I'm new to this anxiety issue. I've always lived loving life and loving to do things with friends and family. I was never worried about health (although I was an athlete and was not unhealthy). Well, as I aged (35 yrs old now) and losing my father at 20, you start to see the mortality in your own life. It's gotten increasingly worse since getting married and having kids. Your worry heightens because all you can think about is caring for your young children. I had a health scare which turned out to be nothing, but then had a medicine mixup which sent me into GOOGLE hell for 2 weeks ultimately giving me a severe case of Health Anxiety/PTSD. This started in February and it's been here for 2+ months. I'm a person who LOVES life and LOVES sporting events, tailgates, friends, travel, etc. So this has been debilitating to me because my love for these things have diminished since "the health scare" / "heart attack that didn't happen". So the reason that I'm writing this to you is to tell you that if you don't like your CURRENT situation, CHANGE IT NOW. DON'T settle and play the pitty me game.
Anxiety is a vicious cycle guys. I know you've all experienced it or you wouldn't have sought out this forum (which is fantastic).
You're body all of a sudden changes, you have physical symptoms, then sudden doom sets in. You get online to GOOGLE the darn symptoms and guess what......? Now you're battling a MAJOR ILLNESS that irreversible. You seek out every doctor under the sun and get good results back. You head back home and still feel off and start to think, "I need to find another doctor because they had to have missed something?" This is how you get stuck in the Anxiety Cycle. Every night you go to bed and beg and pray that tomorrow will be better. You wake up wondering if you feel better. You go through your day as symptoms show up and makes your day terrible. You get back on the internet for answers. You figure out that it must be "MS" or "Cancer" or "WHATEVER GOOGLE SAYS". Your worry intensifies as you get no conclusive evidence.....it's like that movie, Groundhog Day. We get stuck on this Gravitron of false thoughts which can lead any over-anxious person into depression.
I told my wife that the scariest part of this to me was that you don't get a timetable. When you go to the doctor with the flu, they give you a shot, i.v., z-pack and say rest and you should be good in a week or so. When you go to the doctor with a broken bone, they do surgery to repair, put a cast on it, and tell you that you'll be good as new in 3 months. With this illness, you go to bed, wake up, and ponder all day about "WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER". It will drive you completely insane. You see the thousands of people in your city daily living life normally and it makes you sad because you want to be them. I'm writing all of this because I know there's a way out of this.
I've always been the person who avoided doctors and beat colds, flus, etc on my own because I hate doctors. Well, this illness has taken me for a 2-month ride and I want off, so I went aggressive. I listed my mistakes above that kept me (and you) in the loop. This is what I've done to get out of the GOD awful cycle....
(1)-You have to change the way you think. You can't live your life thinking that you have some major health issue. Go to the doctor(s) and get medically cleared. I went to my internest, my cardiologist, the emergency room, and a vertigo specialist to clear me of all of my worries. Some of these visits were not an option as I thought I was going to die from something serious....this is how anxiety works.
(2)-You have to believe your doctors. When multiple blood tests, CT-Scans, Angiograms, Vertigo Testing, Thyroid Testing, etc come out clear....BELIEVE THEM. They know what they're doing.
(3)-Get the heck off of GOOGLE. I think that there should be an illness named GOOGLED. Here's an example of how an anxious mind works. You go to work and a co-worker tells you, "Man are you ok? You look pale, do you need to go home?" A few hours later another co-worker, "You're still here? You look like you're sick." An anxiety person, jumps the gun and instead of listening to their body (which is not telling them that they're sick) tells them to check out these symptoms. All of a sudden, with the help of google, we've figured out that yes in fact we do have some problem and now it's manifested into a full blown symptom. Our minds are powerful...
(4)-Get out a exercise. This is an easy one for me because I do this regularly. But, when this all started 2 months ago, I stopped because I felt so bad. I finally got out and started running again....DAILY. I've run about 3-5 miles daily for the past 3 weeks. This will drastically change your thought process. Running releases endorphins in your brain that gives you a sense of accomplishment and also provides the EUPHORIC feeling that alters the chemicals in your brain. Get a plan and get moving, you will see results in less than a month if you get a routine going.
(5)-Seek a therapist or counselor. Find one that fits your needs. Some just want your money, but most really care and most have battled the same battle that we're fighting daily. I'm going to my 3rd session with my counselor today. She's has a strong religious background and is very warming and helpful. We will do EMDR today to rid my mind of negative thinking from my health scare.
(6)-Take a medication to bridge the gap between your exercise and your counseling. Treat this as "short-term" based. Use it to clear your negative thought pattern while you continuously work on getting better. Try to stay at a low dose. I use .5mg of Xanax once in the mornings. It usually wears off by noon, but I tend to do my running at lunch so this makes my afternoons easier. If you use a high dosage, be sure to get with your doctor on tapering.
(7)-Do things daily that you used to do in you "former life." Do not become a recluse because of your thoughts. Once you baby step yourself back into reality and find those things that you used to enjoy, you will see that your life will slowly begin to improve and your symptoms will slowly begin to diminish.
The most important thing is to get your mind off of the ANXIETY. Take it for what it is. Know that it WILL go away. It WILL get better. You WILL beat it. I promise each one of you. I have not beaten anything yet, but use me as an example. I WILL NOT LET THIS PIECE OF $HIT beat me. BE STRONG, LOVE LIFE, and realize that life is precious. When you have a negative thought, follow it up with a positive/true thought to debunk the negative. Stop your anxiety routine by altering habits that keep you in the cycle.
Lastly, I don't know any of you. But I love people. I love God and I love you all.
"THIS TOO SHALL PASS"