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Anxiety causing physical sickness


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So I know we talk meds and stuff here but anybody else have their mind create physical symptoms?

I've been sick since June and nobody knows what's wrong. I've had every test except the scopes, and I'm constantly sick.

My anxiety kicked into overdrive when my dad died and my husband left. I've been s physical wreck since. In and out of hospitals(all kinds) and ER's, urgent care, etc. My labs always look good. But I'm shriveled, lost tons of weight and look like shit.

I know a large part is because my mind is creating illness. So fine, meds whatever--how do you STOP the mind from doing this stuff? I'm not talking a magic cocktail of meds, but how do I take control of my mind and make it stop?

My counselor sucks. He's good at keeping me safe and if I need IP he's good...but I need someone to get into my brain and help me to slap the shit out of it so this all stops.

Who do you see, and what do you do when you're making yourself sick?

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As a certified hypochondriac, I have most definitely had psychosomatic symptoms, insofar as I would become so convinced I was ill that my body would start to imitate scary signs of dread diseases.  Indeed, hypochondria is sometimes categorized as a somatoform disorder. 

 

But I don't think the pathways by which my brain creates symptoms are exactly the same as yours, so addressing them will likely be a bit different for you.  Apologies if it's an obvious question, but have you tried CBT?

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I suspect your best bet is CBT for the anxious thoughts, and maybe some mindfulness/meditation to learn how to notice what you're feeling, acknowledge it, and put it aside. 

 

Which is all to say, as you already figured out, there's no easy fix :( 

 

I don't make myself ill through my anxiety, but certainly these techniques help me through the physical components of panic/anxiety attacks. I would imagine that the stuff you're experiencing is kind of the long term version of that.

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Idk if this even relates to what you are asking about, but I'll write it anyway ...

 

When I had an anxiety attack (but I didn't know it at the time; my pdoc confirmed it at the hospital), I went unconscious.  My limbs were so fucking heavy I could barely crawl to the door to open it up for the paramedics.  I couldn't speak because my vocal chords were somewhat paralyzed (I guess, I really don't know the word for it other than I could talk ... almost like someone completely numbed my throat and I couldn't feel it).  But I managed to call 911 and when I got to the hospital I was totally unconscious.  Don't remember a thing.  Woke up maybe a couple hours (?) later and was told what happened.  Of course the staff thought I'd OD'd, but my pdoc confirmed it had been a bad anxiety attack, so I wasn't admitted (thank GOD).

 

So I have also felt physical symptoms while having bad anxiety.  The only thing I do to keep it under control is to take the klonopin on a schedule and xanax as needed (I'm allowed up to 3 mg at a time). I have been able to catch it in time to not go unconscious since then.

 

I'm sorry I don't have much advice to give other than taking meds.  Are you on any anxiety meds?

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I used to have terrible stomach aches and headaches all the time. I'd feel ill for at least the first half of every day, and wouldn't feel better until afternoon. Then, in the evenings, it usually kicked up again. 

 

It wasn't until I started seeing a doc and getting treatment for anxiety that I was told it was probably anxiety that had been causing the problem all along. The doc who told me that also told me that chronic, long term mental issues like anxiety can contribute to a weaker immune response to colds and whatnot, because the body is under constant stress from it. 

 

Honestly, the most help I've gotten for mine is to resolve the situations that were making me the most ill. I have de-stressed my environment as much as possible, and that does help. Self-care with the aim of relaxation also helps. By that, I mean things like giving myself manicures, or foot rubs; anything that relaxes the body will help to trigger the same response in the mind. That sounds woo-woo, but it does work. 

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I have also started doing some mindfulness. I "check in" to the body periodically throughout the day, and force myself to relax. If I don't, I start carrying tension as soon as I talk to the first person of the day, and by bedtime I've got more knots than a tree. So, at least a few times a day (or whenever I remember), I consciously relax the major muscle groups. I carry tension most in my jaw and shoulders, so I might rub those. I do this in the bathroom a lot, haha. It's a totally private environment where I can actually physically relax a little for a minute or two. 

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^^ Me too.  Sometimes I will force myself to lay down and sleep, or at least rest, and if my mind is constantly thinking then I just say (as I massage my forehead), "Don't think, don't think, don't think ... " and I eventually doze off.  I wake up so much better.

 

And yes, the less stress the better.  Any stress I encounter I usually just back out of the obligation ... ie, my biggest stressors are being around people, so when I feel stressed, I won't do (whatever it is) that is causing the stress.

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Great advice guys! I know I need good CBT but my therapist isn't good at it. He just congratulates me on my successes--we don't delve into the causes of my problems...and I think I really need to. I might have to switch counselors.

 

I know what you mean by the symptoms being so severe--I can barely function anymore because my symptoms are disabling.

 

I'm in the process of de-stressing my life too, but *change* is a huge stressor for me so I'm kinda stuck....I drag my heels on everything because the least little disruption in my routine makes me crazy--like physically sick and scared and crying.

 

I'm sure I need new meds or maybe increase my Xanax to much higher levels--I really don't care which at this point, as long as it stops me from being crazy. I call it "SCARED"....I get anxious or crazy but really it's fear and being scared...I'm afraid of everything and though I don't think it outright, I know it's hiding in the dark corners of my mind..."How do I live without H?" "What if I get sick?" "Who is going to love me?" I know those types of thoughts are hiding in there and I have to dig them out and confront them, but I get so worked up I can't think of fixing the problem--I just panic and get sick.

 

I'm hoping moving into a new place will help, and having a new supportive friend nearby. I am angry and hurting that H has been so cruel to me---and I do blame him for making me this way. He's messed with my mind for years making me believe I need him and am dependent on him. I try to undo that thinking but i'm so brainwashed I can't fix it myself. Even now I need him to do stuff to help me and the sick part of me is happy to have him around but the healthy part is pissed off that I'm asking this asshole for anything.

Maybe you could suggest a type of counselor who specializes in this type of brainwashing recovery?? I know the term 'gaslighting' is very much applicable to this situation--but I don't know who can fix my mind after having been gaslighted and brainwashed for so long. Are there cult de-programmers anywhere maybe???

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