I've been absent from AZ for about 6 months but I have been a member here for years. I recently popped back in and see many new members. Actually I do not know too many people. That is rather nice because I like to think people have gotten better and gotten on with their lives. But what I find interesting is the names may change but the stories are essentially the same. From my experience that is because, while there may be some minor variations, anxiety disorders behave pretty much the same. There are the same disease fears, same symptoms, same explanations as to why THIS fear is different than the last one or two or three.
I have some threads that I often link on posts that talk about my thoughts on anxiety, health anxiety, in particular. Another member here, floridaguy, (he hasn't posted in a while), often said there is a wide range of people here at AZ. Meaning people at different places on their healing path. And he is absolutely right. Some are well on their way to recovery. While others are struggling to even grasp that those tingles, twitches, palpitations, reflux, etc, etc are anything but a horrific disease. Then there is a group that are somewhere in between. The links I mentioned are probably geared more to the people who are in the "middle ground" folks. So this longwinded thread is going to be speaking to those who are really stuck at the beginning.
Now, like I do with all of my blathering threads,
: I ain't no doctor or expert. I am just some random person who is sharing my experience and what I think about anxiety....... I also presume being this is an anxiety website, that there is some realization that members here know they have a history of anxiety. AND anyone experiencing a serious problem shouldn't be posting on here seeking medical advice rather they should seek REAL medical attention.
Now onward ho!
For me THE hardest thing for me to grasp was that how could I get stressed or anxious enough that my body could go whack-a-doo on me? After all anxiety is just a mind thing, right? I mean I had read about the typical 'acute' panic attack symptoms. However, I found it damned near impossible to think such symptoms could occur outside a full fledged panic attack. I think most folks who are struggling probably feel just this way to a large extent. Luckily through a variety of things I was able to find my healing path.
HOW DOES ANXIETY or STRESS CAUSE SO MANY PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS??
what controls our bodies? We all know it is our brains. It sends signals, via our nerves, to every cell in our bodies. Let's say things in life are going just swimmingly, life is our oyster. We are rational, calm. We get a headache now and again or we get a twitch here or there. Hell, we get a lot of body noise that we either slough it off knowing that our bodies aren't swiss watches OR we don't even notice.
Now let's say we hit a bump or two----got some tough tests at school, have some relationship problems, the car breaks down--fricking $858 to fix.... You know LIFE. All of these stresses add up--especially if we don't deal with stresses adequately or if they pile on too fast. Some are big stresses; some are smaller stresses. But add up they will. Every person on the planet can get zapped by stress. YES everybody. We all have a threshold on how much we can take. Every person has a finite number of straws we can handle before the the camel breaks its back. Each person's threshold is almost certainly dependent on genetics/upbringing/environment/personality and other things unknown to me (because, remember I ain't no doc or expert, I am just a random person.... ) At some point we can cross that threshold and once we do, depending on how we react, all hell can break loose. Once we cross the threshold, often times before we know we are stressed, we start getting those physical symptoms. They can be different for everybody. Some people may exhibit more neuro type issues---muscles feeling weak or jelly-like or twitches or cramps. Some more gastro type issues--reflux, gerd, ibs type stuff. Some people get more cardio stuff. Why such a difference? Yeah IDK, maybe just because or maybe because we know what scares us. Not everybody will freak out about such things. Some peeps will recognize that life has gotten stressful and the brain is sending out panicky signals and the nerves pass the panic to the body allowing the body to over react. these peeps weather the storm.. BUT there is a group, nearly all (probably) here at AZ, (for whatever reason) that don't recognize what has happened. Aren't WE the LUCKY ones. lol. We are the ones who get caught in the "getting chased by the bear", fight/flight, loop. We indulge in every reactive behavior out there--- We monitor bodily symptoms, we seek endless reassurance (a ha person's drug of choice), we google, we have 'peace of mind' medical tests, we stand in a bathroom checking to see if our eyes dilate correctly or we do strength tests or check pulse blood pressure. We can not hear any sort rational explanations. This just keeps our mind spinning. It feeds the anxiety. In essence we are chasing ourselves around a tree and making ourselves nothing but dizzy.
But wait sixpack, why would my hand feel weak or my hand twitch or ..... ?
one thing i know is when I get stressed, my muscles get tight. One explanation can be: tight muscles impinge on nerves. Nerves that are squeezed send weaker signals to hand or any and all muscles. Less nerve signals mean hands feel weird or cramp up more or twitch more.
what about my stomach? there is a HUGE mind/body connection to digestion and brain and stress. If the mind is stressed, it can screw up digestion-sending out signals for too much digestive juices or too little or.... the possibilities are endless.
A different type example: let's say you were told to keep your hand tightly fisted for 6 hrs. No matter what keep that hand fisted. If you relaxed a horrific thing would happen How do you think you would feel in ten minutes, 1 hr, 3hrs, 6hrs? Don't you think your hand would feel weak/exhausted? How about your shoulder? how about your stomach? Do you think you would have a headache from stressing about keeping your hand fisted? Do you think you would be tired? NOW how do you think weeks, months, or years of unaddressed, chasing yourself around the tree, stress/anxiety may affect your body?
I could go on and on with examples but if I did my post would never end.
Suffice it to say, again, the brain controls the mind. If the mind is worked up, do you think it is sending out optimal signals to the body? AND if the brain isn't sending out optimal signals to the body, do you think it is able to think terribly logically or rationally? What is going here is excess adrenaline and freaked out nerves run amok. Causing irrational thinking and a body SCREAMING, "I am SCARED, where the hell is the damned bear???"
Essentially what needs to be done is to calm down the body. How that is begun is by calming the mind. Not an easy task. You start by taking a leap of faith that I am not full of crap.
then you take one step at a time. Definitely stop the reactive behaviors some are listed above......
Now below are several links that I spoke about at the beginning of the thread. While I am not arrogant enough to think my post will be the light that helps you through your struggle, what I hope it does is give you some hope that you are not alone, what is happening to you happens to others AND that you can get better if you take the leap of faith.
Good luck and be well.
the links: one is " As I see it"-- it also has a couple of links within the thread-- one is: How I got better, another is the symptom list. the first links had some good discussion between members. http://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,60476.0.htmlhttp://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,67619.0.htmlhttp://www.anxietyzone.com/index.php/topic,89766.0.html