Anxiety and Depression Support
18,479 members15,143 posts

Real or fiction

Always afraid my children or I will catch the latest virus going around.. flu at the moment.. we've had it once this season already and I haven't stopped googling since to see how may people have died from it. Can you guess what I do?? I assume if we catch it again we won't be so lucky.. my.health anxiety drives me more crazy than anything else... anyone familiarize?? 😢😢 #how do I stop these constant thoughts

7 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi there! I just posted about health anxiety. I am trying to see if anyone here wants to read a book and discuss it on this forum. Let’s not give up! Maybe together we can overcome this!

1 like
Reply

In my experience, there is no way to stop these thoughts, only how you react to them (typical response, I know, but 100% true).

The first thing you have to do is accept that you are going to have these thoughts - this way when they do pop up, you aren't surprised, disappointed, angry, etc. It's just what you were expecting.

Next, you should come up with a distractor - this should be something you can do anytime, anywhere. For me, I think of an actor and try to name 10 movies he or she was in (not surprising given my username). This is actually quite effective - by the time I'm done (it doesn't matter if I hit 10, just as long as I'm distracted by trying to think of 10), I've usually forgotten what I've worried about. If you're a music person, you can try to think of 10 songs or albums from a band/artist. If you're a book person, think of 10 books by an author, or 10 British authors, or whatever - you get the drift.

The unwanted thoughts are still going to pop up - that's impossible to control. Trying to control what thoughts pop up into your mind is like trying to control the weather. No matter how hard you try, they're just gonna do what they want to do. Instead, think of anxiety as a rain storm and your coping mechanisms as your own personal umbrella.

Also, I love Google, but it is probably the worst thing for anxiety, at least when it comes to checking health issues. Type in any symptom + flu and I can guarantee you that there was someone, somewhere in the world who experienced that symptom and had the flu. Like I said earlier, you can't control your thought, but you can control how you react to them. Searching on Google is a reaction, and (as hard as it may seem), you should commit to not searching Google when a thought pops up. This is going to be really hard to do, but it will get easier with time (and use the "List 10" distractor I mentioned earlier when you feel the urge to search Google).

One last thing - keep your kids in mind. I know you are concerned for their physical health, and that certainly is a sign that you are a good parent. But they observe your reaction to any symptoms, and this could have negative consequences on their mental health and coping abilities in the future. Lead by example - my mom was always worried about every little symptom I had, and that didn't give me the coping skills I needed as an adult.

Although I don't have kids (which I'm sure takes the anxiety and multiplies it by 100), I do have these thoughts when I experience an unusual symptom. With the things I mentioned earlier (distracting myself + refusing to check Google), it's much more manageable.

I hope you find this helpful! Remember that your thoughts, although stressful and annoying, are 100% normal - you just have to take control of them.

2 likes
Reply

I absolutely love your response. It definitely is very difficult to control any urge to Google anything. Google is anxietys worst enemy. But you're right. I have to learn to control my reactions. Especially in front of my children. They are after all the reason I haven't completely gone bonkers...LOL.. thank you!

1 like
Reply

Hi,

Don't try to stop these thoughts. Let them come but don't fight them or indulge in them.

Deep down, you don't truly believe in them. It's something else, some inner conflict that drives them.

We are all mortal, but statistically you and your kids being healthy are exceedingly unlikely to die from the flu. And worrying about it can't change anything anyway.

Have faith and you will be OK.

2 likes
Reply

Thanks honey. I'm working on it! Faith gets shaken at times but I'm trying! Much appreciated 🤗😇

Reply

Scientific research on anxiety tells us that anxious people (like you and I) tend to way over-estimate the odds of terrible things happening to them. It's called "judgement bias". Also, it's really the uncertainty and the unpredictability that drives anxiety. I am sure that when you and your kids had the flu, you did all the right things like seeing a doctor, getting rest and fluids, taking supplements , and perhaps Tamiflu. So, a little anxiety is good because it motivates us to fight back. It's when it becomes overwhelming and interferes with our ability to function, it becomes a burden. I believe that it is driven by secret guilt- e.g. what if my kids die God forbid, I would then be a terrible mother for not saving them! Once you accept yourself as "good enough" the guilt will be gone. Anxiety is like a shadow, it's there but it won't hurt you.

Reply

Sometimes I swear my worrying helps me from not missing out on something that could stop my scary obsessions about a specific thing from happening. I have to believe that the chances of my fear happening is low according to dentists, doctors...maybe deep down it does point to something else as Aesclepius says...but what I wonder? I want to figure that out. I used to have nightmares of my teeth falling out and nowadays I fear it happening in real life. It is really messing with me.

1 like
Reply

You may also like...