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Topic: Health Anxiety Has Taken Over My Life

14 posts, 0 answered
  1. HelpsAlwaysNear96
    HelpsAlwaysNear96 avatar
    0 posts
    8 January 2020

    Hello,

    I have had anxiety related to my health for nearly 4 years now, but these last 6 months or so it has gotten to the point where I’m starting to lose hope that I’ll ever overcome this and my days are being consumed with my fixations on physical symptoms. This stops me from getting other things done and doing things that I used to enjoy.

    I go through phases of being concerned about varying medical emergencies and diseases or conditions. In a normal week I am at the doctors at least once, more commonly twice. I also go to lots of different doctors because I feel like if I keep returning to the same one they won’t take my seriously. I’ve spent a lot of time and money on lots of different tests for different conditions. This has included MRIs, blood tests, eye tests, monitors and more. I also spend hours googling symptoms, which always gives me a dire diagnosis which sets off even further anxiety.

    My heart is something that is always of concern. I check my pulse over 100 times a day and am constantly at the doctor about it. I’ve had ECG testing and the 24 hour holtier monitor, as well as general blood tests. The doctor said my monitor does show minor ectopic beats but apparently they are nothing to be worried about. Despite the doctor reassuring me, I still can’t get through a single day without thinking I’m having a heart attack. I even get other physical symptoms like shortness of breath and left arm pain. I’ve presented to the emergency department multiple times but they never find anything wrong. I have episodes of very fast heart rate multiple times a week, which I’m guessing are panic attacks, but I worry it could be a heart rhythm issue.

    I do see a physiologist, but even with her reassurance that anxiety can manifest itself in many physical symptoms, I can’t seem to accept this and move on.

    Does anyone else suffer from this kind of anxiety because I feel like I’m the only one and that I’m just crazy. Is there any advice for overcoming it?

    Thanks for taking the time to read my long post.

  2. Amy1234
    Amy1234 avatar
    0 posts
    8 January 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96
    I haven’t experienced this but do suffer from anxiety and had a thought that keeping a journal might help with reassuring yourself that your heart rate is within normal limits. If you were to write down your results when you check your pulse each time and at the end of the day you can see all of your results and know that these results were all fine and that you made it through the day ok. Also writing down what you were doing when you experience shortness of breath or arm pain so that you can identify possible triggers for this. Hope that helps in any way!
  3. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    383 posts
    8 January 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96

    Hi HelpsAlwaysNear96,

    Welcome to the forums and thank you for being here.

    Honestly, your post makes me tired! I can only imagine how exhausted you must be dealing with this day in and day out. While I know that you're not alone with your health anxiety, it sounds like yours has taken over 100% of your day with no room left for anything.

    I am glad though to hear that you are seeing a psychologist (I think that's what you meant), even if you haven't been able to take her reassurance on board. She is right though in that stress and anxiety itself can cause so many different reactions in the body; there's no physical symptom that I've seen that can't be explained by stress.

    I noticed though that you said you can't seem to accept this, and yet here you are - posting in a mental health forum with the title of 'health anxiety'. This means to me that there's a part of you that does believe that this is anxiety - because if all of you didn't, you wouldn't be here and probably be back seeing the doctor. Can you tell us about that part of you? That part of you that recognises maybe you aren't actually having heart attacks or don't have a serious medical issue?

    Also no, you're not crazy! I encourage you to have a search at the other threads here to get some extra support.

    rt

  4. HelpsAlwaysNear96
    HelpsAlwaysNear96 avatar
    0 posts
    8 January 2020 in reply to Amy1234
    Thank you. This is a really good idea that I will definitely try.
  5. Tugboat
    Tugboat avatar
    0 posts
    13 January 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96

    Hello

    I totally hear what you are saying and sadly I suffer form health anxiety. I have suffered on and off for over 30 years and could not tell you how many times I thought I was dying! I have months when I am ok but as soon as something changes health wise that’s it my mind starts playing up and the anxiety and depression both kick in! I try as much as I can to be positive but some days it’s all to hard.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Ddaavvoo
    Ddaavvoo avatar
    0 posts
    15 January 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96
    Hello,
    This sounds exactly like me to be honest, i get it almost everyday and it hits without any warning.
    I have found that keeping my mind busy really helps even if it is just playing a game on my phone or reading a book, also found that meditation works very well.
    Also you're not crazy, i know myself and a few other people that suffer from the same thing.
    And i know that it can get very hard sometimes but chin up and just know that it will get better.
  7. HelpsAlwaysNear96
    HelpsAlwaysNear96 avatar
    0 posts
    15 January 2020 in reply to Tugboat
    It’s so hard isn’t it. Thank you for telling me about your experiences with health anxiety as well, I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone but it does give me hope knowing there is a community of us going through this and hopefully by sharing our experiences we can help ourselves to reduce our worries. The problem will never be gone for good, I’ve made peace with that, but I hope we can all do our best to keep it under control as best we can. Sending my best wishes to you.
  8. HelpsAlwaysNear96
    HelpsAlwaysNear96 avatar
    0 posts
    15 January 2020 in reply to Ddaavvoo
    Hello! Yes keeping the mind busy is key but sometimes I find i overwhelm myself so much with the physical symptoms that I simply can’t focus on anything else. I’ll try and find a good game for my phone! Thank you for sharing your experiences with me, I appreciate it. Best wishes to you.
    1 person found this helpful
  9. Ddaavvoo
    Ddaavvoo avatar
    0 posts
    15 January 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96
    Have you tried any medications? I felt slightly better while i was on them although it was very difficult to find the right one for me, plus going to a psychologist reguarly has helped me abit.
    Best to find a doctor that specialises in mental health like i did, made me feel alot less stupid for going to the doctors nearly every day and he has been a huge help unlike the ones before him.
    Anyways,
    Hope you can get past these horrible feelings 👍🏻


  10. Hazel05
    Hazel05 avatar
    0 posts
    16 January 2020 in reply to Ddaavvoo

    Hey there, another fellow health anxiet-ier.

    Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone! I have suffered from health anxiety for some time now but the last three months have been the most overwhelming I have ever felt where I feel like this is never going good to end.

    It all started with a short dull pain in my lower left abdomen that’s been around for the last three months. I have since obsessed and focused my entire time on this pain and trying to work out what “triggers” it. I have gone to 3 doctors, gotten multiple tests, tried acupuncture, hypnotherapy etc and no luck! The doctors brought it down to muscular issues due to extreme stress.

    The worst thing I could have ever done/do is constantly checking google for my symptoms. My anxiety flared up to a level 10 before Christmas when a friend suggested a colonoscopy and I looked up why it was needed. I completely broke down and now am petrified as the doctors reassured me that after having a stool test come back negative I am not at risk of anything sinister such as the “c word”. But I can’t seem to get this worry out of my head to the point im thinking should I get it done for piece of mind. My other worry is when will this ever end? The last test I did (ultrasound) I assured myself that once that was done if nothing sinister showed up to put my mind at ease and move on but I am still here. I just feel if I do such an invasive procedure, will it end there; probably not!

    Does anyone have any strategies other than not look at google, dealing with anxiety this high is truly exchausting!

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Guest_2287
    Guest_2287 avatar
    0 posts
    16 January 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96

    Hi I'm another Health Anxiety sufferer which I have had for my whole adult life. My anxiety seems to centre around "excessive responsibility" of my health. For example if I don't keep check every little symptom I will miss some disease and it will be my fault. As you know full well, this is exhausting. I don't know if you feel the same as me as far as the reponsibility/blame thing but these are some strategies that have helped me:

    The Centre for Clinical Interventions has some Health Anxiety Modules that can be downloaded for free. I found these to be very helpful. Especially the module on reducing checking. This would be great for you as like most Health Anxiety sufferers it seems you are caught up in this cycle of seeking assurance through overchecking. E.g. you would try and reduce checking your pulse gradually.

    I also read that drawing a pie chart of possible factors that would contribute to you getting a disease e.g. genetics, doctor, lifestyle, yourself can help you see that sometimes it really is just out of your control.

    I also found that exploring the worst-case scenario can help (even though this goes against alot of advice). Would I cope if that happened? Could I still find joy in simple things even though I have a health problem?

    I have also tried to really look after myself through diet, exercise and mindfulness (this one I struggle with the most) so I feel like at least I have done everything I can!

    I am the opposite as far as the doctors go. I stay away as much as I can but avoidance isn't a good strategy either so I have been trying to attend more checkups, tests etc. It has been very, very hard.

    I really hope you are able to improve and just know that there are so many like you suffering with Health Anxiety.

    1 person found this helpful
  12. HelpsAlwaysNear96
    HelpsAlwaysNear96 avatar
    0 posts
    17 January 2020 in reply to Hazel05

    I totally understand what you are saying!!!!

    I also had an experience where I took myself to the emergency department because I thought I had a brain tumour, yes it actually sounds so silly to write it now but in the moment it’s very real in your mind. The doctor at the hospital offered me a CT scan but explained the large exposure to radiation.

    I actually sat there thinking... am I going to do this test which could actually increase my cancer risk. The other awful thing is that I’ve actually paid money for some expensive tests too that were not covered fully by Medicare.

    That’s when I knew my health anxiety was out of control, when I started spending all this money and accepting invasive testing.

    And despite all these clear tests I still haven’t gained closure, I still tell myself often that the doctors must be missing something.

    Do you find clear tests give you any closure? Or do you still feel uneasy

  13. Guest_2287
    Guest_2287 avatar
    0 posts
    18 January 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96
    I think what most Health Anxiety sufferers are looking for is 100% certainty that they don't have anything. I would feel comforted by a test for a while but then doubts would set in again. Unfortunately, none of us will ever have that certainty by any doctor no matter how many tests we have. I feel I had a breakthrough in my Health Anxiety when I started to accept this and learn to live with the uncertainty of being a human. The trick seems to be to find a balance between extreme checking/testing and total avoidance. The middle road is how most people without Health Anxiety behave. This is a new behaviour to be learned for Health Anxiety sufferers. There are some books that specialise in Health Anxiety which I have found helpful too.
  14. Number 86
    Number 86 avatar
    1 posts
    23 February 2020 in reply to HelpsAlwaysNear96

    Hi HelpsAlwaysNear96's,

    totally get the same thing, I check my pulse every minute of the day. It’s extremely tiring. Today was actually a good day I feel positive and haven’t had anxiety for once. I have struggled breaking my patterns and have talk myself through the urges to check my pulse and stay away from google as that destroys me but at least I know it now. I biggest struggle has been accepting this is anxiety as In all honestly (sounds silly saying out loud) I always doubt the doctors have looked everywhere. When I have 100 reports in draw of scans and tests that prove otherwise.

    I am pushing myself to meditate with guided meditation as it helps but is very difficult to pay attention to when anxiety is high.

    Getting full body massage helps the most I find as at first I am anxious and then by the time I leave I am fully relaxed as taking to tension from anxiety out of the muscles and head is a great distraction for me.

    hopefully you find some peace in the anxiety and get some rest soon.

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