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Severe anxiety from possible chronic illness (Hypochondria?)

bigjetplane2

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Hi everyone,

Since last time I posted (10 days ago) I've been having some good online support (by email) from an health professional with a lot of experience with difficult situations and with knowledge of mental health and psychiatry. He has been very supporting and helpful. We started to talk about the possible physical causes of my symptoms and he shared a lot of opinions with me.

With time, as he started to know me better, he realised that I have a lot of situations in my life that for my type of personality, it could be the case that my health problem could be some sort of somatization disorder. I understand the mechanism and I accept that it is possible. As you know, since my first posts in this thread, I always considered all the options and this was one of the options that I even verbalised here.

I'm just not totally convinced. I wish I was, of course. It would be really great if I could be sure that my problem is a mental or psychiatric problem. But the complexity of all that happened is keeping me from accepting the somatization disorder as the main suspect for my symptoms. I mean, it started with a specific episode, it did not start from nothing. And the symptoms are basically the same from day one until now.

So, it's hard to get me convinced. I really feel pain in the throat. I really feel as if something is stuck there. And I really feel like something does not fit anymore as it used to fit when I swallow. As if something is crossed from one side to the other, kind of suffocating me.

Anyone has an opinion on this?

Could it be that since the first day, I assumed that something got stuck in my throat but there's never been anything, even though I felt it there scratching my throat as a stuck foreign body?

Or could it be that I actually had something stuck in my throat for a while, or some sort of temporary damaged, but then once it was gone the mind unconsciously acted as if it was still there and provoked the same symptoms, deceiving my conscious awareness?

Is it possible that when I swallow and feel the pain (which happens all the times I swallow without eating), the pain sensation is actually built in my psyche from a mechanism that it developed that makes it feel as real as it is?

You know, I really want to believe in this theory, because it is probably my last chance of having something that can be treated, allowing me to get my life back, even if the treatment is hard and takes a lot of time. But I'm finding it difficult to really believe in this theory, due to the complexity of the situation itself. It did not start from nothing and it is too real to be my unconscious mind playing a trick on my conscious mind, which basically is what happens with this somatization disorder thing.

Thanks.
So sometimes I literally trick myself into feeling things that I don’t know are there or not.
TMI, hope not, but I have had nipple discharge for a couple of months now. I swear I always feel like my bra is wet from it, but I check and it’s not. But I could swear it is.
I’ve been having this “tight throat” sensation for a couple of weeks now and I feel like my throat is closing is down; but it probably isn’t.
The list goes on and on, as to think I make myself feel and I am so sure I’m feeling them but in the end, I don’t know if I am or not.
So yes, I do believe that you “might” be making the sensations occur?
Let me ask you this, when you’re asleep, does that feeling wake you up?
When you’re totally distracted, do you feel it?
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi bigjetplane2!

As always, thanks for your support and participation in this thread. I hope you're at least doing a bit better than a few weeks ago.

Yes my friend, I understand everything you say and I can accept that it might be a case of somatization. But my situation, as you know very well (you've been following this thread with attention from the beginning), my symptoms are not just "some sensation" or "strange feeling". They are too intense, too real, and too related to a specific event/accident to get me convinced that I'm making myself feel them. Even believing (as I do) that our unconscious is very powerful and tricky, in ways that seem to go beyond comprehension.

"Let me ask you this, when you’re asleep, does that feeling wake you up?"

Sometimes it keeps me from falling asleep. And the symptoms are the first thing I feel when I wake up, whether in the morning or in the middle of the night. If the feeling/symptom wakes me up, that very subjective. I can say that since I have this, I sleep maybe 6 or 7 hours per night, when before I used to sleep about 9 hours per night.

Anyway, I can't say the symptoms wake me up. Maybe a couple of times, but that is not usual. Because as the symptoms make it harder for me to fall asleep, when I do, I'm already very tired and so it's not that easy to wake me up as I'm exhausted. And also because usually they are not intense enough to wake me up. As I said before, most of the time I'm not into much pain. It is very unpleasant and very uncomfortable ("suffocation-like" agony), but when it comes to pain, it's just slightly painful.

The problem is that I have it all the time, 24/7, and the idea that it can be forever is very hard to deal with. Imagine a day when you are sick, you don't feel much pain, but you feel uncomfortable and ill. You can deal with it well, because you know that in a few days, as usual, it's gone. Now imagine that it remains for 7 months and you're only diagnosis so far tells you that you will be like that forever.


"When you’re totally distracted, do you feel it?"

Some days are better than other days. In the worst days, I may well be totally distracted, even with something that is pleasant and totally excites me, I still feel it as it is impossible to ignore. In the days when I feel better (the symptoms are there but the are softer), sometimes I can say that I don't feel it because I'm totally distracted. Sometime it happens, but it's not usual and as long as I focus on it and do the swallowing test, I can confirm that the symptoms are always there.

But as I said, I can accept that it could be all "somatization" because I know that our unconscious mind is very powerful and tricky, in ways that seem to go beyond comprehension. Or else, I'm still in denial and can't accept that I have a permanent damage, so I'm holding on to this theory as I know that it can be treated and I could regain hope in getting back to my normal life.

Should I stop going to the psychologist and start going to a psychiatrist?

Thanks again.

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bigjetplane2

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Hi bigjetplane2!

As always, thanks for your support and participation in this thread. I hope you're at least doing a bit better than a few weeks ago.

Yes my friend, I understand everything you say and I can accept that it might be a case of somatization. But my situation, as you know very well (you've been following this thread with attention from the beginning), my symptoms are not just "some sensation" or "strange feeling". They are too intense, too real, and too related to a specific event/accident to get me convinced that I'm making myself feel them. Even believing (as I do) that our unconscious is very powerful and tricky, in ways that seem to go beyond comprehension.

"Let me ask you this, when you’re asleep, does that feeling wake you up?"

Sometimes it keeps me from falling asleep. And the symptoms are the first thing I feel when I wake up, whether in the morning or in the middle of the night. If the feeling/symptom wakes me up, that very subjective. I can say that since I have this, I sleep maybe 6 or 7 hours per night, when before I used to sleep about 9 hours per night.

Anyway, I can't say the symptoms wake me up. Maybe a couple of times, but that is not usual. Because as the symptoms make it harder for me to fall asleep, when I do, I'm already very tired and so it's not that easy to wake me up as I'm exhausted. And also because usually they are not intense enough to wake me up. As I said before, most of the time I'm not into much pain. It is very unpleasant and very uncomfortable ("suffocation-like" agony), but when it comes to pain, it's just slightly painful.

The problem is that I have it all the time, 24/7, and the idea that it can be forever is very hard to deal with. Imagine a day when you are sick, you don't feel much pain, but you feel uncomfortable and ill. You can deal with it well, because you know that in a few days, as usual, it's gone. Now imagine that it remains for 7 months and you're only diagnosis so far tells you that you will be like that forever.


"When you’re totally distracted, do you feel it?"

Some days are better than other days. In the worst days, I may well be totally distracted, even with something that is pleasant and totally excites me, I still feel it as it is impossible to ignore. In the days when I feel better (the symptoms are there but the are softer), sometimes I can say that I don't feel it because I'm totally distracted. Sometime it happens, but it's not usual and as long as I focus on it and do the swallowing test, I can confirm that the symptoms are always there.

But as I said, I can accept that it could be all "somatization" because I know that our unconscious mind is very powerful and tricky, in ways that seem to go beyond comprehension. Or else, I'm still in denial and can't accept that I have a permanent damage, so I'm holding on to this theory as I know that it can be treated and I could regain hope in getting back to my normal life.

Should I stop going to the psychologist and start going to a psychiatrist?

Thanks again.

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I would consider a psychiatrist next.
 

AnthonyMG

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Hi bigjetplane2,

Thanks my friend. I'm basically in the same point. Some days a bit better, other days I'm very down.

How have you been doing?

I have my first visit to the psychiatrist for the 3rd of August. I so much want to believe that this is totally psychosomatic, but it's not easy. The symptoms are too real, they originated in a specific episode and the theory of permanent damage to the cartilage of the epiglottis and/or surrounding areas still troubles my mind as it somehow makes sense, it's rare but possible, and totally fits the symptoms.

So, I'm still in the same point, basically, my quality of life is about 20% of what it was before last November and I'm suffering with anxiety as I never did before.

I already did the upper endoscopy, they found nothing. I'm only waiting for the result of the biopsy, which I will get by the 22nd, in a week.

I went to my family doctor (GP) about 10 days ago, as I didn't got there since this happened to me. She passed me a lot of other blood tests and an ultrasound exam of the neck. I think that nothing will come out, but I can do it either way. I think some blood tests might be to discard the possibility of exaggerated immune response to an allergen or bacteria that could have damaged the cartilage, so maybe something relevant can come out.

The GP says that if she can't get to any conclusion and I don't improve, she might send me to the internal medicine department of the main hospital of the region. The visit to the GP was more productive than I expected. At least I feel a bit more protected and faithful, knowing that some possibilities are still open and can be studied.

We'll see what happens. You're welcome to keep passing by... and I'll try to keep you informed.

Thanks and kind regards!
\
 

AnthonyMG

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Some news that are getting me very very anxious...

I managed to recover an image (like x-ray image) from 2018 where there is possible to see the area of the throat where the epiglottis is.

And I'm not a specialist, but it seems that I can see the epiglottis and that it seems to be symmetric. Like normal size in both sides. While now it is shorter in the left side. This, if confirmed, would be the confirmation of a damage to the cartilage of the epiglottis, which means that it would be a permanent and untreatable damage. Basically, the diagnosis of the doctor that said this but then the other doctors said that it didn't make much sense...

I'm super anxious again. It's so hard...

Now I have to confirm this with a specialist and I'm not sure how long it will take until I have a chance to do it.

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AnthonyMG

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Hi again!

I still don't know about the configuration of the epiglottis in the image, but maybe it was a side view and it's not possible to check both sides. I still have to discuss this with a specialist in radiographic images.

I started today taking anxiety pills, Librax :(

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