This is my first time in the forum (should have got here earlier).
I'm 36, male, and been suffering from anxiety (in various forms) for a few years. Might have been more, but I started counting since my first visit to the emergency room and then to the therapist the next day, in 2007. I was diagnosed with depression and found out that some of my weird behaviors actually had a name and were shared by many people: OCD. Since I was about 10, or maybe even earlier, I started noticing that I would behave strangely to feel better, like touching things a number of times, ordering objects in a certain way and a few more glitches that would probably sound familiar to many of you.
Why would I do that? Well, mostly to avoid bad things happening, to me or to the people around me. Regarding my own safety, the rituals were mainly to avoid diseases, something I later on found it's called hypochondria. Yep, that definitely fitted me! I remember when I was around 10 or so, watching a program about AIDS, and how people with the disease would have strange spots on their skin. Guess what, I had one strange spot on my belly. It was there before, and it's still there today, but that was more than enough for me to think I had it, even though I never had any contact whatsoever with someone with AIDS. But that's how hypochondria works, right? From then on, any extra heartbeat is nothing less than a heart attack, and no pain or glitch of my body carries less than cancer.
In 2007, the worst crisis I had, I was in college, and I wasn't particularly happy with how things were going. One day, during a class, I had what later my therapist said was a mild to severe panic attack. I had to leave class and went home in panic. I was away from my actual home, and had almost no one to talk to, so this grew up to the point of numbness. I stopped doing every activity, and one day, without any strength left, I called my mom and told her I needed help. Got on the first train I could, got home, where I thought it would go away and feel safe, but on that very night, it grew even more, and I dragged my parents to the emergency room. I had been feeling woozy and felt something in my head for weeks now. I was pretty sure I had a tumor in my brain!
In the hospital, after asking a few questions, the doctor said I was really nervous above anything else. They gave me some liquid sweet medicine and a few minutes later I was on my way home, almost drooling and feeling relaxed as I hadn't been for a long long time. The next day I got an appointment with my therapist and after an hour long talk, she kind of convinced me that there was nothing physically wrong with me, but there was definitely something not right with my mind. I went on medication for 6 months and after quitting them, I went through one of the best years of my adult life. I felt connected, available and capable. It was great!
To shorten the story, after that, I relapsed a couple times. Like every 2 or so years, I go through another breakdown. And now is one of those times. And guess what, my hypochondria is there at the beginning of almost every crisis. Which leads to my latest worry.
So, about a month ago, I had a stomach ache that started after lunch and ended before dinner. Didn't even take anything for the pain (it wasn't that severe). Nothing wrong until now. Then I didn't went to the bathroom for about two days, which isn't at all abnormal for me. I sometimes go every day, and then go through periods where I only go every two days or so.
After those two days after the stomach ache, I went to the bathroom and my stool was mushy (not diarrhea), a small amount and a bit too dark. Got scared straight away. Next day the same thing. And then I did what I know I shouldn't: went on a dr. google spree and, of course, all sorts of bad things popped up. The following days I got extremely conscious about my stomach and bowel movements. Every cramp, every noise was enough to get me down. The following days my stool went back to the normal color, but the consistency was still not as it usually was. Then I started to wake up extremely anxious and right after I eat breakfast I had to run to the toilet. Sometimes it was sort of normal in the beginning, but at the end there was always some more that were not solid, but not diarrhea either. I started to listen to my stomach every awake minute of the day, and I heard noises, especially before eating. Like gas going through the bowels. Maybe these are normal. Maybe they were there even before all this, but I can't remember anything before this. It's scaring me.
From then on, there are days of normal stool, well formed, regular color, not too light, not too dark, and then there are days where the stool is a bit less formed. Most days, since the stomach ache, I go one time to the toilet, and generally those are the days when the stool comes out perfectly formed. Other days I have to go two times, even three during the day, and those are in smaller amounts and range from mushy but consistent to well formed.
What else.. There's no abnormal pain, but sometimes, probably 3 times a day, or on some days not even that, I feel like a noticeable but faint pulsating sting in the lower left side of the belly. It usually lasts like a few seconds, and during that time it comes and goes until it vanishes again. I've felt it in my right side too, but less frequently, and also above the belly button. Sometimes I release gas after.
At night, when I'm in bed, I sometimes feel like a gurgling of air on my left side, sometimes on the right side. Lasts like one or two minutes and most often I release gas after that. This also happens after I wake up and before eating.
And also, when I'm seating I sometimes feel like I have something flowing in my lower left side of the belly. It goes away and comes back just like that. No noise, but it's like I feel water or something else running through a pipe, very faintly. Could this be some internal nervous twitch? It disappears, or at least I don't notice it most of the time, except when I'm seating, and even then it's not constant.
What else can I tell you, I feel ok otherwise, no loss of appetite, I try to eat every two hours or so, no weight loss, no fever, no unusual pain (aside from the occasional cramp, that goes away when I release gas), no nausea or any other stomach related issue, I've been sleeping well, I don't feel tired at all. I did start eating more fiber cereal and changed from white bread to darker bread with seeds. And what keeps me worried is the stool that keeps going from well formed to sort of mushy, plus the occasional "gurgling feeling".
What do you make of this? Anyone else with any of these symptoms?
Sorry about the long post, and thank you for reading.