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I'm in pain from head to toe + battling anxiety disorder

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Bunneh, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Hello everyone!
    I thought I'd share my story before I go completely insane from all the pain.
    My name's Anna and I'm 27. I live in Poland.
    My problems started around February this year when I experienced severe panic attacks along with health anxiety issues. At first I thought I was going to die of some serious neurological disease as my body began to twitch all over. For the next couple of weeks or so I wasn't able to sleep at night because I was sure I was going to die soon. The twitching subsided after my neuro had assured me that there was nothing wrong with me. Then the symptoms changed and I started experiencing tingling/muscle weakness in my hands to the point I was barely able to lift a bottle of water. I run to the neuro again and she ordered an MRI of cervical spine that came back normal. I also went to a psychiatrist who put me on Xanax and Seroquel to help me overcome the insomnia. The symptoms subsided a bit and I was finally able to sleep at night for more than 2-3 hours. Recently, however, I developed joint-like pain in my right wrist and decided to go to a rheumy who ordered a few bloodtests (CRP, sed rate and rheumatoid factor) which also came back normal except the RF which was slightly elevated 40,89, while 0-30 is the norm. The doc told me that as long as there is no joint swelling or redness, there's nothing to worry about. He also told me that 5-10% of healthy people have an a slightly elevated RF. But I already googled it (worst thing to do when you're dealing with health anxiety) and read about rheumatoid arthritis which almost drove me crazy and I developed a widespread body pain, especially in the neck, arms and wrists. Apart from that I feel pain above my knees, ankles and my buttocks. My body is sore at all times, and the neck pain won't let me sleep at night. No amount of pain killers seems helpful and right now I'm at the point I no longer see myself as a healthy person in the future. I'm so scared that I developed fibromyalgia from all this worrying.

    I'd like to mention that prior to all the physical symptoms I was experiencing overwhelming stress on daily basis: My mom got sick again - she suffers from bipolar disorder, I am her only hope and caregiver. My dad left us when I was about 6 months old.
    Apart from that, this is my last year at University and my supervisor decided to nominate my yet unfinshed M.A. thesis for the Dean's award (I am under a terrible pressure). Btw. I am an English Studies student and I love English more than my mother tongue. :)

    I am also a perfectionist and I do not accept failures. This is what brought me to a conclusion that in fact I might have developed TMS (I recently read Dr. Sarno's "Healing back pain") and was almost symptom free for a couple of days, but then I started doing waaay too much overthinking and concentrated on the 'what ifs' . I immediately relapsed and my symptoms struck with a double strentgh.
    I feel depressed, weak, fatigued and sore. And my muscles feel as if they were about to spasm badly. I'm tired of all this pain I'm going through. I don't have as many panic attacks as a few months back. Instead, I feel pains all over my body that can be so debilitating I want to kill myself. :/ I'm still on Xanax (2 months straight - not the smartest idea, I know). Started practising autogenic training about a month ago but it hasn't brought much relief.

    Any advice is much appreciated!

    (P.s. Lol, I already edited the threat twice to correct some typos so that you won't think I'm stupid or something...freaking perfectionism and low self-esteem :/)
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015
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  2. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    Wow, well done on getting to Sarno so fast! And I hear Re: Doubt.
    Try to do a daily meditation , 10mins in morning , 10mins in evening or pure stillness. Take advantage of your university's counselling service too! Good to have someone to bounce off, or offload to.
    You've found a flaw in the pain...it went away for a few days. Keep trying to notice anomalies and build belief in the TMS diagnosis. Of course I should say make sure your Drs have ruled out all other possible illness out! Good luck.

    P.s. Is that Lars Ulrich in your profile pic?
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  3. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Haha! Yep, that's Lars. I'm a die-hard Metallica fan and won a meet&greet pass last summer. :)

    I checked thyroid function, had the MRIs of cervical and lumbar spine (L4-L5 and L5-S1 herniations - small ones). I also had CT my head -clear.
    All bloodtests were also clear. Little worried about the rheumatoid factor, though. I was scared to death after I'd seen the results and even my rheumy's reassurments that I didn't have lupus of RA didn't prevent me from relapse. I guess it's strongly realted to stress and numerous medical consultations with a billion doctors during the past 3 months. I will definitely try meditation!
    Thank you for your response.
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  4. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    All your docs are telling you there is NOTHING physically wrong with you. You are very lucky for that! If you go to enough docs they will find something structural eventually. Immerse yourself in the TMS KNOWLEDGE PENICILLIN and eventually your sub-conscious will get it. "Pity me that the heart is slow to learn what the swift mind sees at every turn." Edna St. Vincent Millay, Dr. Sarno's favorite poet.
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  5. Birdie

    Birdie Peer Supporter

    Hi Bunneh,
    I really understand what you're going through! I experienced and still experience most of the symptoms you have. I was also tested positive for the RH factor and for ANA (some kind of antibodies that indicate autoimmune disease, in my case they showed the typical fluorescence pattern of "lupus", what really scared me to death). My rheumatologist told me they where way too low to worry about...but you name it, it was always in my mind.
    I guess with a mother being bipolar and the early loss of your father you suffered lots of emotional trauma from the beginning on. I too lost my mother and my father has personality disorder.
    I always suffered from some kind of TMS but it was at university (writing my doctoral thesis) when it really hit me hard due to stress intolerance and the perfectionism I put on myself. In the end I had to quit university because I was not able to reduce my perfectionistic attitude. Since then I am dealing with sleeping disorders, pain all over my body, weak and cramping muscles, immune dysfunction disorders...the list seems endless.
    I really recommend to engage in some therapy. Dealing with such a load of stress and all the childhood stuff may be too much...
    In my experience - because I am too much in my head - all kind of body therapies combined with talking therapies work best. But there's a lot of stuff you can do on your own. Try to continue with autogenic training (I do so, too). It's a great method to calm down the nervous system and to enhance the blood flow in the body. You really have to practice several times every day to make it work. It's all about practice and repitition. Some people only practice once a day and say it doesn't work. I try to practice 2 to 4 times a day for several minutes to train my nervous system. I also try to meditate 1 to 2 times a day for 10-20 minutes.
    By the way, we're neighbours...I am from Germany. Unfortunateley my English is not as brilliant as yours. Did you learn German at school?

    PS I love your Photo! As a teen I was in love with Lars, haha.
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  6. IrishSceptic

    IrishSceptic Podcast Visionary

    I wouldn't class myself as a diehard fan but I do enjoy some Metal now and again! Can play a few of their tunes on guitar as well.
    I think you have found the main reason behind the attacks of pain you are having and this has also been reinforced by your doctors not being able to find much wrong with you. Don't be too hard on yourself, pat yourself on the back for being clever enough to consider the TMS angle. Lots just dismiss it as it sounds too good to be true.
    Really recommend this 8 week program I laid out here. It's a big commitment but this program has been used in a clinical trial where they found regenerate Gray matter in the brains of those with depression. Really amazing.


    Again, don't beat yourself up if you can't seem to do it right. Credit yourself that you are doing it and just keep trying with it.
    Bunneh likes this.
  7. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Thank you all for your insights! I am happy to have found so much support here. I got stuck at the point I felt helpless with all this pain and despaired over not being able to soothe it with medications (painkillers). I recently realized that I've been spending most of my evenings thinking about how I would feel the next morning and the first thing I did every morning was thinking about what each day was gonna be like, and whether I would be able to carry out my daily activities without pain. I guess I kind of invite the pain and then, out of the blue, it appears. Yes, I am still terrified of physical symptoms bacause they change so often. One day I feel itching/burning on my skin and another day I might, for instance, feel pain deep inside my spine, yet another day my writsts hurt like hell. I never know what to expect.
    IrishSceptic - thank you. I was going to ask you about meditation programs you find the most helpful. :)

    Birdie - wow, it's amazing how our lives correlate! Allow me to say that I find it kind of comforting that I'm not alone. I know there's someone out there who's going through EXACTLY the same. Sending lots of warm thoughts to you. :)
    P.s. When I was younger I was head over heels in love in James. :p
    And yes, I've also been learning German for 2 years but the only word I've managed to memorize so far is "zentralheizung". It makes me laugh for some strange reason. German is too complicated for me due to long words. ;)

    I also heard many people benefit from doing yoga. I just don't know which positions relieve pain and promote deep relaxation. Anyone knows?
    Btw. I've just bought "The great pain deception". Hope it will help.
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  8. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    Do you do any exercise? You need to do 30 minutes a day of something aerobic, walk, swim, jog, etc. to have the mindbody strength to fight this booger. SteveO's GPD is a great one! He also does skype TMS consulting.

    Lars was a member of a tennis club I used to belong to in frisco, never knowingly played or saw him, it was a big club. His father Torben was a great long-haired Swedish world class tennis player. He would carry a victrola with him to tennis tournaments and play jazz records.
  9. Emilsen

    Emilsen New Member

    Hi TT,
    As a proud Dane, I have to correct you.
    Both Lars and his father Torben are from Denmark.

    Love your picture too, Bunneh!
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  10. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    My humble apologies! I get you Vikings confused all the time. If it's any consolation I just ordered some office products from a Dane in Chicago this morning and ate some frikadeller and herring a few days ago. I've even played tennis against a Dane and a Swede who were happily married to each other Kirsten and Knute.
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  11. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Yes, Tom. I swim on a regular basis (twice a week) and take one-hour walks daily.

    Offtopic: Here's Lars' reaction to one of the fans telling him he thought Lars came from Sweden. :p

    And here's me talking to Kirk Hammett (you can hear how nervous I was. Voice shaking, losing accent, lol). Starting from 0:55. But, yeah, I had my 5 minutes of fame. :D I cried like a baby when I first saw this video on the official Metallica YT profile.
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  12. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    What's frikadeller? First thing that comes to my mind when I think of Denmark (apart from Lars Ulrich) is Carlsberg.
    Good one! "Vikings" - sounds hardcore! \m/
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  13. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one who made that mistake, he looks a bit familiar but I don't think I ever hit with him at the club. My family owns some property that borders on some owned by Metallica up in Lucas Valley but I've never seen him up there either, I think they donated it to the Nature Conservancy.
  14. Emilsen

    Emilsen New Member

    TT, You are definitely forgiven. That you know about frikadeller made it easy.
    I happen to make the best frikadeller in the world, like all danish mums do according to their children...

    Anna, “Frikadeller” is our no. 1 national dish and a danish version of meatballs, but without comparison.
    I love that the first thing you associate Denmark with is Carlsberg…. Skål! (cheers! in english). Most people think about the little mermaid - not very exciting!

    Reg. TMS. I can not give you better advice than you have already received in this tread. I'm not new to TMS, I have been a member of tmshelp.com for five years, but have never written many post. I hesitate to advice others, as I still struggle with TMS issues. It has been enormously helpful for me to read other members experiences, and I am very grateful to all the insight. Stick around! It's a great forum, with a lot of love and life wisdom.

    Take care,

    PS: TT, Since you are tennis man, CarolineWozniacki is also danish! She is our own tennis darling!!!
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  15. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Oh, I forgot to ask you. Has anyone experienced medically unexplained flares of eczema / skin rash as a TMS symptom? Or maybe you know someone who did? I've been dealing with this, on and off, for about 6 months now. When it flares up (mainly on my eyelids) I apply a nonsteroid cream and try not to waste too much energy on this issue, but it is sooo annoying in the long run. I've had tests done and they didn't show ANY sensitivity to chemical substances - haha! Go figure!
    I assume it may be anxiety related.
  16. mdh157

    mdh157 Well known member

    Welcome to the TMS world Anna.......I have some of the same symptoms, the most worrisome of which is the twitching. My anxiety is often almost off the charts. A few suggestions: 1 - avoid Googling symptoms. 2 - you need to work on accepting less than perfection, as difficult as that will be psychologically. I know i'm working on it and have noticed that the people i know who are happiest are those who are able to accept life with its imperfections. 3 - you are not the only person dealing with this stuff. My body has been providing me pain and other symptoms for about the past 3 years and keeping me awake. 4 - spend some more time listening to Metallica, singing along or banging your head should stop your anxiety, at least temporarily. Don't let the Sandman get you!
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  17. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    welcomeaI'm sure SteveO would approve of this message.:singing: bangheada
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  18. Bunneh

    Bunneh Peer Supporter

    Googling symptoms - been there, done that. This hasn't done me any good. I ended up with self-diagnosed MS, ALS, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Lyme disease to name a few. :D Now I'm trying to stay away from Google as hard as I can.
    Speaking of the devil, I noticed that in the course of the past few months I lost interest in many things I used to enjoy, like playing the guitar, drawing, listening to music. After some time my fingers began to feel very stiff, I freaked out and thought I was going to lose control over my hands and would never be able to play or draw again! A few days back, I drew a nice tattoo design just to convince myself I still have manual skills (as silly as it sounds). Why is my body so stubborn in trying to convince me I will end up in a wheelchair, for no apparent reason ? I still find it difficult to break the worry cycle.
    Yep, music seems the best solution. Gotta play some finger breaking 'Tallica riffs. Thanks for reminding me I need to reconnect with my inner wild rocker.
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  19. mdh157

    mdh157 Well known member

    Same here, still struggling with **S worries myself but getting a bit better at talking myself out of it. I've been able to turn off the psychological need to look up symptoms and it is definitely a step in the right direction. I also have lost interest in my hobbies, I have an antique car that hasn't been out of the garage since October. I've also been able to look at some things differently - for instance, I used to be always trying to figure out how to make a few extra $$ - well, not any more. It isn't worth my time and was hindering my time to relax.

    Breaking the worry cycle is, at last for me, going to require some professional help. It is good to keep one's mind off things but often the stuff we need like the hobbies, we almost have to force ourselves to get into them again to keep our minds from moving into "what if" scenarios.

    I swear I am taking the car out today come hell or high water.
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  20. Tennis Tom

    Tennis Tom Beloved Grand Eagle

    What kind of car is it? I'm a car guy too. In fact I just purchased a Mini-Moke "Californian". It's being transported from the frigid Mid-West, cross country to it's new home in droughty/sunny California.

    Get that hand-crank out and start 'er up! Let me know how it goes.


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