Hi everyone -
First, I want to thank the forum creators, moderators, and contributors. This is an excellent resource, and very comforting in many ways. I am grateful that it exsists.
So, this is going to be long, but I feel it is necessary for me to put "everything out there" in terms of my expereince with gerd/lprd. It will help me with keeping perspective on it.
I am going through a lot of personal changes in my life right now, both internally and externally. I came to a point in my life where I needed to make changes, becuase the path I was on was going to lead me to a world of hurt (I anticipated.) A big part of this new outlook, is addressing personal problems instead of ignoring them or pushing them aside. My GI distress being one of them. I knew something was wrong, but didn't even want to deal with it for almost 4 years. I finally went to a GI this past Monday. She concluded it was GERD and IBS, and wanted me to come in for an endoscopy. The second part really freaked me out. I thouhgt "I am only 28, does she already need to check for Barrett's!?" It freaked me out, but gave me a reality check that is a blessing in of itslef.
So why did I avoid accepting the fact I had a problem? Well, because it is tied to an event in my life that COMPLETELY wrecked my state of mind, my confidence, self esteem, sense of self, and was a tremendous source os shame and severe stress. It was when I was dealing with that, that the gerd showed up. It makes me really look into the psychological basis of this disease.
The "event" occured during an already stress heavy stretch of my life. I have been dealing with mental/emotional issues for a long time. Anxiety, depression, OCD, anorexia, bulimia, excercise addiction, etc. I was in a relationship that brought its own stress, stressful work situation, family stress, and I was studying for the MCAT (medical school entrance exam.) I was strung out to say the least. At that time, just a few weeks before the MCAT, I decided to go to the beach (as I was an avid surfer at the time.) With surfing there is an unspoken "pecking order" of sorts out in the water. The locals and more expereinced guys get a bigger share of waves. Sometimes it doesn't quite work like that, and tensions flare out in the water. There was a guy who was just taking wave after wave, and wouldn't let a single one pass him by. This erked me, but what sent me over the top was when he started yelling at me to get out of his way on one wave. (I know this sounds silly, but it was very real for me, so please bare with me, it is GERD related.)
Something inside of me just snapped. Like I temporarily lost my mind, something just came over me...a real anger. The next wave he took off on, I blatantly got in his way and cut him off. He flew past me cursing and cussing, and saying all sorts of harsh things. At that moment, all of that anger, angst that came over me completely went away. I felt hollow, and totally meek. Like a complete coward, it was so bizarre. He came back paddling towards me just tearing into me verbally and threatening me. I couldn't even look at him in the face, I just cowarded away. I even gave a weak "sorry." It was one of the most humiliating expereinces of my life, if not the MOST humiliating. It probably only lasted less than a minute, bt it felt like an eternity. A lot of people saw it happen so it made it that much worse. I left the water completly crushed, ashamed, disgusted with myself. I couldn't even process the fact that I was a "coward." It was too much for me to bare. I just drove home numb. As much as I don't want to admit it, the expereince traumatized me. Not so much the event itself, but how I reacted to it, and how my mind couldn't handle the reality of it. I got back home with this pain started to grow inside of me, the MCAT coming up, work getting crazier, and my other mental issues kicking into overdrive. For the next 2 months I couldn't sleep. All I could think about was my cowardness. Everytime I remembered the event, my stomach would feel as if someone just punched it. Like my diaphragm would rise and drop - literally. Every time I would think about the event, my stomach would react that way. My immune system was weakened, and I started to get sick frequently. As if I wasn't in enough pain already, I took a job promotion that required me to lead a multi-million dollar project - to prove to myself that my cowardness and that "event" would not stop me from moving on with my life.
Right around the MCAT, which was three weeks later, the GERD symptoms appeared. At first it was just a constant burning at the upper part of my abdomen, but later I started to feel food regurgitating back into my throat after eating, or when I would burp. Then I started to have all kinds of upper respiratory issues (sinus congestion, asthma like symptoms, excessive phlegm, irritated eyes, and just not feeling good in general.) After that, IBS symptoms started.
I suffered this was for nearly four years. I went to therapy, tried to talk it out with others, but the digestive issues remained. Now, I am coming to terms with it, and accepting it and focusing on how I can make it better. I still haven't really recovered from "coward" thing, so I am hoping that by really dealing with this it just might resolve the GERD/LRPD. But in the meantime, taking Prilosec and changing eating, sleeping, etc and seeing a GI.
If you read this, thank you. I know it was long winded, but I felt I had to do it, and be honest with myself about the situation. If anyone has any feedback, or input, it would be appreciated.
My prayers go out to each and everyone one of you. GERD is horrible, and there are some peopple on here who have dealt with it in its worst forms. Although my symptoms cause me distress, there are many who are that much worse and my sympathies go out to you. Hopefully we can all recover from this some day.
Thank you and God bless,