Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Stress Affects the Body




Today has most literally been an uphill battle with my anxiety. I started my day at 6:30 am and attempted to hike The Timpanogas Caves with some extended family. Pretty much any early morning activity is going to cause me to have anxiety, but include a lot of family which is a trigger for me anyway and its a disaster waiting to happen. I was so anxious I couldn't eat anything. I threw up in the parking lot of the trail. I was very jittery but I wanted so badly to make the hike up to the caves. My husband's ancestor discovered the "Middle Cave" section of it so it was a really cool idea for all of us to go check it out together. 

The hike was hard but at first it was fun. It was pretty steep right at the beginning but I was a trooper up until the 1/2 way point. Then I started to have a hard time breathing. It may have just been the altitude but I already have issues with my heart rate spiking while exercising so all the additional factors weren't helping either. As we continued up I was at the end of the line of our group and the space between us were widening. I had to stop frequently to try to catch my breath. I tried to channel my inner "Biggest Loser" and kept telling myself, "pain is temporary, glory is forever!" But I could tell I was getting dizzy. Suddenly everything started spinning and I couldn't stand up or I would fall over. It was frustrating to me to see old men and women or little kids passing me on this trail. I didn't want to be the weak straggler. But when my vision went black for a minute and I was all tingly I knew my body was not okay.

I was determined to not give up. However all the water and Gatorade I drank I kept throwing up. A firefighter was there by chance and he checked my pulse and told me I needed to find a way to calm my heart rate down. I said, "I am going to get there." Even though I was tingling and dizzy from head to toe I really wanted to go through the caves. However looking at our watches we knew there was no way I could make it by the time the tour would start. I was soooo close, but yet so far. I was at the homestretch but it didn't matter. I disappointedly turned around and went back down the mountain and went home. I was so sad that I was so sick and I felt like I let my family down as well as myself. Could there have been a different outcome? I don't know. Mentally I was there but my body just shut down on me. Had I not had anxiety I know I would have been able to make that hike with everyone else. It's hard to accept that my anxiety really is debilitating at times. And its amazing the effects it can have on our bodies.  

Here is an interesting chart that explains How Stress Affects the Body.

My only concern now is that we are leaving in the morning with the family to go to Bear Lake, Idaho and I am worried I will be sick on this trip now that I am all sensitive. Ugh so frustrating. I plan to prepare as best as I can and I am telling myself that this trip is for me to have fun so whatever I want to do to be happy is what I am going to do regardless of what everyone else has planned. 

One more thing. For those of you who don't know it yet, we have an AWESOME group on facebook where approximately 130 people are members and browse and talk and help each other out everyday. Its a closed group so no one in your newsfeed can see what you post, so this means you have to ask to be invited. Its really simple. Just click here to go to the page. I have made some real online friends from this group and I wish we lived closer. 

Aimee

45 comments:

aleisethefunny said...

I have been there many, many times. I hope you are able to overcome your anxiety enough to have a good time on your trip. :)

Anonymous said...

You should be soooooo proud of yourself for what you did accomplish! It is so hard to push through the anxiety at times, and you did it! Very inspiring to read.

Sarah

Barry said...

Glad to see you are still updating this blog. I stumbled across your post about b-complex vitamin supplementation. I'm 35, male and over the last few months have out of no where started experiencing some mild anxiety episodes.. not sure if they qualify as panic attacks but I don't like it that's for sure!! Best wishes, Barry

Miss Wendy said...

That chart is really interesting, it's kinda reassuring to know that anxiety really can cause so many crazy physical symptoms. You should be proud of yourself for what you did accomplish, and I hope you had a good time at Bear Lake!

fearkick said...

I agree with Miss Wendy...you should be proud of what you *did* do. Any progress at all against anxiety is worth congratulating yourself. It's tough when those physical symptoms are so strong--I had a stroke at 28 and have wondered if my constant anxiety contributed to it.

David Sutton said...

stumbled across your blog today and enjoyed this post, especially the diagram of stress and how it affects your body. I am working on reducing my stress and anxiety levels.This site has been very helpful
How to Treat Anxiety
I have book marked your blog and plan to return soon. Thank you

The Blue Morpho said...

It's hard to miss a goal, but you can be proud of how far you did get. You recall that you ended up *v in the parking lot, so you were trying to hike with no food in your system. Your electrolytes can get messed up fast that way, and it would have contributed to your feeling so badly. Don't give up! Next time things might work out differently.
Adventures in Anxiety Land

fracturemind said...

I love the diagram. and it is completely true. i found myself numerous times feeling fatigued and not understanding why

lawrence michaels said...

Well done for getting as far as you did on your walk. You have a very positive approach to managing your anxiety and a healthy living style too. I'm wondering if you have ever looked into hypnotherapy for reducing your anxiety? As a Hypnotherapist (in the UK) I have seen some really good results with clients suffering from severe anxiety, giving them some really powerful techniques that are tailored specifically for them.

family counseling said...

These are great information regarding the effects of stress to an individual's overall being especially when dealing with anxiety. These facts are truly helpful to a lot of people. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I just happened across your site by accident. I am a church member in Iowa and have suffered from panic disorder for over 20 years. I was on medication for about 10 years, and it worked well. I even went off of the medication for about a year, and I felt great without it. It was wonderful!

About 2 years ago, my anxiety started getting really bad, worse than it had ever been. I gave in and went to my doctor and told him that I must need to go back on meds. This time, though, all of the medicine seemed to make me worse. And when I did have a panic attack, it didn't seem to just go away after a few minutes. It was constant. It seemed that Imipramine was one of the meds that didn't seem to make my anxiety worse and helped me relax a LITTLE, so I tried that.

About 2 months into taking it, my heart started to beat really fast, even at rest, and I seemed to always have chest pain. (my resting heartbeat was 100 - 110) I was so out of breath just doing the simplest of tasks. I thought it was the medication that was doing it. Then my ears started ringing. I would lay there at night going crazy with the ringing.

The doctor told me that I needed more exercise to help my breathlessness and fast heartbeat, and the chest pain was more than likely due to the anxiety. He did an EKG that came out fine. Then he sent me to an audiologist for an ear exam. She said my hearing was perfect and that, with age, some people's ears just start to ring for no apparent reason.

So I told the doctor I was concerned about my racing heart. It even raced when I wasn't nervous. He put me on Atenolol to slow my heart down and kept insisting that all of my symptoms were because of the anxiety.

I was getting really bad. Now I was suffering from depression and wondering if how I felt was how people felt when they wanted to commit suicide. I felt like I was going crazy. I was SO tired, felt dizzy all of the time, and my head was always swimming and I felt confused more often than focused. I was terrified to be by myself.

About a year later, I went to my OB/GYN for my four-year yearly exam (yes, I was bad). He did a routine blood test and found that I was anemic. (I was having heavy periods. I didn't realize mine were that heavy) If you search anemia+anxiety or anemia+depression, etc., you will see that they CAN BE related.

I was immediately started on iron supplements to get my iron back up. I also started taking a B Complex vitamin and a sublingual B-12 vitamin. He also performed a uterine ablation so that my periods would not be quite as heavy every month. There is such a difference in how I feel. Now, my problem is that I was burdened with SO MUCH anxiety that I think it will take a while to get back on an even keel.

I want to scream it from the rooftops and tell women to INSIST THAT THEY HAVE A BLOOD TEST for vitamin B and iron. I wonder just how many women have been suffering from this without knowing. Your description of your symptoms while you were hiking made me think of anemia. If you are sure that you aren't anemic or vitamin B deficient, that's great, but maybe someone will read this and be helped.

Thanks for all that you are doing! It is so nice to know that there are those of us out there that do get through each day somehow and that we are not alone. It is such a common ailment among mostly women. (and sorry this got so winded)

sweet anxiety meet 4twenty said...

I have a lot of the same issues when I hike!!!

I have taken some action to adjust myself to a normal level of anxiety for my adventures. Have you tried Medical Marijuana?

I use it when I go hiking now and it reduces my anxiety greatly... No more loosing my Clif Bar half way through the day!

anxiety relief techniques said...

Getting out of anxiety is a big thing. So, head up and go forward!

mental health girl said...

I love reading blogs like this, it gives hope to so many people, i myself suffer with anxiety and agoraphobia and its inspiring to read about people which are battling and beating it,il look forward to reading other posts you write in the future, you should be very proud :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for this blog, it's always good to read how others cope with anxiety. I've struggled on and off for about 25 years. Not constantly, I've had years without, then since I've had my two children it's pretty much stayed with me. However after reading 'At Last a Life' by Paul ..... Something (google it!) and every book I could find by Claire Weekes I have a whole new attitude to my anxiety and have since been able to return to full time work and go things I couldn't before. I struggle with travelling, but that is improving. Probably the biggest thing I've learnt is that anxiety is the fear if the feelings. We panic because we fear we will panic. So now if I feel anxious or I panic I don't do anything, nothing at all. Nobody EVER died of a panic attack. So let it happen, don't fight it, don't even do the breathing thing to calm down. Just let your body do what it needs to a see it as an opportunity to practice taking the fear out of panic. It can't hurt you. You might throw up, but so what?! Look after yourself, but don't let anxiety and panic scare you, they are like noises in the dark, once you put the light on them you realise they are not so scary after all. Just your body doing it's thing in its sensitized state. Diana xxx

internal medicine said...

It is not easy to deal with stress because there are times we do not know the reason why we are stressed and thinking what is the reason can also adds up the stress effect. Better yet we should do the things that could make us happy or make us busy. Getting a fresh air and quiet environment is a great help for us.

Anonymous said...

I have been experiencing severe anxiety and panic attacks for the past 4 months after an extremely stressful year, financially and emotionally. I didn't even realise how stressed I was so I just carried on like normal. My company subsequently downsized and I lost my job and even then I was doing fine until one day out on a shopping trip with my mom and sister I experienced the most terrifying anxiety attack which left me confused, lower then I've ever felt and scared for my life. I did not know what was happening to me which was even scarier as this was the first time in my life that I had ever felt that way. I was convinced that I was dying from some incurable disease. This was 4 months ago and my life has been unbearable ever since. I've been for every blood test possible, did an EKG to check my heart, thyroid, cholestorol test the works and everything has come back clear. I have been on medication, 10mg of cipralex now for 1 month and even though I have some relief, I am still anxious every single day coupled with dizziness, disorientation and all round not feeling like myself. I no longer socialise with my friends which they don't understand because I was literally the life of the party at any occasion. Nowadays I cannot even bear to walk out my door, its that difficult. I don't even recognise the person I am now. I often wish I could wake up and this could all be a dream and I'm back to my normal self. I am determined to get through this though as I have an amazing family support system, I am a single mother to a teenage son and if anything else I HAVE to do this for him.

CArol said...

Thanks for sharing this important topic. For everybody who aren't sure, what's wrong with them: try a free mental health test MENTALFIT at psychance.com - detailed, superb!

Whitney Halvorsen said...

I know that you felt disappointed in yourself but you STEPPED onto the MOUNTAIN! You made it to that first step onto the mountain. That is more than I could say had I been in your situation.

You are an inspiration, especially because you have a family with panics. I'm to the age where my husband and my family are urging me to have children but I am so anxious that I am going to have panic attacks during pregnancy or post-partum anxiety that I've avoided it!

Much love and positive energy sent your way!

beating stress said...

Stress is often behind (or a root of) adverse disorders like exogenous depression, severe phobias, eating disorders and other. So coping is extremely important and preemptive.

yasmina said...

I love your blog and I find that I can relate to some of what you say. I had a severe anxiety attack two years ago and since then I have been writing about it (memyselfanxiety.com)as a way to help myself and other as well. It is very beneficial to write about it and I wish you all the best in this constant battle with anxiety...unfortunately it is never over. I created a facebook page where I put all the tips and info that I have learned to control anxiety, check it out it is called the anxiety zone.

Convenient Help said...

Aimee-
Stumbled across your blog today and I commend you for being so open and sharing your experience...surely you're helping many. I hope that you will continue to write!

Brightstep-hk.com said...

Very valuable information shared by .As you are focusing your attention on your anxiety, you are fueling it, sustaining its power. Giving attention to something or someone is giving him love. So by giving attention to your anxiety, you are telling your mind you love it! But unfortunately not paying attention is not a magic solution, you have to learn to recognize that you have some anxiety attack, not resist to the attack, fully accept the presence of the anxiety and then release it with a efficient method that fits to you. More than all, you have to daily train your mind, cause most of the anxiety comes from our subconscious mind patterns wich is our mind of habits that is running 70% of our negative, redundant daily our thoughts. All the Best, http://www.brightstep-hk.com/anxiety/

Josh Gorton said...

I'm glad to here that you made it as far as you did! I just stumbled on your blog while doing a google search for anxiety blogs. I always love to reach out to people who are going through similar experiences. I've recently started a blog and have been writing about my anxiety. Anyways I enjoyed your post and I will definitely be following you from now on.

Take care,
Josh
www.getoutgoexplore.blogspot.com

Scotty Jackson said...

My wife has really bad anxiety. I know what you experience. Its hard. Going on trips like your hike are hard cuz when or if you have an attack, you cant help but feel you ruined it for everyone else. Keep positive. You will get through it. My wife found a really cheap book online that helped her out a lot. I would recommend taking a look at it. It seemed to help her. One thing that helps is talking to others about it that have the same thing. As a husband... not much I say seems to help cuz from her point of view I dont understand. anyway.... here is the link to the book, take a look http://bookstore.booktango.com/Products/SKU-000590193/What-Are-You-Telling-Yourself.aspx

Liposomal Vitamins said...

Yes its the stress that can change the total system of the body, so for a better and healthy life one should follow a healthy and stress free routine!!! one should indulge themselves in that activities that brings out happiness, you have focused on a good topic, really a nice post!!!

eileen ragan | leanerbythelake.com said...

so sorry to hear about your attack. hope you're feeing better and resting up.

is it ridiculous that i got anxious just reading about how stress affects the body? just last week i was sitting in the dentist chair having my teeth filed down from grinding. and all winter break i've been suffering from bouts of unexplained dizziness. back to the internist for me. i'm desperately trying to stay away from medication (desperately!) but i fear that's going to be one of my options next visit.

http://leanerbythelake.com

Tony said...

Noone can cure anxiety disorders better than the individual themselves. How to control anxiety is knowing the ways in which people can have better control over problems and various situations can help them avoid anxiety spikes

Steven Harold said...

Your courage to persist despite the anxiety and nausea is inspiring. I wonder if going back and making a goal of getting a bit further can help you. Doing it another time could help because having done a lot of it once already, any anxiety about doing something for the first time could be lessened.

marko said...

Sincere and very emotional article. But it is clear that you're strong and eager to fight. My advice is do not think how other people would react in your situation because that makes you even more sad. Who cares about that. Concentrate on yourself.

Samantha Geitz said...

I recently completed a divorce procedure and this was the most stressful even in my life so far. I was not stressed about the present but anxious about the future. I had to talk to an Anxiety Therapist Salt Lake City and I still feel the relief…

TudorCity Girl said...

Excellent post..again! SO true how stress affects the body. I learned this the hard way from a back injury and chronic back pain, until I left my stressful, miserable job and it has gone away.
There is such a huge mind/body connection people have to realize. I learned it the hard way but now to make sure to take care of both mind and body!

Jodie said...

I often use Lemon Balm to help me easy my anxiety and recently included it in my How To Use Lemon Balm To Ease Anxiety And Much More post.

If you are interested to check it out, please take a look at:

http://www.thehealthyandfit.com/how-to-use-lemon-balm-to-ease-anxiety-and-much-more/

Are there any other natural solutions to ease anxiety that you would recommend?

Jodie

Linda Connors said...

I suffered from severe anxiety about 15 years ago, and it got to the stage where it was difficult to leave my house to go to work. I think it is important to celebrate the little steps and I admire your courage to get as far as you did.

how to deal with anxiety said...

Stress can really be very unhealthy and yes I must agree that it greatly affects our body. I did experience the same thing when I am going through a very hard time in my life. I also did get fat even though I do not eat much.

Jessican said...

I used to experience similar symptoms, sometimes not even being able to leave the house, so it is great that you at least got out there. Keep making progress and trying rather than avoiding and hopefully things will get better for you!

Kelsey Stanula said...

I have anxiety attack when i go to new place

Chris said...

Wow! I almost had a panic attack just reading your post lol.

That definitely sounded like some major oxygen deprivation going on there with the temporary blackout. I experienced that once while doing circuit training with heavy dumbbells when I was younger...went blind for several minutes, almost threw up too, couldn't move or anything.

I get anxiety attacks too during or leading up to visits with extended family. Sucks. Not only the attack itself, but then you're always thinking about what THEY must be thinking, and that just makes it all worse. Blaahh...

Haven't seen any recent posts =( Hope you're doing okay nowadays.

Aloha, Chris

panic away said...

To get as far as you did is an accomplishment and you should be proud. Anxiety can be just as debilitating as a broken bone and anyone who'd gone that far on crutches would be proud. I wish you luck.

Maria Carillet said...

That is your real problem…You are focusing so much on your symptoms, that your not accepting the anxiety, you are so scared…Until you let go o that fear alittle you are fuelign the fire…Your nerves are jsut over sensitized…Thats all it is…I know it feels worse, but jsut keep telling yourself it will pass….Try your hardest not to check how your feeling…Despite the symptoms, go out, enjoy the weather, read, anything you love to do….Actualyl being at work always helped me to recover because i woudl focus on work instead of myself and my symptoms….
Thanks
Online drugstore

Elizabeth said...

I found your blog today and really liked your post, I'm trying to reduce the stress in my life and I can relate to how you felt on the hike. The diagram for stress was great. Thanks for posting.

Dennis Simsek said...

Thank you for this information, i'm also a professional tennis player who has battled years of anxiety disorders and just recently recovered in a natural way, spreading awareness and solutions through my own blog at http://endtheanxiety.wordpress.com I hope you'll check out the inspirational story.

Well-Being Hotspot! said...

I was tired all the time and had no energy when I was living with anxiety and constant fear. I found out they are all related to your body simply not getting what it needs. I researched and tried out many different supplements, starting watching my diet and also started walking and deep breathing every day. The body needs nutrients, fruits and veggies and exercise. If it isn't getting these things, toxins and waste will start to build up inside and cause all kinds of problems. That anxious feeling is your body telling you that something needs correcting. Take a hard look at your eating and exercise routines and make the necessary improvements. After almost 4 years of following these guidelines, I am anxiety free!

therapy for anxiety New York said...

Thank you for sharing this post, and congratulations for overcoming such anxious feelings. Your story is very inspiring. Anyway, this post you have provided is very informative. Several readers will learn so much from this. Keep them coming!

Katie said...

You did so well to get as far as you did! If you haven't experienced severe anxiety, you simply can't understand how physically disabling it can be. I had a similar episode recently; I blogged about it here if you're interested-

http://mysometimesshitlife.blogspot.com.au/2013_11_01_archive.html

Thanks so much for the great blog and never give up! We are all here beside you! Katie xx

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