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Tunnel Vision? Common or crazy?


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So I've been battling depression & anxiety for like 15 years now (I'm 27, female). I have coping skills & I know what to do to calm myself down but lately it's been a daily fight. I hate it. I'm going to ask for a referral from my doctor to see someone for help but until then I have to deal.

I was never diagnosed with anything other than depression & anxiety but nothing extreme. I have moderate anxiety a lot of the time every day & only experience major panic attacks every few months (thank God, if it was daily I'd lose my mind). I don't know if my anxiety is getting the better of me or if there's really something wrong with me! (Like a few hours ago my jaw hurt & then thought omg what if I'm having a heart attack because I've been also experiencing unexplained intense nausea).

So here's some symptoms I experience. Do they sound like regular ol' anxiety symptoms?

Nausea, sweaty palms, body tremors (first thing in the morning and throughout the day sometimes, as if I have low blood sugar or alcohol withdrawal, which is not the case), increased heart rate, weakness, headaches, and the one that's scary (and I don't want to say because it's scary) is the disassociation with reality and tunnel vision. I hear a lot of people experience the feeling that you're in another world and things don't feel real for a bit in the midst of an anxiety attack. That's all fine & good (although a horrible feeling). But the one that's troubling is the tunnel vision/delayed vision. It's not all the time, only sometimes. Like when I look around the room I can feel my brain taking a minute to clue into what I'm looking at. And you know when you're in a very bright room that the perimeter of your vision gets blurry/muted? Is that what you'd call tunnel vision? I suppose. Or like your field of vision has saran wrap over it for a minute. ugh. Do I sound insane? I don't hallucinate. I don't see things that aren't there. It's as if I'm thinking too much & my brain doesn’t have time to focus on anything visually. What is it? Is this normal for an anxiety attack?

I used to have to wear sunglasses in bright stores to mute all the bright colours & lights. The brightness makes me feel uneasy & dissacossiative & claustrophobic. I want it to stop. Am I going crazy? Or is this normal symptoms of anxiety that I can overcome?

I'm not on any medication. I don’t want to become dependent. I've gone this long with no drug support; I believe I am strong enough. But of course I will take the rare ativan if I absolutely NEEED it.

I will appreciate any responses :)

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tunnel vision occurs because of a reduction of blood to the brain. you are describing classic signs of panic attack. google physiology of panic and you'll see. because prolonged anxiety and frequent panic have long-term detrimental effects on the brain (hippocampus in particular) i suggest strongly that you talk about these symptoms with your doctor, specifically with a psychiatrist.

in the mean time it's helpful to try to breathe belly-deep through the nose to bring the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood back to normal levels.

good luck and welcome to CB :)

Edited by shimmeree
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Sit, or lie down on the floor if you have to. The less you have to think about (like standing), the better. Breath deeply, as shimmeree said, And try to remember you aren't really dying. That is important. I hate panic attacks, but I can talk my way through them now. It sounds like you are having more than you realize, though. You need to talk to your p-doc.

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  • 1 month later...

it sounds like most of your symptoms are classic anxiety. im a 24 year old female and struggle with pretty much exactly what you just wrote. the eye symptom is by far the scariest for me to handle because i have this fear of blindness. ive never heard of it described like seeing through saran wrap, but thats a good way to put it. everything looks bright, but dull. ive slways described it as hazy. i also carry sunglasses everywhere (coping mechanism) because they help ease some of the anxiety and it looks pretty silly because i live in seattle.

anyhow, youre not alone but definitely see a dr to give you some peace of mind.

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  • 3 years later...

I don't know if you are still following this chain, but I am wondering what your doctor said or how you learned to cope with that feeling. I am seeing my doctor in 2 weeks for the exact same feeling that you're describing. You definitely feel alone when you're going through it. I worried about going blind or possibly having a brain tumor. But I know I don't. It's just the anxiety talking.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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