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Health anxiety issues

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Does anyone suffer from health anxiety?

I'm not officially diagnosed and have received no formal help for it yet. However, I am convinced I suffer from anxiety and that I focus on non-existant health issues instead of dealing with what's really going on around me.

I have a good life. I have a great husband and wonderful children. I have excellent support both with family and friends. I don't know why I suffer from this.

I had a panic attack today over the doctor's office calling me. We just had blood drawn and urine taken to get approved for life insurance. While I'm most likely a very healthy individual, I've been terrified that they're going to find something potentially deadly in my blood. So when the doctor's office called (to book an appointment and have the doctor fill out some forms with us the insurance company sent over - apparently quite standard) I immediately thought 'They're lying. There's something wrong and they don't want to tell me over the phone'. I've also convinced myself I've had several different cancers and other diseases over the last three or four years. It's been debilitating at times.

Anyway, I'm just looking for support. I'm pregnant with our third child and I'm not waiting any longer to get some professional help. It's time to figure out exactly what is going on with me and work on making it better. I am SO sick of this
post #2 of 8
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
DoubleOven, a big, big thank you!

It's just good to know that there are others out there who understand where I'm coming from. I'm pretty sure I know where these issues came from as well - what I really need is to deal with them better. I'm willing to put in as much work as I need to.

Also, I've been signing or humming 'I'm a little teapot' every time I start stressing about something It's helping quite a bit! Thanks for the suggestion.
post #4 of 8
: My sister and I are the same way! We often discuss with each other what the illness du jour is - for example, she'll say "well I think I have breast cancer today" and I'll say "yep, I'm afraid that I've got MS - I've got a lot of the symptoms going on!" Probably doens't help that we both work in health care and know that things can and do go wrong with our bodies. Luckily we have some insight into what's going on - and so do you! And that is the most important place to start.

I recently started seeing a therapist for cognitive-behavioral therapy to decrease worry and anxiety. It's been really fun (!!) and insightful. I'm learning a lot about how my mind works and it's been fascinating. We've discussed a number of techniques, the latest being simply that the anxiety exists. Yes, it's there, it's in my head, and I can choose if I'm going to listen to it or not. Kind of zen for me but it's interesting. We also did the conversation with yourself stuff that Doubleoven (my fellow Unsolved Mysteries fan) described. What I've been doing is keeping a "thought log" wherein I write down
-what's going on at the time I have the anxious thought - (my arm feels tingly while I'm sitting on the couch, there's a tv show on about neurological problems)
-the thought that's bothering me (I might have MS!)
-the level of distress (1-100) - (85)
-the rational or compassionite response (I'm quite healthy, no debilitating symptoms, I know that my anxiety problems contribute to this line of thinking, I actually feel pretty good, physically, chances of me having a disease are pretty slim)
-how much I believe this response - (got to admit, it's pretty true)
-the new level of distress (1-100) - (20)

It's interesting to break these down. The other really cool thing that the therapist told me is that people with anxiety usually
1. Overestimate the probability that something is going to go wrong.
2. Underestimate their ability to deal with it.

So if you apply these to each anxiety-provoking situation, it can be quite comforting. Anyway, just a couple of things that I've been so happy to learn about lately. You're definitely not the only one with this stuff going on!
post #5 of 8
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
And again, THANK YOU! Perl and DoubleOven, those suggestions are wonderful.

Perl - This really hit me:

people with anxiety usually
1. Overestimate the probability that something is going to go wrong.
2. Underestimate their ability to deal with it.
This is VERY true for me. It explains virtually all of my anxiety!

DoubleOven, I'm going to check out some of those book suggestions. I read another book called 'From Panic to Power' that I really enjoyed. I can't recall the author's name... I'll look it up when I go anxiety book shopping
post #7 of 8
I've just been reading about health anxiety in a book called "Stop Obsessing".

It mentioned that health anxiety is often a form of OCD and uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

I have had the health anxiety before but now I have a more worrying form of OCD, thoughts that I may hurt the kids, though that is completely irrational. They also deal with that in the book.
post #8 of 8
Count me in! I've had anxiety my entire life, and have had periods of it getting really bad. Currently, I'm in such a phase

I just got the "Attacking Anxiety" program, and it is really helping (I *just* started it), it's very informative and uses techniques like the PP's have mentioned.

It sounds cheesy, but I saw the infomercial about 12 years ago, late at night, and I was so excited, becuase it described me! I had no idea that what I was suffering from had a name......anyway, I didn't order it at that time because I didn't think I needed it, I was functioning okay.....and I did, for years. But in 2000, I got really bad and had panic attacks every day...I went to a dr. and he put me on meds that didn't help. After six months of meds that were worthless, I went off them and was fine for about 2.5 years. Then I had some awful anxiety for a few months of 2004/2005, then it was okay, then it got bad again, so last June I went to the dr. and he put me on Zoloft.

The Zoloft was amazing. It worked so well, I was so happy and felt alive and secure again; all the worrisome thoughts went away. Until December. I started getting panic again.......so I figured since it wasn't working, I'd go off......I did go off, but the panic got more intense, so I am currently on a very, very low dose just to maintain, and I plan on going off this summer, after doing the Attacking Anxiety program.

You aren't alone!
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