I experienced many of your symptoms, including exercise intolerance. During exercise, I’d feel like I was about to pass out, which would spike my anxiety and make me feel very distressed. This would codify my belief that my condition was going to overwhelm me and destroy my life.
I also have terrible insomnia, constant headaches, and anxiety.
All of these symptoms started a year and a half ago, triggered, I believe, by thyroiditis (my thyroid levels resolved in a few weeks, but I remain symptomatic). I have been seeing a psychologist for the past 12 months who believes that anxiety is the cause of all of my problems. I am stuck with the thought that something biological is at play, but my doctor is not able to identify any anomalies with the extensive blood work I’ve had (he even checked adrenal and cortisol production and both were normal).
I started TRT a few months ago and it has radically helped my exercise intolerance, such that I’m now about to exercise at the gym 4-5 days a week. A mindset shift also played a huge part in my ability to exercise successfully (see further below). My other symptoms mostly remain.
I am at a point where the best option for me is to ACCEPT my current condition and to carry on an enriching life REGARDLESS of how I am feeling, or how little sleep I’ve achieved. I go to the gym even if I don’t sleep a minute the night before. Doing this diminishes the significant of the illness in my life, which improves my mental state, my anxiety levels and indirectly my sleep quality and duration. It also challenges the belief that I have that this “condition” is going to overwhelm me and destroy my life. When you carry on a normal life despite not sleeping, you will find that this mindset reduces the stress and anxiety associated with sleep - it loses power over you.
I have been offered antidepressants and I am open to experimentation but I do not have much faith in these types of drugs, so have avoided going down this path. I find that when I’m contemplating new drug regimes that this refocuses my attention on my “problem” which causes my condition to grow in my mind’s eye, directly impacting my quality of life, causing me to question my capacity to cope, etc.
Re exercise, I find that despite medical wisdom suggesting it helps with sleep, I tend to get amped up following exercise so I restrict my hours to morning or early afternoon.
I really encourage you to see a psychologist to discuss your issues, fears etc at length. There is no better investment you can make than in your mental and physical health.
Sorry writing this on my mobile so it may not make a whole lot of sense!