: 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!