Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pops, pings, and zips

Zips. Pings. Buzzes. Pops. Tingles. 

Our bodies can produce a lot of weird sensations. Whether your eyes are blurry, your ears are popping, your hand is tingling, or you feel some “zips” in your head, every so often all of us feel something a bit strange. To most people, they’re just a passing curiosity.

To anxious people, however, they can be alarming.

We obsess over what these sensations could mean. Imminent health issues? Life-threatening tumors? We jump to conclusions with little evidence. Of course, any prolonged symptom should receive medical evaluation. Yet even if we are reassured everything is fine by trained experts, we continue to worry. The fear can become overwhelming. Just the thought of the symptoms can produce the symptoms themselves!

Dr. Low and Recovery remind us that feelings and sensations cannot be controlled, but thoughts and impulses can be. This is sage advice when dealing with symptoms that are distressing, but not dangerous (if told so, of course, by a medical professional).

For example, sometimes I have strong tingling sensations in my right foot. This occurs usually when I’m stressed for one reason or another. I then focus on the sensation, annoyed at its occurrence, fearful of what it could mean, and thereby intensifying the symptom. I become panicky, as not only does my foot tingle but my breathing becomes shallow and my thoughts reel. This can happen dozens of times in a week.

Yet I’ve found relief by simply acknowledging that, hey, I have a little distressing sensation, and I know that there’s nothing physically wrong. It will pass. Feelings are not facts, and this distressing—but again, not dangerous—sensation will pass. And it always does, usually when I focus on something else and forget about it. 

Medical experts continually expound on TV that we shouldn't ignore our bodies. If you think something is wrong, definitely see a doctor, or two if necessary. But when trained mental health and physical health professionals reassure us that nothing is physically wrong, we need not feel ashamed or embarrassed. Indeed, why not feel overjoyed? Dr. Low and Recovery tell us that thoughts and impulses can indeed be controlled, and over time by not giving power to distressing, but not dangerous, symptoms they will fade away on their own.

18 comments:

Debbie said...

I am anew blogger who suffers from anxiety and panic. I am recording my journey through mindfulness practices to learn how to live in my chaotic mind. Have you tried this?

Comment on my blog if you have any words of wisdom. Debbiesmindfuljourney.com

Panic Attack Tips said...

I'm glad you recommend that people should seek professional help to determine the extent of their anxiety issue. To many assume they have a disorder without proper diagnosis.

Richard Seese said...

I strongly believe in blogs like these as well as reaching out to others who offer an ear to listen and advise. Congrats on the award from Healthline! I am available to offer strategies and tips to getting your life back on track.

Anonymous said...

I am a person who suffers from high anxiety, I've been suffering from it since I was in 3rd grade. I've been looking for support on the Internet instead of family support. Most family members don't understand how it feels to be anxious, nervous, scared, or having strange feelings in your body. So I'm looking for help on this site, because there's times where things go over my head and I feel like I have other disorders or disease when I have been told I'm doing okay. So what can I do to help myself? I've had professional help before, but they have just made me feel worse so that's why I'm looking for help from others who understand what I'm going through.

Doug said...

Anonymous, I recommend you check out the online meetings available at http://www.lowselfhelpsystems.org/. Recovery International is an excellent resource.

Anonymous said...

This post really helped me. Just this morning I was googling what "loss of appetite" could mean for my health on healthline.com. That lead me back to researching my GAD where healthline suggested this blog. I'm glad I am not the only one that worries needlessly about symptoms. Thank you for writing a blog about anxiety, it really does help people like me.

Anxious Hearts & Depressed Minds said...

words of wisdom, let's help each other!

https://m.facebook.com/groups/anxiousheartanddepressedmind/

Please join us! We are here for each other. Share our stories!!

Lauren M said...

Great post!

http://www.lozzieknows.com/

Jasmine Zyzniewski said...

Loved this post. As someone who also suffers from anxiety and panic disorder, I can resonate with the words you have written here. Im thankful that blogging is helping many people as well as myself deal with the hand some of us have been dealt. Its great that we can come together as a community.
Keep rocking it.

Id love to exchange thoughts and ideas about how to deal with anxiety. Check out my old blog www.theunfilteredmind.weebly.com to hear my story.
I just recently switched sites and can now be found at www.thebeautyofmindfulness.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Totally understand. If someone can't see it they don't think there should be an issue. I have a moment that is silly you some but it's. Major anxiety moment for me. The worst is when they keep going. I remain calm and tell them just just leave me alone for a bit...then it turns into an annoyed person. And if I told them I would get a lecture. I don't need a lecture I need left alone when those moments

bride2b2018 said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog. I can relate it so much and gives me hope that I'm not the only one going through this. xx

Anonymous said...

Found this post really helpful. Also starting up my own blog on anxiety as a cathartic process for myself and to help others. Feel free to take a look :)

http://www.anxietybattle.com/

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Alex Neil said...

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John said...

Yes, I agree that we shouldn't overreact and worry too much about little symptoms. Some of us do worry much too much. However, minor symptoms can be indicative of major problems. Plus doctors can often be wrong. A second or third opinion is sometimes required. Great article though. I agree with your opinion, in general. www.ibeatmysocialanxiety.com

Ben Donahower said...

Glad you are writing about this. I started experiencing chronic, but not my first bout with, health anxiety the other year when my infant was hospitalized three times in her first year while my wife was at her worst with fibro. I just felt like I couldn't die or the people that I loved wouldn't make it themselves. That stressed me out but it mostly made me tired. Couple that with some work stress, which I get worked up about, and I pretty well lost it.

I had acute onset twitching from stress and have had chronic twitches, some nerve pain, vibrations sensations, etc. since. Doctors really were mostly wrong, dismissive, or just unhelpful hence not feeling especially reassured, and so I was left to my own anxious devices... It's been almost two years now and I've self diagnosed myself with benign fasciculations syndrome, but not before I spent well more than a year agonizing over my twitches and obsessing over fears of ALS, MS, other neuromuscular disorders, but mostly brain tumors.

fahiamjfb said...


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imran said...



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Depression often develops from a person's exhaustion caused by chronic anxiety that typically accompany anxiety/panic attacks.
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