Did you know that people with anxiety disorders often exhibit physical symptoms? I didn’t. Or not until much recently anyway. There are well over 100 symptoms of anxiety.
I spent most of last year in and out of the hospital, and on a few occasions, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make it out. I’d leave messages for my younger brother that if he hadn’t heard from me by a certain time, then I was more than likely to be dead. A tingling in my head today, tightness in my chest tomorrow. I was convinced something was terribly wrong with me, so I kept going back and asking them to look harder.
“Can we do another CAT scan? What if the bloodwork missed something? What if I drop dead? Can’t you see there has to be something accountable for why I constantly feel sick?”
The first time I got diagnosed with AD it was really like a comment in passing, you know. It was more like a ‘we will have to consider that this might be the issue, so take these drugs and let me know how you feel in a month’ kind of thing.
The medication helped, and life started to feel better, but the problem with prescription meds is that it’s just a band-aid.
They cover up the problem really well without treating the root. After some time, I had safely evaluated, I was feeling well enough to go off my meds, but I lost interest in everything when I came off my medication. I didn’t want to get out of bed at all and had absolutely no energy for anything. Not even phone calls. The only thing I could manage to do was work. It really scared me.
The worst of the physical symptoms that I’ve had to deal with and still deal with
Dizziness and Headaches
A couple of months after I became a nomad, I felt so sick physically and emotionally that I knew I had to make yet another hospital round. A wellness check and an ECG scan later, the doctor looked at me and said I think you need to see a therapist as soon as possible. There just wasn’t anything physically wrong with me. I repeatedly asked if she was sure.
“Doctor, I have these weird sensations in my head that just won’t go away. Not a headache; it’s more like a painful tingling that starts in one spot and spreads out. Can you also confirm my blood level is fine because I get really faint and dizzy multiple times daily? are you sure there’s nothing else that we could have missed?”
Constant Muscle Twitches
There are many reasons you should never google your symptoms, and the first has to be because you’ll feel worse when you’re done. I have these constant muscle twitches, especially in my neck and what I think to be my spine, and when I googled it, I found out they could be symptoms of a degenerative disease. Then, I went a step further and googled my pills and saw that they’re also used to treat that. The good news is the hospital hasn’t found anything the points to that but have I stopped worrying about it? Just a little less each day.
Chest Pain and Palpitations.
I’ve read one too many articles on what to do when one is having a stroke or a heart attack; I like to be prepared. My chest gets so tight then spreads to my neck I can almost be sure I’m dying. Sometimes it’s a sharp pain flash. I gradually stopped working out because I was scared if I did anything to exert my heart, that would be the end. My village people finally caught up with me after all the running.
Did they? or this Is yet another physical symptom of anxiety?
My signature beauty look used to be long coffin nails. I had a gallery of pictures of nails I had yet to try, and as a rule, for years, you’d never see me with my nails undone. But I stopped, then I also stopped paying attention to my hair. I didn’t have to do much on the clothes end because I’ve always had a quirky fashion sense. I went from doing my skincare routine religiously twice a week and some to going days without taking a bath, weeks without looking in a mirror.
Anxiety can look like many things, and the part of the world where I’m from it’s not talked about nearly enough. In that time, I have gone on to scale my business and started my journey as a digital nomad. But I’d been mainly functioning on autopilot: Wake-up, work, worry, sleep. Sometimes, drink. I stopped celebrating milestones and nothing really mattered anymore. Nothing made me happy either.
Why am I sharing this? I was only able to entertain the thought that I had anxiety disorder after listening to a friend share her journey.
The wrongest belief I held was it was just a phase and once I made more money or went somewhere new, it’ll all be fine. Maybe I’m just not rich enough yet😩.