Health anxiety is ruining my life!

I have always dealt with depression and anxiety. Ever since I was like 10. It was never about my health though. I'm a pretty healthy person. Im not overweight, I don't drink or smoke, And I work out. However within the last few months my health has been all that I can think about. Two months ago I was sure I had breast cancer, which was crazy considering I'm a young healthy male, last month I thought I may have hepatitis because after a blood test I was told my bilirubin levels were a bit high. Now I think I may have colon cancer. I started to have sharp pains in my stomach, followed by constipation,and alot of noises in my stomach. Naturally I looked up my symptoms online and now I'm terribly afraid that I have colon cancer. My parents don't understand and they keep telling me that nothing is wrong, but I can't stop thinking something terrible is going to happen. I feel like I'm losing my mind. Anyone else feel this way?

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  • Hi. Sorry to read of your distress. I think that probably everyone on here feels, or has felt, that way. You are not losing your mind though - you are dealing with health anxiety, and possibly also its companions ocd and sensorimotor obsession. One of the most common symptoms of these illnesses is the belief that we have some awful, or even terminal, illness that has somehow gotten through undetected all the medical tests we have had. Of course it is not helped by consulting google - you will believe you have every single illness possible.

    What I would say is this - if you think you have a specific illness the first thing to do is ask yourself how real is the possibility you have it, then check for symptoms - you dont have to have all the symptoms to have the illness of course, but you will have several. If that all checks out then go to the doctor. Even then it does not mean you have the illness you think you may have, but better to be sure.

    Inevitably, there will be many times this illness fools you into thinking you have a serious illness - that is just part of the way it operates. Health anxiety in particular is closely related to ocd and sensorimotor obsession. The most effective treatment for this is therapy.

    In the end, it does not matter how many times you seek medical help for a possible illness that is not present - you have an illness, and that is what should be being treated with the same attention as any physical illness.

    Karl

  • Thanks for the reply, I really wish I knew what to do. I mean I was just at the doctor less than a month ago, They did blood work and everything came back ok. So I have no clue whether I should go back or not. I'm trying to stay away from looking up symptoms, but I feel like I cant stop. My parents dont get it and they keep saying things like "There is absolutely nothing wrong with you", "Get over it", "Your fine", but I dont feel that way.

  • Well lets be clear about one thing = there IS something wrong. Ok its something they cant see and that makes it hard for some people to get their head around. There is also an element of stigma that goes on with a psychological illness like anxiety. People tend to mix it up with mental illness, which has never been seen as a priority illness in this country. The illnesses we are talking about are for the most part are not mental illnesses in the sense of having a physiological basis e.g. bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia are known to caused by an imbalance of chemicals. Most illness related to anxiety are not - their roots lie in the emotions. That is why therapy is by far the most effective treatment.

    From what you have said it seems that you dont have any serious illness of a physical nature - therefore your symptoms are being caused by anxiety. There is nothing wrong in looking up symptoms - though it is not all that helpful for those of us with anxiety disorders. You should do what you feel you need to do in terms of seeking medical advice. It is your health after all - and your right to feel you are being properly taken care of medically.

    Karl

  • Hello

    Have you any idea what may have started these fears over your health

    I wish I was young and healthy like you and knew what I knew now because like you I worried over my health from a young age when like you have admitted you are fit and healthy yet even though you know this it does not help the fear

    I always remember trying to tell my parents and I would get told to stop been stupid or there is nothing wrong and they would walk of , it was not their fault they had this reaction because to be honest I think had I not suffered with anxiety I may have had just the same reaction if someone told me but you so want your parents to understand what you are feeling and have their support , but don't blame them for not giving it you and understanding as someone may have said this can only be felt by the person suffering and where there can be a lack of compassion other than from those that know because they are either feeling it or have so you have found a good place to come and talk because everyone will know just how you are feeling and will understand you :-)

    Have you asked yourself why should something bad happen to you ?

    Someone once asked me that question and you know what I did not have an answer because I don't know why I thought something bad would happen to me rather than anyone else

    You need support because you can work through this and you are at an age if your parents cannot get their heads round this and give it to you then go to your Doctors and tell them how bad this is now affecting you and let them discuss what support they can offer , you will benefit from it :-)

    Dr Google is your worse enemy , it spits out the worse scenario on everything if you look it up on there you really need to help yourself and start with resisting going and looking because if we look long enough we will find something to but the fear in us , maybe try an elastic band on your wrist and give it a quick flick every time you get the urge and remember the only person that could possibly tell you if there was something physically wrong is a Doctor a Doctor that has examined you , has your medical history , knows your age and so on and Google does not know any of those things

    At some stage you may want to write down how you feel like you have in this post and maybe not now but when the time is right you could give it your parents to read , it may not make them understand but reading it in black and white in a letter may make them realize you need their support

    Take Care x

  • Thank you for the reply. I really wish I had an answer to what may have started all this but I literally have no clue. 2015 was just not a good year for me. I had more panic attacks and anxiety attacks then I have ever had before. I don't blame my parents for not understanding, As you said its hard for anyone not going through the same thing.

  • Well think about seeing your Doctor and you now have this Community where you can come and talk which I am sure will help :-) x

  • I've just been through what you're going through. I'm not completely cured but I am happy again & the thoughts of dieing have stopped. One of the things that helped me was banning myself from searching symptoms on Google & trying to forget about everything I had read. Searching your symptoms on Google is 100% the worst thing you can do. Every time I did it I would have new physical symptoms that weren't there prior & it sent me on a downward spiral. This has been over about 5 months & it's not easy but you can turn it around & find yourself again.

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