A lot of my anxiety has centered on physical symptoms. The knowledge that I sometimes experience the world in a bizarre and distorted way that other people don’t just freaks me out. That’s the nature of any symptomatic disease or disorder, but the truth is that everyone experiences reality differently, and it doesn’t have to be a cause for alarm. In fact, taking time to appreciate and marvel in my unique perspective on reality helps me to feel valuable and special, rather than ‘disordered’ and weird. My body happens to be a highly sensitive instrument, and while it takes a bit more maintenance that some, it also takes in the beauty and nuance of life with high acuity. In this way, my ‘disorder’ is merely the price of an invaluable gift.
That being said, eliminating some uncomfortable symptoms has gone a long way in helping me feel comfortable and safe in the world. Dizziness has been one of my worst anxiety symptoms, and I have felt for a while now that I’ve been dizzy even when my levels of anxiety feel low. At first I chalked it up to subconscious stress, but eventually I decided to ask my doctor if anything could be done. I explained my symptoms– occasional lightheadedness, especially right after eating sugar, and frequent head rushes when standing up quickly, among others– and asked if there was anything I could do to possibly help alleviate my dizziness if it wasn’t being caused solely by anxiety. It turns out that my blood pressure has always been a bit low, and while that isn’t dangerous, it can cause dizziness. My doctor recommended that I drink a quart of water first thing each morning to hydrate myself, and to salt my breakfast a little more heavily to ensure that the water stayed in my body, slightly raising my blood pressure. Guess what? It helped! My dizziness has grown much more infrequent, and the anxiety it triggered has been turned waaay down.
In short: sometimes an “anxiety” symptom can be triggered by a physical problem, or at least exacerbated by it. Doing your research and asking your doctor educated questions can go a long way in helping you feel and live better. Don’t blame everything on outside ailments– that’s hypochondria, and it’s easy to go too far– but also don’t let anyone, medical professional or otherwise, convince you that it’s “all in your head” if you feel strongly that a certain symptom isn’t based entirely on anxiety.
Have your doctors been helpful in listening to your needs? Question or comment below!