Hypochondria: I know I am a... - Anxiety and Depre...

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I know I am a hypochondriac. I can't help it. I experience a lot of symptoms of other diseases and I am scared that I may have something fatal. Next month, I am planning on going to the doctor so I can get another full check up exam on my entire body. I have symptoms of IBS, Hep Virus, Herpes, Hypothyroidism (my doctor said I had an abnormal thyroid issue and has not fully diagnosed it), heart issues, chest pain, foggy head feeling, I am a bit overweight, and I have constipation. I am always scared daily that I will collapse and pass out, or that I have syphilis or vaginal cancer. It was like after what had happened this summer, I became extremely scared about my health. Any tips? Is anyone else going through this?

10 Replies

I don’t experience these challenges. It must be very rough. I have anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I talk out loud to them if I’m alone. I say the truth such as,”I am allowed to make a mistake. I am a good person.” Then I do a grounding exercise. I also listen to podcasts to distract my mind. That often helps reset my brain. I know the more I give into the thoughts, the more powerful they are.

Restartgreentea, you are right to go see your doctor and discuss your symptoms. Thyroid issues can lead to feelings of anxiety I believe. Seeing your doctor will bring you some reassurance but often those of us with hypochondria (now called health anxiety) are likely to respond to reassurance from doctors with the belief "they must have missed something". In this case go back and ask for a second opinion but if the result is the same you must then accept what the doctors have said. Otherwise you will spend much time worrying about an illness you don't have.

You can't cure yourself of an illness you don't have no matter how hard you try.

The reason you have this exaggerated fear about your state of health is that it is a classic symptom of anxiety disorder. Our nervous system becomes over sensitive through too much stress and worry. In this state all our normal concerns and minor worries become magnified ten fold. So minor tummy aches must be stomach cancer. Muscular tension in the chest must be heart failure. Headaches must be due to a brain tumour.

Most of us have been there and even though we know in our heart of hearts that these 'major illnesses' are nothing of the sort we persist in worrying ourselves half to death every five minutes which produces more stress and fear hormones which maintain our nerves in their over sensitised state.

But you will not collapse and pass out, the power of anxiety is limited. It can only make us think the worst. It cannot kill us. It cannot make us disabled. It cannot make us lose our minds.

All this is explained in a brilliant little book written many years ago by Claire Weekes that goes by the title of 'Hope and help for your nerves' in the U.S. and 'Self help for your nerves' in the U.K. Both available from Amazon or ebay new or pre-owned.

The book will bring understanding, reassurance and a road to recovery. Either way, do see your doctor and together with your new found understanding of how health anxiety works, and how it can be overcome, you will eventually regain your quiet mind.

I wish you a long and healthy life.

in reply to Jeff1943

Im scared of having got an STD or i have a cardiac issue

Jeff1943 profile image
Jeff1943 in reply to

STDs are easily treatable if you really do have one, but seek treatment sooner rather than later. You are too young to have a cardiac problem, people your age are not allowed to have cardiac problems☺. Your worries are due to anxiety whispering in you ear, chest pain most likely to be muscular tension of the chest muscles. Reassure yourself, discuss your fears with a doctor.

in reply to Jeff1943

Ok. Im trying to calm myself but I can tell the anxiety is kicking in again

Jeff1943 profile image
Jeff1943 in reply to

Restartgreentea, set your mind at rest, anxiety may make us feel bad but it can do you no permanent damage, no physical harm. Anxiety is a fraud, it makes us feel that something terrible is happening but it's our hyper sensitive nerves playing tricks on us.

I have been dealing with anxiety since 1974 and I'll now tell you how to handle what you're feeling.

1. Accept the symptoms of anxiety for the time being and stop fighting them. Fighting them causes more stress and strain, you need less not more of that. Don't keep checking to see if its gone away, accept it completely (for the moment), agree to coexist with it knowing full well you are in no danger. Accept it utterly and you break the chain of anxiety causing fear causing more anxiety causing more fear...a never ending vicious circle.

"Learn to live with your anxiety and you'll be able to live without it."

2. For immediate relief: breathe in through your nose slowly and fill your lungs, hold it for 5 seconds then breathe out slowly through pursed lips. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

This rekeases natural tranquillising hormones which will calm you.

3. I know the ladt thing you want to do right now is read a book. The book by Claire Weekes I mentioned before you will find the most interesting book you have ever read - because it is all about you and the way you are feeling. You will feel the authir knew yiu personally when she wrote this book decades ago. I leave it to you to decide.

in reply to Jeff1943

thank you

Not sure that I can offer any good tips or advice but I can sort of relate.

I often worry about health issues I could have that have not actually been diagnosed. I do have legitimate symptoms but my particular issues don’t seem to fall neatly under any categories, so they just get swept under the rug.

I’d grown up to believe that if I’m not all but bleeding out of my orifices then nothing’s truly wrong. So I never really know for sure what is a genuine health concern or just me being paranoid about this and that.

So I end up Googling issues to the point of near mental exhaustion convinced I have this and that disease. It’s awful.

I have young children and even though I no longer believe the nonsense that I learned while growing up it’s still tough finding a middle ground between being a paranoid parent and being legitimately concerned about possible major issues.

Only thing I can think of is if you truly continue to feel concern about something regarding your health, keep a detailed journal of the symptoms and the times and dates.

There are actually some pretty decent apps available to do just that. There’s one app (Apple store- not sure about Google store) called Migraine Buddy that’s really good for keeping track of headaches and migraines and it’s free. It gives stats and all that,too.

And just like what another poster suggested it never hurts to get a second opinion if you feel that strongly.

Best wishes!🤗

in reply to Ripley7

Thanks really appreciate it! I feel like crying

Just wanted to say hey and say I'm in the same boat as you. It's hard when you have a lot of symptoms and you either already have diagnoses and medications/behaviors that may be contributing to more problems or no diagnoses and no medications or not know which behaviors may be affecting your health.

I've learned from many years of experience through dealing with symptoms and physical and mental health issues the following:

Start on day one from head to toe and list your current condition and even perhaps past issues that you have had with any body part. If anything of interest occurs in reference to your body, make a note of the date, what happened, and how it made you feel.

Make sure you discuss with your doctor what type of blood tests you should receive in regards to your current condition and how you said you were slightly overweight, I believe, maybe testing glucose. (Just what I have dealt with, I am overweight, as well)

All of what I said is merely a suggestion based on what I have been through over the past years dealing with numerous doctors and medications.

In order to keep yourself sane - remind yourself that you are not alone and you will always have support from your family and friends. If you need help and you are someone who uses a smartphone for a lot of apps, download an app for meditation, breathing, or mudra.

Good luck to you.

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