Completely fed up with health anxiety

Hi everyone im a new member, 17 year old male. The past 5 months have been extremely rough. Health anxiety has ruined a majority of my summer and is still here during the beginning of my school year. I've convinced myself of several serious illnesses including brain tumors,throat cancers,eye cancers,bone tumors and now currently what I think are many swollen lymph nodes in my neck. I constantly look stuff up on the interent and have many panic attacks related to my lymph nodes. One detail that is making me frwak out is tgat they are hard and pea sized. Im at a point where I'm just completely fed up. It's taken over my life and all I want is to live a normal life in which I don't worry about having a severe illness every moment I'm awake. I've gone to the doctors and he felt my lymph nodes and didn't seem concerned this was good for a few days but then I felt some that are deeper in my neck so I've convinced myself. I have been to counciling a few years ago and was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder so i think this health anxiety is steming off of that for lack of a better term.Iike i said I'm so tired of this taking over my life and would like to talk to some of you guys that might be going through the same thing.

Open to any comments, looking to talk. Thanks guys.

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  • Hi, tonight is the first time i have posted on this website aswell. I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder 5years ago. Slowly recovered but has came back with vengeance lately, i think due to stress?

    I don't think i have health anxiety although i do google lots when im feeling ill or odd . . Not sure if that's some kind of health anxiety ?

  • Sounds like mild health anxiety, for me I constantly Google,worry and feel my neck etc. It's just consuming my life. Like I said I'm going back to counseling later this week. I just hope I can get this under control. Thanks for the reply.

  • Never google! they will have you dying of something!

    Counselling normally is a help

    Sue

  • Thanks and yes I know go ogling is the worst. I'm really trying to stop but your mind thinks your helping you self by doing it when in reality your probably hurting yourself. Thanks for your reply.

  • I have lots of palpitations lately, they come on fast and my chest tightens so much i feel like i cant get any air in. Years ago my panic attacks were rapid uncontrollable breathing and faintness. Totally different now.

    Have you been more stressed lately?

  • Yes I've been alot more stressed lately due to my health symtoms and a death in the family.

  • I feel like the stressful life events that have happened to me lately are the reason my anxiety has returned. Maybe the bereavement and stress have heightened your anxiety? Sorry for your loss, its very hard losing a family member and the anxiety can make it harder

  • Yup I think my grandmother dying has really triggered my health anxiety I've always had it but NEVER to this constant panicking I have now.

  • So sorry for your loss. Losing a loved family member probably triggered your anxiety. The bereavement process takes time. Anxiety causes our mind to think negatively. Don't feed your anxiety by going on line. You can imagine that you have every illness you read about. Bad thoughts make you have a bad day. When you feel anxious or scared seek out your friends or family, even if you just chat. However, don't focus on how you feel when you talk or see them. It's hard but the more positive you are, the better you will feel. Doesn't happen overnight but you will feel better. Make sure you also exercise, eat healthy, drink lots of water and get enough sleep. listen to what you tell yourself and if it's negative, change it to positive. You are making a positive decision to get counseling. Stay active and positive.

  • Thanks alot for your reply and yes I totally agree with you talking to family and friends does help alot. I am going to try to focus on blocking out the negative thoughts though. Today I got up and I'm already extremely negative about these lymph nodes or so I think in my neck. Just gonna try to stay positive so it doesn't ruin my weekend. Hopefully this appointment next week can help me a bit to get it under control.

  • Every time you think negatively, go for run or some form of exercise. You know in your heart and mind that you are healthy. Anxiety gives you many many symptoms. Changes all the time. Don't let your anxiety rule your life. With all the symptoms you have had, nothing bad has happened. The more you focus on other things and activities, the better you will feel. Just control your thoughts by focusing on other things. Exercising every morning , having a healthy meal and being with family or friends would help you start your day on a positive note. Remember, you are healthy, just anxiety. Talking to a counselor will help. Be honest and don't think anything you say is stupid. You can't get the right advise if you hold back.

  • Thats the thought that has been getting me through all of this. Ive convinced myself of all these other things and I am still fine so why is this current thing ive convinced myself real? Its so easy to debunk sometimes but others your so caught up in your anxious mind it totally consumes you, and yes I plan on not holding back from my counselor.

  • hi as a long life sufferer of health anxiety i can totally relate to you ,

    from the age of 16 i bought every health book of symptoms and causes ..and i will tell you now it ruined my life ...i have had every imaginary disease that is going ...feeling my neck my stomach taking my temperature ,,, i am 61 now and the i finally went to a psychologist at my last year,,, i has ruined my life my social life was a disaster as well as family life ..i am now 80% better than i was thanks to a wonderful lady who helped me through it i was told my health anxiety resulted in someone who died in my class at school i was only 10 and she believed it triggered it off

    the thought of illness is only a thought ,,,and you can dismiss it .once to tell the thought to go away you will start to improve ...and stop go ogling that made me 10000% worse you are a young man with a life to lead you are only imagining you are ill.. you are not ............it is that nasty health anxiety telling you you are .. believe me it ruins your life,,, get to docs and get some help

  • Thanks so much for your reply. It comforts me that you got over your health anxiety eith your consiler. Hopefully he can help me or maybe I can get some low dose of medication or something. Health anxiety is such a slippery slope. A thought turns into you thinking you have a terminal illness.

  • Hey mate.

    I'm 24 myself so not too much older, and it still feels like yesterday that I was at college and university, in your shoes, struggling to make sense of it all and in a horrible state of non stop worry.

    The only way I could help my anxiety in the end, was to tell the people I loved how I felt, and tell them that I loved them. (For me I've never been scared of dying, just scared of losing yet another person I love or having to leave them behind - so just letting them know took some weight off my shoulders).

    Even though they found it bizarre, it put my mind at rest knowing that should the worst happen (which it never did and won't for you either) you've at least explained to your family and told them your thoughts and that you love em. It was much easier for me to cope this way. I just told them I constantly felt like I was going to die, of which ever random illness or terminal condition came to mind that day. Some have symptoms that make you alarmed and first draw your attention to it (like your glands), but others can be completely random.

    It sounds strange - I know - but a lot of my health anxiety was alleviated when I accepted that I was going to die. Once I got over that and decided I didn't care what I die of so long as I've made peace - the worries about dying slowly subsided as I realised that month by month I was still alive. In turn this taught me that I wasn't actually going to die, so just accepting it was merely a way of beating my anxious thoughts and not allowing them to spiral out of control by dwelling on them. It was hard and took time but I had to listen to my thoughts and say "okay that's cool", then move onto the next thought. Always saying "okay that's cool" to myself, without spending a second analysing the anxious thought. Let the thoughts come and they'll disappear as quickly as they appear, especially if you accept or consciously ignore them. I figured that should the time come that I was actually dying, I would know. And, even though panic attacks feel like you're dying and you're heart is going to fail, I imagine actually dying would feel a whole lot different.

    I'm 7 years on from you now, and I'm still alive and without a terminal or life endangering diagnosis. If that's any peace of mind for you, just know that for me the act of worrying about dying only fuelled my desire to find out what condition I was currently dying of. Now I'm still alive and as time passes hopefully you'll soon learn yourself how to recognise an actual symptom you need to show a doctor, compared to a normal symptom that our anxiety draws your attention to and blows out of proportion.

    Interestingly, I've complained of swollen glands in my neck and jaw since the age of 15 - and they're still swollen to this day. Doctors have never been alarmed, although they have confirmed that they are there and permanently slightly swollen. I used to have hot flushes and dizzy spells but these soon turned into full blown panic attacks and terrible anxiety.

    Have you spoken to your doctor recently? Perhaps, if you're not already, some medicine could take the edge off things for a little while, or maybe even trying some form of therapy again.

    For me, I still struggle, but my current way of "coping" is a combination of diazepam (only during panic attacks or very bad anxious days), pregabalin (which is absolutely brilliant and the best thing I've ever taken for GAD and SA), and cannabis (which although illegal and I can't recommend to you, has been the only thing to properly prevent my anxiety and panic attacks without intoxicating me with side effects - and is something my doctor supports me in doing, simply because he's seen it work for me).

    Now, don't go smoking cannabis - because it's illegal, and taking an illegal drug when you're anxious will never improve your anxiety, simply because of the law and fear of getting into trouble. But hopefully one day medicines will exist for anxiety based on the cannabis plant. It's a natural God send and it genuinely works. And it's important to mention that I only tried cannabis after fully researching it, and even then only after trying every possible treatment option and medication my GP could offer me.

    Im at the point in my life where avoiding panic attacks and anxiety means more to me than getting into trouble for using a plant that keeps me well and has far less side effects than the tablets doctors give me. That said though, I obviously can't and am not recommending it for you. What I do want to get across though is that it's all about finding out what works for you - finding your own ways to work with your own mind, because after all we are all different. You'll know your mind better than anyone so will probably know what works and what doesn't for you through trial and error.

    There are plenty of people on here who will have had very similar experiences to you, and will always be happy to offer advice or share their stories. Anxiety is a lonely illness and knowing that you're not alone is important.

    You sound very very similar to me, and how I was at your age - so I'm pretty confident in thinking that you'll still be alive in seven years time to tell someone else your story and help them start the process of battling the thoughts and identifying anxious ones from genuine health issues.

    Only through challenging my thoughts and ignoring/accepting them have I slowly learned to desensitise myself and "care less" about my health anxiety.

    One positive thing to remember is that because you have health anxiety, you're probably more in tune with your bodily functions than most people - so when something truly goes wrong - you won't have to think about it, you'll know, and when a doctor sees you they'll also worry. If you're the only one concerned then take that as your cue that it's only an anxious thought.

    Hoping you feel well soon and give me a shout if you ever want a chat or to share experiences to see how much your symptoms compare. It's good knowing you're not alone with your struggle.

  • Your very wise for a 24 year old. Well said and great advice

  • Thanks Tim :)

  • Wow, thanks so much for your reply. You don't know how much that helped me. Just hearing you were in my shoes about your swollen glands and everything. I will be going to a consiler next week so maybe that will help me. It's just really getting out of control again today. For the past couple days I thought I had it under control but anxiety has a way of realing you back in. Part of me knows that these swollen glands are nothing but part of me thinks it's a terminal illness. However the point you made about accepting the though of dying would be very hard for me because I think that is at the center of all this. Seeing my grandmother die recently might have triggered this out of control. I've always had GAD and HA but not to this extreme extent. As for Canalis I can completely agree with you, I just hope it becomes legal because it has so many health benifits if used in the correct way for people like us and a host of other conditions. Thanks so much for your reply.

    If you or anyone else wants to email me do so at: mike79588@hotmail.com

  • Hey mike, no worries bud- I just wanted to put some of my thoughts down to hopefully help you out and let you know what worked for me - and to let you know I'm still alive despite thinking I was always going to die.

    I know it sounds very bizarre. I do. But I used to get something called sleep paralysis, I'd basically wake up paralysed and a weird monster/death figure would open my bedroom door and stand st the end of my bed / Google it and you'll see how freaky it is. when this was happening I had no way to stop it, then I remember thinking one time that I was going to die and his monster in the room was going to kill me. So rather than trying to fight the paralysis, which is traumatic , instead I closed my eyes, relaxed and accepted that I was going to die. Ten seconds later I woke up just fine.

    That's kind of when I realised that my health anxiety is purely Centered around the fact that I'm scared of death (not the pain, but the loss). So making peace with the potential loss and sharing this with people takes a lot of the anxiety out of your head. I don't want you to accept death literally. More in the sense that if you're thoughts tell you you're going to die of a heart attack for example, say something like "well thanks for letting me know but unfortunately I'm not a heart surgeon so right now I'm going to carry on with what I'm currently doing regardless". It sounds a bit silly but eventually it worked for me and I stopped listening to my anxiety so much.

    i hope you find something that works soon and I'm so sorry to hear about your grandma. My symptoms all started when my grandad died when I was 15. Such a crazy and deep loss of someone so important at a young age made me an anxious person for the rest of my life. I think that's where my fear of loss comes from. I've lost too many people that I love - friends included.

    Please let me know how your counselling goes. Having someone to talk to really helps plough through your anxious thoughts and smash them in the face! :)

    Good luck mate.

  • Stopen researching on the net. Start with a half day not doing it then a day then 2 days and so on and so on. If you are going to do research focus on how to deal with anxiety. This worked for me anyway. I lost my summer to it and promised it would not steal another day of my life. I was dealing with the same stuff as you. Had every test possible. Besides some buldging disc in the back I am healthy.anxiety is what was killing me. Hang in there find a good support group. Your young and have your whole life ahead of you don't let this crap steal it away from you

  • I know it feels like its doing just that stealign my life away from me. All I want to do it wake up one day without thinking I'm going to die of a serious illness. As for the googling I was going good for about 3 days but then it got to me last night when I was feeling my nodes again this sparked the want to Google again spiraling my anxiety about th e swollen glands out of control. Yes I also have done alot of research on anxiety etc. This does seem to help me in many ways. Thanks for your reply.

  • Hi hi. When I was really out of balance, I was getting panic attacks. I found out I had food allergies and then I would eat something and start thinking I was going to suffocate. Are you eating a lot of sugar, sugar alternatives or diet soda type stuff? I always start with the simple stuff. Food has a major impact on our bodies. Secondly I would look at stress. If you have it, what is causing it? Do less of or stop what is causing you stress. OR go to counseling and learn how not to react to stressful situations. Any of us that know this are still battling it, but it helps to know what to work on.

    Also, make a list of things you love. Another list of things that anger or aggravate or upset you. Do more of what you love and stay away from the negative. This is easier said then done, but you need to create habits. For example, if I see a show or news about animals being hurt, I go into a spin for a week. I get upset with news so now I don't watch it. I read a little about it, but i generally stay away from the negative. Also, I practice self-talk where you speak to yourself when things happen. But you speak to yourself positively. Instead of saying- my life sucks and I'm anxious all the time, I might say - I feel anxious but I'm so lucky to see the leaves turn color and am enjoying my walk today. Concentrate on what you have that's positive.

    A lot of this is behavior management and figuring out the formula for yourself.

  • Thanks for your reply. Yes i am going to a counselor to work on my health anxiety and I also have been trying to think positively about things and use rational though processes and our minds natural ability of common sense to help relieve my health anxiety. Also talking to loved ones also helps me through my negative thoughts etc.

  • Hey Mike how's things going now. things any better??

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