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livelaughlove21's avatar

Jellies with anxiety issues: Do you experience weird physical symptoms?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15084 points ) December 14th, 2013 from iPhone

In February of this year, I had one of my frequent breast cancer scares. You see, every few months, particularly when I’m stressed out with other things in my life, I experience breast pain. It always goes away and I attribute it to my anxiety (I got it from my mama).

I just went through the stressful process of final exams, graduating, and looking for work. In this time, I’ve experienced intermittent breast pain (mostly the right one, as usual), rib pain, collar bone pain, the feeling of swelling under my ribcage, occasional shortness of breath, and now dizziness. Of course, being a hypochondriac with an addiction to Googling my symptoms, I’m convinced that at 24 years old, I have breast cancer that has spread to nearby muscles, my liver, my lungs, and my brain. Now that I’ve finished school and found work, I expect my symptoms and anxiety to disappear overnight. When they don’t, I make gynecologist and family doctor appointments for next week. Yay for health insurance. Fingers crossed that I’m not dying!

My husband is convinced it’s all anxiety-related, so I was wondering if any anxious jellies have weird physical symptoms caused by their stress. Maybe someone can make me feel like less of a crazy freak.

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I have had breast cancer. There was never any breast pain, rib pain, collar bone pain, the feeling of swelling under my ribcage, shortness of breath and dizziness. Those are symptoms often of panic attacks.

A small collection of cancerous microcalcifications were detected in my routine yearly mammogram. They caused no sensation whatever anywhere in my body.

Have you thought about yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises to combat the anxiety? You are not a crazy freak but you are making yourself crazy. The Mind-Body Connection

(I am unaware of cancer of the muscles (“A tumor growth in the skeletal muscles is a rare condition, and it will in most cases involve a benign tumor.”)

livelaughlove21's avatar

@gailcalled I know my fears are irrational and that my anxiety is clearly causing me problems. I can find one website stating, “in rare cases, breast cancer can cause pain in the…” or “breast cancer typically spreads to the…” and it fuels my fear. I’m not in denial that this is not healthy and, luckily, I only have these episodes once every few months.

That’s not really what I asked in the question, though…

Not that it matters, but here is some information on metastasis to surrounding muscle, FYI. More can be found via any search engine.

gailcalled's avatar

Here is a list of 100 physical symptoms that can be connected to anxiety attacks.

johnpowell's avatar

I have been diagnosed with PTSD and some social anxiety things from a actual doctor. I have had a few panic attacks where I had to go to the ER. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I thought I was having a heart attack.

I also freak out if there isn’t some sort of sound. I can’t sleep without the TV or music on. I wish I was joking but if it is silent I wake up to hearing my sister scream for help. Luckily this is getting better since I moved into my own place.

So I guess my point is mental issues can feel like physical ones. You are not alone.

rockfan's avatar

I have anxiety and I worry about physical symptoms practically everyday

Seek's avatar

Second the chest-crushing feeling.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

During my service in the Navy, I lost a baby, which resulted in my marriage ending. I was ordered to not cry during work hours, and save “that stuff” for after 1600. One day I couldn’t put on my work boots because there was a hard lump un the back of my ankle. I felt it, and it was solid, like bone. There was no marks to indicate it might be a bite, sting or any other external cause. I went to work in my tennis shoes (Sometimes acceptable, depending on the schedule of the day), and told my superviser I could wear them and go to medical later, or get checked out right then and miss work. I went after work. I was friends with a lot of the medical guys, they were my brand of weird. I was checked out, and there was concern whether I had a tumor. The xray showed NOTHING. We were confused. The corpsman asked his superviser what should be done next. He checked me, he checked the xray. He sat with me and our mutual friend and said I had a stress bump. It was a new one on me and the young corpsman who’d first checked me. He told me to choose some activity, some new thing in my life which would be relaxing, and do it each day, alone. It was autumn. I chose two things. Each evening I would sit on the front steps of the barracks with either a hot cocoa, or hot tea and honey, in a warm sweater. After returning my cup to my room, I’d go for a walk for fifteen minutes or more. Word got around quick that I was off limits during those walks, and all knew I wasn’t being stuck up. After a week it was gone! I stayed with my walks, though it got cold enough I’d sit indoors with my hot beverage.
It was a stress bump all right, and people get them. when stress gets your brain convinced that something is wrong, it can start looking for stuff to be wrong. Eventually your body can play along. That doesn’t make you nuts. It just means your friends and family need to be supportive, and sometimes the best way is to stay out of the way. You have to understand yourself. You have to forgive yourself to have weaknesses and needs. If you were perfect, you’d be stuck with the task of answering prayers. Me, that’s a responsibility I don’t want. I’m okay with being less than perfect.

SnoopyGirl's avatar

I also get chest pressure and pain, when my anxiety gets the best of me. I have to basically talk to myself and tell my body to relax and to breathe. I have to slowly breathe in and out. Within a few minutes it goes away.

LDRSHIP's avatar

This video is seriously going to help you I believe.

I heard of things like this before and thought it was kind of BS. But I am convinced it is totally true.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZMDgj7ohps

pleiades's avatar

“Do you experience weird physical symptoms?”

Yes I do! Once I was so nervous getting my smog check I lost feeling in my right hand then arm then the left and as well as my legs. It sucked really bad, I was stuck at a stop light waiting for green. I got out the car and walked it off and asked the repair man for some water. The walking helped the circulation go back to my limbs. When nervous, a high possibility is that blood rushes out of your limbs into your major important organs.

And yes I freak out sometimes when I feel slight chest pains/pinches. Or I also freak out if the air feels too thick and I can’t get a good enough fresh breath of air.

Before my son, I had not a care in the world! Now I over monitor my body glitches. I’m a sensitive person by nature, I’m surprised it took me 25 years to be the nervous wreck I can be today. (Also driving in traffic gets me nervous, but I can cope with it by breathing and listening to the music but I definitely have to focus and keep my cool)

I’ve been trying to run off my anxiety. I keep reading losing weight and eating healthy is the best medicine.

But yeah back to your OP there are times at work where I feel stiffness in my back and I’ll have to stretch my arms to release that pressure otherwise that pressure turns into some sort of weird pinch pain? You know, pain that doesn’t necessarily hurt but you can feel the pinch equivalent to like one strand of hair being pulled out. It’s not a lot of pain, but it grabs your attention and can freak you out.

Also gas. Sometimes I’ll be bloated and gassy and I feel pressures in my chest and I always wonder what’s going on in there. I have to remind myself a burp is about to happen. Or if I get suddenly nervous because of the gas I’ll immediately have to use the restroom #2.

Caffeine is out of the question. I’ve realized I’m a high enough energy guy, and caffeine is just way too much overdrive.

LilCosmo's avatar

In my experience anxiety doesn’t usually cause the physical symptoms. What anxiety does do in my life is cause me to focus on every single physical twitch, pain, bump, scratch – any physical change. These things are all noticed and magnified then blown up in my mind to the point that they must be an indication that I am deathly ill.

As an example I am graduating from college next weekend and trying to make a decision about the best direction for me. I have been at this whole college thing for a loooooong time so finishing has me feeling slightly unmoored. Friday night I noticed a pain under my tongue. I looked in the mirror and saw a red line there. I was immediately convinced I had tongue cancer, even though I have never smoked or chewed tobacco and I am in no way at any more than average risk. After getting myself into a huge tizzy, I remembered smacking myself with my toothbrush in that exact spot that morning. This morning the line is gone.

So in a way my anxiety does manifest itself physically which feeds the anxiety, which increases the focus on physical symptoms, which increases anxiety. It is a great big circle.

Bill1939's avatar

The link that @LDRSHIP provided is excellent. It points out that one’s brain is the central source of neural information to the body. Constantly receiving stimuli from the senses, the brain interprets external reality and assigns an emotional state to a summation of the analysis. Anxiety is like an alarm-bell. It advises one to become more aware of potential sources of threats. Generalized or free floating anxiety causes consciousness to seek out and to focus on any differences in our sensations, however, an area of the body upon which to concentrate one’s attention is not identified. Life’s experiences, as well as genetic predilection, may make one more prone to anxieties, generalized and/or specific.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Used to have these problems, I had abdominal pain, Doc did all kinds of tests and found nothing. In the end he concluded it was anxiety and it took a year of more tests and repeat tests for me to believe it.I reduced my stress level by taking on less work and it disappeared. Anxiety can cause truly strange things to happen to your body.

augustlan's avatar

Absolutely. I, like many people, actually figured out I had anxiety only after going to the doctor/hospital several times because I was convinced I was having a heart attack. As @LilCosmo says, anxiety also tends to make me over-think whatever sensations are happening in my body, magnifying them to ridiculous levels.

Of course, that’s not to say that that there definitely isn’t something physically wrong. The two things aren’t mutually exclusive, so it’s best to get it checked out.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I am a recovering hypochondriac. I used to worry about every ache, pain, rash, pimple etc etc and to fuel my fears I would read magazine articles about people that had discovered they had life threatening diseases and only had months to live having previously thought they were fine. I was always checking my breasts for lumps (and I have always had quite lumpy breasts anyway so I was convinced I was riddled with cancer, my doctor reassured me that the lumps I was feeling were nothing to be concerned about but that didn’t stop me getting stressed about them) and I would analyse every single mole I could find on my skin. This made me really quite ill and I had a number of physical symptoms due to my anxiety but I was convinced they were down the hundreds of illnesses I had. I remember having a headache for about a month after reading an article about a woman with a brain tumour, I convinced myself that I had the symptoms and I really felt them. I ended up on medication to help with the anxiety and I am not so bad nowadays, I still panic every so often but in general I don’t worry about every little pain and I have stopped reading scary articles (I certainly don’t google any pains I do have, that would send me straight back in to constant panic). I focus on the things in my life that help ease the anxiety, like dogs, certain music and books, films or tv programmes that are not all doom and gloom.

When I do go into a panic about anything the first thing that happens is I need to go to the toilet. Even if I didn’t need to go the second before the panic set in, as soon as I feel myself getting anxious I have to get to a toilet. Sorry if that is too much information but I think it answers your question.

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