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Can this really be anxiety?
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Can this really be anxiety?

Hi everyone,

I am a 24 year old male just recently out of University. For the past 3 years I have been experiencing blurry vision, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. I went and did many tests, blood tests, brain scans (I was a hockey player and they wanted to check for concussion damage). I also did a sleep study which led to the conclusion that I had low to moderate sleep apnea, even if I am in great shape and exercise regularly. I don't think this really was the cause of my problems as I continued to have this symptoms after using CPAP.
You can imagine these symptoms got into my head. I was in university and had to do a lot of reading. Trouble seeing and concentrating made those years very frustrating, but I decided that it must have been psychological and tried to push on and learned to live with the symptoms and completed my degree.
This had been fine except that as time went on, my eyesight kept getting worse. I saw two optometrists and apparently nothing is very wrong with my eyes. One offered me glasses but they don<t help, its not so much I can't see close things, but rather I feel like there is something between my eyes and what I'm seeing, like light, or shadow or something.
Now 3 weeks ago I started having what I can only imagine are anxiety symptoms. I went to the hospital because I felt very uncomfortable in my own skin, my heart kept pounding and it feels like Ive drank 50 coffees all the time, I had heat flashes and pins and needles in my feet and hands. Blood test and heart scan came back clean so they gave me a psych referral. These symptoms have now gone on for 3 weeks and are non stop. It gets to the point that I can't comprehend what's going on around me or to hold a conversation for too long. Because the symptoms are always there I keep turning thoughts in my head of what this might be and when I convince myself that its only anxiety and try and stop thinking about it, my weird eyesight makes it impossible to forget about the symptoms by doing something else.

Can this really just be anxiety? Everything in my life is going great (or was until 3 weeks ago). I have a great place, a great job and a great girlfriend (though we have been long distance for a few months).  I don't have trouble sleeping, in fact, it's the only time I feel like I can get a break from my symptoms. I'm not a stressed out person, in fact I'm the most laid back person. The only reason I am constantly stressing now is because of the impact my symptoms are having on my life. I realize that leads to a vicious circle of stressing more but I feel like it is out of my control...

Sorry, I know that was a long post. I appreciate any help, guidance and support you can offer me...

Andrew
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Avatar_m_tn
It sounds like anxiety disorder to me, but what you want to do is talk to a therapist, not a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, but a therapist. If you have a disorder that needs medication a therapist will refer you if they cannot help you enough. I say to see a therapist first because medications are given VERY quickly and sometimes, more often than not, a therapist can help with no medication needed.

Until then, here are some tips/techniques that helped me control my panic/anxiety disorder for the most part. If you have any questions or just want to talk to someone so you know you are not alone, feel free to contact me.

I have been struggling with different mental issues/disorders for quite a while. Through the years and especially after going to a therapist I found different tips/techniques to help with my anxiety and panic attacks. I cannot claim they will work for everyone, but they have allowed me to control my anxiety and panic attacks almost completely. If you have any questions, please ask.

Okay, there are pre-panic tips and full panic tips.

Let's start with the pre-panic tips.

A rubber band around the wrist can help if you use it before the anxiety turns into an anxiety attack. As soon as you start to feel weird you snap the rubber band onto your wrist. For some people, this can "snap" (pun intended) them out of going into the anxiety or panic attack.

When you start to feel the anxiety coming on, think of the most odd thoughts you possibly can. Wonder what a star would look like if it were really a circle in disguise.......how many caterpillars would it take to reach from the earth to Saturn if they were drinking caffeine. Distracting your thoughts with such bizarre thinking will redirect your mind from getting worse.

Sit down on a bench or chair, put your head between your legs, and force yourself to breathe in deeply, and breathe out deeply. It's when the breathing gets to short and quick that the panic gets worse. At first you might feel like you can't do it, but with practice, you can.

If you wear correctional glasses, take them off. For some reason sight plays into some peoples anxiety problems.

Okay, now for when you are in an actual panic attack.

Cold water on the face, forehead, neck, and wrists can help calm the anxiety or panic down. If it's cold enough, it's kind of like shocking you out of the attack.

To add to the cold water technique, if you are in full blown panic attack, find ice as soon as you can, put it into some kind of rag or cloth, wet it, and rub it all over your head, face, neck, and behind your ears. Again, the cold shocks the mind out of the anxiety.

Here are some tips to prevent the anxiety and or panic attacks.

Stay away from caffeine, as a rule, it is the MAIN reason people suffer from anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

Surround yourself with comedy whenever you start to feel off. Laughter is another technique that can fool the brain into concentrating somewhere else.

Keep a herbal tea you made handy when you are out and about. If you want, as long as you make sure it is safe for you, I will send you some "calm down" recipes that are 100% natural and legal.

Also, there are disposable instant cold packs you can buy from 99 cent stores to use for the cold, this makes it easy to find relief when driving, at work, or some other place a sink is not always available.

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi, thanks for the response.

I will definitely look into a therapist. I have an appointment with a social worker monday who is supposed to point me in the right direction so I will definitely ask her about it. I also have been drinking lots of tea since yesterday, which I feel has helped a bit. What blends do you usually use?

As for the rest, I feel like the symptoms are always there. My heart feels like its pumped full of caffeine at all times, even when I'm controlling my anxiety, and my eyes are always weird, so that even when I feel calmer, the disoriented feeling pulls me back in. I haven't not had symptoms for a few days now, even not working this weekend and spending relaxing time with my girlfriend whom i don't get to see much and who is very understanding and trying to lightly get my mind off it.

Is there any way this could be something else? I realize the majority of it is anxiety, but I'm wondering if the original physical symptoms could be from something else which leads me to anxiety. Especially because I have been having eye and concentration symptoms for so long without any anxiety, why would I be anxious now?
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