Health anxiety - when do you know if it is real or in your head?

Hi, I am new to this site and to blogging in general.

I have been dealing with anxiety for a number of years now, but always downplayed it. My anxiety has always been my or my families health - and fear of dying (my mum passed away at 54 suddenly 11 years ago). Things have gotten worse in the last few months - to the point where I ended up in the ER twice due to (what I suspect were) panic attacks.

Since then I have had chest pain and have been going to the doctors almost constantly - to the point where I now feel they are fobbing me off. I made them give me a treadmill test yesterday - and when they called last night and said treadmill test was fine, but cant rule out a blockage - I freaked out.... I guess I wanted to hear that I was ok and it was all in my head - and instead they said well a blockage cannot be ruled out - so I now think that I'm about to have a heart attack.

I don't know what to do to move forward and get better... my husband tells me to keep calm - yeah like that is easy....

Sorry for unloading - but I feel totally on an island. I'm hoping that this group can help bring some perspective and ways to cope.

<Hopeful>

3 Replies

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  • In reading your message I get the feeling you already know that your health anxiety is too extreme, that it's not normal at all. And you're right, it's not. You may always find a way to worry about your health if you want to; a loophole in the testing or a way you can be in danger regarding your health...if that's what you focus on. But after you've been to your doctor multiple times, had testing and imaging done, you've been given the okay, you probably really are okay.

    You have to train yourself to ignore the message your health anxiety tells you. It's not easy, but it's worth it. If you can't do it on your own, there's medication to help you out. There should be no shame in taking a drug to help you with a legit lack of the right chemicals in your brain. There are a variety of drugs to help your brain get the right balance of chemicals to the right places it needs them to be. For this you might be able to get your GP to prescribe the right drug but for sure a psychiatrist should find it. That's his/her area of specialty.

    I wish for you an excellent future with no more tough days like the past has been.

  • Hi Annp1. Im also new, just signed up.

    I understand how you feel. Im also been dealing with anxiety for two years and what your going through is similar to what im feeling. We may not have the same triggers but we feel the same dread and helplessness.

    Sometimes we dont know what to do. What steps to take to control this feelings. But we still have to believe that their is hope. We can make it. Its true, we need to train our thoughts and feelings not to think of it. Yes, its hard. I to been struggling for 2 weeks because i had a major blow last.

    Something happened that i felt hurt and thought about it and my body froze. My hands were clammy and feet. I felt anxious and afraid. Then i couldnt sleep for 2 days and alternately. Life is full of surprises i thought i could managed it but then it came back.

    Hopefully we can overcome this. It may not be easy but one step at a time.

  • Hello! I also suffer from health anxiety. I often find myself making doctor appointments to have a pain in my back checked or an itch or a head ache that won't go away. I always find something to worry about and often feel helpless. I once convinced myself that I had appendicitis to the point where I felt nauseous, feverish, and was shaking. It is interesting what your thoughts can do to your body. Spoiler alert - I was absolutely fine.

    Something that I do find helpful is a worry jar. Every time I get a new pain or illness that I am concerned about, I write it down, date it and put it in the jar. I then wait a few weeks to a month to look in the jar again. More times than not (basically every time) when I open the jar and read the things I was worried about, they never ended up being something serious or they went away in time.

    Now when I start to feel anxious about my health, I think about the last time it happened and that I worried for no reason. I do think that if you are truly concerned, a doctors visit can ease your mind. But I think it is important to either take action, or let it go because worrying about it is not productive and generally causes more unease. I know that is easier said than done but I have found with practice it has become easier.

    I hope that helps! Good luck with everything and don't give up. :)

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