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Horrible health anxiety

R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
11
Location
UK
Hi all,

I'm not really looking for answers, but just some guidance and advice from people who have been, or are currently in, a similar situation. I'm hoping that by writing this down I'll manage to get some of the stress off my shoulders.

I have a history of depression and anxiety. About 18 years ago (I'm 40 now) it reached a peak when two terrible things happened in quick succession in my life, and looking back I believe that is what set my mind in this way. In the years following these life events I suffered relapse and recovery, relapse and recovery of bouts of depression and anxiety, often caused by fears about my health.

When I was in my mid 20s I absolutely convinced myself I was HIV positive, presenting with all the possible symptoms. All tests came back negative (thankfully). I went through this process on maybe 4 or 5 occasions.

A few years ago I felt a little unwell, felt an ectopic beat or two in my chest, panicked that it might be the start of a heart attack, felt clammy, sweaty, felt pain down my left arm, everything. I went to the hospital, had an ECG and bloods, and was told that there was nothing wrong. I felt pretty fatigued from that episode and rested for quite a few days afterwards.

Now again it has resurfaced, but in a way that feels as vicious as those experiences of my 20s. A few weeks ago I was at work and I started to feel a little dizzy, and felt a few ectopic beats again. I thought I was maybe just coming down with a virus. Now looking back, I can't remember the process in which these things occurred: did I get anxious that something bad was going to happen and the symptoms began, or was it the other way around? Anyway, I started to worry I was having a small stroke and then I felt the left side of my face go tingly, as well as my left hand. I was able to rationalise to some extent as I am a healthcare professional and wasn't showing any of the emergency symptoms, but it was still a concern to me. I booked an appointment with a doctor who was absolutely great, she listened to my concerns, focused on my major fear, and left the door open for me to go back to her if needs be. Anyway, during a discussion of my symtoms she said that another possible reason for them could be multiple sclerosis, but that my presentation was not typical and that she thought it was probably just anxiety (I had informed her of my history and my openness to accepting this was a possibility). But, lo and behold, what has happened since then but me convincing myself that I now have MS.

I have been googling MS symptoms and information pretty much incessantly the last few days, even though I 100% know that this is a horribly counter-productive thing to do. My anxiety levels are through the roof and I have developed further symptoms of tingling in my right foot, hand, and face. I am incredibly stressed. My wife has been fantastic, and has encouraged me to go back to the doctor because we both recognise that I can't live with this level of anxiety. I have another appointment in a few weeks time. I am aware that tingling sensations are one of the most common physical manifestations of anxiety, but I'm struggling to convince myself that it is just anxiety because what if it's not? I've been doing a bit of mindfulness of late, which I have found to be some help, but as my anxiety levels increase I'm finding it more and more difficult to "be in the moment" and can't help but focus on these physical sensations which, of course, makes them worse.

What's really frustrating is that for a long time I thought I was over this and now, it's suddenly come back, out of nowhere, with a real vengeance and it's really affecting my life.

Has anyone else had similar experiences? Does anyone have any advice on how they dealt with this?

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read this.
 
S

Sam34

Active member
Joined
Nov 10, 2019
Messages
37
Location
Rhondda cynon taff
I get physical symptoms all the time I've convinced myself that I'm going to have a heart attack even though I've been to the hospital countless off times I constantly have symptoms like I can't breath properly I've also hade tingling in my left arm everyday I feel like it's going to be today that i have a heart attack people have told me it's health anxiety but I can't seem to believe them especially when getting symptoms it is scary very scary I have good days then I have really bad days
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
11
Location
UK
Thanks for the reply Sam. I hope you start to feel better soon. It can be tough so hang in there.
 
L

Laudanum

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
121
Location
Surrey
It might be worth reading the thread I posted in June : So I went to A&E again on wednesday

It describes very similar tingly sensations I have had this year and my investigations and people's views on it. This moved onto a worry about MS, but that soon went as I researched and realised I had no other symptoms.
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
11
Location
UK
Hi Laudanum,

Thank you for your post. It Is very reassuring for me to hear of someone who has been through almost the exact same symptoms as me. Like you, I have had the heart attack and stroke fears, accompanied by this tingling, and when it’s neither of those, I convince myself it must be something else (in this case MS).

I had a rough night with nights ago, unable to sleep with worry. I was exhausted at work. But I feel as though something clicked when I got home and instead of catastrophising, I spoke to me wife and said, “If it’s just anxiety, great. If it is MS, that is scary, but I’ll have to deal with it”. I think that my facing that fear my anxiety calmed a little.

These tingling sensations also seem to certainly wax and wane depending on a)my general anxiety levels and b) how much I focus on them.

I’m feeling a little better today. Not out of the woods yet, but enough to give me a little bit of hope.

Thanks again for your reply.
 
X

Xxsarahl88xc

Active member
Joined
Mar 10, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Grimsby
Heyyyy ur post is exactly how all mine starterd with tingling in my arm neck face i too ended up in a and e thinking i was having a stroke. This was a year ago. Ive had numerous blood tests which only came back with high immflamation. But i have had some nerve tests which came back with carpol tunnel syndrome which can affect more areas than just your arms. Maybe a though?. Im currently waiting for a ct scan on sunday as they think my dizzyness headaches neck and shoulder pain are due to fluid on my sinuses. But im convinced its a brain tumor or something. Its going be a long few weeks waiting for results but its been a very long year so im hoping the end is in sight for some acceptance either way.

Have you tried open minds?

Good luck xx
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
11
Location
UK
Hi Runner bean.

The only one I had was tingling, as the numbness wasn't a true numbness (I could still feel).

Thanks again for your posts. I pretty much only have tingling too, and I’m almost certain it’s associated with how anxious I feel.
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
11
Location
UK
Heyyyy ur post is exactly how all mine starterd with tingling in my arm neck face i too ended up in a and e thinking i was having a stroke. This was a year ago. Ive had numerous blood tests which only came back with high immflamation. But i have had some nerve tests which came back with carpol tunnel syndrome which can affect more areas than just your arms. Maybe a though?. Im currently waiting for a ct scan on sunday as they think my dizzyness headaches neck and shoulder pain are due to fluid on my sinuses. But im convinced its a brain tumor or something. Its going be a long few weeks waiting for results but its been a very long year so im hoping the end is in sight for some acceptance either way.

Have you tried open minds?

Good luck xx

Hi, thanks for your post.

I hope things are going well for you and you get some pleasant results!

What is open minds? I’ve nevr heard of it.
 
X

Xxsarahl88xc

Active member
Joined
Mar 10, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Grimsby
Thank you. Its like a mental health clinic. They do CBT and like therapy if you like. I refered myself oline had to wait few weeks for an appointment but it was nice to chat
 
W

Wildrose7

New member
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Messages
2
Location
Ma
Hi all,

I'm not really looking for answers, but just some guidance and advice from people who have been, or are currently in, a similar situation. I'm hoping that by writing this down I'll manage to get some of the stress off my shoulders.

I have a history of depression and anxiety. About 18 years ago (I'm 40 now) it reached a peak when two terrible things happened in quick succession in my life, and looking back I believe that is what set my mind in this way. In the years following these life events I suffered relapse and recovery, relapse and recovery of bouts of depression and anxiety, often caused by fears about my health.

When I was in my mid 20s I absolutely convinced myself I was HIV positive, presenting with all the possible symptoms. All tests came back negative (thankfully). I went through this process on maybe 4 or 5 occasions.

A few years ago I felt a little unwell, felt an ectopic beat or two in my chest, panicked that it might be the start of a heart attack, felt clammy, sweaty, felt pain down my left arm, everything. I went to the hospital, had an ECG and bloods, and was told that there was nothing wrong. I felt pretty fatigued from that episode and rested for quite a few days afterwards.

Now again it has resurfaced, but in a way that feels as vicious as those experiences of my 20s. A few weeks ago I was at work and I started to feel a little dizzy, and felt a few ectopic beats again. I thought I was maybe just coming down with a virus. Now looking back, I can't remember the process in which these things occurred: did I get anxious that something bad was going to happen and the symptoms began, or was it the other way around? Anyway, I started to worry I was having a small stroke and then I felt the left side of my face go tingly, as well as my left hand. I was able to rationalise to some extent as I am a healthcare professional and wasn't showing any of the emergency symptoms, but it was still a concern to me. I booked an appointment with a doctor who was absolutely great, she listened to my concerns, focused on my major fear, and left the door open for me to go back to her if needs be. Anyway, during a discussion of my symtoms she said that another possible reason for them could be multiple sclerosis, but that my presentation was not typical and that she thought it was probably just anxiety (I had informed her of my history and my openness to accepting this was a possibility). But, lo and behold, what has happened since then but me convincing myself that I now have MS.

I have been googling MS symptoms and information pretty much incessantly the last few days, even though I 100% know that this is a horribly counter-productive thing to do. My anxiety levels are through the roof and I have developed further symptoms of tingling in my right foot, hand, and face. I am incredibly stressed. My wife has been fantastic, and has encouraged me to go back to the doctor because we both recognise that I can't live with this level of anxiety. I have another appointment in a few weeks time. I am aware that tingling sensations are one of the most common physical manifestations of anxiety, but I'm struggling to convince myself that it is just anxiety because what if it's not? I've been doing a bit of mindfulness of late, which I have found to be some help, but as my anxiety levels increase I'm finding it more and more difficult to "be in the moment" and can't help but focus on these physical sensations which, of course, makes them worse.

What's really frustrating is that for a long time I thought I was over this and now, it's suddenly come back, out of nowhere, with a real vengeance and it's really affecting my life.

Has anyone else had similar experiences? Does anyone have any advice on how they dealt with this?

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read this.
I have been dealing with anxiety and panic since I was about 15. I am now 40. There have been years that the anxiety stays in the background and I can control the thoughts and I can control the attacks. I too have been to the ER for “heart attack” they humored me and gave me all the tests but sent me home with something stronger than my lorazepam.

In my teens it wasn’t too bad- I really only now recognize it was there and I had a higher worry level than my friends... in my 20’s it was social anxiety mostly. No panic attacks until my early 30’s when it hit me like a truck. Multiple panic attacks a day, meds, trips to the hospital. I was not functioning at all. Took meds off and on. Lorazepam always worked immediately, but they took me off so I wouldn’t get addicted. Some weeks are ok, some are awesome, some weeks I can barely get through the day. The anxiety has been there my whole life. It’s right there in my chest makes me nervous and uncomfortable every minute of every day. But sometimes I go years without a panic attack. Right now at 40 the panic attacks have come back. Maybe 3-4 a week. When I was about 35 they stopped and I haven’t been on any meds in 5 years. I KNOW it’s not real and I KNOW I’m not dying. But it doesn’t matter. I can’t mentally control the physical reactions. Dizzy, sweat, heart palpitation, short of breath. In my mind as I put my hand aver my heart I think each beat will be the last. As I breathe I wonder if my throat is closing up and I won’t be able to take another breath. I look in the mirror and I think my lips are swelling but they are not. I start to shake uncontrollably. My whole body tingling I eventually zonk out and can’t even focus enough to talk to my kids or my husband. If this happens when I’m driving I have to pull over and sometimes I call my mom so she can help calm me down. I feel so stupid. It’s embarrassing. Sometimes I climb into bed with my kids and just hug them it’s the only thing that starts to calm me. CBD and marijuana help. But depending on the strain sometimes it brings on an attack so now I’m scared of that too.

I’m sure everyone has anxiety, but for me EVERYTHING causes it. What other people think, what my boss might think, when my kids get in trouble, talking to teachers, kids not finished homework, I might have a panic attack if we are running late to school. It’s the pressure of everyone and everything and it’s the feelings that I am not keeping up and not good enough. But I have a great job, amazing kids... and somehow I’m very successful. Maybe I need meds again for awhile. But I think that for some of us this is forever and it will never really just go away.
 
C

Claracluck

New member
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
Messages
2
Location
Devon
First of all, thank you for sharing. I really mean it when I say I can truly empathise with what your going through, I am just sorry that you have endured this experience on and off for so many years.

I'm really hoping that the right support and medication will get me back to my 'normal self', which I long to have back.

I hope sharing my thoughts and experiences will provide you with some comfort and reassurance that your not alone.

I too have been living with health anxiety, which begun in May this year. I'm thinking it stemmed from when I was away on a business trip. I was stopping in a hotel room alone but was with colleagues; so plenty of opportunity to socialise and be distracted.
Sadly, while I was away I found out some shocking news about the care service abuse scandal, which many would have seen on BBC panorama. As a Learning Disability Nurse, my heart sank, following on from Winterbourne View, Staffs Hospital and many more - I was saddened knowing that more vulnerable adults had been let down again. The publicity of this went viral, which made it more difficult, as I was attending Nursing Congress - which highlighted the scandal through debate and discussion; something I found extremely emotional.

The following evening, I received the devastating news that a loved one was victim of this abuse, which was heartbreaking. I believe this was the start of my battles with anxiety.
That evening, I experienced a panic attack. I was restless, clammy, nauseas, unsettled tummy, palpitating heart. After trying lying on floor, breathing techniques, sitting in the hotel reception, outside, inside again. I went back to my room and the loneliness exasperated it further, I didn't see an out from it - all I could think about was being on the front of the newspaper the following day 'Newly Qualified nurse found dead in Liverpool Hotel'. I tried so hard to calm myself down, and allow my mind calmed by symptoms didn't which influenced my thoughts towards 'somethings wrong'. I lay in the dark with extreme shakes to the point my bed was moving - I've never experienced anything like it, I felt like I was possessed.

I 'survived' the night, and fell asleep through exhaustion. The following morning I felt really emotional, tierd and found myself being focussed on my chest. This was the beginning of timing, watching, feeling for my pulse. My heart rate felt steady/in range but strong, like it was going to burst out my chest. I tried to speak to others but I didn't feel comfortable enough to truly share what I had been through the night before, so it continued for the remainder of the trip.

I had been so excited for so long about my business trip and the weekend to follow, as I was meeting my best friends to attend a festival, something I LOVE! However, I ended up not eating, hyperventilating and feeling like I was going to die.
Ongoing thoughts during this time and continue are...
'Something bad is going to happen'
'This is it, this is my final day'
'I need an ambulance'
'I'm going to collapse'
'I'm going to have a heart attack'
'I don't care about anything anymore'

All of the above continued throughout events and milestones which I would usually jump for joy at. I have always been sociable, independent, outgoing, adventurous, travelled and lived overseas alone - yet despite my family, friends and partner being there, I had never ever felt so lost and alone. I felt disappointed - that I should be excited that I'm going to Greece, London, France, that it was my birthday. I loved my job, my role and felt my work was the only peace I found, despite the demand, responsibility and complexity of cases, I have as a nurse.

The list is to long to write but my self diagnosis through google, become out of hand; one week I had breast cancer - rationalise; sore boobs from hormones, the next MS - tension, aching muscles, tremors - rationalise; yet still can run 5k and go to netball and yoga without getting tired...though I still had so many symptoms, as you say 'how can something not be wrong, what if they've missed something!'.

My symptoms throughout a day/week (not all at one once) consist of:
Heartburn
Headaches
Upset tummy
Nausea
Pins and needles in arms
Strong heart beat which I can feel at rest and when lying down
Muscle spasms
Tight throat
Irregular breathing despite 'normal respiration range'
Hot flushes
Shakes/Tremours

I have been to the doctors 5 times, as well as an A&E trip; each time a different conclusion but no explanation to how I was feeling -
Start CBT, try Propranolol - did but made me feel worse, try relaxing, yoga, meditation, a sports massage, lets take bloods for everything, clotting, bleeding, inflammation - clear x100times, lets do an ECG/24 hour tape - clear with 'normal' irregular heartbeats, why don't you try Sertroline…

Anti-depressants was something I have always been completely against, never got it - not as a nurse but as I an individual. I always thought before, you can solve it yourself, surly it's not that hard! - but maybe nothing significant had happened to me before, for that I am extremely lucky, but now it had.

The acceptance of trying/needing medication to help me cope hasn't been an 'easy pill to swallow' (excuse the pun). I felt it symbolised failure; how can I be a 'good nurse' if I can only cope with medication that will alter my anxiety/stress levels. How can I talk to people about feel anxious or in crisis when I'm going home and feeling the same. Then one day, my wonderful nursing colleague said to me 'if you had something wrong with your kidneys or stomach, what would you do?' and of course my answer was 'accept treatment/take medication to make it better', she went on and said 'well why is it any different, we shouldn't feel ashamed if we need to take a small tablet each day to make our mind better'.

As I sit here writing this, (my heart continues to feel like its about to explode - no trigger, but I'm starting to accept that it's probably a symptom of my mind) but I am five days into taking Sertroline..I'm not sure what the next few weeks hold - it hasn't made me feel different, sleepy or unwell, occasional nausea but that could be anything..but I am hoping that even for a short time it will get me back to my 'normal self'; who's calm, content and loves nothing more than having 'me time' in my house, surrounded by candles, drinking a glass of red and watching Ru Paul's Drag Race without feeling like I need a paramedic! Instead of the frightened, tense, reliant person my anxiety as forced me to be.

I hope this helps...I more than happy to talk about my experience, I have found talking to the best medicine yet.

Thank you :)
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
11
Location
UK
Thank you Clara and WildRose for taking the time to reply on this thread. I have to say, it makes all of this a lot more bearable knowing that I am not alone. I hope that you are all feeling good and winning the fight against the relentless anxiety beast!

I'm continuing to have good days and bad days. I feel as though the real severe anxiety has passed a little and has been replaced by a more low lying, constant anxiety. It's certainly more manageable though and I'm taking it one day at a time.

I went to see the doctor again today as the tingling I am experiencing has continued and moved around to other parts of my body. She has referred me to neurology which I have to say I'm quite satisfied with. She also stressed that she feels my symptoms are down to anxiety and not something more sinister, and this has also made me feel a bit better. I just need to try and hold on to the advice of a qualified medical professional, and not let my thoughts run away from me.

Thank you all!
 
M

MomOf1

New member
Joined
Dec 1, 2019
Messages
2
Location
Pennsylvania
First of all, thank you for sharing. I really mean it when I say I can truly empathise with what your going through, I am just sorry that you have endured this experience on and off for so many years.

I'm really hoping that the right support and medication will get me back to my 'normal self', which I long to have back.

I hope sharing my thoughts and experiences will provide you with some comfort and reassurance that your not alone.

I too have been living with health anxiety, which begun in May this year. I'm thinking it stemmed from when I was away on a business trip. I was stopping in a hotel room alone but was with colleagues; so plenty of opportunity to socialise and be distracted.
Sadly, while I was away I found out some shocking news about the care service abuse scandal, which many would have seen on BBC panorama. As a Learning Disability Nurse, my heart sank, following on from Winterbourne View, Staffs Hospital and many more - I was saddened knowing that more vulnerable adults had been let down again. The publicity of this went viral, which made it more difficult, as I was attending Nursing Congress - which highlighted the scandal through debate and discussion; something I found extremely emotional.

The following evening, I received the devastating news that a loved one was victim of this abuse, which was heartbreaking. I believe this was the start of my battles with anxiety.
That evening, I experienced a panic attack. I was restless, clammy, nauseas, unsettled tummy, palpitating heart. After trying lying on floor, breathing techniques, sitting in the hotel reception, outside, inside again. I went back to my room and the loneliness exasperated it further, I didn't see an out from it - all I could think about was being on the front of the newspaper the following day 'Newly Qualified nurse found dead in Liverpool Hotel'. I tried so hard to calm myself down, and allow my mind calmed by symptoms didn't which influenced my thoughts towards 'somethings wrong'. I lay in the dark with extreme shakes to the point my bed was moving - I've never experienced anything like it, I felt like I was possessed.

I 'survived' the night, and fell asleep through exhaustion. The following morning I felt really emotional, tierd and found myself being focussed on my chest. This was the beginning of timing, watching, feeling for my pulse. My heart rate felt steady/in range but strong, like it was going to burst out my chest. I tried to speak to others but I didn't feel comfortable enough to truly share what I had been through the night before, so it continued for the remainder of the trip.

I had been so excited for so long about my business trip and the weekend to follow, as I was meeting my best friends to attend a festival, something I LOVE! However, I ended up not eating, hyperventilating and feeling like I was going to die.
Ongoing thoughts during this time and continue are...
'Something bad is going to happen'
'This is it, this is my final day'
'I need an ambulance'
'I'm going to collapse'
'I'm going to have a heart attack'
'I don't care about anything anymore'

All of the above continued throughout events and milestones which I would usually jump for joy at. I have always been sociable, independent, outgoing, adventurous, travelled and lived overseas alone - yet despite my family, friends and partner being there, I had never ever felt so lost and alone. I felt disappointed - that I should be excited that I'm going to Greece, London, France, that it was my birthday. I loved my job, my role and felt my work was the only peace I found, despite the demand, responsibility and complexity of cases, I have as a nurse.

The list is to long to write but my self diagnosis through google, become out of hand; one week I had breast cancer - rationalise; sore boobs from hormones, the next MS - tension, aching muscles, tremors - rationalise; yet still can run 5k and go to netball and yoga without getting tired...though I still had so many symptoms, as you say 'how can something not be wrong, what if they've missed something!'.

My symptoms throughout a day/week (not all at one once) consist of:
Heartburn
Headaches
Upset tummy
Nausea
Pins and needles in arms
Strong heart beat which I can feel at rest and when lying down
Muscle spasms
Tight throat
Irregular breathing despite 'normal respiration range'
Hot flushes
Shakes/Tremours

I have been to the doctors 5 times, as well as an A&E trip; each time a different conclusion but no explanation to how I was feeling -
Start CBT, try Propranolol - did but made me feel worse, try relaxing, yoga, meditation, a sports massage, lets take bloods for everything, clotting, bleeding, inflammation - clear x100times, lets do an ECG/24 hour tape - clear with 'normal' irregular heartbeats, why don't you try Sertroline…

Anti-depressants was something I have always been completely against, never got it - not as a nurse but as I an individual. I always thought before, you can solve it yourself, surly it's not that hard! - but maybe nothing significant had happened to me before, for that I am extremely lucky, but now it had.

The acceptance of trying/needing medication to help me cope hasn't been an 'easy pill to swallow' (excuse the pun). I felt it symbolised failure; how can I be a 'good nurse' if I can only cope with medication that will alter my anxiety/stress levels. How can I talk to people about feel anxious or in crisis when I'm going home and feeling the same. Then one day, my wonderful nursing colleague said to me 'if you had something wrong with your kidneys or stomach, what would you do?' and of course my answer was 'accept treatment/take medication to make it better', she went on and said 'well why is it any different, we shouldn't feel ashamed if we need to take a small tablet each day to make our mind better'.

As I sit here writing this, (my heart continues to feel like its about to explode - no trigger, but I'm starting to accept that it's probably a symptom of my mind) but I am five days into taking Sertroline..I'm not sure what the next few weeks hold - it hasn't made me feel different, sleepy or unwell, occasional nausea but that could be anything..but I am hoping that even for a short time it will get me back to my 'normal self'; who's calm, content and loves nothing more than having 'me time' in my house, surrounded by candles, drinking a glass of red and watching Ru Paul's Drag Race without feeling like I need a paramedic! Instead of the frightened, tense, reliant person my anxiety as forced me to be.

I hope this helps...I more than happy to talk about my experience, I have found talking to the best medicine yet.

Thank you :)
Thanks for sharing. I too feel just like you. I sometimes don't know how I make it through the day, lol. It's so hard feeling like my mind and body is just racing all day.
 
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