Remember the symptoms…

Feeling like throat is numb and stomach is numb
Stomach feels strained – usually when tired – feel like sleeping would help
Feeling like can’t swallow
Feel like something is trying to push its way up – wind?
Unsettled stomach whenever I eat – acid reflux
Feel like full to my neck
Slight panicky feeling because I feel like this
Feeling like need the loo or like cork in bum!
Acid reflux is worse when tired
Feeling like I can’t eat even due to anxiety (think I am too full for this so if I eat I will be sick)
Panic that have no appetite – probably just constipation but worry that it is because I am ill
Bloating
Wind pain that travels from upper to lower and then out
Lightheaded – most likely ME/CFS but could also be constipation or anxiety
Feel like stomach in a knot
Feel all spaced out
Temperature affects my anxiety – if it is hot or cold I start to feel weird and panic
The numb feeling in throat is like what you get before you yawn or burp. Like something needs to come up. Always said it was like my throat was opening up to be sick but know that it isn’t
Get empty burps that make my throat and stomach feel more numb
Nausea, lack of appetite, numb feeling all happens when I am constipated or need the loo
Lots of wind in stomach. When get the wind bubbling feels like really hungry. Then I burp and it feels better. Can feel it moving in stomach.
Seem to quickly move between feeling full to feeling really hungry. Guess that is the wind and air
So confused whether hungry or not so sticking to a schedule. Still get panicky that eating will make me sick even when I know that it won’t. I am just constipated and like that bag in the video (even though I am still going).
Wind also feels like burning. Can hear my whole stomach gurgling and can feel it moving
Really, really thirsty a lot. Don’t fancy dry food, want wet food

Numb throat and stomach makes me panic. I worry that because I am not hungry it means I am ill when it is likely just to be constipation

If I think about stomach it makes me get a sudden feeling of nausea and panic in my chest. But can stop it now

Remember there is no point going home as there is nothing to do there. It is better to be here doing work and socialising with people. You won’t be sick. It is just your anxiety flaring up because it is Thursday and you are tired

Anxiety is always worse on a Thursday for some reason

Maybe the reason I am numb and feel like my I really need the loo (but can’t go) is because of the red meat I ate working its way through?

The Bisodol that I had this morning really helped with the burning and unsettled feeling but not the numbness. Remember that.

Right now you just need to accept that the feelings you are getting are IBS and that you won’t be sick at all. Now get on with your work.

You have had all these symptoms millions of times before and it has never made you sick. It is IBS and that is what it does so stop it!

Gurgling stomach just makes you feel hungry all the time. That is why you struggle to diet as it just makes you feel off and then you worry about whether you should actually eat or not. Eating makes the feeling go away

That numb feeling in your throat when you eat or drink is not because you are going to be sick. That is part of the constipation IBS and you won’t be sick. So stop being silly. You would have had a temperature if you were going to be sick

Do not look up the symptoms of constipation as it will say being sick. But that is only if it is really bad and has been weeks. You won’t be sick. Nausea is a normal side effect but you won’t be sick.

I remember often feeling like this before with my IBS. It is normal. You just let the phobia get the best of you that is all. Because you were concentrating on food through dieting and then you were concentrating on what your body was doing through trying for a baby. That is why you felt sick the whole time. Yes you have fatigue and have done for a long time but the focusing on the IBS made it worse. Stop it, you won’t be sick.

You also know that the flare up and the symptoms don’t last forever. It will get better. I have noticed in the past that my anxiety gets worse when I am in a constipation phase of my IBS and I think this is true. Back in 2012 I remember feeling very ill before my period and someone asked me if I was constipated and I was so that made me feel sick. Same thing happened this time and back in the summer when I was trying for a baby. So basically I get constipated (although I am going a little) and then get acid reflux and my stomach feels off. This then makes me panic that I am going to be sick when I should know that I won’t be as it doesn’t do that. That might be why I felt less sick with my period this time because I had an upset stomach the night before I started and so was empty and not all blocked up. Have been told by my parents the whole time that I am that bag from the advert and that it is just my IBS but my anxiety was clouding my judgement. I think I felt sick before my period when I was off the pill due to my constipation. However, because I thought it might be a sign that I was pregnant, I then got anxious and made myself feel more sick. I also convinced myself that it was morning sickness and therefore made myself feel sick!

Today’s ramblings – 22nd January 2015

I had a very successful day yesterday as I didn’t have a single panic attack. Yes I had high anxiety (especially in my throat after eating) and I also felt sick but managed to stay calm about it (though writing that now made me panic slightly that it will happen again today).

Despite that I woke up in a full blown panic attack this morning and at 10.30am it is still with me. I think it is because I felt slightly sick yesterday and I was afraid it was going to happen again today. Of course because I was afraid I have made myself feel rubbish and a little sick! Typical really. Yesterday I felt sick when I needed the toilet as I have IBS. I managed to control my panic about it yesterday but it did threaten to get me. Today is not the same. I feel like I need to go and feel a bit sick but too scared to go in case it makes me feel more sick. Stupid I know. I know the nausea and feeling in my throat is due to constipation and IBS but it doesn’t stop me worrying.

I’m really struggling to do my Thrive today. I guess that is because I am tired. I need to control these negative thoughts and move on with life but my head feels fuzzy today and my stomach feels off. My head feels so fuzzy that I can’t even work out what negative thought I am having! Let’s try and write them here:

  • That I will be sick due to constipation either if I don’t go to the loo or if I do. This has never made you sick before. It has made you feel sicky when you don’t go and then a bit sick after you do but it has never made you actually sick.
  • That I will feel nauseous at work and not be able to concentrate and not be able to escape. There is nowhere to escape to as you will feel sick at home as well and you can’t sleep your life away. Not now you are getting sparky the cat. If you do feel nauseous you will be able to cope. It is unlikely to make you sick as you haven’t been over the last four months and it is most likely just your anxiety, IBS and period making you feel that way (like it has been all along). It will pass.
  • That I won’t be able to last the whole day at work. Yes you can. You have managed it twice this week and you can do it again. I know that is what you were panicking about this morning but you can do it. You can cope with life. People go to work with much worse things than a bit of IBS nausea and panic attacks. People carry on with their lives when they have cancer treatment, have broken their ribs, have hurt their back in a car accident or are pregnant and feel very ill. I can live with a bit of IBS, anxiety and a headache. You can cope, you will thrive.
  • Feeling external as I have to stay at work all day. Turn it into internal in that I want to stay at work for myself so I can live a life, have money and get Sparky.
  • That people will know I am having a panic attack or know that I feel sick and judge me. That they will judge me if I can’t eat and know that something is wrong. People here care about you and will only want to make sure you are ok. They will not have those thoughts about you. You are imagining that they are thinking that due to your social anxiety. You cannot read their minds.
  • I am feeling external because I have IBS constipation nausea and there is nothing that I can do about it. Black and white thinking that I will feel nauseous every time I need to use the bathroom and after. Black and white thinking that my IBS will never go and I will never be able to cope with the symptoms. Firstly the black and white thinking – you know that IBS comes in flares and at the moment you are in a flare up of it. You can go a long time without any symptoms and be fine. You also know that the feeling in your throat is caused by it and that if you drink more water it would help. You also know that you can cope with the symptoms as you have in the past. The constipation will not make you sick. Not sure how to turn the external thought about my IBS into an internal one really. I will manage my thinking about my IBS and learn to tolerate the uncomfortable feeling and then I will be ok with it. I will not let the nausea cause a panic attack as I know it won’t make me sick.
  • That I won’t be able to cope with the nausea and headaches associated with constipation and I won’t be able to carry on with my life and thrive. Yes you will. You have concurred this mountain before and you can do it again now. You are making yourself feel ill by being hypervigilant. Stop it.
  • That I will have to feel terrible for days or weeks before I can actually feel normal again. You have concurred this mountain before and you can do it again now. You are making yourself feel ill by being hypervigilant. Stop it.

Why does the word nauseous fill me with more dread and panic than vomit? Because it lasts longer and there is nothing you can do about it. When you are sick it is over quite quickly and you feel better. With nausea you have to either wait for it to pass or wait to be sick to feel better.

Get throat nausea at the same time every day. It seems to be just before lunch time and just after. Basically that is when I am anxious because I am anxious about eating. Maybe that is what causes the throat nausea? Either way I know that I won’t be sick from it and that it is just an uncomfortable feeling. Oh I also get it on the way to work and on the way home from work which is strange. I just feel really thirsty and have a kind of background nausea. In that I am able to eat food still but don’t feel too well. If I focus on it it gets worse and it makes me panic. Does that mean it’s anxiety? But it also seems to happen after I have been to the loo so maybe it is IBS nausea as well? It just makes me feel really dry. I know it won’t make me sick but I just so badly want to control it and make it go away.

My desire for control has gone absolutely mad with my IBS as it isn’t something I can control. That is why I am having such a hard time with it at the moment. I can’t control the nausea I am feeling and the symptoms I am getting. Even if I tell myself that I won’t be sick because it has never made me sick before, I still get the panic because I am nervous of the nausea (hence why that word is more scary to me now than vomit). Although you can’t control being sick it isn’t something that happens that often. When you have IBS, acid reflux and periods nausea happens a lot! You would think that would mean I was less afraid of it. Well once upon a time that was correct. I have been through stages like this before when I have been completely afraid and then eventually have got used to the feeling and it hasn’t panicked me. Not sure why it suddenly started panicking me again. Actually I know why. It was because I thought I was pregnant and therefore getting morning sickness. I thought that meant I would definitely be sick (as I felt very sick) and couldn’t really believe that it was due to constipation and my hormones.

All the symptoms I am getting are the same and I know they won’t make me sick. The psychiatric doctor told me to check my symptoms and see if they are the same as I have had before. Then if they aren’t, sleep on them for the night and if they don’t get better go and see the GP. But most of the symptoms I get are the same even though they change. So why can’t I just accept that they are my IBS and get one with things?

Any little twinge or feeling in my body is interpreted as I am going to be sick. Right now I am really hot and my head feels fuzzy and my stomach off (though that will be my period). Naturally I started to panic that I will be sick. Told myself to stop it but still don’t feel well at all and have two hours to go. Trying to concentrate on my work

Feeling really sick right now. Actually feels like it is going to happen. My head doesn’t feel right, my stomach doesn’t feel right. I actually feel if I move to much I will be sick. I know I can cope with this. I can get through this. If I am sick it will not be the end of the world. People won’t think I am disgusting, they will want to make sure I am ok that is all. I can cope. I am sure it is just my headache, that it is stuffy and my anxiety but the worst thing that could happen is I am sick and I will be able to cope with that.

Thought diary…

I actually went back to work on Monday and did a whole day! Currently on my lunch break of my second whole day and still struggling a bit. I found it helpful on Monday just to write down how I was feeling and this was the result (sorry if it is a bit of a ramble!):

I basically just can’t tolerate uncomfortable feelings. That is what this is about really isn’t it. The most uncomfortable feeling is being sick as well as feeling sick so that is why I am scared of it so much. I feel uncomfortable at work for one reason or another and so I just want to go home. But then I feel uncomfortable at home as well as I know I should be at work. It’s catch 22 really. I do find that journaling helps though. Just writing down what is in my head seems to really help me.

I think I am uncomfortable at work as I kind of feel like I am not important or not needed. Really the company could continue without me. In fact it has when I was off sick. There is no satisfaction in my work, no reward. I don’t have any targets to meet and don’t have a team to work with. I know that is not the only problem going on (I don’t really have anything to strive for at home either) but it is a big part of it I think. How can I thrive when I feel so repressed at work? But I can’t move to another job until this stupid anxiety has done one really.

I keep asking myself whether or not I feel sick which is ridiculous. Obviously if I have to ask myself that it means I don’t! The feeling in my throat and head is anxiety and my stomach is IBS and acid reflux. All I want is for them to go. But I just have to accept that they won’t go. I have to learn to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings. People get on with their lives when they have chemo or much worse things. People continue to go to work with depression, eating disorders etc. Some even continue to work with flu or even stomach bugs! Yet I can’t even tolerate the uncomfortable feelings of my period! I don’t even seem to be able to stand the feeling of being tired which is ridiculous! I think everyone feels rubbish at some point in the day. Whether it is when they first wake up or when they are ready to go to bed etc. I know that before all this I used to feel off at least once in the day but it didn’t scare me like it does now. I’m not even sure why it scares me. Even if I tell myself it won’t make me sick I still get scared. I think it’s my perfectionist thinking that does it. I think my mind tells me I have to feel perfect every day but I don’t think anybody feels perfect every day. I wish there was some way I could do a survey of people to find out how often they felt something wrong with them and then how often they just got on with things. There is no point me doing it on the emet forum as they are all people who think the same way as me.

This is why it doesn’t really matter if I am at work or at home as I feel anxious in the morning everywhere. I get anxious about whether or not I will feel ill and anxious that day and then that creates the anxiety.

All I think about at the moment is how I feel. I try and concentrate on other things but all I can think about is how I feel. Do I feel sick? Does my stomach feel off? Am I hungry? Do I have acid reflux? I get like this after a stomach bug all the time. This time I haven’t had a stomach bug but I felt very ill for a long time due to my hormones and it has left me this anxious mess.

Ok so it is definitely acid reflux that gives me that weird throat feeling and then the anxiety makes it worse. That is why I panic when it comes to eating which is just stupid really! Now my throat feels off and my stomach a little bit churning and I hesitate to eat. But eating will help me. Why am I so afraid to eat? It is stupid! I just need to accept that it is acid reflux and IBS and that it isn’t going to make me sick. I need to accept that I will feel like this most mornings and that eating will help it. I have lived with it for years so why does it suddenly scare me so much? I think it might be because it got so bad when I was off the pill and my hormones were free to wreak havoc on my body! If I could just realise that eating will actually make the acid reflux die down and the wind die down then I will feel better, Also need to sort out my black and white thinking regarding my acid reflux and IBS as well. I need to tell myself that it isn’t here to stay and that it does get better. For some reason in my mind I have decided that I am going to have it every day for the rest of my life. When in actual fact it is just worse around my period. I also need to remind myself that the burning feeling I get along with the desire to burp (which happened just this minute) does not mean that I am going to be sick. If I could somehow disassociate acid reflux and IBS with being sick then it would help. But I also need to accept that it won’t be there all the time. Besides I’m not sure the burning feeling I get is due to acid reflux anyway. If it was then surely the medication would sort it and it doesn’t. I think really I should be referred back to a gastro doc for a review but I know they won’t do that as they think of me as a hypochondriac. You know what? I have had the burning feeling and burping for some time now. I think I have always had it and managed to get on with life. It is obviously just part of my IBS. It’s not behind my breast bone which is where indigestion is, it is on the right hand side and in my bowels. Yet I do still get that feeling in my throat of what emet people call throat nausea. It is like a gaggy feeling. Or like something is trying to push its way up (which I believe is wind or a burp). If I could just stop concentrating on it and realise that it won’t do me any harm. It is definitely a burp trying to force its way up and getting stuck (think I read another emet describe it as that and how it makes her panic). I get this burning in my chest and then I have to burp or fart. That then relieves the burning temporarily. I think it is anxiety induced acid reflux. I have felt it hundreds of times before but why is it sometimes I just can’t handle it? Is it because it gets worse and makes me feel more sick? Or is it because it is combined with other things going on (such as the nausea from my hormones) that makes me eat less and makes my acid reflux worse? Why can’t I just accept that I have acid reflux and that nothing can change that and it won’t make me sick? Guess it is my desire for control going crazy like normal. My period makes me very gassy and I think that is what makes me burp more, not necessarily acid reflux. Surely if it was that I would feel the burning behind my breast bone? Plus I get the burning feeling in my bottom as well! Wow I really am going round in circles here. This is what goes round and round my brain all the bloody time. It never settles in the morning. I can’t seem to find anything to settle my stomach. I was ok after my breakfast but now I have had a cuppa and some biscuits my stomach feels off. It’s all churning and burning

I guess it is acid reflux and the more I think about it the worse it gets. I always burp after having a cup of tea and I am sure that is due to acid reflux. I just feel like there is so much air in my stomach is won’t come out and it just burns and pulls on my throat. But why don’t the PPI’s work if that is the case? Why is it that someone with emet has to suffer these digestive issues? But you know it won’t actually make you sick Jen. You know it won’t. It is just an uncomfortable feeling that you need to put up with and get on with your life. The medical world obviously can’t do anything about it otherwise they would have done already. Lots of people have said the cause of it is stress and your hormones so you know that is what is causing it. It might make you burp a lot and make you throat and chest feel funny and off but it won’t make you sick and you can cope with the feeling. Nothing is going to happen to you at all. It is just IBS and acid reflux. Why is it that even though I have written that several times I still don’t believe it? At the same time I get the burning I also get the desire to go for a poo so maybe it is related to that as well? It just makes my stomach feel off and makes my back and ribs hurt. The doctor told me that was just IBS not acid reflux and that IBS can make you feel that way. Oh for goodness sake, time to stop thinking about it now. At the beginning of this diary you were fairly positive now all you are talking about is how off your stomach feels and that is probably because you are worrying about having lunch!

What it is

Recently there was a post on Anxiety UK asking for people to get in touch with a reporter from the Independent who was writing a story on Emet. Although she was a sufferer herself, she wanted to hear other people’s thoughts on it. I put the following together and thought I would share it on my blog:

Emetophobia is the fear of vomiting. I know what you are thinking, no one likes vomiting and believe me, I have been told that many times by people who just don’t understand how debilitating this phobia actually is. It’s more than just being afraid of vomiting. It is a constant struggle every day to carry on with a normal life. It is the constant worry that you might get sick when you least expect it. It is a fear of not being in control and when are you the most out of control? When your body takes over and makes you sick. You aren’t able to stop it, it just happens. This phobia brings with it many symptoms that the name would not suggest to someone. Imagine you are afraid of flying. Well it’s simple really, just don’t get on an aeroplane (I realise that you may have to face the fear at some point in your life). Or if you are afraid of dogs, you have a good chance of being able to avoid dogs for most of the day, maybe even most of your life. Now imagine that what you are afraid of is your own body? You can’t escape it. If there was a dog standing in your way you could run away and feel ‘safe’. If it is your own body, wherever you run to, your body comes with you so you can’t escape it.

Each day starts with a complete body check to make sure that you aren’t ill. Do I feel nauseous today? Does my stomach feel weird? Do I fancy my breakfast? Do I have a temperature? Am I going to be able to face work/school today? If you have any symptoms that even remotely suggest that you may be sick during the day then you bury the hatchet, climb back in bed and hide the day away. Although you can’t actually escape the nausea or the fear by being in bed, it makes you feel better as you have taken control of the situation. Being in bed or even just at home, means that you can control the situation if it were to happen and also takes away the social anxiety element of being sick.

I recently asked on an emetophobia forum what it was that people are actually afraid of. I got several responses and only one said actually vomiting. Most of them came back saying that they were either afraid of losing control of their body or that they were afraid of being sick in public and people’s reactions. So clearly this is what the phobia is about deep down.

Another trait that I have and that Rob Kelly from Cure Your Emetophobia and Thrive have stated emetophobia’s have is low self-esteem. I definitely have low self-esteem and I believe this is the deep routed cause of a lot of my anxiety problems and especially my emetophobia. I feel that I am not worth the same as other people and therefore don’t deserve to be loved and looked after. For me this was routed in the time my little sister was born and I was no longer the baby of the family. A lot of attention was on my little sister, especially as my cousin (my Mum’s sisters’ son) had died of cot death a month before my sister was born. The whole family was anxious and agitated and my parents in particular were understandably scared the same thing would happen to my little sister. So not only did I have the normal five year old reaction to no longer being the baby of the family, it was made worse as even less attention was on me. Now let me say right here that I am in no way blaming my parents for my phobia. It is something I created for myself. No one gave it to me. It wasn’t something that happened to me. It is something I created with my incorrect thinking styles.

My five your old self was desperate for the attention and my brain tried to figure out a way to get it. I know that I have always wanted my parents and grandparents attention as there are home videos of me trying to get them to record me instead of my two sisters. Seems it has always been a struggle to compete with them both (I have one older sister and one younger sister). I don’t recall a particular incident with illness when I was that young but as a five year old I must have caught a bug at some point. I do however, remember being in my bed at a young age whilst my sisters were both outside the room playing. I was feverish and felt awful and just wanted my Mum but my sisters were getting the attention. When I was ill my Mum would give me her undivided attention which was just what I wanted. So my brain learnt that this was the way to get attention, to be ill. But at the same time I didn’t want to be ill as no one likes vomiting do they! It then became a constant struggle in my brain between wanting to get the attention from being ill but also not wanting to be ill. My desire for control took over this struggle and eventually I had a full blown phobia of being sick. I am not afraid to say that I also realised I got more attention for having the phobia. It meant my whole family had to treat me in a special way.

At 14 I had a bad stomach bug that woke me up in the middle of the night to be sick. This is where the phobia really started to take hold of my life. I remember refusing to sleep each night after that and it was another constant struggle, this time with my desire to fall asleep but my desire to control the time I woke up and was sick in the middle of the night. This also meant I got more attention from my Mum and Dad. Not only were they giving me the attention (albeit negative) because I wouldn’t go to sleep, but I was also being taken to the doctors and psychiatrists by them who were basically calling me special. One of them told me that I had OCD (which is another disorder that is about not being able to handle uncertainty and having a high desire for control). From that moment on I had a fully-fledged case of OCD. Although it wasn’t on a conscious level, I am sure that in being told I had this disorder and being given a label actually caused me to have it. I realised that I was special (because there was something wrong with me) and I also go a lot more attention for it. (I should mention that as a child I always wanted there to be something special about me. My best friend had glasses and I remember crying my eyes out when the optician said my eyes were perfect and didn’t need glasses. I so wanted to be special like she was and have something unique about me!).

I had treatment for the OCD but I didn’t really seem to get better. It wasn’t until I was 16 and I witnessed a child be sick in front of me that I realised what I was truly afraid of. I was afraid I would get sick. Yes I was afraid of contamination but it was the fear that the contamination would make me sick. I researched the fear of vomiting and realised that it was called Emetophobia. The doctors and therapists didn’t diagnose me. I did. Finally I knew what was getting to me this whole time. But even to this day I have a fight with the GPs and therapists who don’t believe what is wrong with me. They don’t seem to understand quite how debilitating emetophobia is. They believe that it is just a fear of being sick and therefore one is only afraid when faced with being sick. But it is so much more than that.

Dr Google will see you now

Sound familiar to anyone? I have been consulting Dr Google a lot recently! I know I have IBS and have been told that by GP’s several times but I just can’t stop checking things up to see if there is something else wrong with me. I am looking up things to do with my hormones as I honestly think they have a strong part to play in my anxiety flare ups. Every time I switch birth control methods or come off it (as I recently did to try for a baby) I get bad pmt which causes ibs, anxiety, nausea and bad skin. I convinced myself there was something seriously wrong with me but it is probably just normal. A couple of months after coming off the pill I had a terrible period where the pain was so bad my DH took me to A&E and they told me I might have Endometriosis. Although I went to my real GP who told me I probably just had a painful period, Dr Google convinced me that I had it. I had already decided to go back on the pill at that time as my anxiety was a mess and I clearly wasn’t ready for a baby. Need to get rid of the emet first!

I then started visiting Dr Google to find out about the side effects of starting the pill. It calmed me down at the time but the next time I felt any I would need to visit again.

Next were the dizzy spells. I have been getting these for a few months now (actually coincides with me coming off the bcp) and have seen my real GP two or three times for it. They checked my ears and told me that there was nothing wrong so I shouldn’t worry about it (that’s like telling the pope not to be catholic!). But Dr Google told me there were lots of causes of dizziness and I could have any of them. I had previously had low iron so was convinced I was anaemic. I wasn’t of course. I had a blood test and although my iron levels are still low, I’m not anaemic so that wasn’t the problem. So then I got frustrated with my real GP because they were basically telling me that I had to live with it! But Dr Google gave me lots of diagnoses!

My most recent visit to Dr Google was only yesterday. For the last few days I have had a tight stomach and nausea. I was convinced I had a stomach bug or food poisoning so I was looking up the symptoms of those (even thought I know full well what they are!). I even had yesterday off sick because I was so ill after diarrhoea (sorry tmi!) and spent most of the day either asleep so I couldn’t think about what was going on or visiting Dr Google! About 10 minutes before my dh came home from work I went to the loo and noticed that I had started my period. So once again it was just my period that was making me feel so ill. I then felt like a fool as I should have known. Now I am going to have to explain to my boss that the reason I have been ill so much recently is because I changed my birth control pill. That’s going to be an awkward conversation!

But that didn’t satisfy me. I then proceeded to visit Dr Google to find out about hormones and anxiety/nausea and stomach problems. There are lots of things on the internet about that. It all says it is normal but I am looking for something to be wrong with me. I never realised quite how much I have health anxiety. I always thought it was just emetophobia – that I was convinced everything would make me sick. Ok, so I guess most of them are related to that. I mean I don’t worry that I am going to have cancer and die, I am worried that I will get cancer and get sick from the treatment!

Oh I just remembered that I did one thing that is even better than visiting Dr Google. Two years ago I obtained a copy of my medical records for a certain period in my life. It cost me £20 but I felt it was worth it at the time as I wanted to work out what was going on. So I was looking at them late last night studying everything that has happened. Off course it seems obvious to me that my high anxiety levels and stomach issue flare ups are all related to my period but the GP never seems to have noticed that. There is even a record on there of me asking for a gyno referral but it was refused and I was told to keep a diary of what happens to see if there was a link.

I am still convinced that I have female issues because I do get so sick when I am off the birth control pill (I remember my stomach issues continuing for ages a few years ago when I was off the pill for several months and they didn’t settle until I had been back on it for a few months) and it will need addressing as I want to have a baby. But I know I should stop visiting Dr Google and perhaps even give my real GP a bit of a break as they are probably sick of seeing me! I doubt I will as I have an appointment with me GP in a few weeks time and I will probably bring the subject up. I just want to know if it is normal to have all these issues with the female cycle (sometimes I think it would be easier to be a man!).

I notice I have turned this blog into a bit of a case study for Dr Google which is not what I intended! You see how easy it is to get into that trap! I need to start living my life by finding something else to worry about and stop visiting the Dr Google and the GP!

Anxiety flare up and SAD

I am having a terrible anxiety flare up at the moment. Everything is getting my going. I think it is the time of year though. Although neither of us have been diagnosed, I believe both my husband and I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as we both have depression and/or anxiety issues at the same time each year. Mine begins in September and is worse in the Autumn months. My husband’s is worse in January after Christmas. We both suffer from excessive tiredness and irritability but he mainly suffers depression and I suffer with both depression and anxiety. Oh how lucky I am.

I was researching SAD yesterday and discovered that sometimes it is triggered by a stressful event or an illness. I think that is why mine always happens in September/October. Part of me thinks it is because we went back to school in September but I think it might be more than that. I had Glandular Fever (Mono) in September/October and went on the awful holiday to Ibiza when I had it. Anyone who has had Glandular Fever knows that it takes months to recover. I remember thinking that I was never going to get better. Especially as they didn’t discover it was Glandular Fever until two months later (that was a mistake of the receptionist at the Doctors telling me my blood test was negative rather than positive!). I had an awful time as I just didn’t know what was wrong with me. I stayed at work, went on holiday (as mentioned above) and I remember going to my Dad’s 50th birthday party (as well as both my sisters’ birthday meals) feeling like death warmed up. Christmas was just as bad but at least I knew what was wrong with me by then.

I think I subconsciously remember that experience at this time of year each year. Some years I can cope with it, others it has an impact on me. It was 2005 that I got sick with Glandular Fever and I have had three major flare ups since then (2009, 2012 and 2014). Along with the anxiety comes the stomach issue flare up. It’s hard to say which one causes the other but my doctors and I all believe that the anxiety causes the stomach issues not the other way round. Though I do think it is a vicious circle as thinking about the stomach issues makes me more anxious, which in turn makes them worse.

I am finding at the moment that I am pretty much agoraphobia. I just want to stay at home where I know I am safe. If I have to go somewhere, I want my hubby or Mum, Dad, or sisters with me to keep me safe. But mainly I want to hide away at home where I will be safe if I get sick and it won’t affect anyone else. But then I worry that I am letting people down. I have already had three days off sick in the last two months and it has made me even more scared that I will get a stomach bug as I would probably have to go to work with it as I would get into trouble with more time off sick. Not that my boss has ever suggested that she has had a problem when I have been off but I have only been working for the company seven months.

Sorry I went off on a tangent there!

In the news this morning there is a story about SAD and how scientists believe they have discovered the cause of it (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29691479). The scientists have discovered that those who suffer with SAD have higher levels of the serotonin transporter (SERT) protein which means they have a greater removal of serotonin in winter. In the BBC news article, Lead Research, Dr Brenda Mc Mahon said, “We believe that we have found the dial the brain turns when it has to adjust serotonin to the changing seasons. The serotonin transporter (SERT) carries serotonin back into the nerve cells where it is not active – so the higher the SERT activity, the lower the activity of serotonin. Sunlight keeps this setting naturally low, but when the nights grow longer during the autumn, the SERT levels increase, resulting in diminishing active serotonin levels.” Dr Mc Mahon then goes on to say that people who are not affected by SAD do not have the increase in SERT activity (www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29691479 – 21st October 2014).

But how then do we treat SAD. If we take an SSRI (as I do), does that actually help or will the levels of SERT just get higher? SSRI’s work by stopping the reuptake of serotonin to the brain therefore meaning there is more Serotonin in the body. Is it SERT that they are stopping?

All I know is I would benefit from upping my dosage. I was coming off them in June ready to have a baby before everything went wrong (my hormones also have a big part to play in my anxiety). I was actually at a stage when I wasn’t taking any but was having daily panic attacks! I am now on 10mg and thinking I need to go back up to 20mg which is where I am normally happiest. Going to start upping it slowly at the weekend.

The other thing I know for sure is I must save some annual leave for this time of year to make sure I have plenty of time to rest at home!!

Not having a good time at the moment

The shakes keep getting me. I’m not sure if I am cold of just depressed but I keep shaking. Is it where I tried coming off the citalopram? I just keep getting a shaking feeling in my chest and it makes my whole body shiver like I am freezing cold but I’m not. Well maybe a little bit cold but not freezing.

So last week I thought it was because I was pregnant but then it became very obvious on Friday morning that I wasn’t. I woke up at 3am to the worst stomach pains I have ever had so my husband took me down A&E. They said it could be endometrioses and to go to the GP. But the GP said he thinks it is just because my periods are returning to normal after coming off the pill in June. Anyway that was a very traumatizing experience and has left me feeling really off.

Saturday I stayed in bed all morning. Both me and my husband were extremely tired after the previous day (driving your loved one to the hospital at 4am will do that. He has told me since he thought I was dying) so we actually both slept in. But I felt extremely sorry for myself. He was due to go to town with his friend but said he wouldn’t go if I wanted him to stay. Part of me wanted him to stay but the other part was quite happy to lay at home in self-pity. So I told him to go and see his friend. My mum and sister were coming round to see me anyway. Turns out they didn’t come round till an hour before he came home so had a could few hours to sit at home and wallow in it. All I did was sleep. If you are asleep you can escape the horrible reality. Sleeping makes you forget how terrible you feel. So I slept. I did feel better after seeing my Mum and sister and I even managed to go to the supermarket to buy some dinner and even ate something! This was an achievement for me. Since I saw the little girl be sick on holiday back in July I haven’t really been myself. I didn’t realise I had got bad till this weekend. I had started getting nervous about eating in front of people again and even found myself eating a sandwich in the car by the side of the road just so no one would see me. This only began about two weeks ago when I got really bad nausea and I was convinced I was pregnant. I think convinced myself that I would get morning sickness from everything that other people got it from and banned food. I should not have been looking on the internet to read other people’s stories with it, that was my downfall.

The same thing happened with travel sickness. After the little girl was sick on the us I looked up what causes travel sickness and read that it is when your ear disagrees with your eyes. So you ears are aware that you are moving but if you are looking at something other than the moving horizon, your eyes don’t think you are moving. This tells your brain that you have been poisoned and makes you sick. I also read that the legs need to agree as well so it is best to keep your legs moving when on transport etc. This caused me to need to do this whenever I was on a train etc. Suddenly I get travel sick even though I never had before. The first incident was on the train back from a hot and stuffy London. I had been looking at my phone playing a game on the way home which I have done loads of times before. I felt strange (probably because it was hot and stuffy) and suddenly decided that I was going to be sick. I had to get out of that train as soon I could but there was still 45 minutes to go. I could get off at the next train station (East Croydon) and wait for a bit but it would only prolong the agony. Fortunately my hubby works near Gatwick (which was the next stop after that) so I convinced him to pick me up there meaning I only had to cope with only 25 minutes.

Next it happened when I was travelling in my sister’s car back from Brighton. I was in the front seat of the car and needed to look up something on my phone to see what I was going to have for dinner on the slimming world diet. I struggled to find what I wanted so was using my phone for longer than I would of liked. I don’t know if this actually made me feel queasy, whether it was her driving or whether I convinced myself I did. I didn’t feel ok until I got home. In fact, that’s not true. I felt rough the next day and two days later came down with a nausea bug so maybe it was that. Or stress?

The final incident happened a week ago on Saturday after I had the nausea bug at work the Tuesday before. I was going to see my Nan and Grandad and was in the front seat of my Mum’s car. I had a pesto pasta salad in the car (as I had been afraid to eat) and then had a mint. Suddenly I felt something pushing up my throat. Obviously I thought it was sick but it was most likely a burp (the reason they give you mints after a dinner is because they make you burp!). Especially as I hadn’t been eating properly for days which gives me wind. But then it turned into a full blown panic attack. Had both my sisters joking that it must mean I was pregnant so I was more convinced I was. This led to me not eating hardly anything for the next week at work and just getting worse and worse. I was getting stressed that my period wasn’t starting and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be pregnant or not. I want a baby but not sure I could cope with the nausea. So it was stressing me out even more not knowing! That is why it scared me so much when I was in pain on Friday morning as I still hadn’t come on and was convinced something was very wrong. Turns out it was just period pain for one reason or another but it still scared me.

So yesterday (Sunday) was a disaster. I couldn’t snap out of the depressive mood and was just crying and crying. My husband didn’t know what to do with me and I didn’t know what to do either. Eventually he managed to get me to get showered and dressed and we went to see his mum and dad then my family. I did start to feel better but still delicate. We went for a walk after dinner and I got wind cramps in my tummy. Nothing new for me but suddenly I was afraid of them. That is what had been making me feel sick at work, wind, not anything else. I feel it pushing up my throat and I worry that it is something else. But I am normally used to it so why is it suddenly making me panic and shake.

I feel it today but I am telling myself that is all it is. I even feel a burning in my nose which I often get with it but not letting it panic me. I know it’s just indigestion. Maybe it is because I have started taking the citalopram again. I slowly came off it and got down to taking only 5mg twice a week. But I went from 5mg every day to 5mg twice a week too quickly and I am sure that is what caused this episode. I do feel better now I can feel it getting into my blood stream. I did have the shakes when I began writing this but somehow writing it has made me feel better. I can feel this knot in the pit of my stomach and my chest feels tight. I know I am carrying around loads of emotion and I was quite surprised I wasn’t crying my eyes out at work earlier. But I know I need to go through the motions and eventually it won’t feel like going through the motions anymore.

I do really need to think about what I want though. Although everyone is nice in this job I am not sure it is for me really. There isn’t enough to do (it’s not just me saying that) and the whole reason I left the receptionist job was because there wasn’t enough to do. Yes I get paid more to have nothing to do here but it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I would prefer to be really busy so I don’t have time to think about things. Oh I have also finished my degree along the way so don’t have that to think about either. So now the question is, do I look for another job in admin that is likely to be busier, do I stay here and sit and wait for the projects to come about before I change (both could mean holding off having a baby), or do I just accept this job and be grateful that I will want a quiet job when I am pregnant/have a baby. Or would I? The more I type this the more I realise that no, I don’t want a quiet job whilst I do that. Especially one that means I have to go to London once a fortnight to sit and do nothing there. No, I thing I do need to change jobs before having a baby, it is just a question of whether I wait here a bit longer and then move or move now so we can start trying sooner.