My Stomach Always Seems to Be In a Knot

In addition to being genetically predisposed to both anxiety and depression, I've been dealing with chronic pain for the last decade.  Because, really, why only deal with two problems when you can deal with three?

For many years, I didn't figure out to separate the anxiety and depression from the disease.  I thought the disease was what was making me miserable, and if the physical stuff would go away, then I'd magically be the happy, outgoing person my television said I should be.  It took numerous crashes and bouts with suicidal tendencies to figure out I had problems with anxiety and depression too, and in fact dealing with those has been the most effective tool in dealing with the chronic pain.

I'm not suicidal.  I mostly doing okay, but it's been kind of hard lately.  I started having panic attacks after going off Zoloft, and I spent most of January dysfunctional.  I'm back on medication, feeling a bit better, but still feel kind of anxious and like I don't have the energy to deal with life outside my bedroom.  The worst thing is that my stomach seems perpetually knotted, and I have the worst time getting myself to eat.  I like to call this the major life trauma diet plan.  I don't really recommend it.

Part of the problem is that I broke up with my girlfriend of 2.5 years.  That was...not fun.  Perhaps you think me nuts to terminate one of my primary means of support, but I realized we weren't right for each other, and I have felt trapped and freaked out about that for a while.  It needed to happen to allow me to get better.  But, it's hard.  I have moved around the country a lot, and I don't have many local friends, certainly no one i know well enough to ask to come over and make sure I eat.  It's lonely, and I'm sad.  I miss her, and my temptation is to find a rebound to take solace in.  But part of what I realized is that I need to learn to be okay with myself before I can be functional in a relationship.  Otherwise I'll end up clinging to anyone willing to take care of me.  That's not good for either of us. 

If only that didn't imply celibacy for the duration.  Sigh.  Alas, I'm not good at the casual relationship, so that option is basically out. Why do women have to look so damn good? ;)

So anyway, I spend a lot of time alone in my room trying to avoid thinking that I am a deficient person who is too boring and sickly to love.  Being here helps.  It's amazing how many people hide their pain and struggle from each other.  It makes me feel a little less alone.  I just wish we could drop some of those barriers when we don't have the reassuring anonymity of the internet. :-/
NobleBasset NobleBasset
26-30, M
11 Responses Feb 19, 2008

Wow at first I thought I wrote this and forgot! Totally relate. That icky feeling in the stomach feels different with anxiety than depression but both create an unpleasant feeling and sometimes I get the anxiety butterflies feeling without actually feeling that anxious, like its just physical, and it is hell to try to distract myself. I could easily get hooked on benzos cause they are all that help.

I am glad you wrote this piece. It is easy to give a sermon here so I won't shy away from giving my own. So, read what you have read, every day, frequently. Learn to laugh at it because, my friend, all those "I" in the story above are your ego and not you. You are bigger than your ego. From my experience I have learnt that in this world, everything you have come to love, you have to let go of it in this lifetime. Be it your age, your car, your house, your money, your family, your partner, everything. Loving and letting go, are partners of life. Practise Vipassana (google it) to understand what I am saying.

I would like to mention also from a medical side that anxieties, fears, and depression cause stress upon the body. Stomach knots and various symptoms can be only the body responding to the stresses placed on it. God bless you as you pursue health. :)

I would like to mention also from a medical side that anxieties, fears, and depression cause stress upon the body. Stomach knots and various symptoms can be only the body responding to the stresses placed on it. God bless you as you pursue health. :)

I would like to mention also from a medical side that anxieties, fears, and depression cause stress upon the body. Stomach knots and various symptoms can be only the body responding to the stresses placed on it. God bless you as you pursue health. :)

You are not alone. I think that everyone experiences some type of mental issues at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, mine are worse than most and have been all I've known for nearly 20 years. I've made the mistake of pushing everyone away and trying to deal on my own. Then when I feel lonely, unwanted & unloved I am quick to think about an easier way out than med adjustments and talk therapy. I've been low enough the only way I can imagine escaping the pain is by suicide. Please, DO NOT make the same mistakes I've made. There is always someone who will love you, miss you, feel guilty for not helping you, or wonder how they failed you. There are plenty of people (on here, included) that worry about you because they are sincerely good people and understand exactly what you are going through. You are very brave for reaching out on EP and if that's what keeps you around til you feel better, then keep reaching out. There are lots of people willing to face your pain with you if you allow them to. Eventually, you will find answers, probably in a combination of medicine, therapy, religion and trust and you will appreciate the mundane, normal things in life that others take for granted!

Vesuvious-<br />
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Don't give up prematurely. If your medication isn't working after a few weeks, switch. That's part of why there are so many. Different people react to different drugs. Some do, indeed, make things worse. But chances are good you can find one that helps.<br />
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That said, drugs don't magically fix everything. I have described it as kind of putting a floor on how bad things get. It's not that you're never sad any's more that you've realized your kind of "average" mood is better, and the deep lows aren't quite as deep. And it's very don't just wake up feeling better. At some point you look back and realize, with some surprise, that yeah, actually, compared to when you first started, you feel better, even though you didn't notice the change as it happened.<br />
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Meanwhile, you have to also work through whatever's gnawing at you with a therapist. There again you may have to go through a few. I think it was maybe only my...fifth?...that actually helped me.<br />
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Finally, resist the urge to define yourself by your anxiety, depression, panic, etc. As much as it tortures you, it's also familiar, and tempting to hang onto as a defining characteristic. Moreover, it may feel like you're vindicating everyone who wants you to "just get better." But, **** 'em. You aren't your suffering. There is more to you than that. Let yourself heal. Be willing to be happy with the things you can be happy about. And once you feel better, go back and tell them all what unsupportive ******* they were. :)<br />
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Anyway, I hope that helps. I'm doing much better. I needed a medication boost, and I needed to get out of a horribly destructive professional situation, both of which I've done. Plus, I got a puppy, which I highly recommend as therapy (so long as you also realize it can be a lot of work and frustrating at times).<br />
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Good luck.<br />
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P.S. Have some faith in yourself and your own judgment: don't push away people who really do love you and want to help you, and at the same time don't be afraid to get rid of those who aren't good for you. You are not crazy. :)

Hello. It seems so strange to hear a man talk the way you do. It really sounds like you are in touch with yourself more than the average man, especially to be able to talk about it, which most men don't, and to have that strength to separate yourself from your other half because you don't want to end up hurting her, too. That is very sweet. I think, if anything, you are very brave. Brave for taking on such a disease, brave for fighting every day because God knows it's hard some days to get up from that bed and stay up, let alone leave your room. I know exactly how you feel. I, too, am a sufferer. I have thought about suicide, but know I would never do it. They tell me it's my minds way of letting me know that what I am enduring in my life is too much. That there is something in my past or my present that is too much for me to handle. I think for me my biggest thing isn't so much my past, but I bring a lot of anxiety on my self because my husband wants me to go get a job, but I know how and what I'm feeling, and I definately am not a people person. Especially, knowing my mood swings. So, I too, recently started my meds, not going too well with that. The dose is just too strong and I feel more anxiety than I did before. Some days it isn't too bad but the doc increased the amount I usually take and today was the first day. In my mind, I am sick. Because of the bad attack I had today, the first thing came to my mind is that they are trying to make me go more crazy than I already am. They are doing this on purpose. A part of me knows this isn't true, but my sick mind is trying to over take the last bit of sanity that is left.

I can relate to your experience. I experienced the stomache in a knot, panic attacks that lead to agoraphobia and I had Celexa to help. I'm sort of glad to find out that I am not alone.

Actually, the Zoloft helped with ambient anxiety levels and depression, and for acute episodes I have diazepam. I get by with those. It's been a very visceral lesson in how much of a chemical disorder it really is (as opposed to something you can just "get over").

I have the same problem (stomach in a knot) and it's gotten worse now that I quit smoking. It's almost unbearable. I was wondering, how do you function in a job with your depression and anxiety. That is one of my biggest problems.