Is it anxiety or am I really having a stroke?

Posted , 26 users are following.

Hello,

I am an 18 year old student, currently in my first year of study. I am very new to this anxiety business, only discovering what it felt like just 2 weeks ago when I had my first ever panic attack. I have only ever had this one, but since it has happened i have done nothing but worry that it will happen again or something far worse. I havent left my house now in 4 weeks because of my fears, causing me to put on a lot of weight - which then goes on to make me feel even worse that my health is rapidly deteriorating.

At first it was a heart attack. That was my primary fear above all else. Now that fear has subsided, I no longer feel chest pains or have difficulty breathing. Now its a stroke. Every day i sit infront of a mirror to see if my face is beginning to drop, and feel that both of my cheek muscles are level and equally firm. A tingling sensation occurs only in one half of my face, which also burns much hotter than the other half. Is it a stroke? Or a mini stroke?

My mum thinks im being stupid, she acts like its all in my head. But how can something that is not real be so painful? How can i be dizzy for no reason? I am generally a rational person, so i find it hard to believe that this is all in my head, but it is what i have been told from numberous sources. Its becoming hard to keep grasp of reality, having to constantly deny what I believe to be the only thing that is real. I have forgotten what it is like to be me.

I have gone to the doctor, they have given me Propranolol, 80mg. It really doesnt help. Also they hhave started me on a PMT course, but whenever i listen to the tracks my symptoms get worse. Im starting to get very fed up of it all, losing my friends, my girlfriend - i mean no one wants to appear weak in front of their partner. Dropping far too behind in uni..

I have contemplated suicide.. once or twice. Id rather if I was going to have a stroke or a heart attack it would just get on with it, and let me go back to the way i was.

Please, if you find the time to read this - for which i am grateful - let me know this isnt real, that it is just in my head.

Thank you.

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  • Posted

    Hi ryan

    I know exactly where you are coming from ... I suffered really bad from health anxiety so much so I would think a headache meant brain tumour ... heartburn was heart attack .... neck pain which meant blood clot causing a stroke . All of course which was just a headache and just heartburn and just a tension pain in my neck im still here lol.

    Firstly please stop worrying if you were to have had or having a stroke or heart attack you would know it for dure by now and definitely wouldn't be on here asking about it. Just try to relax I know its easier said than done ... id be at the drs 2 or 3 times a week sometimes and id be fine for a day or so then find something else to worry about or another illness to have id go to dr n say I think ive got this n do her job for her lol .

    anyway anxiety can come on for no apparent reason as well as obvious ones. Sometimes you can worry so much you cause the anxiety yourself ... I fear vomiting I haven't been physically sick in 10 plus years and am terrified of it so much so I stopped eating in fear of it and when I did eat id constantly worry about feeling sick I didnt really feel sick I was hungry but I had convinced myself I felt sick and worrying so much would make me feel sick. Like if you say the word yawn repeatedly you will yawn. Its a bugger to know you are doing ut to youself when its not nice and you dont want to feel like it .I became reliant on anti sickness pills but now I am on 10mg citalopram my life has changed so much for the better Im happier I dont worry about being sick im calmer I dont worry im dying all the time ive stopped going to drs it has taken my worries away . I had bit of counselling and practiced cbt I got a health anxiety self help book and stopped googling symptoms google always tells you the worst outcome so please dont google stuff.

    I had propranolol for anxiety attacks only 10mg n it worked maybe you need a different type or just need to chill n have faith itll work . I got a relaxation app on my phone which helped a bit . Also deep breathing and positive thinking methods just say out loud or in your head over and over a positive sentence I used to say I am positive I am fine over n over in my head when I felt bad n it made me feel better .

    The thoughts of suicide obviously are not good at all please talk to friends family ... gp would be able to help you honestly dont feel thats the only way out as its not you can be helped and will feel better ive only been on citalopram for 10 weeks after suffering for over a year everyday with anxiety now I dont suffer at all if I feel weird I can ignore it and it goes I can snap out of it now whereas before it was a vicious circle .

    hope I have helped smile

    take care

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  • Posted

    Thank you Natasha, you have really calmed me down, giving some assurance that these combination of symptoms are not just exclusive to me.

    I always do this, go online for some reassurance from real people who know what its like. It really does help. The breif suicide ideas may seem a little premature i know, but they are there. Ill make another appointment with my gp, and maybe ask to change the meds im on. Thanks Natasha :P I have stopped looking at my face for any signs of a stroke for a whole 6 minutes now :P Im glad to know you got over your issues and that one day I most likely will do the same.

    Thanks again.

    Ryan

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  • Posted

    Oh Ryan what you have said really strikes home I have a22 year old son who has suffered with social anxiety for a few years now and I too have had some symptoms over the last year or so. Be strong talk to anyone you feel comfortable with I'm not sure medication is the way myself I would rather be aware of how I really feel and try to tackle it. It's amazing what the body can come up with when you convince yourself something is wrong. Anxiety creeps up out of nowhere but I put my life situation down as the cause of mine and know that's what I have to change. Maybe you have been worrying about something to o. Just talk it out these forums are great take care.
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  • Posted

    Oh theyre deffo not exclusive to you so don't worry about that lol try to relax we do this to ourselves when we worry and obsess over things we start to feel them whereas if we were distracted we would probably be fine but its distracting the thought . A cbt technique I learnt was to write down the worry what I thought would happen and if I was thinking rationally or not then that helped to get the worry out of my head.

    Haha 6 minutes is good I used to raise both arms and see if one was droopy when I thought I was having a stroke its funny now but wasnt at the time lol

    I do believe with the right help amd reassurance you will be fine and get rid of this anxiety

    Take care smile

    Tasha

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  • Posted

    I must point out dr put me on citalopram as she said I had undiagnosed post natal depression for 2 years which lead to my anxiety and my health anxiety as I had a bad experience when I had my daughter which caused the health anxiety so im taking citalopram for depression but it has helped my anxiety as well as the cbt n counselling.

    Tasha

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  • Posted

    Hi Ryan,

    Here's a little story that may reassure you,in 1973 I moved from Norfolk to Lancashire with my girlfriend and dog,I suffered terrible homesickness,then after a couple of months my dog died,and I was devastated,no friends,my girlfriend got a job quickly but I didn't,so alone,I had a tingle from the top of my head all down my left side of my face ,down my arms and leg,I too thought I'd had a stroke.

    One night I was sitting in an armchair,my girlfriend and uncle were there and I felt a rush come to my head,a thousand thoughts entered my mind and then all went black and I shouted out to my girlfriend,grasped her hand and told her I felt unwell and had experienced either stroke or heart attack,my breating was erratic and I felt detached,and so unstable,chest constrictions,palpitations the whole works.

    I saw the doctor within a day and he prescribed me valium which eased the anxiety big time,although I still had the tingles and felt really fluttery and had no confidence in surviving the week,but I did,I took up meditation and deep breathing exercises and with the valium helping I felt normal but only after a few months.

    Slowly but surely the tingling disappeared,I ate and slept better,still had bad anxiety,but managed it with my breathing exercises and meditation,I was 24yrs old then,I am now 64,have had nothing like it since,of course anxiety and depression did hit me on numerous occasions through my life and I've had countless panic attacks,but they give me diazepam and I go on.

    Currently I am on 400mg of pregabilin,which is great for anxiety,but am due to go on Tegretrol as after losing my dad in extenuating circumstances ( esophagus cancer,during which I nursed him for his last four days) I again suffered depression and anxiety,with suicidal thoughts,after that I lost my job due to knee problems,ending up in dual knee replacements and have been out of work for 2 years,have felt loneliness,depression,anxiety,paranoia.OCD you name it and also have been diagnosed with Barretts Esophagus and hiatus hernia,so my cup is overflowing.

    But somehow I go on and will continue to go on,I will not give in to all

    this.

    Counselling and CBT may help you,they didn't help me much,but most importantly get to your doc and get a suitable medication,propranolol is not the solution,I refused it,it upset me once and have had citalopram,fluoxetine,mirtazapene,escatilopram,lexapro but nothing helped,may as well have given me Smarties.some anxiety needs strong meds,you sound like a candidate for that,ask for pregabilin,or Xanax or Diazepam,you need a strong med,but remember to combine it with exercise,and activities to keep your brain engaged,crosswords,a good book,drawing,playing guitar whatever you're into,it will help and with the right medical help you will improve,believe me,I've had 555 yrs experience of this lot but have got through it,so can you,accept your condition,that's the first thing and then set to work on beating it through educating yourself about the problems you have via the Internet forums,books etc.

    Hope this helps I guess I'm always gonna be like this now,off and on but I'm still alive and feel my old self sometimes,you too will progress and start to improve,so off to the doc and start to rebuild.

    Feel for you and others like you,keep in touch,but never give up it's a big battle you've to win,good luck

    Regards Malc

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    • Posted

      that story will help alot of people malcolm! ive been going through anxiety and panic now for 10 years! I'm better now than the first couple of years but still struggle on day to day basis,I got to thank my partner she been amazing in helping me! it was hard at first tho cause alot of people thought there was nothing wrong with me so I too was alone I was locked away in my bedroom for 3 weeks would only go downstairs when I knew people was gone or in bed! I've learnt 1 key thing from it tho that it's about confidence if you believe in yourself and your confidence is high you can over power it! it takes me a couple of weeks to build my confidence up after a bad attack but I know now it can be done!

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  • Posted

    Hey Malcolm,

    I am very grateful for yoour reply and story, it was very touching and gave me an insight of what i could expect in my own future. I have found that there aren't many people out there with such extensive experience, so it was nice to learn new things and that maybe, this will never go away. Its hard to accept, as im sure you will know. For me is because im very rational, i dont tend to pay attention to anything that i cant prove or that cant be proved, and its because of this i find it too hard to accept that there is actually nothing physically wrong with me. Im sure like you said with time, help and maybe some meds i will start to calm myself down a bit, or hopefully eradicate it all together.

    I have tried the distraction thing, i actually do all of those things that you mentioned :P but i feel that now there is no point in doing them. I no longer find enjoyment from them when before it was all i ever did. Im not sure if that is more depression related, but it sounds like it. But maybe after the right meds this will all change.

    I hope it changes soon. I havent slept properly in 2 weeks. Tonight has been pretty bad. Now as i type i feel pain everywhere, and again i cant feel half of my face. It burns hot as it always does, it feels as weightless as it always does. Ill be going straight to the doctors in a few hours, it cant come soon enough though. Its never as bad as it is right now, generally speaking anyway without a panic attack happening. Definitially an element of depression i feel is kicking in. Im going to give up with it soon if there are no results. I hate this empty feeling.

    Anyway, forgive the sad and overly dramatic rant, although it is 100% how i feel right now :P i hate sounding dramatic.

    Thanks again gys, really appreciate it.

    Ryan.

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  • Posted

    Hey guys. I just wanna say that this sorta anxiety with having a stroke is unfortunately affecting me right now.

    Recently I tried to stay up all night to fix my terrible sleeping schedule and half way through the day I had a wierd headache with the chills and nausea. After that day has passed, I had the same headache mixed in with the same chills and nausea. I called kaiser after worrying about it and talked to a nurse who assured me that i was suffering from a migraine, tension and cluster headaches. After that day has passed I can't stop thinking that I'm going to have stroke or something.

    I do have anxiety problems and had anxiety problems for years. At age 16-17, I had a stomach virus hit me hard. Ever since then the anxiety problems i have now start to pour out into my mind. I am very skinny person and suffering from that kind of virus i'm guessing wasn't very good. I didn't eat anything heavy for a good like 4-5 days? I don't know I can't remember, but then i decided to go for something heavy and fealt my heart pumping extremely fast. My stomach was extremely small by then and my body couldn't handle it. This kinda thing happened for a solid month or two. I felt like dieing that entire time. I didn't go out the house at all except for school. I missed a lot of school because I felt so drained and out of it. Whenever I went to school, my anxiety spiked high. I spent like 5 minutes in every period going to bathroom just to stay there and reassure myself that I could make it through the day alive.

    Weeks pass and I start going through therapy and get group sessions with people with the same problems. I also get prescribed zoloft to help with my anxiety, which i still take to this day. It helped a lot. But now, a new sort of anxiety pops up which is the fear of having major health problems like what you're describing. It's pretty dumb because i know i shouldnt worry so much but i still do.

    Besides the headaches, i also notice i get a tingling sensation on my right hand and scares me to death. But nothing ends up happening. It's like i think im having a mini stroke, like what you said, and that maybe ill have a full blown one later. I hate it so much. But reading this has made me feel so much better guys. I really hope you guys are doing better and dont have to worry about stupid stuff like this. I wish life was a guaranteed life of happiness and stress-free expierence but it isnt. All i can do now is to try not to think about and try to stay healthy.

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  • Posted

    Ryan,

    Hi there,

    You have no idea how much your message sounds like me. I consider myself to be rational as well and have such a hard time believing the symptoms are all in my head. They are so physical to me that I can't understand how I'm not having a heart attack. I have tried many meds and I am trying a new one as we speak. All of the benzos only work while taking the med then it's much worse when I'm off. I have been to the dr over and over rand to the hospital three times. I've been checked from butthole to appetite and can't find anything. I feel like you, the end of my rope is near. I get so tired of fighting this everyday. I have two children and a husband that need me and I am no where near the mom or wife I need to be. I had two good months a while back and thought I was cured. It's back now with a vengeance. Hearing others going through it helps but it is still here. Don't give up! Surely we can make it through this.

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  • Posted

    Hey buddy. You aren't alone, I'm 26 and just like you I started out with chest pains and thinking I was having or going to have a heart attack. I went to the hospital about 3 times for it. Then sort of got over it and moved onto the feeling of a stroke. Holy hell have I had some bad days. Really really bad days. I get everything, dizziness, weakness, tingling, headaches, blurred vision, feels like one side of my face is drooping. Everywhere I go I'm always raising my arms or trying to check my reflection to see if my face has dropped. I too have also thought about suicide and how much better and easier life would be! I've been dealing with it for about 3 years now.
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  • Posted

    Hi Ryan.  It definitely sounds like anxiety issues.  If you look through this forum you'll see lot of people experiencing similar things to you.  It can be brought on through stress and can have all sorts of symptoms.  The stress and anxiety will make your heart beat faster as your body prepares for the fight or flight response. This can also make you feel light headed and shakey. If the meds aren't working then go back to the doctor and ask for something else, but I think that they can sometimes take a few weeks to kick in so it might be worth sticking with it for now - someone else on the forum might be able to confirm this as I don't take it. 

    Don't worry, there are lots of people on this forum who have been through similar experiences so just ask any questions you want an we'll try and help.

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  • Posted

    Hello Ryan, my name is Renée I have had anxiety and panic attacks for over 30 years now I can tell you that it does get better it will not kill you, I have had all the symptoms you're talking about numbness in my face on one side numbness in my arm leg thinking I'm having a stroke you name it I've had it and I found out over all the years after all the worrying thinking I was Dieing nothings ever happen bad it's all been just me excessively worrying about feelings and sensations that we get in our body it's this anxiety and stress that makes us feel this way.you need to know that there is medication that can help you you might have to be on it all your life you might not what help me the most was  anti-depressant called Imiprime I also take lorazepam and for panic attacks I use Xanax only when I have a panic attack if you put them under your tongue they work within minutes otherwise I don't like them the reasonI do like them because they work so fast they've saved my life I don't have to have that fear anymore that I'm going to have a panic attack because I know if I do that this medicine is going to take it away right away that is a god send  in itself I'm so sorry that you're sick no one should have to go through this but like I said I am better so much better and your symptoms will come and go according toThe stress you're having in your life it waxes and Wayne's according to your stress you're having but you will learn how to take care of yourself how to think right how to eat healthy and exercise will  be your best weapons against this.  Go on the Internet and look up the anxiety release method  book and CDs have help me more than you could ever imagine and explain to you exactly what's happening to you and it tells you how to beat it it's really really really helped me.  There's also a program out there called attacking anxiety that is very good too but I think the anxiety relief method is the best at explaining to you exactly what's happening in your body and knowledge is everything this will help you extremely. I am 56 years old by the way everything will get better I know because I've been there.
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  • Posted

    Hey Ryan, I had this one occuring right now while I was writing this reply.

    We had the same issues like dizziness. I also thought that it would be a stroke since I am aware of my eating habits and its symptoms. I am 20 years old, living in the Philippines and I also started from worrying about chest pains, and now this unknown dizziness I am experiencing right now, in my rational mind however, I think its a side of effect of a cold, but since I read about the symptoms of stroke online, I became more worried.

    I got restless and even when I sleep, I dreamed about having a stroke attack. Believe it or not, it just became a nightmare when one night I had this dream of having a stroke, where the left of my body getting numb, and me blacked out later. It is really realistic that when I woke up, I ended up thinking about and making my anxiety worse

    Anyway,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences to gain answers, it really helped me calmed down. I tried listening to rock and electronic music (favorite genre) to divert my attention, which is somewhat very effective. Also thanks for natasha58567 for her advice, it really helped me a lot.

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  • Posted

    Hi Ryan, 

    Although you posted this 6 months ago, this has really hit home for me. And I do find it selfish that I seek comfort in seeing others also going through the same problems as me. As we speak I am convinced this will be the last evening I will be alive due to an ongoing tingling and throbbing pain down my left arm and face. But as you stated the rational side of me is doing it's very best to explain to the panicky side how I have been grinding my jaw and clenching my muscles through tension, stress is an extremely powerful thing and distorts the way we think, and can mirror symptoms of potential life threatening illness's. Sometimes it's best to look at life on the whole and realise that we do have one life and worrying will only spoil it. But, having had health anxiety I know this is not the way we as people think. And the emotional physical strain it puts on you as a human being is enough as you said to drive you to suicidal thoughts. There are short term solutions in the form of Alcohol, Drugs, Smoking e.t.c, but the real way to defeat it is by accepting it and dealing with it. And I'm afraid we choose to accept but don't deal with it. I will defeat this terrible mental illness, and I know you will to.

    Stay Strong, 

    Nick.

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    • Posted

      Nicholas, you are so right about everything you said about anxiety can I ask how old you are? I wanted to tell you That The bigest thing that gets me through each day besides what I wrote up above is God. Get to know God he will make you strong and the closer you are to him the stronger you will be. I know alot of people dont belive this But I promise you its true. Theres a Tv show chanal called TBN I watch this alot and it has alot of good things on there that have helped me. Also look up 

      panicaway its a web sight and there are so many people there to read about and a man named barry who can help you it has helped me so much . Renee

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