Best Ways to Describe/Articulate These Sensations?
Hello all and thank you for being here - I just found this forum five minutes ago (result of a search for "anxiety, falling asleep, sudden jolt") and I am soothed by its existence. I've been suffering from symptoms of anxiety (debilitating mental and physical sensations unrelated to any specific stressor) since mid-August - including that *horrifying* one just a few minutes ago - and I am set to have a follow up with my primary care physician on Tuesday. After reading through a few threads, my question is this: I find myself sometimes struggling to find precise words that accurately convey the sensations and episodes I am experiencing (listed below) and I'd like to improve my descriptions so as to better communicate what is happening to me to my doctor (and my family). Is there a better/more precise way for me to describe the sensations I've attempted to articulate below? Is there a thread dedicated to this "sharpening" of descriptions?
Here's my best shot so far at describing how I'm suffering.
First of all, some context: There is, unfortunately, no apparent pattern or time of day or obvious stimuli - food etc. - to the episodes I've suffered through. I have had a full blood panel done and those # came back totally normal across the board. Although I do perceive my life to be pretty 'heavy' (I am a serious, intense, high-strung, sensory defensive, sensitive, successful 37 yo male who doesn't smoke or drink) nothing has changed or worsened in my life that would cause me to begin experiencing these sensations.
I'd love it if someone who has also been suffering from the same sort of things can share their thoughts on my situation and help me refine these specific descriptive words. I *hate* that I am experiencing this and refuse to become a sickly, whiny, person. But these sensations are strong enough that they are disrupting my life and I am unable to put on a happy face and 'power through' them.
- First episode: Towards the end of a loud, high action film (and after a large dinner), I suddenly became self-conscious, fidgety and gripped with a sensation of having to leave the theater immediately. Walking quickly from the theater, I became conscious of my heart beating rapidly and the palms of my hands became "tingly". Confused and scared, I began to question what was happening to me, my mind racing to possible conclusion of a heart attack (based on the palpitations and the tingling hand sensation). Upon a few minutes of rest, the feelings subsided.
- As I was driving home from work, I suddenly became gripped with a sensation of non-specific uncomfortable energy in my body - I just felt throughout my body like something was badly wrong - similar to the sensation felt when presented with an important test of some sort that I was completely unprepared for. This feeling was clearly real and physical, and seemed to originate from my solar plexus and radiate out into my arms, which felt tingly and weak. I was confused and seriously concerned about this feeling, which caused me to begin sweating and become fidgety. I drove myself to the ER where they ran basic tests (which came up all clear) and issued me an Ativan (Lorezepam). After resting for a period of 20 minutes, all physical symptoms returned to normal but mentally I retained some concern about why this has happened. I was issued Ativan (1mg pills) to take as needed.
- The same awful sensation has subsequently struck me at restaurants (perhaps triggered by anticipation or excitement) and at the airport. In these cases, I sensed that I quickly overflowed with energy - like a bursting thermometer. Unable to "shake it off" I walked around and tried to breathe consciously. As I attempted to power through the sensation, I recalled people I have known who have suddenly died after reporting "not feeling well", and begin to feel as if I was about to die and began mentally processing that these would be my final moments on earth before I would drop dead, envisioning the paramedics, the reaction of my family and the scene it would cause. This causes sweating and apologies to the people I am with: "I don't know whats wrong with me". Hesitant to cause a major scene, I choose not to tell them that I "feel like I am dying". The feeling eventually subsides.
- I sometimes get a feeling of "weakness" in my chest and a discomfort that extends through my armpits into the inside of my upper arms. No other pain, no trouble breathing, no other symptoms other than a slight dizziness, it just feels as if my heart is overwhelmed and underpowered and I feel terribly out of shape. I begin to fear for my health.
- As I climbed into bed last week and just closed my eyes, still fully conscious, the room began to "swirl". Not spin, but swirl into my brain. When I closed my eyes, the sensation continued - a dark, swirling, dizzying sensation of instability. It seemed to be entirely in my head - there were no other physical symptoms.
- As I drifted off to sleep tonight, beyond the point of consciousness, I was suddenly, violently, jolted awake. The sensation was as if I had stopped breathing or that my heart had stopped beating just before I awoke. THIS IS PERHAPS THE MOST HORRIFYING symptom yet. It was brief but brutal - like drowning and falling and being smothered at once. My wife has reported that I have been snoring a lot lately, so now I'm thinking apnea?
I am not sure what is happening, so I fired up the laptop and here I am...
Also, I am not thrilled to be taking any sort of pill, so I take the Ativan 1mg at irregular times - only when I begin to feel truly anxious and no more than 1/day.
Any thoughts? Any one having these same feelings? Is there a better way to describe them to a doctor? Any one have any strategies for expressing seriousness (that this isn't just normal stress)?
Hey sorry u have to go through all of this. I know how hard it is when you have all these different symptoms and not being able to discribe them to anyone. The good news is that you've found the right place for advice. Daily I read peoples post here and there is so much of us that have similar symptoms. You have not discribe anything different to what I have heard before. I to had the same things happen to me. The jolt awake thing is horrible. It keeps me awake for the whole night. I see in your post that u have done all kinds of blood work and test done to rule out anything serious, so now would be the time to address your anxiety. I know it's hard to believe that anxiety can do all these horrible things to us but trust me that's all it is, and you won't die from it. First of all you'll need to start with some talk therapy to find out the base of your anxiety. Also to understand the symptoms, so you'll be more in control when they start. Secondly I know how you feel about medz but u probably may need to be put on some. An antidepressant would most likely be the thing for u. The hardest thing is that there is alot of antidepressants out there and you'll probably have to go through a few before u find the right one. Your dr will help u with this, also the first two to three weeks on the medz r the worst, but as long as the medz r in your system then you'll start to see some improvement. I hope ive been some help. God bless
Wow, you have been carrying a heavy load! What you have written here is a great description of anxiety and you should show it to your doctor to give him a clear picture of how you are feeling. Also, take you Ativan as directed! By the time you are feeling "truly anxious" the Ativan taken then needs time to work, so you are only hurting yourself. There is no shame in taking any prescribed drug as directed. Good luck and God bless.
It occurs to me (after combing through many similar posts) that it would be very interesting and helpful if this site offered a sort of 'interactive symptom' map - I'm envisioning an outline of a human body that people could roll over and "tag" in the appropriate location with specific, brief symptom descriptions (or "vote" on symptoms that others have submitted to show how many people are sharing the same symptoms). If those symptom tags/descriptions could then be linked to specific posts, that would be a great way to organize the content on this site (and prevent good but old posts from being buried by more recent posts)...
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