Anxiety is not just mental. The physical symptoms are real.
The physical symptoms are also real tough. It’s hard to move through life when you’re experiencing pain in both your mind and body. Not to mention the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
I’ve been feeling terrible lately. Sometimes it’s hard for me to determine if my anxiety has caused some of my physical symptoms or if they started on their own and anxiety has just made them worse. Either way, the end result is the same.
If you’ve never experienced anxiety issues, it may be tough to understand. However, it’s so important to empathise with people that are suffering. It can be a very isolating illness. And it is definitely an illness.
I am not a doctor, so please know that these are only my opinions and experiences. If you have any concerns about your mental or physical health, please consult a doctor or health professional right away.
Why are there Physical Symptoms?
Your brain is such a powerful organ. Not only does it control your thoughts and emotions, but it controls your body too. So, wouldn’t it make sense that when your mind isn’t feeling good, your body doesn’t feel good either? The mind body connection is strong.
I wanted to share my struggles with you to give you a better idea of what living with anxiety on a daily basis may feel like. It can definitely be different for everyone, but I’m hoping it will help you support someone you know with anxiety. Or if you’re struggling too, let you feel like you’re not alone.
My Biggest Issue
For me, one of my biggest struggles is fatigue. I am exhausted all the time. Not only is my mind tired from its racing thoughts, but my body is tired. There are a few reasons for this.
First, I don’t sleep much or have great quality of sleep.
It used to take me a very long time to actually fall asleep, but luckily, that’s been getting better. I do have to wait until I’m very tired, and I take Melatonin as well.
Once I’m asleep, I don’t stay asleep. I wake up at least 2 or 3 times during the night. Sometimes it’s to go to the bathroom, while other times it’s a bad dream. Then, falling back asleep seems to take forever. Last night, I went to bed at 10:45pm. I was up at 12:30am, and then back up from 2am until after 4am.
I worry about things. Scenarios play out in my mind. I can’t get comfortable. It’s all a continual loop until I’m finally so exhausted I manage to sleep for another hour or so when I get up.
In addition to the lack of sleep, my body is actually exhausted from all the extra adrenaline. My heart races. Nerves tingle. I feel stressed and tense a lot.
Digestion and Weight
Another huge physical symptom for me is my digestive system. Since the twins were born, I found out I had GERD or acid reflux.
It took a while to actually get a diagnosis. I had sinus issues frequently, and my doctors thought it might be allergies. Finally, I had a scope done. Reflux, Barrett’s Esophagus, and hiatal hernia were found.
Anxiety increases the acid in my stomach, and therefore aggravates these issues.
My stomach also must deal with extra food. When I’m especially anxious, I turn to food for comfort. I know this isn’t smart or healthy, but sometimes you do whatever you have to just to get through it.
Finally, pain is a huge physical symptom or anxiety for me.
The tension I carry causes muscle pain in my lower back and shoulders. Also, if I’m stuck worrying about something, I’m not always as careful as I could be. I’m much more likely to pull a muscle or injure myself during a particularly anxious time.
Wait. There’s more…
There are also the headaches, Headaches from worry, tension, and crying. I’m sure there are other ones that I’m forgetting too.
However, the harsh reality is that those physical symptoms often pale in comparison to what’s going on in my mind. Although they certainly don’t make it any easier. Often times, there are things I can do to relieve the physical symptoms much easier than the mental ones.
So, when you hear about someone suffering from anxiety, please know they are really suffering. You may not see their physical symptoms, but they are there.
It’s not all hopeless though. I’m continuously working on solutions to both the mental and physical symptoms of my anxiety.Even though I’m going through a rough patch right now, I know things will get better, and I keep finding new tools to help. Sometimes you just have to go through it.
If you’d like to hear some of the things that I do use to help ease some of my physical symptoms, please let me know in the comments. I’m also always here for support.