Well I visited the neurologist this morning, who didn't seem to be too concerned about my problems. He reviewed my CT scans and said that my brain appears to be perfectly healthy. He had asked me if anything happened the morning I began experiencing the unsteadiness and I mentioned to him the panic attack that I had that morning. He automatically correlated the chronic anxiety with all of the physical symptoms and told me what I already knew: constant stress/worrying creates and/or worsens physical pain.
I was concerned about diseases such as MS but he said that he almost guarantees that I don't have it, and that an MRI and EEG would only be pointless time consumption. It's just so strange that anxiety could manifest itself in chronic physical symptoms. But it all makes sense. When the unsteadiness began in January, it wasn't so terrifying that I was constantly worried about it. I'd realized I had it before and that it eventually went away, so for a while I was able to shake it off and chalk it up to anxiety. Then, once it began occurring more and more, I began wondering "what if?" (one of the worst questions an anxiety sufferer could ask him/herself)
What if there was something more complicated wrong with me? What if I was dying? When these questions consumed my mind, I began experiencing more and more panic attacks. With every panic attack, my unsteadiness/balance became worse. Within the past few weeks, I have been unable to focus on anything aside from the symptoms I've been feeling. This has gotten so out of control that I sometimes forget to eat and am unable to fall asleep. It has completely gained the upper hand over myself and my life because I have LET it do so.
All victims of anxiety, regardless of if they have the same symptoms or not, must be stronger than the disease that plagues us. I'm slowly but surely learning SO much about my disorder and what I must do to combat it... all from this experience.
1.) Mind over matter - Plenty of people with chronic anxiety suffer in a physical sense. Whether it's tension headaches, neck pains, dizziness, unsteadiness, joint pain and cramping, etc., we must remain mentally strong for these physical symptoms to dissolve. If we spend significant amounts of time feeding into our physical pain, it (as aforementioned) will become that much worse.
2.) Matter over mind - Sometimes our mind tricks us into believing we suffer from disastrous, disabling physical diseases when, in reality, we don't. If you have been cleared by a trusted physician who assures that you are healthy, you ARE healthy. Plain and simple. Though our minds are telling us otherwise, the proof is in our medical records.
3.) Don't degrade yourself - I can't tell you all how many times I've thought of myself as inferior because of my anxiety disorder. I was afraid that I was being judged or looked down upon because I considered myself mentally unstable. We are not inferior. Many, many people suffer from anxiety. We are not the only ones. If you are currently seeing a therapist and/or taking medications for anxiety/panic/depression, don't beat yourself up. You are not any less of a person because of it.
4.) Take care of yourself - Follow a healthy diet. Attempt to avoid excessive caffeine, and eat foods rich in Vitamins B12 and C, as well as antioxidants. Avoiding an excess of alcohol and nicotine is also beneficial to help prevent/calm anxiety. Exercise is also great for anxiety sufferers, as it aids in creating serotonin and releasing endorphins.
I've learned that it's really up to ME to improve my mind. My neurologist/GP also mutually prescribed me Effexor (the smallest dose) to help my headaches and anxiety. I've done my research and learned that the withdrawal process is terrifying for this specific SNRI; however, if it helps, it helps.