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Old 12-02-2018, 08:06 PM   #1
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Unhappy Shapeshifter: Physical symptoms that cannot be articulated?

My body is betraying me.

My body's done The Anxiety Thing as long as I can remember. Since I was a teenager in the late 1970s, I've recognized "it:" the nausea, the shaking, the pounding heart, the abdominal pain ...I've gotten familiar with it: Oh, anxiety. It's you again.

Given the level of my distress, I was very high functioning. I was able to tame my anxiety enough to function, using a variety of methods from meds to therapy to CBT. I worked professionally until a few years ago, when I had a major breakdown after a series of traumas.

Three years ago I developed a cluster of odd symptoms that I actually thought were early-onset Alzheimer's -- short-term memory loss, amnesia spells, balance problems and loss of peripheral vision. None of these felt like "anxiety" to me.

But after a battery of tests I was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder -- my body's physical response to anxiety, stress and trauma that became part of a C-PTSD diagnosis.

I objected! I have a psych degree, but I didn't even know Conversion Disorder was still a thing. I thought it went out with Freud! Nevertheless, within a month of my diagnosis, this cluster of symptoms simply ... vanished. It was as if my body said, "Oh, well, the gig is up. Can't do THAT crazy ***** anymore!"

Since that time, I've developed a new set of physical symptoms. But this time, I can't even articulate them -- even as a longtime journalist with a big vocabulary! I can't find the words.

I just feel ... weird. In my head, jaw, mouth, foot. All the time, every day. It's distracting enough that I've developed social phobia -- which I didn't even HAVE before!

I feel like my body needed to one-up me -- once I caught it "lying to me" with the Conversion Disorder, now it's doing this other weird thing I can't explain or define.

I have a P-Doc and 2 therapists. All are AMAZING. I'm on SSDI, thank God, because I am not functioning even at a minimal level. But I can barely shop or socialize, and I have elderly parents I want and need to spend time with.

I've tried ignoring, minimizing, distraction, drawing and painting the feeling, "thanking" it for protecting me and giving it permission to go away.

But I can't even ****ing Google it because I can't find words for it.

Can anyone relate to this?

Last edited by CANDC; 12-02-2018 at 09:28 PM.. Reason: profanity
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:23 PM   #2
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Smile Re: Shapeshifter: Physical symptoms that cannot be articulated?

Oh yes I can relate to this. I'm 70 years old now. And anxiety has been something I've struggled with all of my life. At this point in my life, I really have little or nothing to feel anxious about. But my body is still riddled with anxiety, or at least what feels like anxiety. I think, after so many years, it simply doesn't know how to function any other way.

I also have Meniere's disease... not to all that serious a degree... it could be a lot worse. But it still affects me. And I'm never sure if what I'm experiencing is related to anxiety or to Meniere's. Personally I 've simply come to accept that this is the way it is for me. Fortunately I don't have to work any longer. (Actually I haven't for a long time.) So it's not like my physical health, or my mental health for that matter, have any impact on my ability to support myself.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shapeshifter: Physical symptoms that cannot be articulated?

I'm sorry you're going through all of this. I can relate. I would say that I am high-functioning (I manage to do everything I did before I started having anxiety, though I struggle more), but I know that "weird" feeling you're describing very well - it's like I am sick, but I couldn't pinpoint what's wrong. And it shifts all the time - sometimes it's my face, sometimes my torso...? What do your therapists say? Mine suggested I feel things on a very physical level because I always underestimate my thoughts and feelings. That makes sense to me, and things do get slightly better with sharing and positive reinforcement. Sending positive thoughts your way
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