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Feeling sick

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Feeling sick

Postby Inferior_Force » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:34 am

I am not sure if this belongs here or on the anxiety forum, but I´ll leave it here for now...

Since about 1.5 years I have a pretty annoying problem: I feel sick very often for no apparent reason. It started when one morning I had to vomit almost out of the blue. I have been very scared of vomiting ever since I was a little child and up to that point I had not vomited for 12 years. After that morning I started to feel sick more and more often. It happens when I go out with friends, but also when I am simply sitting in my room. As for time of the day, it happens most frequently in the evening. I might continue to feel sick for several hours, but so far I have not thrown up again. While I try hard to avoid it, I sometimes wish it would just happen so I´d stop feeling sick and stop being scared of it. I could never cause it intentionally, though.

I have no real idea yet what causes my feeling sick. I have had my blood sugar tested to rule out diabetes, I have kept a diary for six weeks to see if I react badly to some type of food and came up negative. The doctor I went to said there could be a myriad of reasons, so I guess I could undergo a million tests and still not be entirely sure I don´t have a severe physical disease. I have some strong reasons to believe my problem is psychosomatic in nature, though:

-It typically happens in the evening, which has always been a time of the day when I felt more anxious than usual.
-Feeling sick causes a strong emotional reaction: I start to panic, feel like I need to get out of where ever I am, I have trouble breathing normally, I feel detached from everyone and everything around me. I start to feel isolated, like I have been sucked into some parallel universe, as if I was drifting away from everyone else and nobody notices.
-It usually brings considerable relief for me to cry, or yell at someone, or simply talk to someone about how sick I feel. Unfortunately, there is not always someone available; and my complaints are also taking a toll on the people around me. I do not always feel like complaining or seeking comfort is welcome. When I can talk to someone, however, it usually makes me feel less detached and more grounded, which is of great help.
-I tend to feel sick and anxious particularly often in situations when there is a reason to feel nervous: Like before a job interview or a test, or before meeting new people, or when I am waiting for someone who is late.
-I have had complaints like these ever since early childhood, and there were always times when they were more and less severe.

The trouble is that sometimes I might be feeling sick for normal reasons, like overeating, or not eating enough, but I can barely distinguish this from instances when I think my sickness is purely psychosomatic in nature because either way feeling sick evokes the same emotional response.

I have tried to battle this problem by trying to reassure myself, talking to myself in my head when I feel sick, but most successful so far has been chewing gum (chewing reliefs stress and it helps having a nasty taste in my mouth), and putting a handkerchief loosely over my mouth in order to avoid hyperventilation (I don´t normally carry around paper bags :wink: ). This has gone so far that I never leave the house without a package of chewing gum. Still, none of this helps avoiding feeling sick in the first place, and I still feel pretty helpless towards this whole thing. I find it hard to not think about that I might start to feel sick soon. This problem really takes a toll on my social life (I´m not going out as much anymore, and I often leave parties etc. early), it impedes my work performance (sometimes I had to call in sick because I felt so bad; also I cannot focus when I´m in the middle of one of these attacks) and all in all I haven´t felt really happy and carefree ever since it started.

So, can anybody here relate to this?
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby jasmin » Mon Aug 29, 2011 2:06 pm

Hi, Inferior_Force! You could ask your doctor to send you to a good psych, maybe there are issues that you need to deal with and this is how they manifest themselves.
I hope you find this forum helpful!
How are you?
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby Inferior_Force » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:59 pm

Hi jasmin,

thank you for your reply. I have been doing better lately, hope it stays that way. Luckily there are times when I feel less panicky during a bout of nausea, and sometimes I get a week or so of not feeling sick at all. Sooner or later it will probably come back, though. My previous experiences with therapists haven´t been too good, but I´m already looking for one. I´m not sure, though, that even if I find one I will go through with this. In a way I´m still waiting for all this to go away, like it has before.
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby jasmin » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:44 pm

You could still give it a try again, though. You could print out your post so that you'll know what to show them or tell them and ask them to help.
Even if it goes away, the problem can still come back and it must be hard to go through. Please post here to vent and for support, ok?
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby Inferior_Force » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:45 pm

Printing out my post(s) sounds like a pretty good idea. I often find it hard to get any structure into what I am saying when I try to talk about this problem, having it written out might help. If I give therapy another try I guess I should consult several therapists in the beginning to see who I get along with best. It is something I didn´t do the last times I´ve tried therapy, maybe that was a mistake. Maybe this will help me to pick up the courage to say no if I feel I don´t get along with one of them.

I must say I´m quite glad I found this board. Everyone has been pretty welcoming and supportive. :)
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby jasmin » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:33 pm

It'll work and I'm sure you'll get good results :)
I'm glad you found us too!
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby Inferior_Force » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:39 pm

Though I still haven´t consulted a therapist, I have recognized certain warning signs for nausea/panic attacks:

Before an attack, I often start to feel irritable and uncomfortable. Every sound above a certain noise level evokes an aggressive response (which I don´t normally let out, though). Everything seems too loud, stressful etc. I might get a slight headache. I cannot seem to find a comfortable position, a bit like when I have a fever. This has started a few months before the nausea attacks and it has often lead to me leaving social events early even then. It makes me feel like I need to get away from anything stressful, like a group of people, but I don´t like to be alone, either.
Another thing is that I start to feel detached and far away from everything. For a long time I didn´t even notice that, but now I think it is a big reason for me feeling so panicky in the first place. One night a few weeks ago I felt a bit nauseous and I simply sat down on the grass - and this time I did not panic because I felt so strongly that the grass I felt with my hands was real, and upon realizing this, it also became clear to me that my girlfriend was right next to me and that if anything really dangerous happened to me she would move heaven and earth to help me.

So today, after not enough sleep and feeling disturbed and detached all day, I got another attack of nausea. I focused on breathing normally, and I tried to fight the detachment rather than the nausea directly. I used some of the grounding methods I read about on this board, like consciously taking in the things around me. Also, I realized I was tensing all the muscles in my back and I tried to relax them. It proved successful after a few minutes. I could be proud and happy. For some reason, though, I´m not. I feel like me fighting it might make "it" even more angry. Eventually it will get me anyway, there will be an attack I cannot contain, and then, above everything, I will have the scorn, too. That new attack will be like a punishment, it will only demonstrate to me my powerlessness and inferiority. I will constantly need to be on the lookout for warning signs, and I don´t want that to turn into a new phobia. I feel like by battling these attacks I am actually running from something.
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby jasmin » Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:22 pm

You're not running, you're fighting. I'm so happy you used those grounding techniques and that they worked, it's great!
The fear that "it will get you" is just anxiety and something that happens when you've been dealing with this for a long time and on your own. It's not going to get you, you're just getting stronger.
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby Inferior_Force » Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:25 am

Thanks for the encouragement. :)

The days after I last posted were really a bit nasty. I felt sick again, presumably for normal, legitimate reasons, but once I started to feel worried about it, it didn´t go away anymore like it would have normally and I was convinced it was because of the food. Only when I realized I had trouble breathing I noticed it was panic. Unfortunately I cannot battle the panic properly as long as I am surrounded by people I know, or by people who want to talk to me. I cannot really focus then, which means that this is still causing me to want to leave social events early. I wonder if I will ever learn to do this when others are around.

Another thing this tells me is that it is not enough to battle the panic. I think I will also have to do something about that old phobia of vomiting, which I´ve had since early childhood. Maybe then a momentary, normal bout of nausea cannot cause so much panic anymore in the first place.
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Re: Feeling sick

Postby jasmin » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:58 am

So, have you decided to see a professional? I don't think you have anything to fear. Ask someone you trust and care about to walk you to the first few sessions, so you can have them for support.

I'm sorry you felt so bad. You can PM me if you ever need to talk, or we can keep chatting here.
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