way to my hands.
Like I said, everything I eat, drink or do causes this. Taking my mind off things doesn't help because the feelings continue. I've tried plenty of "miracle cures" including manuka honey, natural liquourice, aloe vera, increased water intake, ginger and more besides. Every single one hasn't helped, in fact they've arguably made me worse. I've already cleaned up my lifestyle and diet to ludicrously limited amounts, to the point of fasting sometimes. Surely starvation isn't the only way to prevent my symptoms? I'm not even overweight - I'm only age 21 and apparently very underweight!!
It's no wonder I'm crying my heart out; I've never heard myself utter the words "someone end me now" until these last few days. I don't have it in me to kill anyone, least of all myself, but I know that as long as I have LPR, there's nothing left for me. It's taken away my family, friends, loved ones, job, lifestlye, hobbies and any satisfaction I had with life before. It is constantly on my mind, from the moment I wake up to the sleepless nights I sometimes get thinking "why hasn't this gone away even now?!" What on earth can I do to save myself? I've lost my grip now that I no longer believe anxiety has anything to do with my disorder. If anyone can tell me if I can ever be my normal self again, right down to my lifestyle and diet, please do. It's all I can hope for now.
Thank you for sticking with me, I'm afraid I really needed to rant. This horrible disorder has ruined my life.