I'd been meaning to do this for ages and now I see there is already a thread for it
I first came here whilst having big problems and within days it became obvious a lot of other people arrived (not surprisingly) in a very similar way. Basically I have health anxiety, which produced various unpleasant physical symptoms. To start with I firmly believed I had a brain tumour, then it was MS, then HIV. I'm young, otherwise healthy and not in a high risk group for any of these, but that didn't stop me. I had almost non-stop panic symptoms in the background for a couple of months and also a few big panic attacks. Anyway, that's the bad news, lol. The good news is it went away. I've had milder problems since, but every time I was able to overcome it and hopefully at some point it'll be gone for ever. Sometimes it goes gradually, sometimes it feels like someone lifting a weight off your shoulders - it's that quick and that dramatic. Since that episode past I've got my old life back. I've been to get back into the sports I used to enjoy, my social life is back to normal and I've got more energy.
In case anyone new to here reads this thread first I think it's important to point out anxiety has a huge number of symptoms, many of which, if you're like me sound like they must be caused by something more serious. They're not. Off the top of my head I've had.....
* Feeling of faintness like you're not quite there, but watching your life through a TV
* Ringing in the ears or 'withdrawn hearing' (can't really describe that one, again it's like you're not quite there!)
* Tiredness - possibly sudden and profound
* Feeling excessively hot or cold (or both!)
* Chest pains
* Fluttering in the chest
* Pain in the jaw (that's where the phrase 'a jaw ache' for something tedious comes from!) and from that....
* Stiffness in the neck
* Aversion to bright light
* Tremors or shakes on part or all of your body
* Numbness on part or all of your body
* Tingling on part or all of your body
* Hypersensativity to touch
And I know there are plenty of people on here who've had worse. The important thing is they don't do any long term physical harm and you can overcome them.
Some of the things I found helped,
* Meditation - I wasn't convinced by this until I tried it, but for me the results were quite dramatic on occasions. If you google it you should be able to find basic techniques, you don't need a group, a teacher or to part with any money to do this on a basic level! One of the cornerstones of this is....
* Controlled breathing. Take slow deep breaths through your nose. The trick is to breathe from your diaphram - try and get it so your stomach moves in and out, but your chest does NOT. This can be part of meditation or just a couple of breaths to calm you down when you feel something bad coming on.
* Get away from it all - a brief change of scenery on a holiday or something seems to be good.
* Aromertherapy - again, not something I was convinced by, but it seemed to work. Possibly the easiest way to get going is to get hold of some essential oils (the scented part) and some candles. Light the candles for a few minutes until a pool of wax has developed, then add a few drops of the appropriate scent (things like Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Camomile, Geranium, Bergamot...)These do have scientifically proven properties and formed the basis of medicine for thousands of years, it's not just perfuming your house! I also tried some herbal anxiety pills which seemed to work.
* Excercise. I found this extremely useful. Also if you're used to excercising and you try whilst having anxiety problems you'd be amazed how much you can do with a few weeks worth of pent up adrenaline buzzing roudn your system! A while back my latest (comparitively minor) worry was I'd convinced myself I had a blood pressure problem, so I'd cut out harsh excercise. After a quick check with a nurse I went out cycling again and I could cover the whole of my usual route at sprint pace, such was the adrenaline going round my system!
* For me I always made a point of not taking meds and trying not to go back to the doctor to often. It was a personal thing - I wanted to beat it on my own and not indulge my worries by going to the doctor every time I thought something else was wrong. I once 'had' 3 life threatening ailments in the same week so even though my Dr was relatively understanding I tried to overcome it on my own. I appreciate this is a personal thing, but it worked for me.
Anyway, excuse me waffling and I hope it helped. The main things I wanted to say were, anxiety can do horrible things - to the point you start wondering if it really can be 'just' anxiety. BUT, it is and it will get better and you can find ways to ease it. Lastly, you've always got people to turn to.