Hi there, now I have been suffering from some severe panic related symptoms for about a week now and I would like to understand why I am experiencing them and how to help prevent them. This may be a long post but I think it is important to list all my feelings/symptoms relating to the matter.
Firstly I am an 18 year old male and have been having problems finding a job for a long while now, which could be the cause of all this. About two months ago I developed some sort of stomach bug, meaning every time I ate I felt extremely nauseas and could only eat small amounts (though I never experienced any other kind of symptoms like vomiting or headache). This was slowly recovering until I went away on a short job which brought the feelings of intense nausea back more strongly than ever and for at least 4 days I was consigned to bed and could barley touch any food.
During my last night on this job I had my first ever isolated panic attack (feelings of intense worry, chest pain, fast heart rate), bought on for no particular reason but I was quickly able to recover through controlled breathing.
After this my nausea receded but I was still having extreme difficulty eating because of it.
Over the next few weeks my eating was very gradually starting to return to normal and I felt the illness would eventually go away for good. However now my "illness" seemed to enter a new stage, one more specifically related to panic/anxiety.
I had an important interview in London and the night before getting the train I became extremely anxious, more so than anything I had ever experienced perviously in my life and I was at a loss why my anxiety was so strong for no apparent reason. As a result I barley slept and I had to struggle through the next day with strong feelings of fatigue, nausea and anxiety.
In the days after this interview my symptoms more or less recovered, however I constantly had a sort of constant low level anxiety/pain in my chest but it was at a low enough level to ignore. On christmas eve I became aroused from internet activities (nothing unusual) but this seemed to trigger a sudden wave of nausea that intensified the nagging anxiety I had been feeling for several days before hand, to a level which I was able to notice it (my appetite again suffered because of it).
Several days after this my symptoms had more or less recovered and I visited a doctor about my illness. He suggested the symptoms were caused by some form of anxiety. I was unsurprised at this as I had expected it myself and thought nothing of it. However that evening I again became aroused by internet activity but this time this triggered a far worse reaction. I had a sudden HUGE wave of panic as well as unpleasant tingling in my head and hands. This was no "panic attack" as the feelings of panic persisted for a very long time. Although the symptoms have been receding, its now a week later and they have still not completely left. Another symptom I sometimes feel is the compulsive need to urinate/ejaculate, which is made all the worse by thinking about it.
Every time I experience ANY strong emotion (arousal, happiness, fear, disgust) I instead feel panic. I fear that any time I will experience any strong emotion in the future (particularly arousal) I will have another "attack" and I will have to spend days recovering. I feel I would be able to cope with this better if the "attacks" were guaranteed to be short lived, not weeks long. What is also interesting is that the feelings of panic/anxiety are far stronger first thing in the morning and to a lesser degree in the mid/late afternoon. This suggests to me that this is not an "irrational" thing and follows natural chemical/hormone levels in the body.
I feel sometimes that I would rather die than have to go through the rest of my life being unable to experience strong emotion without having to spend weeks of panic recovering.
What do I do? Have others had similar experiences?
New symptom: Today I woke up feeling the same as "normal" (sense of anxiety in chest, slight chest pain), however I was also feeling extremely aroused. I did not want to act on this for the reasons above (fear of triggering another panic incident) however it refused to settle and was unable to think about anything else. Pretty soon it felt like I would ejaculate at any moment and was forced to try and relieve myself to try and settle the symptom. Afterwards I did not experience a wave of panic as before, however i was shaky all over and the feeling of edging persisted (though not to the same degree). I now have unpleasant tingling sensations all over my body and a feeling of anxious forbidding at the top of my gut, rather than its usual location below my sternum. All the muscles in my pelvic area feel like they are being unpleasantly stimulated.
Please can anyone help? My body just refuses to "calm down".
Your anxiety is creating all kinds of phantom pains that feed off each other and make you think you have a health problem. That is, other than the stomach problem which from your description is real. You may have gastritis although you self-diagnosed it as a stomach bug. Gastritis hurts so much that anyone with it can be susceptible to panic attacks. If it is still there now, see your doctor to see if a medication helps.
The rest of your "symptoms" such as connecting arousal with panic are most likely just part of your imagination, in that the 2 coincidentally occur at the same time so you think they are related. It is possible to mistakenly connect many unrelated things when you suffer from anxiety.
I agree with the above poster. I get gastritis several times a year and it is awful. It's usually brought on by severe stress.
Anxiety can become a vicious cycle. We think we may have a panic attack with an upcoming event, like your job, and sure enough, we have that panic attack.
Can you get in to see your Dr to see if what you have is gastritis? Tell him/her about your anxiety too.
Thanks very much for the responses, I have always been sure its my mind making/connecting these symptoms, its trying to ignore them which is the tricky part. Also I never knew I had gastritis, but now I think about it it makes so much more sense, I shall definatly discuss it with my doctor.
I even went back on Celexa last year to deal with my anxiety when my gastritis flared up for months. I mistakenly thought I was suffering from anxiety and did have a lot of "heart" pains which as I mentioned turned out to be anxiety pains. Once I got the all clear on the heart front I realized the anxious toll the gastritis was having on my nerves, I relaxed and quit the Celexa. After months the gastritis went away but as remar says it flares up so I have to be monitoring it and ready to jump on it with medication to nip it in the bud.
You have to focus on reality, not wasting your time trying to connect a bunch of unrelated issues into something that is not real.
Once you've had that first unfortunate anxiety attack, which nobody understands, when you feel physical sensations that are similar to what you felt during the anxiety attack they can trigger anxiety because of the similarity of sensation. We've all had that -- it's what moves situation from isolated to chronic. Cognitive therapy, when it works, helps you decondition yourself from that, so it's worth getting into. Arousal brings many of the same feelings as an anxiety attack, so you're probably just getting the feeling of being anxious because of these familiar sensations.
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