Reassurance and acceptance that this is anxiety

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Hi Everyone,

I am new to this forum this morning. I am hoping to gain some reassurance that this past two months of hell has really been down to anxiety.

It all started mid October as I was putting my five year old daughter to bed. I felt a pain in my chest like I'd never felt before. For some reason I instantly felt a feeling of panic and spent that night convincing myself I could feel lumps and googling breast cancer symptoms. This pain remained for over a week and the fear just continued to mount.

Monday morning I was at work and I just felt different. Like I was exposed and verbal diarrhoea was flying out of my mouth. I was on a conference call and it was as though the ceiling tiles were falling down. I left my desk, laptop still running and called 111. I was advised to go to A&E for an ECG due to the chest pains I was experiencing. My mouth felt dry but I was truly expecting my heart to be fine as I'd has ECG's in the past. But when I got there the medical team were concerned. My heart rate was 155bpm. The nurse said he would run some bloods and I instantly had this sense of dread like the truth about my cancer would come out and id have to deal with it. I just wanted to hide.

Needless to say two ECG's, bloods and a chest X Ray came back normal. They did however give me beata blockers to bring my heart rate down. I got home and put it down to a bad day but the next day I felt the same. I went food shopping, felt extremely fearful and sick to my stomach. I went to my doctors (did not see my routine doctor) who was not really very nice. Asked me why I was panicking. As he checked my heart rate and blood pressure I was constantly asking what it was and if I was ok. To which he just said 'you are fine' which of course i wasn't as both high. He gave me a prescription for beata blockers, two weeks off work and sent me home.

The beata blockers made me feel dreadful. Come the Thursday I could not lift my head. I called the GP office where the doctor told me to stop taking the beata blockers and instead prescribed anti sickness.

That weekend I continued to feel horrendous but the sickness did start to wear off. I hate feeling sick so I was relieved of that. I did however start to develop dizziness and horrendous retail lighting was too much to bear.

The following week I actually felt better. I felt relaxed from more sleep and some head space. Unfortunately this did not last. The following weekend I found tough. Having the kids solid and come the Sunday night I started with a new symptom that hasn't left me since and one that I find very unsettling-tingling! All over my head but have since had in my hands, arms, legs even my face. Sometimes it feels like burning sensation but mainly like something is crawling on me.

I decided to go back to work after reading that really anxiety won't heal by dwelling. This was a big mistake. I wasn't ready. Again I felt exposed. I could feel my heart rate go through the roof if I had to be involved in any meetings. If people asked how I was inside I was crying that I couldn't say I was well. This just wasn't me!

That weekend I went to an out of hours doctor. I convinced myself I was diabetic, had MS or an aneurysm. The doctor was fabulous and almost laughed with me about some of my behaviour. We spoke about my home and work life and he told me just to relax and stop googling my symptoms. He did recommend I see my GP to explore anxiety medication. That Monday I didn't go to work and instead tried tirelessly to get in at the doctors. I managed to get an appointment for the Tuesday afternoon where the doctor took no observations. In the waiting room I could barely swallow. He prescribed me with 10mg Escitalopram. I took my first tablet on the Wednesday morning and within an hour felt the force within my body. I felt horrendously sick and was shaking from head to toe. I managed the medication for two days. I could not get out of bed for 48 hours, I had insomnia, bizarre thoughts and could not eat a thing. I called the doctor to advise I could not take the meds and that I wanted to try and kick this naturally. I went to stay at my moms for the weekend where she helped with my children and cooked my meals. By the Sunday I was feeling a lot stronger.

I have managed to get back to work for a month since and am managing to get by if you like. My tingling is non stop and the left side of my head feels like a constant wound. I get muscle pain in my arms and back. I'm not struggling to sleep and don't feel lethargic but do wake in the night and my heart is racing.

My biggest fear is that I have cancer ravaging my body. That something sinister is instigating my anxiety symptoms. That my head pain is a terminal brain tumour. Five doctors have told me I have anxiety but i can't accept it. I spend most days reading forums and googling symptoms. Small tasks feel overwhelming. I've lost weight despite eating ok recently. I probably sound very selfish but ultimately I'm only afraid of dying because my babies need me.

I just want to know if anybody else has had this left sided head pain. It's always to thr left and feel like it radiates around my left ear. I had my ear checked and that was fine. My back is worrying me as I'm scared this is spinal cancer and linked to my head pain. I have no vision problems which is a relief.

I just want some reassurance that I'm not dying. That anxiety can really have done this to me. How can I beat this? Should I try alternative meds or try and beat this naturally?

I wonder how I will ever beat this as life just doesn't slow down. I have to work full time financially. I have two young children who I essentially do everything for as my husband works nights as a lorry driver. It's all too much perhaps. I'm irritable a lot of the time. The sound of my dogs nails on my wooden floor make me want to ou my head in my hands.

Just as an added point-I had the contraceptive implant fitted October 2015. Could this be to blame? I have felt like I can't cope essentially since but then this year has been tough so could be completely coincidental.

Thank you for listening and thank you in advance for any relief you can offer me.

Merry Christmas, Marie

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Marie I had infection 6 weeks back and it made me feel like he'll it knocked the stuffingout of me started taking panic attacks went to docs got a blocker to calm me and tablets to help with the anxiety the blocker makes me tried but calmme down I only take the anxiety ones when I feel I need to my head is sore at times muscles are tense I felt at one point what wrong with me but all tests came back clear x

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  • Posted

    Hi marie. i am so sorry. It does sound terrible and sound like it hit you without warning. I take it you were not always the anxious type?

    You need to simplify this first. Whatever the root cause, be it 'just' anxiety or burn-out or overwhelming life circumstances or even something physical, one thing is for certain. You are experiencing anxiety, with notable symptoms, i.e. not mild.

    You are reeling from your panic attack in October and feeling like you are out of control. You are afraid something will happen to you and your dependants will not have you. You are possibly overwhelmed with responsibilities and implications of having to provide for the children. All normal but in some cases the brain goes overboard and creates this abnormal exaggerated response.

    The 10mg escitalopram would have likely eased you through over time. The adjustment disturbances when first starting the drug, in sensitive individuals can indeed be hellish, but the worst of them would subside in 5-10 days gradually. What happenned when you took it was that all the tension that was backed up in your system, was beginning to be forced out - the brain was so busy overreacting that it struggled to release its hold. This, in extreme tension, presents like the symptoms you mentioned. It can feel awful. If you gave it time and trusted the process a little more, you would probably see the benefits soon enough. This is when a good doctor, preferably experienced psychiatrist, would have come in handy, to reassure you and help you through.

    Now with regards to your progressive symptoms, the back pain  (and likely the head and limb tingling/burning) comes from immense tension in your shoulders. Get someone to massage the knots down from the base of your scull, down the shoulders and arms and then also under shoulder blades. Get this done as often as possible. Make time. It will help you immensely. The tension in muscles can be pretty violent and extremely taxing on blood flow, making your symptoms worse because the discomfort adds fuel to the fires of 'what if it is something more sinister'.

    All your other sympotoms are also consistent with severe anxiety response. It probably won't help you much for someone else to tell you this. You will see the difference once you get better. And you will, over time. Faster with medication but can be done without in those who do not have prior history of depressive and anxiety disorders.

    Your job now, basically is to tend to any symptoms you can manage, by rest, reduced activity, simplifying your daily life and getting help for whatever is possible like looking after the kids.

    Speaking of kids, have you given birth within the last 2-3 years or so? Or is your 5 year old the youngest?

    Blood tests required are FBC plus thyroid function (THS, T3, T4)  and proper check for anaemia (iron, ferritin etc) as well as minerals. If you have not had this screener since your last pregnancy - do ask for it. Also, do you have any allergies? Further your birth control method may or may not be contributing. You will only know if you start therapy and see if your symptoms improve.

    Please hang in there. Look for a way to manage your anxiety and the rest will fall into place. x

     

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    • Posted

      Firstly can I just say thank you for your reply. For taking the time to help me. Your detail made me feel quite emotional and reassured me on lots of points.

      To answer some of your questions. I have two children. 5 and 19 months. They are gorgeous but of course a handful. My daughter goes to full time school now but is a ten mile round trip each morning. I then have the nursery drop before I start work where I manage a team of eleven people. My husband works nights so essentially sleeps until it's time to go back out to work. Even of a weekend of course it's hard for him and irresponsible to break sleep cycle. So essentially I'm on my own with the kids and most weekends until early afternoon. My family don't live close and don't really offer help. But then I also don't ask. I am massively self reliant and I would say borderline resentful at this point.

      I think the thing I am finding hard to comprehend is that stress can make me feel this way. I feel dreadful most of the time. Have no appetite

      (comes and goes).

      The tingling is horrid. The left side of my head feels wounded. Pain killers do nothing.

      I had a full blood count and thyroid tests when I went to A&E. All came back fine. I'm not sure about anaemia. I asked the doctor to test my blood sugar. That was also fine.

      I have booked today to have my implant out early January. I think if nothing else it might lift my head.

      My doctor said he is not concerned about my tingles. I find this hard to understand when they are so severe and such a strange sensation. When I last went he asked me to hold my arms straight. There was a slight tremble to the left hand.

      I just don't understand why I've become so obsessed with my health. My husband would have to beg me to go to the doctors and now I virtually know the symptom of every cancer there is.

      Bizarrely today is the first day I have actually been able to cry about this. I never cry even over things that you would naturally cry about. I did feel better for it today and wish I could do it more. Plus I think people would then see the struggle. I always seem so together but I'm really not.

      Also to say no I have never felt poorly like this before. Anxiety or otherwise. That why I'm finding it so scary.

      Thank you once again. You have no idea how much I appreciate a kind eye and wise words at the moment.

      Thank you, Marie

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    • Posted

      Been there sad Being locked inside your head with terrifying sensations is very lonely and frightening. Crying is always a good sign smile

      The symptoms you have are as mentioned....notable, but there are worse ones (if you let this continue for long enough you'll get to see - no worries though : all fun!).

      Overload of unnecessary adrenaline and cortisol burn through you like acid. All sorts of pains and issues can surface. One thing is for sure - they do not kill you, and you are so very unlikely to have something more sinister.

      However, you are getting exhausted - body and mind.

      You are virtually on your own with two small children. Yet you have made it this far. You are capable but at this point, the resentment that is brewing is a sure sign you have to make some adjustments. Simplify whatever you can to limit your responsibilities to only the essential ones, and ones that count. See if you can solicit any help for anything that you dread. Even if it is small tasks or chores.

      You have a 19 month old - that means your hormones are still haywire. Have you breastfed and if so how long?

      I was almost sure you would say you recently gave birth because your symptoms are very much consistent with this. I am not a psychiatrist but I will dare to suggest you have escalated to notable PPD. (yes due to practical overload of responsibility etc etc...but nonetheless sounds like PPDsmile wink.  You do not sound like someone with a background of issues. Good news is that it is easily managed in people like you (no prior history). You can actually hope to have a very quick recovery and come out of this even better than before - because you will have been reminded that you need to look after yourself. You will feel more in control.

      Whichever path you choose remember to remain open to various approaches. If one only manages your symptoms but you still do not feel in control, be open to trying another.

      Hang in there. All this is another way too grow. A rude way our body tells us that we have not been taking care of ourselves - or that we can do it better! smile

       

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    • Posted

      I forgot to mention...the slight tremble in your left arm upon examination is consistent with severe muscle tension and your anxious focus on the sensation, not necessarily a neurological symptom. I am not sure if that will help you or just irritate you smile ...You will get your sense of humor back - give it time.

      There is no harm in checking our vitals now. Excluding some things to give ourselves some peace of mind. So, good that you went to ER, good that you had blood tests and good that your doctor checked for neurological signs. Humor your new concerns a little. Until you gather enough evidence that anxiety is the root. It is too abstract to believe because we assume anxiety is 'in the mind'...all the while forgetting that our mind is kind of fused with our body smile xxx

      In a nutshell you are afraid

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  • Posted

    Hi Marie,

    I just read your whole post. I would like to say you are not on your own as I have left side tingling burning in my arms palpations also. I have a child so I get the fact you feel scared of leaving your children. My anxiety has come on since the birth of me 3rd son. I'm like a new mum I've been so nervous panicky about everything. One thing I also think to blame is I started the contraceptive injection about 5 months ago and since then my anxiety has been in over drive! I used to be so moody when on my period which is why I was desperate to sought the issue but it's like it's suppressed my anger and moods and increased my anxiety.

    This forum is really good and will hopefully make you feel a little better. I joined yesterday and already people have helped me so much. We will be fine it's just a hard time in our life bit we will get through it. Just need to remember it's just anxiety we are healthy xxx

    Merry Christmas x

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    • Posted

      Thank you Jade. You have three-you are my hero!

      Are you currently taking any meds to ease your symptoms?

      I've booked today to have my implant taken out. I maybe don't think it's the sole issue but I'm sure a few months free of unnatural hormones won't hurt at the minute.

      I like what you said about it just being a hard time. You're right. It's not hard to find the stress in my life yet I'm so dismissive that that's what's wrong.

      I hope you feel better. Perfectly natural to worry when they're so little. I hope it passes for you.

      Take care X

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  • Posted

    Hey Marie! Okay, so you're not alone with your symptoms at all! I experienced them too! I went to the hospital and got practically every test you got done as well. Everything came back fine, even my blood work. I followed up with my PCP and he ran blood work and it came back that my Vitamin D levels were very low! The hospital did NOT check that! Vitamin D plays a huge part of our mental health. Including our bones. I would also feel burning sensations and numbness/tingling in my head. After a month of taking vitamin d supplements I am already noticing a difference. My doctor said it could take 3-6 months to feel completely back to normal but just knowing that what i was feeling wasnt me going crazy, it was just a deficiency. Look up Vitaman D deficiency and anxiety. It has helped a lot of people but doctors dont talk about it because they rather make money and push drugs on us. Best of luck and Merry Christmas 

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    • Posted

      Thank you. That's great advice. I have found that there seems an instant assumption from my GP's of an anxiety diagnosis. Particularly the first prescribing me beata blockers! But then again I suppose they know what they're doing and I need to trust them more. I am sure it wouldn't hurt if I started taking a vitamin D supplement along with vitamin b12 which I've heard can help. I just want to beat this and get back to normal.

      Thanks once again so glad you're feeling better X

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    • Posted

      I take 2000 IU of Vitamin D everyday and try to include foods that are rich in Vitamin D. I can cry happy tears that I am starting to feel better. I couldve sworn I had every cancer and brain tumors and MS and just every disease or condition in the book. All along just a  vitamin deficiency. Like you said, doesnt hurt to try! 
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  • Posted

    Hi marie im going through the same thing as you and reading your post is as if ive writen it i have the left side pain in my head too ive had it for a long time it scares the hell out of me so i no how you fell its reassuring to no there are other out there with the same problem.
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  • Posted

    This is just like me Marie I feel your pain, I am currently sat at work on break on here I've been googling and made myself Feel physically ill, I convince myself that I have an illness breast cancer some other cancers ms alsorts and although I know In my mind that this is unreal and I am ok I've had numerous full blood counts and nothing has pointed to anything bad, but guess what I don't believe the doctors they might have missed it! I also have head pain and I think it's anxiety I am on fluoxetine 20mg now been on this 4 weeks after changing from sertraline, I had seemed to pick up seemed ok, now week 4 I am suffering horrendously, I hope u can get the help you need anxiety meds might help you, if you need anybody to chat to I'm here, good luck x

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