Please help with my anxiety

I have been dealing with anxiety for a while now. I have been diagnose with a form of covid related anxiety due to the difficulty I had breathing. So, my psychiatrists says these episodes will go away after sometime, but I think they got worse. Every since I had my first psychiatrist visit, which was about 2 months ago, I had panic attacks almost every single day. I could only take the medication given every 3 days, which was about how often these episodes came before I visit the psychiatrist. These panic attacks were due to same symptoms I had experience prior to my hospital visit, so I was used to it, trying convincing myself everyday that it was just anxiety. However, these past two weeks had been really difficult. I had a tingling and burning sensation in my right heel that had been going on for about 2 weeks. I had trouble falling asleep, waking up immediately after I fall asleep feeling like I can’t breath. Furthermore, I’ve had shooting pains down my left back area, as well as tremors at my left chest area, all of which are making me freak out because I had never experienced any of it. I couldn’t resist the urge to google these symptoms, even though I know it will make me freak out more, but I can’t help but worry. This week was by far the worse. I had difficulties swallowing. I choked on my food because of it and ever since then I only tried to eat in small amounts and drink liquid. It was almost as if I forgot how to swallow and I am very scared that the food I ate was going to go up my nose or my windpipe. I felt almost crazy that i had to manually count the seconds the food I ate was going down my throat before I breath again. Moreover, I had sharp pains and a burning sensation in my stomach area, which is most likely due to acid reflux because I do have that. I feel like a clean freak, I am constantly washing my hands, going from my bedroom to the toilet at least 5 times every night before I go to bed. Things I never used to afraid of, like using a wet wipe, made me wash my hands because I was afraid that the soap in a wet wipe was going to poison me if I had eaten food with the unwashed hands. I am constantly checking my body fluids, urine, ensuring if there wasn’t any discolouration and if there was, that I had a serious medical illness. This wasn’t possible because I had gone the the emergency department 4 months prior and gotten everything cleared. I was healthy. Even now, I try to get better with workouts, exercising, playing the sport I loved so much before. Yet I am unable to get these thoughts and bodily sensations out out of my head. So, I really want to ask if, should I get these symptoms checked out again? Since I already went to the ER prior and got all tests done, ruling out any possibility of serious problems. But at the same time, I feel like I should because all these symptoms are new. Moreover, I am wondering if I really just have a covid related anxiety thats a side effect, because I believe its something much more than that, since I’ve tried many things to reduce my anxiety and stress, but nothing is really helping.


Hi @rrrrr , I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been going through such a challenging time with anxiety and its related symptoms. It takes a lot of courage to share your experiences, and I want you to know that I’m here to provide support and understanding.

First, I want to emphasize that seeking help and support is essential in situations like this. While your psychiatrist mentioned that the episodes might go away with time, it seems like your symptoms have worsened and are significantly impacting your daily life. It’s crucial to follow up with a healthcare professional, such as your psychiatrist or a primary care doctor, to discuss your current symptoms and concerns.

It’s also important to address your anxiety and how it’s affecting your life. Anxiety can manifest in various ways and may require a comprehensive approach for management. Alongside medical evaluations, counselling and therapy can be beneficial in helping you cope with anxiety and stress.

Here are some exercises from Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) that you might find helpful when the symptoms show up.

  1. Symptom: Difficulty Swallowing: When you experience difficulty swallowing and start feeling anxious, try using the Grounding Technique. Focus on your senses by looking around the room and naming five things you see, then touch and describe four objects around you. This exercise can help distract your mind from anxious thoughts and bring you back to the present moment, reducing distress.

  2. Symptom: Tingling and Burning Sensation in Right Heel: If you notice tingling and burning sensations in your heel and start to worry about its cause, you can practice Opposite Action. Instead of avoiding physical activities or assuming the worst, engage in gentle stretching exercises or walk around for a few minutes. This can help counteract the urge to withdraw and may lessen anxiety.

  3. Symptom: Sharp Pains and Burning Sensation in Stomach: If you suspect acid reflux is causing discomfort and it triggers anxiety, you can try the Self-Soothe exercise. Have a warm cup of herbal tea or take a few minutes to engage in deep belly breathing to soothe your stomach and calm your mind.

Anxiety can exacerbate physical sensations, leading to a heightened state of worry and distress. These symptoms and anxieties can create a cycle where one feeds into the other, making the overall experience more challenging.

Incorporating the DBT exercises when these symptoms arise can help interrupt this cycle and offer you some relief. Tolerating distress is a crucial aspect of managing anxiety, as it allows you to develop the capacity to stay with difficult emotions without becoming overwhelmed. By applying distress tolerance skills like Grounding, Self-Soothing, and Mindfulness, you can bring down the intensity of distress and create a space for emotional regulation.

When you practice distress tolerance, you are essentially giving yourself permission to experience the distress without judgment or attempts to immediately fix it. This process of acceptance can be challenging at first, but over time, it can lead to a reduction in the overall distress and anxiety you experience.

Once you have created some space to tolerate distress, you can then focus on emotional regulation techniques. Emotional regulation involves learning to identify and understand your emotions and finding healthy ways to manage and express them.

However, it’s essential to remember that these exercises are just tools, and professional help is crucial in addressing the root causes of your anxiety and providing comprehensive support. Take care, and know that you have the strength within you to face these challenges and grow through them.

You can read more about distress tolerance skills here: Distress Tolerance Skills - Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Tools