Sunday, 22 April 2012

Anxiety: My first encounter

I thought it was about time I addressed the subject of Anxiety. I had always aimed to write posts about my experience with anxiety, as a way of recording, a way of understanding and a way of hopefully helping others. Thus, the start of the Anxiety Series. By clicking on Anxiety Disorder on the Labels list in the sidebar, you will be shown my posts included in this series.

It took a while to come to the conclusion of Anxiety Disorder, mainly because I was not associating my building list of complaints and symptoms together. The first symptoms I remember were occasional blurring of my vision, a dizzy/woozy feeling, weariness and headaches.

I remember sitting at my work desk feeling tired, thinking that I really should try to get to bed earlier, even though I was getting around sevens hours sleep per night. It must be that my quality of sleep is not good, or the occasional interruption to my sleep pattern tending to the children. The headaches were becoming quite regular, and I thought of them more as migraines, as the usual pain medication hardly touched the sides, and relief was found mostly by sleeping.

I remember my vision blurring quite suddenly while working on the computer, and several times whilst driving. It would clear as quickly as it came. The dizziness came and went just the same. I would be doing something, and sometimes doing nothing, and I would experience a strong swimmy feeling in the head.

The symptoms were concerning, yet I still put it down to not sleeping well. I then visited the doctor shortly after with complaints of discomfort in my chest. After describing the discomfort, the doctor prescribed some medication to relieve indigestion. After taking this for several days, it became clear this was not helping, so I discontinued.

Around this time I noted a discomfort in my right armpit. It worsened over time and went from a dull burn/tenderness to gradually becoming so sore that I avoided lifting my right arm. Blood tests were done and an Ultrasound of my armpit booked. I had already decided that there was something seriously wrong with my lymph nodes, most likely cancer. The Ultrasound came up clear, showing lymph nodes of normal size and consistency. The symptoms continued. Whilst my armpit was sore with movement and tender to touch, the lymph nodes themselves were not swollen or hard on examination. This became the key to diagnosis.

Having come to a dead end, but still getting considerable pain from my armpit, I did what most people do nowadays and hit the Internet for some answers. The armpit was now my major concern, and the vision and dizziness symptoms had taken a backseat. I had now worked myself into somewhat of a frenzy about my health, and my appetite had dwindled. Also during the months leading up to my diagnosis I remember several times, sitting up in bed at the end of the day with a trembling feeling. This not only concerned me but my husband as well. I knew at this stage that my health was on my mind all of my waking hours. I put the trembling down to worry - if only I knew how close I was to the truth.

Given that I had been examined and had Ultrasound results, I eliminated most of the suggested causes. Several times, I came across the word anxiety. I then googled anxiety and noted the other symptoms which included vision blurriness, dizziness, weariness, chest discomfort, trembling from adrenaline, loss of appetite.... I suggested this diagnosis to my GP, who agreed that it fit my situation and started me on medication.

Please look for my other posts relating to Anxiety disorder for further information