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A Newcomer's Testimony

PostPosted: January 11th, 2014, 2:01 am
by pprabhu
Greetings all,

I just wanted to spend some time saying thanks and reflect a bit on a period in my life that I'm entering that may be quite similar to that of others here. I'm a 25 year old guy, a few years out of college, that works in hardware & software design for a living. I, like everyone else, have been slowly learning the art of stress management what with balancing the trials and tribulations of life, though in my case I'm not that proud of my current SM skills. Still -- it's getting there day by day.

I've had a lot of personal issues (family) reach a climax a few weeks ago, including sending a toxic relative back to their folks to care for them because it'd been negatively affecting me for the passed few years to a point where I just couldn't deal with it anymore. Anyway, I experienced a sort of "shock" upon their exodus; it was like regaining control of a limb that you'd long since forgotten about, getting part of your life back. I was feeling great after a week or two and was really motivated to get to work on my own personal projects over the break. It was after about a week and a half in (somewhere around the 27th) that I begin to experience, spontaneously, a massive twitching episode, and I mean massive (for me). I was getting a muscle twitch in a random place in my body once every 15 seconds or so, and they felt big. Twitching that lasts a half a second or so in my legs, arms, temples, face, tongue.. hell, if it can move it will! Now, at the time, I'd been going on Day 8 of "stay up all night and work like crazy" and "go to sleep around 9AM".. I have a habit of drifting into a nocturnal cycle, it's probably the peaceful aspect of the night.

At the time I made the !!!MISTAKE!!! of consulting Dr. Google as to "what the heck is with these twitches?" Like others, I fell into the anxiety spiral of thinking it's something a lot worse than it probably is and went through the rounds of strength testing, exercising to see if I felt weakness, and so on. I scheduled an appointment with my doc who's aware of other instances where I've let anxiety get the best of me, such as when I thought I was going to have heart problems, or the previous few months where I was almost certain I had serious stomach problems which turned out to be mild inflammation... the list goes on. My doc saw me and did some basic muscle tests and said "with 100% confidence" that there's no way I have a neurological problem. We did some simple muscle strength tests, walk around the office tests and flat out told me that there's no way I have a neurological problem. The logical side of me agrees with him, but the emotional side is either running on fumes or half empty. It's difficult for me to "accept the diagnosis" in this case because part of me feels like not enough testing was performed... but when I asked for an EMG he said there's absolutely no chance I have anything neurological and I don't need to check it out.

Now let me tell you, it's amazing the roulette of symptoms I've been experiencing. After reading about the serious things that twitching could (rarely) imply, I started picking up symptoms left and right, often with a duration of like 6 days each, that coincided with said rare condition -- weakness in my left arm, weakness in my left leg, tongue feeling enlarged, general shakyness and now I "feel" like my right foot is somewhat limp, though when I do tests for foot issues (walk around on heels, tiptoes, etc.) nothing ever seems wrong. I'll very rarely feel (probably think!) like I touch the floor ever so slightly with my right foot and have been overall very shaky for the passed couple weeks, but, I'm able to pass certain "there's something obviously wrong" tests without issue and of course the doc observed my walk cycle and had no inclination of a problem.

I apologize for the above text, but the piece of advice my doctor shared with me and how he shared it with me really gave me a boost to my quality of life and I'd love to share it here. Before where I'd obsess on a daily basis feeling bad for myself (and feeling terrible for others that do have serious conditions) I now am at least 80% back to "normal" with only a mild bit of concern here and there, these days about my foot.

He told me, "Each and every one of us has to have a healthy bit of denial to enjoy life. You see, we each wear our denial much like a suit of armor -- we know that at some point in the future, yes, we will pass on, but it's our denial that helps us not worry about it and enjoy life, rather than waste it every day worrying about 'what might happen' -- and what's totally beyond our control. Sometimes we get a few cracks in the armor -- anxiety -- and it's our job to repair it by changing the way we think. Say you do have a serious condition right now and there's nothing you can do about it. There's nothing you can do about it other than look it in the eye and bluntly say 'what does it matter anyway? That's not going to stop me from enjoying today.'"

It seemed obvious to me, but it must have been something about hearing someone else say it that really clicked with me. From that point forward I think I've improved my "denial armor" substantially. If you think you have something you can't do anything about, then what's the point in wasting attention on that possibility anyway? I know -- words that have been echoed time and time again, but it never hurts to see them again, right? :)

Another interesting thing is that since getting my grips on reality a bit better I've noticed a general reduction in the amount of twitching I'm experiencing. I would certainly agree with the notion that increased anxiety -> increased bodily twitches. During my period of high anxiety I read a lot of posts here and have to say that everyone here that's sharing their wisdom and experience here is doing a seriously great service... I believe that I speak for many, many people who don't sign up here when I say THANK YOU! :)

-Pravin