Health Anxiety

Hey everyone,

I've suffered from health anxiety since I was very little. It's come and gone throughout my life but has sinced returned when my son was born. I'm a single mum, so my main concern is passing away and leaving him. I have had cbt which helped some, but I don't feel it really got to the root of my illness. I wasn't affected by death at a young age, so I'm not sure what sparked this fear in me when I was little. I take Elavil 10mg daily that was prescribed for TMJ and Xanax .5mg as needed. My biggest problem is I feel like I'm going nuts. I've been a nurse for many years (which is a blessing and a curse for someone with health anxiety!), so I find my nurse brain and anxiety brain clash over what's real and what's just anxiety fuelled. It's absolutely awful! Any advice of how to get it under control and begin to heal from it would be wonderful and much appreciated.

26 Replies

  • Hi. I am sorry to hear of your distress and frustration. It must be particularly difficult for you being a health professional. As a therapist myself for many years I found it interesting that you had 'some cbt' that you felt had been somewhat beneficial. I wonder why the therapy did not continue. You recognise that your illness has a root cause, but as yet it is uncovered. For sure it is only through therapy will you uncover that root. I am all for using medication if it is really needed to help someone,or if the causal issue is chemical in nature. But anxiety disorder is generally psychological in nature and therefore, needs psychological rather than physiological treatment.

    I think that you were on the right track with the therapy - but as you know, it can take a long time to make the breakthrough needed. The 'trigger' you mention will not necessarily be what we think it will be - you mentioned you were not affected by death as a child for example. But, as you know, there is a trigger somewhere in your life. I hope that you will be able to resume your therapy and find the answers you need to help you get well again.


  • Thanks for the reply. It is frustrating. I got my 10 visits, requested another 10, and she felt that I was "cured" because for a while I had stopped having panic attacks. I would like to continue with therapy, definitely with a different therapist. I think she should of tried investigating further and really asking the questions that I was afraid to answer. Instead she spent half of the sessions talking about herself and her life. It's nice when someone can relate and it definitely makes you feel not so alone, but sometimes you just want someone who will listen.

  • Many woman have health anxiety say that when they've had kids it becomes worse not sure if it's true but I also have five kids my newest who is four months now when he was born it was awful for me I just couldn't be bothered with any one I had to put a fake smile one my face to pretend I'm happy but now I'm on the road to recovery in feeling a lot better just awfully tired. I hope you get sorted I've never took any medication in that bad I don't go to the doctors because I think there going to say I have every illness going I did ring my gp years ago and explained how I felt and ano it's wrong but she sent me a prescription out through the post of citalopram wich I never took because she didn't even say she's come and visit me to do a check over so I personally don't think doctors understand exactly what anxiety is its hard for some one to understand exactly how u feel in person but therapy is ment to be really good my auntie has had anxiety 32 year she's had therapy numerous times and helped her every time so in thinking of trying that my self. But am not sure what therapy is can you please tell me xx

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy!! I'm doing mine at the moment on week 4 now but I've had a set back! My hands feel week so in my head I've got als or MND which is scaring me! X

  • I've been there with that thinking also! Keep it up though, and talk to your therapist about it. I found that once I got over thinking I had a particular illness, that anxiety would create a new one..just to tell me it's still around. Lol. It's all about changing your thought process, which has been the hardest part to learn for me.

  • That's exactly what it does.. I've had every cancer possible and I've had them all checked out now I have a new one! I need to go doctors but I know I shouldn't because there's nothing wrong with me 😩 It's so hard x

  • It is very hard! I try to work it out myself now but some days are more difficult than others. I try to occupy my mind with other things to stop thinking about my health, which usually works :). An unoccupied mind is a dangerous mind!

  • You and I know that you are not cured after 10 sessions - what kind of therapist was that! You are right - she should have wormed her way right down into your deepest darkest places for the answer. You may have not liked it but it would have brought a real cure to you. Instead you are right back to the beginning again. That, in my opinion is just sheer neglect and laziness on the part of the therapist. I would have been ashamed of myself if I had behaved in that way with a client.

    Anyway- moaning over - what can be done about it. As I keep saying to people on here - you are perfectly in the right to require proper treatment for your illness, and that might mean being very pro-active indeed. I am sure you know that people who are not involved in health care can quite often be too shy to ask questions or make suggestions concerning their own treatment. But for me that is the the attitude that people should adopt if they want to get the help they need and deserve. I wonder if it is possible for you to get back into therapy again? You are so ready for it - I can feel it from you.


  • You're absolutely right, I am ready to go back, and with a different therapist! Maybe a new doctor too...He's just very less than understanding and would rather push pills than treat at a holistic level. Every complaint is now "in my head". No wonder mental illness has such a stigma around it.

  • Excellent. You took the words out of my mouth regarding some doctors and their reluctance to do anything other than write a prescription. I am lucky in that my doctor is more enlightened - lucky for him :-) I also have the advice and support from my partner who is also a doctor - a good one :-) I hope that you manage to get back in to therapy and banish your illness permanently.


  • That's awesome! You're in a great position then. Thank you for listening and for your advice :)!

  • you are very welcome :-)

  • I can't really help much but to say I have awful HA too and have suffered for over 20 years. It does ease off but then drops back on me. At the moment things are very stressful and of course the HA has come on nice and strong.

    I wonder if as a nurse you see illness every day and somehow worry it could be you not the unfortunate person you're treating.

    I know I got a lot worse when I turned 50 as people kept saying watch out for this and that as now you're the age to have these things appear. And of course that set off my HA big time.

  • Tanya; medications really do help if you absolutely need them. It's best to use them in conjunction with therapy. Karl on here could give you a way better run down of therapy than myself! It's something though that I think all anxiety sufferers should do though.

    Bramwell; sorry to hear you're feeling that way. Being a nurse definitely throws a certain curve ball into the whole anxiety issue. We see a lot of suffering unfortunately. I think one of the things I fear is the unknown. When I treat a dying patient, is what I'm doing really helping them feel comfortable? Are they pain free, and completely oblivious to what's going on? We have our palliative meds that help do these things for them but it's still an unnerving thought - for me at least. I'm confident in what I do, but I fear for when my time comes. If that makes any sense?

  • Thank you so much I'm a born worrier u do a marvellous job a nurse I'd love to be one. I'm a beautician I'm scared to go back to as I think am I doing this and that right it's so hard xx

  • I hear you there Tanya, I'm constantly worrying! If nursing is something you would like to do, then I suggest giving it a go. It is incredibly hard to decide to go back to school. I have an opportunity to advance but I know I'm just not in the right mindset to be able to focus on school. I enjoy where I am currently, so I'm comfortable in waiting to advance in my career whilst working on myself. You have to do you first!

  • Your a nurse in a hospital? What hospital do you work in if you don't mind . And I bet it's incredibly hard I don't think I could do it tbh I would think I'm doing everything wrong so I couldn't possibly I worry about my own health so other patience on top that would be tuff xx

  • I work at a nursing home actually in Canada. When it comes to treating one of my residents, I question the doctor more than myself. Some things they order or choose not to order I don't agree with. But such is life in the nurse/doctor relationship.

  • And also it's booms do you have a lot of symptoms of anxiety like weakness and dizziness xx

  • All the time! Dizzyness is a big one for me, and depersonalization/derealization. It's a terrible feeling.

  • Or right what's depersonalisation xx

  • It's feeling like your thoughts aren't your own, like you're watching the world through a fish bowl is the best way I can describe it. You feel detached from yourself.

  • That's so me like in in a different world nothing seems real it's like when I go to my mams or to the shop il come home and think what was j doing in the shop that wasn't me and pictured come into my mind it's so crazy xx

  • Yep, that's exactly the feeling and it sends me straight into a panic. It truly is an awful feeling and in my opinion, the worst symptom of anxiety as it is very disorientating while it's happening.

  • It's so scary ain't it I'm that bad some days I can't get up because in that dizzy and then I go all hot and sweaty and feel as if I'm just going to fall I so wish I was normal xx

  • Getting hot and sweaty is part of the panic process. Then your heart starts racing and you freak out more. It's a vicious cycle!

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