To start off I'm 17, pretty athletic, with mild-moderate anxiety.
I had a really bad panic attack around two months ago (with other small attacks) and I though I was having a heart attack so I went to the hospital. Turns out everything was fine with all the tests they took (EKG, blood test, chest x-ray, echo etc..)
Since then, I've learned to cope with my anxiety to a certain extent. I haven't had a severe panic attack for around a month now and when I do have them, they are very mild. Unfortunately, every day I spend time thinking about my health (especially heart health), if I'm going to die soon, and how much homework will I have by the end of the school day. I am a very anxious person who hates to wait for things and I get angry about things pretty easily (never really in school though). Every time I feel something wrong with me, I fear it's a severe health condition. I laugh very easily, smile often, and love to be active. It's hard for me to think that my symptoms are being caused by anxiety...
Lately I've been having these very bothersome symptoms, most prominently, moderate dizziness throughout the day, usually after eating.
Along with this I also have:
-Gas (every day)
-Slightly High Heart Rate (when resting 80 bpm on average)
-High Heart Rate During Exercise (Long recovery time as well)
-Mild Headaches (Almost every day)
-Slight, mild pains usually near chest (almost every day)
-Some reflux (around 1-2 times a week usually if I eat a really big meal)
-Little to no heartburn
I had these symptoms for about a week after I left the hospital, and they went away for about two weeks, and have started again, and they haven't gotten any better. When I feel like I have to belch, I can only get a little gas out, but when my body does it involuntarily, I can get a strong belch that lasts for 3 seconds that seems to come out of nowhere. I don't feel really bloated but I have the feeling I need to burp because it makes it harder for me to breath if I don't.
I believe anxiety started this because I was a VERY athletic person before this all started with little to no anxiety. It has seemed to affect my exercise performance and ability to fully concentrate in school. I have learned to stay keep my stress level pretty low, but I now feel it has caused me to have a a digestive problem that can't fix it self. I take 1-2 Malox Max tablets to relive some of the symptoms (mostly the gas) and it seems to work. (nothing else)
I'm very sorry that this post was so long, but I wanted to fit everything in to get the most accurate answer. Any help is appreciated.
I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a child. The anxiety usually manifests itself in some of the things you mentioned: gas; headaches; reflux and heartburn. It can get pretty scary. I've been taking Zantac an OTC "antacid" that also helps with other digestive-related problems. Have also stopped taking Advil because that was too hard on my digestive system.
You probably know all this already but I don't lie down after eating and find that even mild to moderate exercise helps the digestive process. When I have severe anxiety, even going for a short walk seems impossible but if I don't walk or go out with the dogs, my digestive system doesn't work as well. This might be because I'm a lot older than you.
Did you ask your dr or therapist about meds that might help with your problems?
Thanks for the advice wolf. I'd love to exercise when I feel a digestive problem, but that seems to make my symptoms even worse with a feeling of bloating, moderate to severe dizziness, headaches, and high heart rate. This is very discouraging because I used to exercise around 5 times a week and now, I seem to dread working out because I think it is only making things worse for me. I am getting a little out of shape since I gained around 10 pounds since around 2 months ago.
Heart health worries are fairly common here in this community. My original source of anxiety originally came from that. Like you, I am/was very active; I still run around 40-45 miles a week, very social, and I love to travel. I went to the doc and had the tests done over and over and despite their reassurances, I knew they were missing something.
My first piece of advice is to believe the doctors. I know it is much easier said than done, but you have been checked out and you are young and active and that is a great thing! I don't know if you have counseling available to you, but learning about anxiety/panic is very crucial to overcoming it in my opinion. Also, remember when we get into this worry/panic/worry cycle you are going to feel all sorts of 'symptoms' because you are constantly scanning for problems and will catastrophicsize even normal everyday aches and pains; for example I went running today and my shoulder was hurting...if I wanted to I could interpret that as all sorts of problems to include my heart....but it was probably just sore from lifting in the morning. Quite often, in my opinion, rationalization gets thrown out the window because we tend to think worst case when instead chances are OVERWHELMINGLY in your favor that it is really not life threatening at all.
I know panic can be a real pain in the you know what, but the good thing is it is 'treatable' with understanding and a willingness to confront it. I actually think it has made me a much more well rounded person, a better husband, and a better listener. I also tend to enjoy the little things in life now...but it was a long hard road for me with ups and downs; but remember there are bumps along the road with ANY experience in life. It is the challenges that are going to shape who you are...keep us posted and continue to share all your thoughts, concerns, experiences, and questions with us!
Hey cj I'm sorry for the late response, I wasn't expecting someone else to comment on my post so I'm very happy you did.
That was very very helpful and took a weight off my shoulders, to hear someone else used to feel the way I feel right now.
I had a pretty good day today, just because I avoided panicking about my "health problems" and just didn't think about them. I've been getting back into my serious workout routine lately and it seems that my symptoms are getting slightly better. I wasn't as dizzy and lightheaded as I was yesterday.
Today a friend "playfully" punched me in the chest around the heart area (which was one of my biggest worries a while ago). I didn't panic or think about it and I just went on lifting. I worked my chest out today and After I started working out again in the afternoon it started hurting in that area... A few weeks ago I would have started having a panic attack and think I was having a heart attack. But I remembered getting punched hard in that area so I just ignored it and just continued working out.
I feel no pain in that area at all at the moment and as I'm typing this I feel like my normal self.
I feel the key to managing my stress is ignoring the minor pains, aches, etc. and go throughout your day as content as possible. And thanks once again cj for the advice because I'm also going to take into consideration my doctors advice.
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