Hi, I'm a 25 year old woman living in Toronto. I believe that I have anxiety disorder, some combination of general and social. I have been pretty successful in my life, and have friends, a caring family. Without trying to sound full of myself (which I'm very self conscious about), I'm regarded as an attractive, grounded, well-rounded young person who is on her way to success.
So I started experiencing anxiety symptoms about 6 years ago. I had a severe panic attack just before an exboyfriend was visit me while I was studying abroad. I felt like I had a hood over my head and was seeing and hearing everything through muffled tubes. I was extremely dizzy and almost fainted. I had 2 hours of what at the time were the worst stomach cramps I had ever had (at that point, they got much worse over the next few years), and then passed out for 4 hours and woke up feeling hungover and covered in sweat.
Since then, I've had my anxiety manifest itself as IBS or something close to it, where I couldn't put anything (even water) into my body without severe diarhhea. I grind my teeth, have constant but varying degrees of pain in my jaw, neck, shoulders, and head. Sometimes I get lightheaded and feel faint, sometimes I get severe ringing in my ears and ear aches. I get shallow breathing and feeling like there's something wedged in my throat. So many of the anxiety symptoms are things I've been dealing with for enough time that I'm used to the pain, and they don't seem so bad anymore.
I run and do yoga as a way of dealing with the physical symptoms, and see a massage therapist. Lately, it's been so daunting to even try to get to yoga and interact with the people at the front desk, or get out and run, that i haven't done either in over a month.
I'm consumed with what people think of me, to the point that leaving my apartment, ordering coffee, making plans, anything involving those people that I can't explain this to, is daunting and oppressive. I have trouble completing simple tasks like ordering a pizza and getting motivated to clean, or plan my day.
While I was in university, I was seeing a therapist, but it was really unhelpful. At the end of our sessions he said, " I really don't know what's wrong with you". I'm open to therapy and think that I need it in order to cope with this, but it's frightening. I think I'm afraid that they're going to tell me that it's just "stress" as my doctor has, or just say that nothing's really wrong, like the therapist. Something is wrong and I can't properly help myself or rely on the people close to me.
My boyfriend has been patient and supportive and amazing, but I don't want this on him. My mother, while she claims to helpful, always ends up saying and doing things that contribute to further stress and anxiety.
How do you think I can get effective help? Thank you.