When The Physical Symptoms Of My Illness Mimic A Panic Attack



By Jo Moss in The Mighty.


I have known for many years that my anxiety and depression don’t just affect my mental health but also cause physical symptoms like fatigue, pain and palpitations. But it wasn’t until my physical health deteriorated that I realized the opposite was also true.

For most of my life doctors have blamed my physical symptoms on my poor mental health – saying my fatigue is caused by my depression, my headaches are because I’m anxious and tense, my dizziness is just a symptom of my anxiety, and they have even tried to convince me I was exaggerating the severity of my pain due to my mental state. Rather than trying to find the true cause of my ill health they would just prescribe more antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds. But I knew this wasn’t the full story. I knew there were many times my mental health was stable but these physical symptoms were still present. It’s a situation a lot of us face when trying to get a diagnosis of condition that has no definitive test, like ME/CFS. To be told it’s all in your head, when you clearly know otherwise, is enough to bring on a depressive episode.


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