I am an intelligent woman and this is a weakness of mine.
For an anxiety sufferer, I think intelligence and creativity can be their worst enemy. Those racing thoughts we get may be irrational, but it some twisted way they make sense. We subconsciously form conclusions and seek evidence to back them up (in the case of health anxiety) and we're very good at it.
Medicine will slow down the nervous system, but we MUST seek healthier creative outlets: art, writing, problem solving, pro actively listening to music...just about
anything that requires critical thought uses the right brain and is creative. It takes time to retrain this part of the brain to think that way, and it's not easy, but it's imperative that we do it (in my opinion, at least). You may be interested in reading this: http://anxietypanicdisorder.blogspot.com/2007/05/why-i-believe-creative-expression-is.html
And also I'm convinced that once both diseases get going, there's a near perfect positive correlation between the two. If you have a bad GERD spell, it will cause heavy anxiety and maybe even trigger panic. If you're very anxious or are having a panic attack, the stomach reels in its wake. It's not just GERD, though...my doctor tells me there's a strong relationship between anxiety/panic and several stomach problems: gastritis, GERD, IBS, etc. He's a fairly young doctor and is of the "new school", but in spite of the studies he still suspects that stress and anxiety play a role in the formation of gastric and peptic ulcers.
Some people are different. Their anxiety and panic doesn't seem to affect their stomach much. They're lucky, let me tell you. Once you add a bunch of nausea, bloating, reflux, and stuff like that to what is already a bad problem, life starts looking pretty bleak.
But there is a way out. You have to fight it on several fronts. Medications, changes of lifestyle, re-training the mind and its thought processes....none of these things can be ignored.
My Brain: My friend, My enemy: A blog to chronicle my attempt to recover from anxiety/panic disorderanxietypanicdisorder.blogspot.com/