Hi Dave! :-) You are right. People with anxiety issues can literally cause themselves to feel 'pseudo-pain'. This is psychosomatic. The real pain happens when you have kept your body so tense with anxiety that you become sore all over. No one has ever died from anxiety all by itself. You would have to do something else, like panic while driving your car, and crash it, for death to happen. You should discuss your anxiety with your doctor. There are all sorts of medications out there that can help you. If you do not want to take medication, look up 'relaxation techniques' on the web. You can use these. You can also do what you can to remain calm. No arguing, no thrash-metal music, no base jumping or sky diving, no rollercoasters. Also avoid alcohol. Herbal teas are great. Chocolate is a known mood enhancer. Warm showers or baths are relaxing, too. Read something boring at bedtime so you can sleep. Let us know how you do. Blessings - Blu
Please do not rule out a physical component. High cortisol can cause anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. There are probably other physical conditions with similar symptoms. See a good medical practitioner, one who will explore all possibilities.
I speak as someone who has walked down your path and ultimately found a fine doctor who diagnosed me properly. And, no, my problem was not psychological.
As an alternative it may actually be good to try out "base jumping or sky diving". During the day you don't need to remain calm, you need it at night, and the best way to do it is to tire out your body (physically) during the day. I said base jumping or sky diving may just be very helpful because of all the adrenaline rush after which you will exhaust yourself and make your mind think how immortal you are (since you survived such thing :) ). My sister is about your age and has the same problem. But she just won't listen to my advice although she's aware of my lifestyle and the way I care about my health.
So, I suggest increased physical activity (especially those that make your adrenaline rush) during the day and as Blu said "warm showers or baths" to relax after. Day is when you hunt. Night is when you rest.
Please, write something about your lifestyle and daily routines. It will help me find proper advice.
It feels great to get so much positive feedback and support at such short notice so thank you to all. With regard to my lifestyle, I'm currently in my first year at uni and I think a routine of heavy drinking and little else may have got the better of me. I agree with BluCrystal about the psychosomatic nature of my problems, largely because when I'm distracted (which is rare), the symptoms are gone and because I've been cleared around 3 times in the past 2 weeks by very patient Doctors in emergency rooms for any heart trouble (which is usually my main concern). It's also strange you said about panicking behind the wheel because I hyperventilated in my car yesterday, blacked out briefly and swerved into oncoming traffic, got away without a scratch thankfully; very lucky considering.
Overall I think it doesn't help that I'm currently on triple therapy for H Pylori infection so my chest hurts 24/7, so perhaps the anxiety accompanied the infection and I just need to persevere with the cure to sort the anxiety... Who knows...
But I'm also inclined to agree with Khayo. Being busy during the day assuages my fear of heart attack or stroke at night (since you're more likely to have one when exerting yourself) and the feeling of tiredness and abundance of endorphins really helps to settle my mind. So perhaps a combination of day-time physical positivity and night-time relaxation is the way forward.
Finally, in response to allmymarbles, I completely agree that the catalyst for my current situation is physical, but I very much doubt it is life-threatening, like my anxiety causes me to believe. Of course if physical symptoms remain after my triple therapy I'll take my medical approach more seriously, but for the time being I just hope to make the nights a bit easier and to start actually believing that I have a strong, young heart and that I should be able to live a normal life.
Thanks again to all for such helpful feedback.