I have suffered from this my whole life. It's not exactly anxiety, not exactly depression. I remember in 7th grade going to a peer support group for kids having a tough time. I told the counselor how I feel a tightness in my stomach almost all the time. I get irritable, grumpy, and snappy. It's really bad around the PMS time but it's there almost on a daily basis. It steals the joy from my life and often spills over to affect my loved ones. If my buttons are pushed during this time I can get super angry and yell. Most of the time my husband is the focus of this. Clearly I can control the yelling part because I seldom yell at my kids. (To be fair, dh has been the source of a lot of pain and breaking of trust over the years but he doesn't deserve my angry outbursts. I should rise above that behavior.)
When my dd2 was very small things got overwhelming. She had a lot of medical problems, and my dd1 was very spirited and challenging, and dh was not emotionally around. I started taking a mild anti-depressant. The knot in my stomach went away! It was liberating. But then so did my intense feelings of spirituality, love, joy and humor. It numbed me somewhat. I made it through her health problems, nursing school, and first year as a nurse on the meds. I finally decided to wean off because I was not ever suicidal-depressed. The meds were making my brain too foggy and I needed to be sharp and alert at work-- I work with very sick peds patients.
I weaned off about 9 months ago. I am functional and my brain is sharper and I am feeling more. But that darned tight feeling is back in my stomach and the flares of anger/hurt/irritation/tension is back.
How do I get rid of this? I know and practice relaxation, exercise, and all that. But in the heat of the moment when I am in the grocery store or the car or can't sit down and find that quiet place, how do I relax myself inside and get rid of that tight feeling?