Severe health-related anxiety - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 2Likes
  • 1 Post By t2009
  • 1 Post By t2009
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 10 Old 07-10-2014, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
t2009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere between here & there
Posts: 581
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Severe health-related anxiety

I don't deal well with change & one thing that happens is very challenging health-related anxiety & depression.

Well, I've had a lot of change recently: new house, pregnancy then miscarriage, new (& stressful) responsibility at work. The anxiety & depression are way cranked up.

I don't know what to do about it. I'm not sure if I should seek professional help or deal with it on my own (with support from my spouse & family).

The thing is, I have a lot of tools in my toolbox. I've been through therapy twice now & done a lot of work myself. I have meditation techniques, I have a mantra, I know how to breathe for relaxation.

But none of it will shake me out of the darkest moments, when my chest tightens & I can't stop by self from googling a list of horribles & fixating on every (minor or non-existent) problem. I can see these moments coming & I have an awareness of what's going on but I can't shake it.

This anxiety used to be focused on my own health but since the miscarriage I am also fixated on my son (every bruise, every mark, every report of pain, etc). He's a healthy, active 5 yo. I know that is not good for him & I need to get this under control for his sake.

I also can't make clear health-related decisions for him (or myself) in these moments. I'm willing to subject myself to poking & prodding for peace of mind but I can't do that to him.

At heart I believe I fear cancer & death. And also, change is really really hard for me. My fears surface in challenging times, with even small amounts of change. I really want to come to a philosophical or spiritual understanding that will allow me to live my short life with as much joy as is possible. I feel like new-age-y stuff is great but doesn't go deep enough for me to really heal. (For example, I've tried Jon Kabat Zinn with some temporary success but it doesn't last).

Thank you to anyone who reads this. Any & all ideas welcome.
pumabearclan likes this.

Mama to my little busy bee. 

t2009 is offline  
#2 of 10 Old 07-10-2014, 07:55 AM
 
sierramtngirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: In the mountains...
Posts: 277
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Oh mama! I'm right there with you. I'm having a similar moment here myself (newest worry is a terrible autoimmune disease! Bc I googled a muscle twitch- dumb, dumb, dumb!).
My biggest triggers are lack of sleep, inability to exercise, big changes, poor diet. And I'm right in the middle of this since I just had a new baby (he's 7 weeks).
I too have quite a toolbox and have seen a therapist for cbt before & im considering calling her back just because I'm much more likely to practice what I know if I'm accountable- meditation, good self care, journaling & recognition of what if happening in my own mind:
One of the best tools I have is when I'm in the bad place is to just face the anxiety and say, "I'm feeling anxious. This is a terrible feeling and I'm going to breathe through this feeling until it's gone." If I do this, instead of googling, I feel much better. But clearly, even I have issues with this. When my daughter was born 2 yrs ago, this anxiety went into overdrive. Probably my own GAD with superimposed postpartum anxiety. I looked back at pictures of me after her birth and I can remember how terrible I felt at that time, wild-eyed from lack of sleep. As she got older, the anxiety worsened. She had some speech "delays" and I self diagnosed her with an ASD. This is the worst part of health anxiety-- we automatically think the worst and go to worst-case scenario. If she actually did have an ASD, we would do what we needed to do to address her weaknesses & we would love her the same! In other words, the what ifs are always way worse than if there actually was a problem.
So sorry you're dealing with this mama. I'm also sad to hear about your miscarriage as I'm sure this has triggered your emotional upheaval. I don't have any advice except to say do what helps you the most. And maybe try to just face the anxiety and stay off google. I'll try to do the same! And feel free to pm me if you need to talk to someone. And I'm open to others suggestions as well xo!
sierramtngirl is online now  
#3 of 10 Old 07-10-2014, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
t2009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere between here & there
Posts: 581
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thank you so much for your reply @sierramtngirl ! You can't begin to understand how much it meant to me--I literally started crying. It's both wonderful to connect with someone who understands my brain & sad that we are going through this together. I'm so sorry you're having "a moment" as well.

I think you're so right that the what-ifs are way worse than reality. Like you said, you just deal the trials of life & love just the same.

I will try your approach next time. Just say it & breathe through it.

I also realize I have more triggers that are at play (poor eating since the miscarriage, too little sleep, not moving my body).

Aw, and congrats on your new little one. I hope he brings you much joy to balance out the challenges of the upheaval.

I may PM you some time (& feel free to PM me)--it'd really be nice to be accountable to someone (instead of an exercise buddy, I need an anxiety buddy)!! DH is great but sometimes he doesn't get it.

Thanks again! And others' thoughts & ideas welcome too!

Mama to my little busy bee. 

t2009 is offline  
#4 of 10 Old 07-13-2014, 05:00 PM
 
sierramtngirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: In the mountains...
Posts: 277
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
I'm checking in to see if you're feeling better @t2009 . I'm having a good day today, overall. It's funny, I think my anxiety is at it's peak from 3-5 pm ish. It seems that has been the case for the past 3 days anyway.
I wanted to throw out something else that might be of help to you. I found a great podcast called the anxiety guru. The first one I listened to was kind of about health anxiety and symptoms. I found it to be helpful! I also called my therapist on Friday to set up an appointment. Haven't heard back yet because of the weekend but I'm sure I'll hear from her soon.
Take care!
sierramtngirl is online now  
#5 of 10 Old 07-14-2014, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
t2009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere between here & there
Posts: 581
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thanks for checking in @sierramtngirl ! I'm glad you were having a good day yesterday!!

I think I know what you mean about anxiety peaking during the late afternoon. That's been my experience as well. And then sometimes it just gets worse from there, unfortunately.

But I've been confronting it the past few days (taking your approach) & really I think I've "won" a few battles. It helped me have an enjoyable weekend, so thank you!!!

I'm still struggling (my great recurring fear, which I'm experiencing right now) is skin cancer & it seems just looking in the mirror (I have a not-insignificant amount of sun damage) will get me worked up again & again.

But, like I said, it's been a lot better & I'm fighting the anxiety I a new way, which gives me hope. I am also eating better, which makes a big difference.

I will definitely check out those podcasts, thanks!

I hope you're day finished well yesterday & your week is off to a good start!

Mama to my little busy bee. 

t2009 is offline  
#6 of 10 Old 07-16-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 523
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Keep sharpening your "tools" - the ones you learned in therapy, the ones you taught yourself. I have been through stages like you are describing and I expect I will go through more of them. I pray constantly in a contemplative sort of way. I don't seem to get the "answers" I need from my practices or prayers when I most need them but after these times pass I can see how they sustained me. Like that "Footprints In the Sand" poem. I realize on the other side how much I learned from my struggles and how much I've grown.

I have found that aromatherapy helps me a great deal. Also be sure you are getting enough fat in your diet. That helped me very much.

Hugs!
Puma
pumabearclan is online now  
#7 of 10 Old 07-16-2014, 04:09 PM
 
sierramtngirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: In the mountains...
Posts: 277
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
I'm gonna try this Puma!
sierramtngirl is online now  
#8 of 10 Old 07-17-2014, 06:40 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 523
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
I feel that prayer is like getting on a 10-lane highway, it's been used so much by so many people over so many thousands of years that the mere force of the combined calls for mercy and peace welling up are enough to carry you along when you feel you can't make it through your days. Even if there isn't a god, or even if there are many, or if it's actually the Earth, or whatever. I also think that prayer builds up the personal entrance ramp to getting on that highway, anxiety is a set of neural connections and praying redirects the electrical wiring of the brain toward getting on that superhighway rather than spinning in a ditch. I like mantras of positive affirmation such as "I am your child, god" or "Hear my prayer: peace in my heart." Anything that cuts off the anxiety and causes a biofeedback response of relaxation and hope. I just kind of keep that going in my mind and try to see it as true in my world every waking moment.

I have a strong spiritual faith & I do tend to be new-agey about it, but I'm super-inclusive about where my prayers are going - to an intelligent creator whose hand made *me*, makes my cuts & scrapes heal, and makes me breathe when I'm sleeping, and get thirsty - without my doing anything or even knowing how to do it. I think at the bottom it's your faith that works, otherwise prayer is just chanting. And that's what all spiritual traditions say, isn't it? Even if it's faith that someone on the other side of the world is praying for the same thing and you are joining together in a sincere call for grace & mercy.

It's natural to react to the injuries and overwhelming challenges we sustain through life.

Last edited by pumabearclan; 07-17-2014 at 08:43 AM.
pumabearclan is online now  
#9 of 10 Old 07-21-2014, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
t2009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Somewhere between here & there
Posts: 581
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Thank you so much, PumaBearClan, for your thoughts here! First, yes to more good fats!! I absolutely was not getting enough at my lowest low. I am sure to get plenty now & I think it makes a huge difference in my mood.

And I've been thinking so much about spirituality lately. It's hard for me as I've never been a religious person & praying does not come naturally to me. But the longer I'm on this earth the more I believe we are One and I think a practice of prayer/meditation would be a very wise spiritual journey for me to undertake right now. I feel ready.


But, Puma, I love the way you describe it! I think something similar could work for me. And I LOVE the superhighway metaphor. I think that's really it--recognizing suffering & seeking peace with others.

Thank you!
pumabearclan likes this.

Mama to my little busy bee. 

t2009 is offline  
#10 of 10 Old 07-21-2014, 10:42 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 523
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
I'm so glad if I could help! An open heart will help bring love wherever it's needed - even from yourself to yourself

Hugs
pumabearclan is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off