The Mind-Body Mystery
Dr. Richard Schultz Says...
Thank you for addressing this question to me, and I apologize for the significantly delayed response.
Perhaps you now have a better understanding of the distressing symptoms you experienced back in 2017. For the benefit of others, I will reply to your original questions.
First, I want to support your decision to undergo a thorough medical exam and workup following emergence of these symptoms. It is crucial to identify any underlying pathology needing attention before ruling these out and focusing on the psychological and behavioral aspects.
Psychological disturbance can manifest physically in an almost infinite variety of ways. Psychogenic seizures, conversion symptoms, and functional neurological disorders can all result from, and/or be exacerbated by psychological and mental health difficulties. Even in cases where the initial symptoms are purely physiological, the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reactions that follow will determines whether the problem will dissipate, persist, or even worsen.
The fact that some of your symptoms are helped with the use of diazepam (Valium) indicates that central nervous system arousal (anxiety) is centrally involved in their manifestation. By learning to think about and respond to these symptoms differently, you will find that your experience of the symptoms shift and reduce. Although the limpness, fogginess, blurred vision, and shakiness caused you significant concern and distress, they don't likely pose any actual threat to you.
If you have not already done so, I therefore recommend that you consult a clinical psychologist grounded in cognitive-behavioral therapy, and who has particular experience in treating somatic difficulties. Such a provider will be best-suited to helping you understand the mind-body connection, and in devising a treatment plan to reduce the symptom burden.
Please feel free to update me on the evolution of your symptoms,and your response to them, since the time of your initial writing.
Richard E. Schultz, Ph.D.
Page last updated Aug 14, 2021