Oh, I’m sick. What a relief!

My anxiety levels have been a bit out of whack for many years. And by “a bit out of whack” I mean “crazy high, with a side order of panic attacks”. Anxiety attacks bring different symptoms for different people. My go-to symptoms most commonly include some or all of: chest pain, shortness of breath, pounding/racing heart rate, chills and shaking, nausea and sometimes stomach cramps. Full-blown anxiety/panic attacks are rare for me these days, so usually I just have chest pain, an elevated heart rate and some shortness of breath. Compared with how life used to be, this is really not a big deal and I have learned some excellent techniques for getting it back under control.

The other night I was watching TV after dinner and I started feeling a little… uncomfortable. Chest pain, racing heart, cramps, chills, shaking. Wait, an anxiety attack? I couldn’t think of anything that might have triggered it. It was baffling, and none of my usual anxiety-management techniques seemed to be making any difference, which of course made me feel worse. It’s very hard to concentrate on calm and even breathing when my mind is yelling at me, “What is going on?? Why won’t this stop?? PAAANIC!!!!”

I suffered through about 20 minutes of this until it finally registered. Oh, hang on. I’m not anxious; these are the symptoms of a tummy bug.

Yep. Not anxiety; gastro. Hilarious. I’ve never been so happy to discover I was sick.