This is my first post here. I thought it would be best to post it under Health Anxiety.
First a little background:
In early 2009 I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder. When I first started getting panic attacks, I had no idea what they were. The first time it happened I thought I had food poisoning. I got my dad to take me to the hospital, and I was hyperventilation, which lead to tetany. This made me panic even more as I had no idea what caused the tetany. I told the triage at the hospital that I felt suddenly ill, with symptoms including nausea and a racing heart beat. They kept me overnight and did some blood tests, and found nothing out of the ordinary.
A few weeks later I felt the same way. I got my dad to take me to the hospital again, where I was told I probably suffer from anxiety. I was prescribed venlafaxine, and once I started taking it, my panic attacks seemed to go away.
Well, they didn't completely vanish. A bit over a year later I remember waking up shortly after falling asleep, heart racing and a confused and terrified feeling all over. I was in no state to think rationally about my situation, and assumed this wasn't a panic attack but some serious medical condition. I went to the hospital again, and they did the usual blood tests and ECG and told me there was nothing wrong. I felt better after that, and went home and was able to sleep the rest of the night.
A similar thing happened again last year. I woke up shortly after falling asleep, feeling nauseous, my heart pounding and even chest pains this time. I was certain this wasn't just anxiety. Again, I went to the hospital, where I was kept overnight, had blood tests for cardiac enzymes and blood clots, but there was no indication of a heart attack or anything else serious. I felt reassured, but when I got home and tried to sleep, I woke up again an hour later, fast heartbeat and confusion. My dad convinced me I didn't need to go back to the hospital, but I wasn't able to sleep very well that night. I kept waking up every couple hours, feeling almost delirious, trying my best to keep my mood up by playing cartoons quietly in the background, occasionally watching them as I woke feeling horrible.
That was probably my worst experience with anxiety up until now. Since then, I have been waking up with anxiety only an hour or so after falling asleep a few times a month. All those times I have been able to calm myself down, or my family was there to reassure me. Last night, I had another episode like last year. I went to the hospital, and they found nothing as usual. I thought I was gonna come home and be able to sleep, but I woke up again, feeling nauseous and almost feverish. The nausea I feel has been persisting, and I am having trouble telling if it is my anxiety or I really do have an upset stomach. I can't help but feel I will have a permanent feeling of anxiety now, and that it will affect my health significantly.
I would appreciate it very much if someone could offer me some advice or reassurance, perhaps letting me know that this kind of thing isn't uncommon.