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Avatar universal

Out of body feelings and lightheadedness that NEVER GOES AWAY?

hello there. i a 29 yr old female am looking for any insight or answers you may have to symptoms i have been experiencing for close to a year. basically, almost a year ago i was hit - out of nowhere - with an extreme, floaty, out of body sensations and light headedness. at first i thought i had a virus in my ear or something, then i thought thyroid, then i though MS or brain tumor. i went through all the typical steps that many others have noted -a barrage of blood tests (all normal) MRI (normal). About a month or so in, i started having weird visual stuff. it is very hard to explain, and overall it is somewhat subtle, but basically when i look at certain patterns or shapes, they seem to pulse and shimmer. when my eyes are shut - i still feel as though things are lightly trembling, and sometimes i'll get a light pulsating sensation behind my eyes when they are closed. my eyes are fine - when i went to the opthamologist, she said that she has seen the visual disturbance thing before, and that it's a result of the visual center in my brain being "overly stimulated" and that meds will help. another effect is jaw clenching, facial tension, and on and off facial tingling as well as some tingling in my fingers. besides the finger thing, all of my symptoms reside - quite literally - in my brain, face and head. the rest of me is fine & i have no headaches.  i am seeing a therapist - have been for about 6 mos. he thinks its somatization - that i have some low level depression and that my body is expressing it this way. as soon as i change my life he says, he thinks these feelings will go away. obviously i don't want to bore everyone with the details - my life isn't all that bad, but it's stressful and i am going through a rough patch. i've been pretty much white knuckling it the last few months, but the symptoms seem a little worse recently and i am getting sooo sick of it, i feel like my quality of life is truly suffering. i exercise a lot already - have been for years - that is clearly not going to help, and i have tried organic things like taking B vitamins, etc. so i think i am going to have to resort to meds and i am very scared about that option, because i don't want things to get worse!

My main question is this - when people talk about anxiety they talk about it in terms of episodes, like panic attacks. Is it really possible for it to manifest itself in the symptoms I referenced on a constant, chronic basis? I feel better when I'm not at work and, to be honest, drinking wine helps too - but overall, I pretty much feel like this constantly. My second question is - are there really meds out there that address these kinds of physicaly symptoms effectively? And last - will this ever go away? becasue I get pretty freaked out reading entries from others that say they've been dealing with this kind of thing for years and years. It will be a year for me in June and I am at the end of my rope. Any help is appreciated. This forum is extremely helpful.
19 Responses
242532 tn?1269550379
Yes,it sounds like you have generalized anxiety, which is a constant hum..There are many medications to help it, but even more effective is psychotherapy.  See a psychiatrist who can do both so you can get to the bottom of this.
Avatar universal
Checkout out information on depersonalization and derealization disorders.

Avatar universal
To answer your questions, yes, yes and maybe. Yes, it can all be anxiety. Yes, it can be 'cured' by meds. And maybe it will go away. It can go away to the extent that you function normally, but I don't know if you can ever completely forget and, to some extent, fear it coming back. Getting better is hard work. And be careful with the wine. That kind of self-medication can lead to problems. It does make you feel better but can replace one set of problems with another one.

Good luck and hang in there! I'm always recommending books, so I will again--anything by Claire Weeks and "The Anxiety Disease" by David Sheehan.
Avatar universal
woah - that depersonalization site was pretty spot on - thanks for sending. although i must say , reading some of those stories was also depressing and scary. i have got to believe that this will not last my whole life. i never had any probs with this until i was 28 - spent 28 years with no DP symptoms or episodes. my brain knows how to function normally.  i grapple with questions like, has stress/anxiety permanently damaged my brain or is this reversable? my gut says yes - this has got to lift at some point. i don't believe it is like a disease that is happening to me - i think the way i live my life brought it on, and therefore, i can climb my way out of it. but it is a bit discouraging to read about people for whom this has been going on for decades. still, it's good to know that what I am experiencing has a name and that I am not dying of anything. I am pretty sure DP sums it up. Thanks again.
Avatar universal
oh - and thanks for the book recommendations! i will check those out.
Avatar universal
I know that I have GAD - most of the time. Sometimes I have gone for months without syptoms, but most of the time for the last 14 years they have been there. My main symptoms are lightheadedness, off balance, unusual out of body sensations, weakness, and nervousness. I am having a real hard time lately and am using Klonopin. It helps some and I also started taking 5-HTP. It is supposed to raise the seratonin levels and help major with anxiety. The doctor wanted me to start on Lexapro but I have heard so much about wieght gain I don't want to start it. In answer to your question - YES anxiety can cause alot of things to happen to your body and your mind. I have had all blood work, heart monitors and other tests and they tell me all is normal. So when I feel these symptoms - I have to remind myself that I just need to relax and accept things for what they are. The out of body feelings - Like I am not really in the moment - is the strangest of feelings. My Lightheadedness has been at the worst where I have had to stay in bed at times. It eventually subsides and some days are worse than others. Hang in there and remember that the more you can relax - you will feel better. Tammy
Avatar universal
just curious - has anyone heard of these problems totally disappearing with meds and no downside? I have no real experience with this, but based on what I read on the Internet, it sounds like meds often bring more problems, and that getting off them is hell - keep reading about brain "zaps", and worse feeling of lightheadedness and depersonallization that come with the meds.  but maybe that isn't the reality - just the experiences of a select few? because honestly, my main fear of the meds is not that they won't work - but that they will make things worse. I also don't want things that will put me to sleep or impact how I think/my personlity/emotions, since the symptoms themsleves are physical. But maybe I am focusing too much on separating the physical and emotional. They probably not so separate.
Avatar universal
Wow.  I have been searching the Heart Forum and decided to look here for more answers and I am so glad I did.  I have something somewhat similar.  I am 34 and last November 22, I was making something for my son's preschool class and out of NOWHERE I got this pain in my chest.  It made me double over and for the next six hours I believe, now anyway, that I had continuous panic attacks because I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  But I thought the panic attack was a heart attack.  For the next 3 months I had the derealization thing continuously.  I knew I was in the room with people but I didn't feel like I was there.  I was in a major fog.  I went throught cardiac, gastro, and a barrage of other tests.  All NORMAL.  After refusing Lexapro from my cardiologist for months, I started on it.  Two weeks later I stopped on the recommendation of ANOTHER cardiologist (my THIRD!!).  In the middle of March I started Lexapro again on 5mg.  I didn't feel any different and after 4 weeks went to 10mg.  Just for the record, I read SOOO much on weight gain I was petrified but I haven't gain one pound, in fact I dropped a couple.  I just thought I'd say that because it was only one reason, but a main one, that I initially didn't want to try it.  Anyway, I am trying to believe that this is "ONLY" anxiety but everyday I am struggling with some kind of weird feeling.   Sometimes it's a pulling sensation in my jaw and neck and sometimes it is the derealization thing and sometimes it is a complete "wave of weakness" that makes me feel limp almost.  It is the same things but not the same ones at the same time or same day.  Does that make sense?  Well, This is horribly long I am very sorry.  I just wanted to say after all that rambling, that even though my stuff is chest related as far as pain and such goes, 5 out of 7 doctors think anxiety is the culprit.  It's taken me a long time to believe it and I'm not quite all the way there.  I don't have a lot of stress in my life and thought everything was great.  I wish you all the best and hope the outcome you desire is short in coming.  

Oh yeah, thanks for letting me ramble!!
Avatar universal
Sorry again about the long post above but I did want to say one more thing about Lexapro.  Even on 5 mg the first 6 days were really hard.  I was dizzy and some other symptoms that totally freaked me out.  No one warned me and I am against reading about side effects BEFORE because I believe you can make yourself feel every single one of them!!  I started looking online about the 4th day and found a posting about the first week or so being not great.  Although I am not sure the Lexapro is working for me I will say that I have NO side effects from taking it now.  I will make sure that when I do go off of it, I will slowly wean off and hopefully not have any problems.  I do know 2 people that had no problems and one was on a pretty high dosage.  (She did it over months with the help of her psychiatrist.)

Thanks for letting my ramble.........
Avatar universal
I actually had some of the same symptons that you had and some weird chest feelings as well.
I had them for a couple of months before deciding to go to the doctor and have some tests done.
All of my tests came back negative and I put on 10mg of Lexapro.
I must say that I have not experienced any side effects and the feelings in my chest went away and I am feeling better.
I just still don't fully understand how anxiety can cause the symptoms that we experience.
I can say that I had anxiety about the symptoms that I had but other than that my life has been great, it was like it came out of nowhere.
Good Luck!
Avatar universal
I'm so sorry you experienced the feelings but so glad that someone else has too.  I really don't have any reason for anxiety either and fought that diagnosis for so long because of that.  I too, believe that the chest pain and weird feelings caused the anxiety and not anxiety causing the chest pains.  Unfortunately, Lexapro has not helped the pains but I think it has helped keep me from totally freaking out about them.  I still have days that are harder than others but nothing like before when I feel like I walked around in a fog.  

I wish you all the best.
Avatar universal
I have been suffering from GAD with panic attacks for more than seven years now.  I go through periods where I do experience the whole light-headedness and depersonalization adn it makes my life miserable.  I was in therapy, but could no longer afford it and I was taking Zoloft as well, which helped considerably with the anxiety.  About three months ago, I stopped taking my Zoloft thinking that I no longer needed it.  I had withdrawal symptoms, but none that I could not deal with.  Approximatley, two weeks ago, I felt this intense pressure on my head and I felt as if I was going to faint and experienced a panic attack out of the blue while watching TV.  My God!  What a scare!  The panic attack eventually passed, but ever since that night I've been feeling so tired, light-headed, weak, and sometimes I feel that I may even faint.  It's continuous...it never ceases...and I don't know when it will stop.  I can't drive long distances (more than a few miles) for fear that I will get into an accident.  I'm feeling much more anxious (jumpy, edgy, overwhelmed) than usual. It's insane...I hate it and feel that I have no control over my own body.  

I could've attributed these symptoms with other things, but realized that I only get this way when (1) I'm not on medication and (2) when I'm very stressed.  This is what happens.  My question is, what type of medication can I take that will help both the psysiological and mental symptoms that we all seem to be suffering from?  It seems like every couple of years or so, there's a new drug that seems to be even better than the others.  Also, has anyone suffered from the light-headedness, dizziness, tiredness, weakness, depersonalization, etc. ongoingly for more than a couple of weeks?

Thank you for taking your time to read my post.


Avatar universal
I have delt with those problems for going on six years.  I have been to two different doctors who both told me it was just depression.  The first gave me a perscription for Paxil which I took for a few months and hated it.  The withdrawals were horrible, I had a week of very violent nightmares and woke up sweating so much I thought I had peed in my bed.  When the second doctor percribed zooloft, I didn't even bother filling it.  I have done years of research and tried every natural remedy I could find.  Some things took the edge off for awhile but nothing was ever perminent.  I have also done a lot of research on diet and exercise.  Lot's of exercise has helped me, but nothing has REALLY helped.  I just want to wake up each day on an even keel.  I don't want to wake up and wonder at what hour the anxiety is going to hit me.  I have wondered if I have trained myself to get anxious because it has been ongoing for so many years.  I basically have two or three days out of the month that I feel OK.  I am going to the third doctor tomorrow to see what he says, I refuse to just accept that I am depressed, I have every reason to be happy and I love my life, but the anxiety holds me back from doing so much more with it.  I am willing to do just about everything to get to the bottom of my problem, besides meds.
Avatar universal
From all the reading I've done, it seems to me that this whole anxiety/depression thing (two sides of one coin) is a chemical/biochemical/genetic thing that just happens. If you are "wired" for it, when the switch is flipped (by some life event usually), the whole room lights up! If you're not wired for it, the switch doesn't do a thing. And every life has something that will flip the switch! For me, it was my brother's death when I was 12--I've had varying degrees of depression and anxiety since then. My other brother and my mother, not wired that way, never developed it. My sister and father both have (had, in the case of my father who has died) it BAD!

What works is medication. Sorry, but that's the bottom line for me. Something has to alter the wiring, and medication does it. In addition, cognitive therapy, helping one to cope with the problems that arise as a result of the depression/anxiety. The longer one has had the problem, the harder it is to fix. If it's only been a short time, it is easier to get a handle on.

Find a good therapist. Trust your medication. Read all you can.
Avatar universal
Do you use artificial sweetners, how many diet soda'a do you drink a day?
Avatar universal
Have any of you experienced a vibration buzzing sensation of your psyche ( not of the body ) and insantly feel your psyche pulled up and out the forehead about 2 feet and zoom right back... several times ( ok - 4 ). This happens at work, in the kitchen, while sleeping, in the shower... but I have never completely left my body, it kind of feels like... well I can't find words... unexplainable feeling. Not scarry just unexplainable. There are other things going on too but this one I have been searching about... Let me know...
Avatar universal
Hi everyone, nice to share same symptoms here.
I've had lightheadedness for over 6 months now. I also have the out of body feelings as well. It's really annoying and i don't know what to do anymore. I've had CT scan, ENT test, blood test, seen neurologist, Ear specialist, chiropracter, accupuncture, massage therapy.... nothing has helped. It's really hard for me to turn my head at times withougt getting lightheaded. It feels like there is not enough blood flowing to my head. sometimes i have so much pressure at the back of my head that i can't move and i think i'm gonna have a stroke or something. I lose my balance, very tired, and getting weaker. what should I do? I'm thinking of going for MRI privately which will cost me so much...
Avatar universal
For Arashb:

I read your text and identified with it immediately. I too suffer from extreme lightheadedness for over 6 months but it actually started about 1 year ago. I also have the out of body feelings as well.

Yes it is super annoying and frustrating. As you, I've had CT scan, ENT test, blood test, neurologist, Ear.nose/throat specialist, etc ... and nothing has helped.

For me, all of this comes from my head and neck. I can't turn my head or lift it up (to look up) without it activating even more this impression of being unstable and drunk (and I don't even drink).

Very tired all the time(though I am normally very energetic). My MRI was normal. Get the MRI if you think it will re-assure you - but get a doctor to prescribe it - don't pay for it yourself.

Do you by any chance have scoliosis? I ask because I do (in my back) and it has resulted in stiffening my neck. I always thought that my troubles were a direct result of this but in this forum it appears that so many people are experiencing what I am feeling.

Anxiety is not the answer to all probelems! For those doctors who tell us to change the way we relate to the world and our symptoms will disappear - to them I say how can you ask an orange to become an apple? We are what we are. We can only be held responsible for things we can control.

Looking forward to a reply,

Avatar universal
For Angelica,
Hi,thanx for ur reply. I really want to get MRI done. I have to pay for it privately as it will take a long time te get it done by the govt. I don't know what to do? some days i feel a bit better, but again i've had the symptoms for nearly 7 months now and I wanna know how long more i have to suffer from this lightheadedness or could it even stay with me for ever.
I just want to be healthy again and i'll be a different person.
when i work and its at the end of my shift i can't even move my head, there is so much pressure in my head and i get lightheaded. seems like there is not enough blood flowing in to my head.
U asked me if i have scoliosis, i don't exactly know what it is, however, i had X-ray done from my back and neck by a chiropracter, and he said that i have subluxation and dengeration in my neck and lower back. I stopped seeing him afer about 5 sessions.
I just want to be able to move my head and dont feel anything and not get lightheaded. I was even getting worried that it could be MS or some other serious thing. One thing that bothers me most is i dont' know what it is, how it happens, and what can i do to improve it.
I'm thinking of seeing the neurologist again.
I'm willing the spend as much money as possible to get over with this as this is the most important stage of my life. Please reply back Angelica, thanx and best of luck.
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