Anxiety

Though I am not a generally anxious person, I do have occasional bouts with depression and anxiety. Sometimes, I don't even realize I'm anxious until I start to feel like I'm having a stroke or a heart attack.

It started yesterday afternoon. For a while, it felt like someone was pulling the skin and muscles on the left side of my neck taut. Then the left side of my face felt numb. Then my left arm. There wasn't any pain, just semi-tingly numbness.

If my mood is already tending toward anxiety, my brain will focus intensely on minor aches and pains and scroll through a long list of diseases or conditions I might have based on the symptoms I (believe I) am experiencing.

The problem is that once my brain fixates on a particular symptom or condition, it will amplify that symptom and create others. A further problem is that it's not easy to tell the difference between real and perceived symptoms. So, how am I supposed to decide which symptoms of impending death deserve medical attention?

Our brains are powerful instruments - they can do wonderful and terrible things.

During a particularly difficult time in my life, a few years ago, I was so convinced that I was having a heart attack that I drove myself to the hospital at 1 a.m. This example shows how rational my thoughts are when I'm in this downward spiral.

When I was running/exercising regularly, even when my life was stressful, I didn't experience this type of anxiety. I suppose that's another item to add to the list of reasons I need to become active again...

Have you ever experienced anxiety/depression?
What did you do to cope?
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