This group does not answer questions about your risk, yet we support each other over our fears and try to find ways to calm down and know NO matter what we will be okay. This is a support group for people who are having anxiety issues feeling that they may have been infected with HIV. Some of you are in the window period and waiting for an accurate result. Some of you may have tested negativr, but still think you are showing symptoms and can't believe your test results. This is a support group so we can all come together and support each other. In this time I know how lonely it can be, but KNOW you are not alone. If you’re concerned that you may be entering into an episode of stress depression and anxiety, this support group will be for you. You’ll want to know the psychological symptoms and the physical symptoms associated with these problems and how they affect sufferers. Here are the most common physical and psychological symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety: Lack of energy. This common symptom is common to stress depression and anxiety and no matter how much you try, you just can’t seem to get energized for anything. This affects motivation and so you’re in a catch 22 situation. The less energetic you feel, the more your motivation levels drop. The less motivated you feel, the lower your energy levels become. Exhaustion. This is major symptom of depression and it is so debilitating. This is a different kind of exhaustion than the exhaustion you feel say after strenuous physical exercise. In depression, the exhaustion is mentally and physically crushing. Even performing simple daily tasks is way too difficult and it doesn’t matter how much you sleep, the exhaustion just won’t go away. Trembling Hands. This is mainly a stress or anxiety symptom. The sufferer may be in such an anxious, fearful state that the body floods with powerful chemicals such as adrenaline. In this state, the brain is in a high status of alert and trembling hands are one of the most noticeable, uncontrollable physical symptoms of stress and anxiety. Until of course, the root cause of these problems is addressed and the trembles will then disappear. Disturbed Sleeping Patterns: This symptom is common to stress, depression and anxiety and it works in 2 main ways. The suffer will either sleep too much or more likely, will only sleep for a couple of hours a night, maybe even less. In many cases, sleep is disrupted because of vivid nightmares, which some sufferers may not even remember. Other sufferers have recurring nightmares. Although these vivid dreams may cause distress, please realize that it isn’t representing anything about you, it is the stress, depression or anxiety that is causing the brain to work overtime and these vivid dreams are a symptom of this, so please don’t blame yourself or feel guilty. The nightmares will disappear once stress, depression and anxiety are under control. Excessive Worry. Among the more common psychological anxiety, depression and stress symptoms, excessive worry means the sufferer worries about even the smallest of life’s events. A sufferer will be unable to find positive outcomes to anything and will continually assign negative outcomes to all situations. In continually assigning negative outcomes, life becomes very hard as sufferers are in a fearful state of mind for prolonged periods, a state that harms the body as well as the mind. Irritable. Irritability is a major stress symptom as anyone who’s been under severe stress (and most of us have at some point in our lives) will know this all too well. When you’re under stress, you are stretched to your limit and your patience levels are thin. This explains why even the slightest thing can cause a sufferer to lose their temper or be off-handed or curt towards others. And even when the slightest mishap or accident occurs as they do so often during our daily routines, it will fuel the frustration causing more aggressive or nasty behaviour. Again, this is a symptom of stress and the irritability goes away when stress is relieved. Isolation. Wanting to shut out the world is another major symptom of depression, although stress sufferers can sometimes seek solitude too. Retreating into a solitary, lonely world further pushes the sufferer down the depression spiral – it’s like self imposed solitary confinement – making it even harder for sufferers to find a way out of depression. This is because sufferers feel uncomfortable or even awkward around others and would rather be alone to avoid this feeling. Panic. This anxiety symptom arises because the sufferer is convinced a catastrophic outcome to an event - or a number of events - in life is imminent. Possible examples could include a wedding, a house move, a work situation, relationship issues, illness, flying, or speaking in public. Sufferers simply cannot change this focus and the more they think about this catastrophe, the more panic stricken they become. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to address this so a person doesn’t enter the spiral that leads to panic. Worthless Feelings. A symptom of depression although stress sufferers may also feel this way sometimes. This is a terrible feeling to have. Sufferers lose all sense of self worth, self esteem plummets and overly critical self-deprecation is performed, adding to the torment. Self confidence erodes away to nothing and at this point, an individual will find no joy in life, including pastimes and activities that previously brought them so much joy and happiness. The good news is that confidence and self esteem are skills that can be re-learned and along with many other skills form a crucial part in treating depression. Guilt. Another of the psychological symptoms common to stress, anxiety and depression, guilt can be a heavy burden for sufferers because it’s a lose-lose situation: They will feel guilty about things they’ve done or they will feel guilty about things they didn’t do. A continual replaying of events accompanied by regrets and “If only..” causes deep emotional anguish and heaps yet more torment on to an already tormented person. Guilt really is a powerful, destructive but ultimately worthless emotion yet the harm it inflicts on sufferers is immense. Guilt, like many other emotions, can be dealt with very effectively and this is another important skill to master in managing stress, depression and anxiety. Headaches: Another common symptom of stress, depression and anxiety. This is a physical symptom and in some cases, the headaches turn into migraine, especially for people under severe stress. This is one symptom that shows problems like stress, depression and anxiety aren’t “all in your mind” and clearly demonstrates how stress, depression and anxiety have physical as well as mental symptoms. Muscle Pain: Mainly a symptom of depression but stress sufferers may also suffer muscle pain. Muscle pain symptoms will typically be backache and leg cramps. These symptoms can be so painful, and a problem is that sufferers will be unaware that the pain is a symptom of depression. Once the depression is controlled, the pain vanishes. Racing Heartbeat: Not so common with depression, more a symptom of anxiety and stress. Again, the highly-aroused emotional state floods the body with adrenaline and the heart rate rises. This may also cause “butterflies” in the tummy as well. Loss of Appetite. A symptom common to stress, anxiety and depression, loss of appetite is perhaps one of the most obvious consequences of stress, anxiety and depression because of the emotional state of the sufferer. No one feels like eating when they’re frightened, panic stricken or feeling worthless and exhausted. There are some sufferers whose appetites have increased dramatically but they are in the minority. Loss of appetite is more common, and reducing food intake further affects energy levels and deprives the body of nourishment, further exacerbating stress, depression and anxiety. It’s important to note that the causes of stress, depression and anxiety are not rooted in diet and diet alone cannot cure any of them. However, healthy eating does have a part to play, and it should be a part of your stress, anxiety and depression treatment. Loss of Sex Drive. Just as above, this symptom occurs because of the emotional state of the sufferer. Paradoxically, many people who are depressed can seek emotional re-assurance from sex even though their sexual appetite has decreased. So loss of sex drive doesn’t necessarily mean abstinence from sex. This is more common to depressed women than men, as for men, being in a highly stressed, anxious or depressed state can make the physical act of sex nigh-on impossible. For reasons that I hope are so obvious I need not go into any more detail! Again, as with the other symptoms, your sex drive will return once stress, depression and anxiety have been brought under control.