My name is Matt, and I was normal once.
For my first 34 years or so, I was quite healthy. Sure, I had a few breaks and sprains and even some minor surgeries. No biggie, life is good. On the day my first child was born, I was surprised to have the most profound lower back pain. No problemo, I'm an athlete, that happens occasionally. I quit my job (as planned) to be a stay-at-home dad with a fantastic, lucrative side job. The pain stayed for over a year, all the while shifting around to various locations: groin, back, legs, genitals, ass - never in one place for long. I saw doctors and took pills and worried about it. Eventually I found a good book about Chronic Pelvic Pain, started their stretching regimen (hint, make sure your fingers are plenty slippery) and cured myself... for a few months. Six more months of pain, more stretching, fixed it again. This time it's gone - not. Eventually I realized it's like The Hulk; it's always just under the surface waiting to show up, but I can make it go away. I think the knowledge that I can fix it if it shows up is the real power that actually keeps it away. My pelvis has been pain-free for a long time, and it sucked when it was bad, but I'd trade my now for that then in a second.
I had my first panic attack maybe 3 years ago, thought it was a blood clot in my leg, and rushed to the Emergency Room. Got checked, was told what it was, went home. Had my second attack months later. This time I knew what was happening to me, but still freaked and went to the hospital. Still, I would have sworn I wasn't a panicky guy. And, more or less, I was still healthy. Stressed out about being a dad stuck at home, having killed any potential career growth? Marriage was good enough, money was fine. I could have pre-empted all my later problems by getting over my anxieties then. Didn't happen.
On July 5th 2012 I slapped my head back and forth a few times after losing at a computer game. Just a logic game, not X-Box or anything. It was a throwaway gesture in a "fit of pique", but it hurt and I went to bed with a headache. When I woke up with a headache I thought I'd concussed myself (not even close) and went to the Emergency room and got a CT scan (normal). From then on, my head felt funny. Not exactly pain, not vertigo, not lightheaded, just a constant pressure. So for the rest of the summer into the fall, I worried about it seemingly every hour of the day, thought I had ruined my life and I should just end it all. Now, I'm too much of a chicken and a good dad to *****, but I thought about it anyway. Anyway that's how this all started.
After months of nothing but worrying, I started to try to find answers. Got an MRI (normal), got a cervical X-ray (negative), saw the chiropractor. There was head or neck pressure every day, sometimes less, sometimes more. I hated it and dwelled on it a lot, but got used to it. I went over a year without any other problems, though a few little body tweaks came and went. During that time I Googled a lot, and learned a lot about anxiety, but I could not be convinced my problems were totally based on anxiety, but that I had a real injury, even though 2 doctors, a neurosurgeon, and 2 shrinks said it was all in my mind. Eventually the term "somatoform disorder" came up, and that felt about right, but I just couldn't trust that was true. Still, there were good days, and times I thought I might beat this whole thing.
Just after the new year (2014), my right foot started to tingle. Then my right calf would twitch at times, usually while resting. Sometimes while sleeping it would cramp badly. Then my fingertips would hurt, but in a very small area only. Then my wrists ache like carpal tunnel, and my left eyelid twitches at times. Boy, did I start ti panic again. High anxiety most of the time, and a few smaller panic attacks. Is this MS? Is this diabetes (tested, nope)? ALS? Something else? All these symptoms fall under the anxiety umbrella, but my mind cannot, for any meaningful duration of time, believe that to be true.
But there's hope. I'm seeing a new counselor, and would like to begin CBT with another counselor trained in that. I'm doing PT for my neck pain and extremity issues. I'm starting acupuncture soon. I do yoga, and some breathing techniques. I've signed up for private guided meditation with my yoga instructor. I eat better and get almost enough exercise. My body is healthy, says my doctor. He's prescribed me Paxil, which I'm too scared to start. I'm getting some natural supplements instead. I found a great post here: http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,7419.0.html
that lists the steps of anxiety recovery: testing, benign diagnosis, acceptance of diagnosis, willingness to allow symptoms to happen without worry, then healing. I've passed stages one and two, definitely. Most of the time I pass stage three, but my imagination gets the better of me. My problem is stage four - I fixate on my symptoms, especially any new ones. And it seems there have been many new ones recently. And I just read about Benign Fasciculation Syndrome, and that sound exactly like my twitching problems. Sure, it's "benign", but I feel like it will never go away. See, stuck at stage four.
Ok, I'm almost done. I was hoping that writing all this down for the first time would be cathartic. We'll see. Thanks for reading this to the end. Here's how you can help. If you know about anxiety, about all the possible symptoms, reassure me that all these new problems I've got are still just anxiety. I know I need to 100% believe that I am well, that nothing is wrong, but for now hearing other people tell me helps a lot. If you happen to be a person who beat anxiety, especially health anxiety with symptoms like mine, I'd love to hear your story. Or link me to one if you've read one.
I hate reading about people with anxiety symptoms and no hope, so I thank you again for getting to the end. However, I do love anxiety success stories (there are too few online). I promise to post all the details of my recovery, if I ever have one.