Health anxiety

Good morning! I am new to this group. I have had anxiety, to a degree, my entire life. However, the debilitating health anxiety started shortly after I had my daughter almost 7 years ago. On the outside, I function. I am a mother of 2, a special education teacher and own my own small jewelry business. However, I battle my thoughts of dying and illness daily. I have diagnosed myself with EVERY kind of cancer there is and it seems to change in an instant. Right now I have shoulder pain (which I've has before with physical therapy) and I feel like my chest/breast hurts too. Of course I either have lung or breast cancer (I've actually made one breast sore from checking for lumps). It started 3 weeks ago, when I believe I pulled a muscle with heavy lifting. That is logical, I am not logical in my head. I go back to work next week (I'm sure adding to my stress) and the kids start new schools this year as well. I am on zoloft (did celexa for 2 years), but just recently starting taking it again. Prior to this I had upper stomach pains. Irony, I don't feel that anymore. It's like my mind can only do one pain at a time. It feels so in my head, HOWEVER, I don't know what to do with the thoughts of constantly dying of cancer. It's making me depressed. Any suggestions?

5 Replies

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  • I can't really help in the long-term except to say I'm exactly the same. Always on the lookout for possible signs of illness or worrying about insignificant pains.

    I've been like it off and on for twenty years now. The fear it instils can only understood if you've gone through it yourself.

    The only advice I can give is whatever you do DON'T Google symptoms. Dr Google will scare the life out of you with the results!

  • I worried I had a heart condition since I canr breathe in deeply. But its my back out of wack which can mess up your diaphram and impact the respiratory system. Now it is about not becoming reactive.

  • Besides, worrying about it wont make any problems go away, just create and enhance their own. Dont worry about cancer, you are healthy. The worry does nothing and prevents nothing. It brings only negative things so practice relaxing. Your body and brain are overstimulated. Of course youll feel all kinds of sensations. Thats super normal. Ive felt almost everything and I haven't died.

  • Hi, I can empathise with everything in your post. I had a pain under my right rib for a few months and convinced myself it was my gall bladder, once that was okay, it moved to bowel problems and I ended up having a colonoscopy, nothing serious, now it's my heart and a fast heartbeat so I've caused heart disease which makes me dizzy! It is so hard to be rationale. I've also got a phobia on taking medication so daren't even take what the doctor has given me. I'm starting hypnotherapy next week and booked in mindfulness course in the hope that being able to relax wil ease some of the symptoms x

  • This sounds so familiar, I have had health anxiety all my life and it got suddenly worse three years ago when my child was 2. I had a year of therapy (never took any drugs for it) and felt quite well for 7 months until last week when wham! I am palpitating, short of breath, cannot sleep, throat closing over, nostrils swollen.. ...definitely heart disease.

    I am overweight apple shaped and naturally I am convinced that this means I have heart disease and will die if I do any exercise. What a totally vicious spiral I am now in.

    However. The one ray of light is this: my therapist taught me to recognise a panic attack and separate that from the 'symptoms' which start me panicking. She also reminded me over and over that I have had these symptoms for years, better and worse, and had various tests, and nothing has been found wrong with any of me.

    Basically she reminded me constantly that I had these symptoms before and I definitely did *not* die so am not going to if/when I had them again.

    I know I need to meditate and relax. I also know I need to lose weight so I can feel more confident about resisting heart disease.

    But knowing it and doing it are two different things.

    I do like to come on here and read how others are feeling the same things as me. Then I know that this is a condition in itself, ie my health anxiety, that it can be managed, that it is not harmful physically, and that it can get better.

    Trying to help other people is also very calming and rewarding. So I recommend that!

    I do avoid any news or magazine stories about health, I don't watch medical drama on TV and I try to escape conversations with neighbours etc about their various illnesses. Other than that I can only suggest some therapy, going private if you can so you can choose your therapist and get it when you need it not when the NHS is able to give it, and give yourself a break. It's a thing. It doesn't have to be a life-ruining thing.

    Good luck.

    -worrymagic

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