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Hi,

Im a 17 year old girl. Recently I've been generally feeling very unwell, weak and tired. I've started getting so many physical symptoms and I've never experienced anything like this ever before, it's just so scary and so new to me. I explained everything that’s been happening before it got to this point. Also, I went to the doctors and I’ve had a blood test done recently and it was all normal including my iron levels. I just want to know if anyone can relate and what is exactly happening to me, if im actually suffering from a physical problem, mental health problem or just being sleep deprived or something? 

I think it all started around 2 years ago in school, I wasn’t so aware at first of what was going on. Just my life started changing badly. I went through everyday as normal. So in year 10, I started to become self-conscious, had lower confidence, low self esteem and started worrying a lot more. It all got worse in year 11. Suddenly, I developed less interest in my work and studies. My sleeping pattern gradually got worse over the 2 years. I just got into a bad habit of sleeping late and not getting enough sleep most days. I felt so tired all the time but I coped with it. So, maybe I’ve been sleep deprived for like 2 years?

I don’t what happened or why, everything changed and got worse, my grades dropped, I failed a lot of tests. I couldn’t think or focus or understand anything properly. My attendance dropped and I would be late to school a lot. I dreaded going to school everyday. I found everything so hard and work was overwhelming. Soon exam season had come. I don’t know why I procrastinated so much, but I didn’t study hard enough and left it late. But I still tried my best on the exam days but I know I could have done so much better. I was so tired during the exams, I wanted to sleep but I did try my best in the exams. I missed breakfast a lot of the time in the 2 years and on some exam days. I would also rush to get ready for school because I was running late. I managed to get into college but I was just so disappointed about my results and not working hard enough.

I would feel so self conscious that I carried around a small mirror and would always look to see if I looked okay or how tired I looked or if there was any food on my face after eating. I also feel really self conscious when I had to eat, so during lunchtimes I would almost always go to the bathrooms and eat especially as it was getting closer to exams. But most of the time I wouldn’t eat for the whole day and just wait till I get home.

Also, I had a group of friends that I would hang out with but in the second year the group split and some of them went and joined other people and I just didn’t want to be around them anymore. I just felt like I didn’t fit in properly with them, I would always feel like I’m socially awkward around anyone. During exams, I had no one at all to talk to or hangout with and I was such a loner. I felt so disgusted eating in bathroom that I would eat in empty corridors instead where no one was there or eat secretly in the lessons or library or somewhere If I was really hungry.

I hated my life so much and just couldn’t wait to finish school. Then I had to start college and I was looking forward to just having a fresh start and make new friends. But nothing went well and it just got even more worse. I had difficulty in choosing what I wanted to study because I just didn’t know what I wanted to study or what I would enjoy but I ended up picking something that I had a general interest in.  College started and everything was so new and I just felt so anxious and worried all the time. I missed a whole week because I was so ill and I was even more scared to go back. I managed to join a group of people in my class to hang out with but I just felt so excluded and they were more like acquaintances. I tried so hard to be and act confident around people, but it was so hard. I always felt tense, uncomfortable and could never fully relax. Sometimes I think I would like hold my breath and freeze for a moment and it would just happen a lot anytime. I would try my best in the lessons and do work but It was difficult to understand anything properly. I would always go home when I could and I just didn’t enjoy college life at all. The eating situation was the same but I could also go home and eat. I’m so afraid of eating in public, even with family. I felt so bad and ashamed.

I feel like I’m so weird and not like a normal person. I worry so much no matter how big or small, I constantly overthink things. I constantly have so many thoughts about even the most unimportant and most random things and I feel like it gives me a headache and uses up so much energy. Also I noticed I subconsciously clench my teeth a lot and I try to stop but it just happens again especially at night. I always talk to myself in my head all the time or if I'm alone I sometimes talk out loud quietly to myself and even in public it happens sometimes where i'm whispering to myself. I don't know why this happens, is this normal??? I just have a conversation with myself, talk about whats happening, how I feel and like kind of plan things out and think about what I have to do for the future.

So after 2 months of college I just didn’t want to go anymore. I felt so worried and scared and I just hated it. I also felt embarrassed to go back after the holidays because I missed so many lessons. I wasn’t enjoying studying and couldn’t’ do work properly. I also didn’t make any proper friends and everyone just fit in and I feel like no one likes me and it was so hard to socialise and talk to people. I was so quiet all the time I hated it. So I just stopped going to college.

Since I left college, I had the plan of trying to improve things like  my eating, sleeping, going out, social skills, trying new hobbies and generally just doing things I enjoy. But none of that went to plan, this whole year was wasted because I hardly did anything but stay home and watch a lot of TV. I went out sometimes, because I had to but later I really started avoiding going out.

Then Since May, everything got worse because all these physical things started happening making me feel ill.

Here's a list of the symptoms I've noticed when it started happening:

-Feeling faint, at times

-Heart pounding and beating fast

-Feel really tired/lack of energy

-Can't breathe properly, feels like my nose is blocked and my breathing is deeper. I feel short of breath when just doing normal things.

-Throat feels tighter and like closed up. It's hard to swallow food sometimes.

-Heavy chest feeling, and sometimes hurts

-Feel out of balance, unreal and just very different, spaced out/?

-Constant headache/head pressure, feels tight on the temples. Weird head feelings, at times feels worse, louder talking or noises feels really uncomfortable.

-Feeling hot or cold, sometimes both

-Neck ache/pain and stiffness

-Sore tense muscles in whole body

-Random pains/aches in body that come and go

-Feel quite numb to pain

-Feel sick, at times

-Feel shaky inside at times

-Feel like I can't feel my temperature properly

-Feel like I can't smell properly, sense of smell not as strong

-I can't taste food as well as usual

-When I cough, my stomach feels sore and uncomfortable inside.

-Low appetite

-Sleeping problems/Sleep deprived?/Feel unrefreshed

-Digestive problems- constipation, bloating, indigestion

Currently now, I’m at home everyday but I've been constantly feeling so uncomfortable, weak, tired and different. I feel like I can't breathe properly because my nose feels blocked and I can't take a deep breath I feel like my lungs are not filling with enough air. I feel short of breath when walking quickly or doing normal things. I'm so tired all the time and my head is constantly hurting or there's pressure, the intensity changes at times. I just feel so different, I don’t know how to explain it. It just doesn’t feel real a lot of the time. I feel so different physically like I'm not engaged properly with things. I feel unsteady and sometimes It’s worse like I feel really strange like I feel out of balance, disconnected and just not with it. It’s worse especially when I’m around people but still happens at times when I’m alone. My whole body also hurts and feels achy all the time. I feel stiff and tense, especially my neck, constant neck ache/ pain/tension gets worse at times, and I feel the pain it's spread to my shoulders and upper back and more recently my lower back. My whole body/skin is just quite numb to pain and I feel like I can’t feel myself properly, all my senses properly and everything is sensitive, even going outside in the sun I don't feel comfortable and I can't fully feel the temperature and it's so bright as well. Sometimes, I've had these moments where suddenly I feel much weaker and exhausted, I feel faint, I feel hot and cold at the same time alot or just hot or colder than it actually is. I feel shaky, my heart beats fast and like it's working much harder, and I have a really bad constant pressure and pain in my head. I just felt like my brain was going to shut down, it feels really scary when it happens, I feel like something bad is going to happen or I'm going to die. I feel like I'm losing my mind or something. It lasts for like a couple minutes to a bit longer and eventually It calms down and I feel better. It's happened like 4 or 5 times within just over 2 weeks. 

I didn’t know what’s happening and it first started when I was just at home, for example I was just watching TV or making a smoothie. I wasn’t really worrying about anything until it started happening. It’s not always the same, sometimes it’s worse than other times and I don't know how I got through it, It's so horrible and I just tried to take deep breaths and kept telling myself everything will be okay and I pray that nothing really bad is going to happen or I'm going to faint. I'm not sure if this was a panic attack? I feel like it could have been more severe for it to be, like maybe it was leading to one but it didn't go into a full blown panic attack. I’m really not sure.

Since then, I tried to avoid going out but sometimes I couldn’t. I keep getting those ‘moment’s especially when I had to go out. I wouldn’t always get all those symptoms and sometimes it felt worse. For example, when I went to a family gathering I was fine, then when I had to eat I started feeling hot and faint and disconnected from reality. It also happened at weddings, family visits, when I went to the shops. I would always either feel all these things or some of them, but feeling faint, disconnected from reality and exhausted really bothered me. I sometimes get random sharp pains that come and go, even in unusual places like my hands, my groin area, near my ears etc.

 I’m just so much more worried and scared to go out or do anything. I’m also worried about starting education again in less than a month and I have no clue where I’m going to go or what I’m going to do or what I want to do. I feel like such a mess.

Also for the past 2 weeks now, I feel I've been having digestive problems. Sometimes I feel nauseous but it’s a different type of sick feeling but i've never thrown up. I keep getting constipation, abdominal pain, lower back pain/ache, constant mild stomach pain and discomfort, stomach feels sore and irritated especially when coughing, I’m bloated all the time, It’s hard to go toilet and stomach still hurts after I've gone to the toilet. I feel food doesn’t digest properly, it’s hard to swallow food, I just can't eat as much I would like and I just have a low appetite.

It’s been 3 months and I’m just sick and tired of feeling like this. All these physical things are making me feel so paralysed at times and I feel it’s taking over my life. Painkillers don’t seem to help much. It’s affecting me everyday and I just don’t feel normal anymore. I don’t know how I’ve managed to get through every day and all those situations so far. I can’t stop worrying especially about my health and I can’t stop overthinking about anything. I’m just carrying on getting through everyday as normal like it’s all fine but everything is just so different. I’m just at home all the time now and I try to distract myself by watching TV, movies, talking to people online, playing games or on the computer. But I just don’t feel happy, I feel less pleasure and interest in things. I feel upset and really down at times. I feel so lonely and bored. I have no friends. I know everything could be more severe and people have it worse, but I feel like it’s going to become worse if it keeps happening. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, I just feel so different and everything around me does. I feel so hopeless and helpless right now and I feel like I’m getting used to it and it’s like I don’t want to get out of it but I really do. I don’t know if its stress that’s causing this, I can’t tell If I am because I don’t really have an obvious reason to feel stressed and nothing really bad happened. I’m just so tired mentally and physically, my body is tired and weak and I don’t have the strength or energy to do anything, I have no motivation and I feel so trapped in a cycle that repeats everyday. I’m too focused in my mind. My sleep has been messed up for so long, I've tried to fix it, I give myself enough hours of sleep yet I’m always so tired when I wake up and throughout the day, like I’m always getting poor quality sleep.

 

I try to ignore like nothing is wrong, I'm still functioning everyday and I'm fine but all these physical symptoms feel so real. I feel I might have a neurological disorder or something even though the blood test was fine. If it’s anxiety, can it really make you feel this ill? What is happening and why? Do I have an anxiety disorder? Do I have depression? 

No one in my family actually knows what I’m going through, I’ve tried explaining to my parents what’s happening but they don’t understand. I act like nothing’s wrong at all because I act normal all the time, I feel fine enough to function and do normal daily tasks and I’m just managing to go through everything, but also avoiding and ignoring what’s actually happening. At the same time I feel different and so tired. I don’t want it to get worse. Also I don’t want to take any medication if it was anxiety or something, it would be a last resort. Sometimes I don’t wanna be here anymore especially when I get really low or upset  about something for no reason sometimes. I just suffer in pain and a lot of discomfort all the time and I don’t wanna continue to live like this anymore. Is this to do with being sleep deprived, lack of exercise? What exactly am I suffering from? I don’t know what to do. Please help. What can I do to effectively help myself to overcome all these problems? How can I start doing anything if I just don't feel like it and feel so tired?  How do I get rid of all of this completely and feel normal, happy and well ASAP? Sorry for such a long read, I appreciate any help. Thank you in advance.

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Hi Melrae, whilst we are in very different life categories (I am male and 43) I can relate very heavily to your problem. I to am experiencing many of the things you are/Have.

I suffer with a chronic generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which focuses mainly on my health, and it sounds to me like you may be suffering with it as well. The main things I will say:

1. YES anxiety can produce body sensations and symptoms that are very real and mimic many terrible illnesses making the anxiety worst. Anxiety is natural but becomes a problem when it is triggered due to irrational fears and thoughts. What tends to happen is your body gets stuck in its fight or flight mode for to long causing a lot of physical symptoms

2. You must try an believe the doctors. If you don't then there is not point talking to them in the first place. Not believing them will just send you into the spiral of anxiety again

3. Consider therapy. I have CBT which does help in that it will enlighten you as to what is happening and give you a plan of how to deal with it

4. Lastly, and anxiety disorder is common and you can overcome it. I won't say it is easy, in fact it is very difficult but if you listen and do then you can overcome it.

If all else fails get angry with it...sometimes I say to myself 'if this is gonna kill me then bring it on cos I'm gonna do x/y/z anyway'.

I wish you all the best and hope you can start living your life again soon x

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