Anxiety and Depression Support
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Severe Hypochondria

Hello, i am a 31 year old male. I have had severe anxiety and some depression for about four years. I used to have horrible panic attacks, though this has been replaced by a more constant, agonizing anxiety accompanied by hypochondria. It has gotten to the point where I simply can't think about my own health objectively. In my mind, any chest pain is a heart attack, tingling in my toes is diabetes, morning headaches is a stroke ( you get the picture). Every time this happens (almost daily) it triggers anxiety that just spirals out of control. The problem is that I do have histories of these diseases in my family and I already have hypertension, so the anxiety and stress is just getting worse and worse. I also have chronic body pains which prevent me from sleeping and exercising as much as I should. I see people on this site saying it gets better, but I've also read about these people here who have lived with depression and anxiety for decades. I don't think I can do that. I feel like I'm living a half life and more and more the concept of death seems like a beautiful way out of this pseudo existence. Everything hurts all the time

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Hi Rahl169,

Have you heard of an alternative coping technique for anxious emotions called "urge surfing"?

It is a strategy often used by people to overcome addictions. When you feel the urge to do something, you feel you cannot resist and you react. As the pattern repeats, you come to believe that you must act in order for the urge to go away, that you don't have any choice.

There is a choice, you are just not used to making it! Urges are intense but short-lived. They may feel like they will go on forever but in fact they will reach a certain point and start to weaken by themselves, just like a wave in the ocean.

Urge surfing involves letting the urge build, peak and dissipate on its own, without trying to stop or change it, just like riding a wave. The practice involves recognizing what you need to do, giving it a score out of 10 and seeing how long it lasts over time. Record this. Gradually your records will show that the strength of the urge decreases and lasts for a shorted time.

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