Questions about "triggers" and "somatic" symptoms (hope I'm not being annoying!)

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AmandaB30

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Hi, Amanda for the third time. I feel like I'm posting way more than other people!!! ??? This is all very new to me still and I have so many questions. One of them is regarding what I learned are called "triggers", so I knew only extreme examples and never knew MY triggers it seems until now. I feel like almost everything is triggering me into a panic attack or emotional flashback. Also getting me so agitated and irritable  ??? These "triggers" seem to involve anything now regarding any type of child abuse, neglect, cruelty. Ex: at the grocery store I overheard a small child softly crying and the mom saying "Oh for (gods) sake, grow up. Do you want to celebrate your party, because if you do, stop this whining right now!" I completely froze...sounded identical to my mom. I tried to just keep focusing on what I was doing, but I couldn't, I got all shaky, chest got all tight (I've just always referred to my sensations as a "panic attack" but I don't know now!) because then a powerful rage swept over me and I felt so bad for the girl. Anyway, I was so upset I just left the store, but not without giving the lady probably the deadliest, disgusted face she ever saw. I felt so crazy and out of control.  :'( Also, now any news about terrorist attacks, murders, anything causes my heart to race and I have to avoid it. This is VERY confusing for me, because I have always been a "news" person!! Now all of a sudden I can't handle it? And I realize I'm even triggering myself to the point of feeling AWFUL by reading certain things, or watching certain things thinking I'll be fine...but then I'm not. What are we supposed to do if we have been triggered or even triggered ourselves?? Like how do we stop feeling so weird and try to feel "normal"?? Whatever that feels like. The other question, related to this I think but sometimes seems/seemed to just completely come out of the blue, is about "somatic" symptoms. Whatever this is, it is my WORST struggle of all!! To not make it too long, I will try to sum up the last two years regarding that...2 years ago first pregnancy, I was excited but then terrified and couldn't explain at all WHY, had such severe "panic attacks" I was hospitalized. Ended up misscarying, thought I felt relief. While out one day I started getting SUPER weird sensation almost as though my heart just stopped, then this wave and as though my heart started again. (Most terrifying sensation I ever felt.) freaked out, went to the hospital, everything showed fine. Then began a looong and tortured past 2 years of having a phobia that I have some sort of heart issue, rare arrythmia as at first it came out of the blue only, when I felt fine. Well, many, MANY tests have been done on me, even wearing a holter monitor WHILE getting the sensation and (comically) the cardiologist said I didn't even register ONE palpitation :stars: !? Which he said would be harmless anyway. I've had so many others tests and all are normal. My brain gets it and logically I get it, but my body doesn't. I no longer run to the hospital, but the sensations or FEAR of sensations keeps me in bed for days. I hate living like this. Recently my psychiatrist mentioned "somatic" symptoms and that they are NOT dangerous, but feel very real and terrifying. I know that this MUST be what is happening, but why all of a sudden and so weird? PLEASE let me know if any of you have this too! Some of the other "symptoms" are sudden dizziness and weakness when I try to go to a store and at other times, weird splotchy rashes, those weird chest sensations, "zaps" when I look around that feels IDENTICAL to med withdrawal, but everyone is saying no, that one in particular is hard for me to understand...it feels just like when I would miss a dose of paxil, but instead will come when I'm super anxious...I don't know anyone else who gets "zappy" or electrical shock sensations when they are super anxious!!???  :blink: anyway, I used to be active and every day I'm staying in bed more an more and terrified to be active. Any responses would be SO appreciated!! And does anyone know of a link or article that explains somatic symptoms? It IS definetly way worse when I think about it...I know this. So it's driving me CRAZY!!! Ughh logically I say "no no, don't worry about it, it's in your head" but then its like it just takes over my body and I panic and can't do anything  :spooked: anyway sorry for the length of this once again and thank you SO much for reading!!  :hug:

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Three Roses

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That's what we're here for - make your posts as lengthy and as often as necessary. I do have some somatic symptoms - breathlessness, tight chest, dizziness, my heart skips like a flat rock across a pond at times. Try searching pete-walker.com for "somatic symptoms" and also take a look at the 4F's - you'll be hearing a lot about about those ;)

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radical

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Hi Amandab30,
You are welcome to post as often as you like :)
I know the feeling of being too much, taking up too much time and space.....

I've also experienced many somatic symptoms.  They don't freak me out anywhere near as much as they used to.  I felt like I was about to have a heart attack as I drove to my job this morning.  I felt better once I got there.
I've also experienced that missing a heart beat thing.  It's scary. Dizziness, weakness, panic attacks, palpatations, blotchy rashes - yup.
I've only had the zappy thing, expecially when turning my head, in relation to tricyclic or SSRI antidepressants, are you on any? Or have you come off any in the last month?

Anxiety is the pits.  I feel for you.

Exercise really helps, but I know it feels worse before it gets better.  But it does get some of the cortisol out of your system and release endorphins.  I go for regular walks, but I used to have panic attacks being away from home.  I don't now.  Also meditation - again, it makes you feel worse before it makes you feel better.

All I can say, is hang in there.  Things will get better.

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arpy1

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oh amanda i really feel for you!  i second what the others say about posting. no one will mind, honestly. just do what you need to do - anything that helps you cope with this onset of cptsd. and i reckon that it is just that, the physical onset of it - it does seem to come out of nowhere, doesn't it? and it is totally frightening. i once had the ambulance out for what i thought was a heart attack. chest pains so i could hardly breathe. the paramedics wouldn't go away even when the cardio showed normal becos they were worried even tho i told them it was probably in my head. stayed for two hours. so embarrassing but reassuring at the same time  :stars:
that is just to show that what you are experiencing is not unusual or ridiculous. nor is it under your control. it's your whole system reacting to too much bad stuff and it isn't crazy. 

if you haven't seen it already, many of us would recommend Pete Walker's book cPTSD - From surviving to thriving. i know we keep banging on about it, but to be honest, with a few exceptions, it is probably the only resource that truly validates the cptsd experience. written unsurprisingly by a sufferer.  it explains about emotional flashbacks and stuff, and i found it , still do, very reassuring. give useful strategies to try when suffering flashbacks and panic attacks and stuff too. honestly, i don't get a  commission!
also suggest googling Bessel van der Kolk for some very useful info about the neuroscience behind what is happening in our bodies with this.
i have also had bouts of staying in bed.  i still would but for the various strategies i try and maintain (with varying success) that make me get up and going. some days it's just for a shower or some food. some days i can do more. i try to let myself off the beating for being so non-functioning and remind myself that this is an illness. and it will take a long time to get better.

anyway. i'll shut up now. just wanted to reassure you a bit.