Post # 1
Just wondering if any bees deal with anxiety that is focused on health related issues?
I just read a story that someone shared on FB about a brave, beautiful terminally ill 29 yr. old woman who is choosing to end her own life, in Oregon, under the Death With Dignity Act . It brought me to tears and it also made me so anxious. I wish I never clicked on it.
Any other hypochondriacs out there who have trouble hearing about these things and then putting it out of their mind (like a normal person)? I will dwell on something like that story all day (or even for several days/weeks… before I was on anxiety meds). I know worrying about death and illness certainly won’t change anything, but my health anxiety isn’t rational.
I just wish I didn’t worry so much about the health of my loved ones and myself. I wish every headache wasn’t automatically a brain tumor, every bout with fatigue wasn’t leukemia… you get the point. I also freak before any doctor’s appointment because of the possibility of something being wrong. Damn you, WebMD.
No one in my circle dwells on illness like I do. I guess I am just looking to see if anyone can relate.
Post # 2
I have health anxiety / death anxiety. Actually, the past couple of weeks I’ve been super paranoid that I’m going to get DVT from my birth control pills because a couple of weeks ago on WB there was a thread about almost dying and I read it, even though I knew I shouldn’t have, and someone said they got DVT from their birth control and almost died.
I’ve always been like this, since I was about 7 years old. It sucks so badly. It typically only comes about when I’m anxious about other things that are out of my control. I wish I could just shut that part of my brain off. It’s so exhausting.
Post # 3
FutureFantasticMrsFox: I get paranoid and fixate on things as well. I actually have never taken birth control for longer than a couple of months because I am paranoid of blood clots. Whatever I am worried about changes, but I am always worried about something. Before medication I would literally ruin weeks of my life because I was so convinced I was dying.
I know this isn’t an anxiety forum haha, but it is nice when others can relate to you, especially when it comes to anxiety… which many people do not understand.
Post # 4
DariaVixen: I do, it’s such a catch 22 because stress makes my physically sick (IBS, heart palps, etc.) but then those things make me stress out even more! To be fair I do have some health issues but it’s such a vicious cycle.
Post # 5
I am a big hypochondriac. It’s sad really. I have definitely pulled the “it’s probably just a brain tumor” line and my husband hates it!
Seriously though, I have a lot of anxiety around my health and my loved ones’ health. It really is an awful and self-perpetuating cycle. I do have some health issues that I’m dealing with, but I’m sure that a lot of it really is just caused by stress and anxiety.
Post # 6
<div>DariaVixen: I’m not a hypochondriac, but my mom (who is an RN) once said something that has stuck with me for a long time. I cannot remember verbatium, but it was something along the lines of “You are not that special.” She meant that you are not some super special snowflake that you will come down with some serious/terminal illness randomly and with no warning. You aren’t going to wake up one day with some obscure allergy that causes you to go into anaphylaxis shock nor is your headache going to be a brain tumor nor are you going to be that girl who suddenly collapsed due to some rare heart disease. Sure it *can* happen, but the odds are so slim and you are so unspecial that it’s just not going to happen to you.</div>
<div>I don’t know if that helps at all, but figured I’d throw it out there anyway. I know anxiety can be a bitch and I hope you are able to work through it!</div>
Post # 7
RunsWithBears: You know, I’m a statistician so I completely understand probabilities, however this stuff isn’t logical. My brain says sure, the likelihood of this happening is .0001% however for the person that gets it, it’s 100%. What if I’m that person?!! I understand your sentiment and it made me chuckle because on the logical and rational side of my brain I know it’s true. It’s just sometimes the unrational anxiety overtakes the logic. I’ll try to keep that insight in mind, though, because it is comforting when I can convince myself to believe it.
Post # 8
RunsWithBears: That is an interesting way to look at it. Made me smile!
Post # 9
FutureFantasticMrsFox: This this this! I read that thread just as I was starting hormonal birth control pills for the first time in years (previously had the copper IUD). I’m terrified every time my leg randomly hurts now that it’s a clot. I try to remind myself that I was on BCP for 5 years before and never had any problem, but since it’s a different brand of pills I can’t seem to shake the fear. So nice to know I’m not alone in this! I felt crazy for thinking about it as much as I had (especially since I’m not a smoker and have no known family history of blood clots).
Post # 10
DariaVixen: You’re my sister. She was having trouble swallowing one day and immediately thought she had ALS (Which no one in our family has). She has since gone for the most ridiculous list of tests known to man because our doctor knows her and knows she won’t give up until it’s completely ruled out.
I read that article as well – she’s a brave brave woman.
Post # 11
DariaVixen: I do this (and I have OCD, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression). I worry about my own health, but moreso I worry about my partner’s. His dad died of cancer, so I’m terrified he’ll get cancer one day. I’ve cried myself to sleep at night thinking about it. My OCD takes over and I obsess over it completely – “I’m an orphan, so if he died, I’d be completely alone. I couldn’t pay the rent on my own, so I’d be homeless. I guess I’d have to kill myself, then. Oh, wait, I can’t kill myself and leave our cats alone. I’ll be homeless and alone forever and it will be so hard to protect myself and the cats.” It’s a horrible spiral.
Post # 12
I have health anxiety, but I have a rare disorder that few doctors know how to properly treat and it does have a fairly high mortality rate. I try to focus on the fact that I was diagnosed before I had major issues with it, and at least I know what I need even if the doctors in the emergency department aren’t going to handle it properly.
Post # 13
DariaVixen: I can sympathise, my Mum has depression and anxiety and so does a friend at work. I’m trying to get my Mum to exercise as I think it will help her state of mind.
Post # 14
I worked in Hospice care for 13 years, so i have a skewed perspective about sickness and dying. I know there are things worse than death. And I also know that some deaths are worse than others. In some ways it has made me jaded because of some of the things I have seen, so it takes a lot to get me riled up. That article was very touching though.
Post # 15
DariaVixen: I saw this article as well and I felt extremely sad and it stuck with me because it is my worst fear. I see your post was a month ago so I hope you’ve managed to find a bit of peace with this within that time.
I have very similiar worries to you, I’m currently going through a course of Cognative Behavioural Therapy which is helping me to put my obsessive health worries and fears of the unknown into perspective, but I am still finding it hard to gain control of my thoughts sometimes. I had a bit of a relapse recently which is why I searched on Weddingbee to see if anyone else had health worries like me.
One thing I read a few months ago when I felt myself losing my grasp on reality was a CBT book called Overcoming Health Anxiety by David Veale and I found it on Amazon. I also bought Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers and another book of hers called Embracing Uncertainty. I have only read the first Susan Jeffers book so far, but it’s all about fear and doesn’t touch on health anxiety as such, but I find it comforting to read as I know that my anxiety is underlined by fear and my fear of not being able to cope with illness or death. I also have the audio book, which I like to listen to at night or using headphones on the bus or at work if I’m doing something monotonous and I can feel my thoughts spiralling. It really helps!
I have always been a worrier as well, and having found happiness with my fiance at 25, I saw my worries shifted from worrying about men and dating, to my health and dying and have stayed there! It has been 5 years of constant anxiety and I find it exhausting too. It has impacted on my family and my relationship has suffered because of it. I was always at the doctors this last year and was always frightened waiting for my appointment, thinking that this would be the time I’m given my terrible life-threatening diagnosis. I’ve seen multiple doctors about multiple worries over the last few years (none of which stopped me and said ‘I think your problem is your anxiety’). All of those times I thought I’d be told I’m dying, and each time they have turned out to be nothing though I let them rule my life for weeks on end. What a way to live! I got to the point where I thought I was dying of around 5 or 6 different things per week and didin’t know what to worry about first, and realised that I needed to turn my life around.
If you can’t get CBT I really do recommend those books and the audiobook, especially if your friends can’t understand the way you feel (mine can’t either), it might give you a bit of peace to realise you’re not alone and that health anxiety is very real for the people who have it. My friends have always laughed at me because they just think I’m a drama queen!
The one thing that I have held on to from my therapy has been not to treat your percieved illness as the problem, but treat it as a symptom of your anxiety. The anxiety is the problem, not your foot or your heart or whatever you think is the matter with you. If you focus on treating your mind first, often the physical symptoms will fade or you will gain perspective on them. If not, that’s the time to get it sorted by a doctor (but often it doesn’t get to that). That’s my experience anyway. Oh, and don’t google! Google has been my downfall on many occasions!