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Perceived (imaginary) symptoms

bin_tenn

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We've all been there. We just know we feel some symptom, but everyone tells us there's no way we can feel it. Or we question whether or not we actually feel something. I've noticed this in particular with my heartbeat. Having anxiety, especially focused around heart health, I'm hypersensitive to anything it does.

Oftentimes I feel as thought it's pounding, racing and / or fluttering (or other palpitations), when it really isn't. Why is this? (Sort of a rhetorical question) I don't think anyone has a clear-cut answer, but my guess lies somewhere along the lines of anxiety sending some funky, mixed signals around the brain. Understanding that anxiety really can play tricks on you has helped me to cope with the symptoms.

It's true that some symptoms are very real. Anxiety does cause physical symptoms. However, a lot of them are also perceived, probably because of the sudden rush of adrenaline and the like. Distinguishing real from perceived symptoms can be difficult.

I'm writing this because I started feeling anxious a little bit ago, and I noticed that my heart seemed to be beating strangely. After some deep breaths and some other grounding techniques to combat that extra uptick in anxiety (still feel overall anxious) I no longer feel that sensation. I felt my pulse briefly when it started, but of course it felt strong/regular - yet I could still "feel" it in my chest.

I know why I'm anxious. I've not slept much lately, and I've been a bit down. My dad passed away over five years ago, but it still occasionally gets to me a bit. I've been thinking about him a lot lately, how I wish he could see me now, though I ultimately have to accept that that isn't possible. I will be fine, it's just one of those days. Some good sleep tonight (hopefully, fingers crossed) should do me some good.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share these observations with you all. I have support at home, but no one else truly gets it - neither the anxiety, nor the fact that missing dad sometimes gets to me. I don't really expect them to get it, but I do sometimes wish they could be a bit more supportive instead of acting like it's nothing. But life goes on.
 

Bearcat999

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I think that it is kind of like the phantom pain that people with missing limbs gets. Sometimes it literally is "all in your head". And by that, your brain is perceiving something that isn't happening. I wear a Fit-Bit and the other night it felt like my heart was racing and I looked and it was 66 bpm. It's like the neurons in our brain are receiving faulty information.
I'm sorry about your father.
 

bin_tenn

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I think that it is kind of like the phantom pain that people with missing limbs gets. Sometimes it literally is "all in your head". And by that, your brain is perceiving something that isn't happening. I wear a Fit-Bit and the other night it felt like my heart was racing and I looked and it was 66 bpm. It's like the neurons in our brain are receiving faulty information.
I'm sorry about your father.
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, I think. Crazy how that works, huh?
 

bin_tenn

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Still feel like crap, almost a little worse, even. In times like this I have to remember all the things I've read about panic attacks vs cardiac events. There are lots of similarities, but so many telling differences as well. I'm not reading these things now, but I have in the past. I can Google all day long on most days. I avoid it when I'm anxious because it could potentially make things worse. Unless I specifically Google anxiety (e.g. grounding techniques).

I haven't experienced these things at this intensity in a long time now. I expected it to come back eventually, it always does. I refuse to let it win. I'm fighting it to the best of my ability. But at this point I almost feel like it's almost time to just leave it be, let it happen, and get it over with. I've found that to be helpful sometimes, as odd as it may sound. It's a techniques taught in therapy (including when I've gone) to accept it and let it happen.

Words of support and encouragement are welcome. Not looking for reassurance because I'm not much worried about my heart at this point. I just generally feel like crap because anxiety attacks are no fun. :p
 

SallyHart

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Keep on going Bin- sounds like you have a great handle on this. Anxiety sure does take its toll on us. Sounds like you are having a flare of your anxiety, like you say let it be, nothing you are experiencing is life threatening and you already know this. You are always so positive for other people just keep that positivity for yourself now for a little while until this passes.
 

bin_tenn

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Keep on going Bin- sounds like you have a great handle on this. Anxiety sure does take its toll on us. Sounds like you are having a flare of your anxiety, like you say let it be, nothing you are experiencing is life threatening and you already know this. You are always so positive for other people just keep that positivity for yourself now for a little while until this passes.
Thanks a bunch, @SallyHart . :) I agree, for sure. I always try to remember when my therapist described it to me like this: you're about to drive your car off a cliff, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it ... but in reality, you're just sitting in the couch. She was so right! Haha.

And my doc once helped by saying that it feels so awful because I've experienced nothing to cause the fight or flight response, the natural survival instincts. You're sitting on the couch, and suddenly (pretty much as the therapist said) you feel as if you're in imminent danger, but you're not.

Remembering those things, and the fact that I've had these (and far worse) and survived many times over, always tends to help. I'm already feeling better. It's to the point where the anxiety disappears and then returns, a bit less intense than the last time. That's usually a good sign that it's working its way out. :D
 

bin_tenn

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think that sometimes just "sitting with it" is all you can do.
Yep, sure feels that way sometimes. I've been learning how to do that without feeling worse. It's not so bad once you get the hang of it.
 

bin_tenn

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I feel much better today. I continued having mild panic attacks last night, but it never got the upper hand! I've felt a bit of it this morning, but I'm fine. No matter how rough it feels, I'm always grateful that it doesn't keep me from generally living life. I can still work and take care of the family, anxiety has never gotten in the way of that, which I'm glad for.
 
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