I have COPD, ALS, MS, Lung Disease, Heart Disease, Lupus, Cancer, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Parkinson's Disease.Just Anxiety? No Way I say!

Anxiety is no joke. My anxiety issues were always lurking, but came to full blast right after the birth of my second daughter. I'm still fighting it and figuring out how to move forward with my life, but it's been a journey. I'll make you a little list to prove how powerful anxiety can be.

November 2015: Felt short of breath-must be COPD or Lung Cancer! Had pulmonary test and X-rays and Blood work done....All Clear. Doc said it's anxiety

December 2015: Still short of breath-must have missed something! I still have COPD. Back to doctors, more x-rays. All Good. It's anxiety

January 2016: Woke up with arm pains. Googled it...must be heart failure. I'm overweight...must be heart disease! Had Ultrasound done, stress test, X-Rays, and all came back great. Doc said it's anxiety.

February : Tongue is swollen, sticks out to one side a bit. Must mean I have a brain tumor! Had a CT scan...came back all good. Anxiety Again.

February (again): They must have missed something. My research on google shows that CT scans don't show as much as MRI's with contrast!! Went to have an MRI done. All good........Doc says (gasp!) Still anxiety!

March: Shortness of breath again. They missed something. Searched frantically for answers on google. Now it makes sense! Shortness of Breath, plus heart pains, plus anxiety...I have Lupus! Went to Doc....they already tested for that in January...all good...still anxiety.

April: My hands hurt. Googled it. Must be Rheumatoid Arthritis! Compared my hands to my wife's hands for weeks. Studied pics of RA and compared my own for weeks. Didn't go to Doc for this one, because during my research and constant checking my pinky finger shook sometimes. This takes us to March.

March: Forget Rheumatoid Arthritis.....I have Parkinson Disease!!!! My pinky shook, research shows that's how Michael J Fox found his! Time to scour the internet for answers constantly! My wife is furious at me at this point as I'm video recording my pinky when watching TV to see how long it twitches!!!

April: Pinky isn't shaking anymore, but I'm clumsy now. Not to sure I have Parkinson's after comparing myself to 33 year old men with PD on YouTube. But since I'm clumsy, and when writing my hands feel tight. Put all this together, combined with my past Breath Issues and pain issues. Oh my God, it all makes sense!!! I have MS!!!!

May-June-July: Obsessed with MS research! But it doesn't make sense. I've had so many tests done already. MS would have shown up??? OH MY GOD!!!!!!! I HAVE ALS...I'M GOING TO DIE SOON ANY MY CHILDREN ARE GOING TO SEE ME CRIPPLE INTO NOTHING!!!!

Now, I've had ALS fears for over 3 month's now. Mind you, there are roughly 30,000 people with ALS in the U.S. at any given time on average. With a population (U.S) of 324,246,950 my odds of having ALS is 0.00009%. On top of that, with my past history of thinking I have all these diseases you would think I could logically reason that I'm probably OK and it's anxiety again.

But sadly, I'm checking my strength all the time. Checking my reflexes. Reading through ALS support boards from people who do have the disease. Researching what symptoms to search for. Checking for atrophy, checking for speech problems, swallowing problems, balance problems, handwriting issues. Watching videos of people diagnosed with ALS. Checking my will to make sure my kids are covered. Checking my life insurance policy for coverage and payouts.

Crazy thing is that the more I do this the worse I get. I've been anxious for so long and operating at such a high state of terror for so long that my nervous system is shot. I'm probably surging adrenaline through my body atleast 2-5 times a day. Loading it with chemicals that are just leaving me frazzled. I'm depressed, I'm exhausted, and I feel absolutely defeated. Most of all, I'm embarrassed. I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA with a degree in business. I manage a company workforce of 300 employees. I'm not bragging, but I'm trying to get it across that I'm no dummy. But, I still walk around daily thinking I'm dying and my demise is imminent.

My heart goes out to everyone with anxiety issues. My health anxiety is a terror, and I'm positive that anyone who is battling anxiety issues is just plain exhausted. Stay strong, and realize that anxiety can wreak havoc on your body and create all kinds of things, even physical symptoms. (When I thought I had COPD i would cough until I threw up every morning. Haven't done that since I moved onto other fears of disease) Heck, even as I write this I still think I have ALS, it just hasn't fully shown up yet and within a year or so it will come fully to light and my life will be over. I laugh as I type this though because if I follow my nonsense pattern then a few years from now I won't be worrying about ALS ( if it doesn't show up) instead I'll be worrying about some other super rare disease which will kill me.

I'm ridiculous, I know.


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22 Replies

  • I'm currently going through the same thing . I had some stomach issues in June . And of course I must have some sort of disease! I went to the er 7 times ! My family said I was starting to look like I was on drugs because I couldn't sleep. My ( TMI ) stool still isn't normal. All 7 doctors said I shouldn't worry. One doctor told me that my worries would kill me faster then anything else would . I feel awful. I have a 4 year old and haven't been able to enjoy the summer with her . I hate this feeling.

  • My heart goes out to you. At one point I was checking my stool too. I slightly remember thinking I had some type of Esophagus or bowel issue or something. I think I had heartburn for a day or so so something led me to that. It's a sad day when you're hunched over the toilet inspecting your poop to compare color, size, and consistency.

  • this was me to a tee. I started on Zoloft it changed my life , i had to get over my fear of taking meds and when i did Zoloft really helped me. it took weeks to work and get rid of side effects but it was worth it. all i can stress is to be open to everybody about it in your life so you can feel comfortable and not alone. keep your mind busy and do healthy things because this will make you feel better. Continue to research even though it can sometimes put you in a funk it can help when looking up panic attacks. most important focus on positivity and not letting anxiety or panic take you down and leave you in your bed.

  • Thank you for the support! It was really therapeutic to write this and see how absurd I look. It also helped me think maybe I don't have ALS when I listed all these other deadly diseases.

    I've been on Lexapro for about two months now. It helps a bit, but it may not be the right med for me as it basically only takes the "edge" off. I've heard Zoloft, or Prozac, might be more helpful for hypochondriacs. I'll bring it up with my Doc on my next follow up appointment.

    I do need to focus on leading a healthier life. Eating better and exercising would probably do more good than any medication ever could!

  • it really helps, just remember your not alone and to let go of your fears

  • Thanks Moses. I believe health anxiety is a fear based condition backed by a control issue. Once I learn to let go and learn to just enjoy the ride I think my "symptoms" would go away.

  • I have had health anxiety for 40 years I have had numerous cancers ALS huntingtons disease. The latest is a brain tumour which proved to be negative. The neurologist said because of my anxiety my brain was over sensitised so I got pain flashing lights and tinitus. It's such an awful feeling and it takes over your life. I have spent hours on the net only to feel worse at the end of it. Had CBT, counselling and hypnotherapy. When will it end. I feel guilty using NHS resources and have gone private at times. I think fear of ALS was the worst period. There is no cure. Do you ever think because of all these lucky escapes you deserve to be ill. It also causes tension with family members. Take care

  • The ALS fears are pretty terrible. I've read that most people with Health Anxiety will gravitate towards ALS because an over-stressed and anxious system will eventually begin to just "fail". Our bodies aren't made to be on a constant fight or flight mode. Once you're system is taxed then your motor coordination and sensory nerves just flunk out in ways.

    I feel guilty most of the times for my health anxiety. I understand that mental is a real thing and deserves attention. But, I've spent so much time in these health forums, reading people's account of true tragedy. It's then that I feel guilty about my anxiety. I must seem like a whiny brat to people with ALS who can't do as much as pick up their pinky, yet I need them to talk to me to assure me that I'm healthy and it's just anxiety. It's not just me either, the ALS forums website has posts designed just for anxious people to read so they can be reassured. Those people have strength beyond words.

    I can't say I'm sure I will ever beat health anxiety. But these posts help a ton. It's nice to know other people go through it too. It's strangely comforting to laugh at myself and how ridiculous I look when writing out all my "perceived" diseases.

    Heck, the real credit here goes to my wife. She has to put up with me and my constant conversations and check ups about whatever diseases I can cook up. Plus, here in the US insurance comes out of my pocket. These tests I need (which the doctors always tell me I don't because my anxiety is out of control) cost money!!! We're in the hole for about $1600.00 which I'm paying on monthly installments. Reassurance sure does come at a price when you're anxious!

    Best of luck, and don't feel too guilty. You're feelings matter and health anxiety is a tough one. You're suffering too and you deserve a peaceful happy life just like everyone else.

  • Thanks we are do lucky to have the NHS. I need to start trusting my doctors. When I went to see my GP about a brain tumour she said I new more about them than I do. Embarrassing

  • Sorry just one more point. If I see my GP or consultant I come out of the office on a high but before I get home cracks start to appear. I forgot to tell him that my eye twitches as well as my hand, my headache has changed, I can't stand on one foot etc. Crazy isn't it. The worse thing is I am a mental health nurse.

  • Completely normal for health anxiety folks. I feel good for about a day and then I'm thinking the dreaded "what if!!!??"

    You being a mental health nurse actually explains it a bit. You see people suffering daily, that takes a toll on people.

  • Oh Maisie1, I've been there many times. Feeling the high and then come crashing down when I remember the things I forgot to mention during the visit. Of course then we are right back to square one with negative thoughts that maybe had the doctor been told these other symptoms, it would have been a different outcome.

    Being a mental health nurse unfortunately doesn't give you a pass on health anxiety. We all feel that we are different, we may be that one in many who has a real medical condition and not anxiety.

    As you know, somewhere along the way we need to change. We need to take all the positive things we know about anxiety and use that to our benefit in getting better. One of the positives is that you know many people in the mental health field who you may be able to reach out to. You've got the inside track.

    As for when you see your GP or consultant, make a list of important symptoms at the top and the lesser ones at the bottom of your list. Try not to make it too long, for as you must know after the first 3 symptoms the doctor usually tunes out. And never mention a symptom to the doctor as you are walking out. Your time is over, they are on to the next patient already.

    I'm sure there are a lot of us that can relate to how you feel. Good luck with your next appointment. x

  • This is me! I've been obsessing over my heart for the past month already. I've been to the dr several times, I've been to the ER and called the paramedics on 3 occasions, I've been to the cardiologist, had a nerve test done on my arms bc they go numb. Every time I am reassured everything is fine it only lasts a day or two, then I start thinking "what if they missed something?" Anxiety is such a terrible beast!

  • Thanks I do have a good relationship with my GP which is a bonus

  • It took me some searching. But I like my doctor. He has no problem telling me when I'm acting like a fool though. He laughs, I laugh...then I cook up something else to worry about and we start all over again.

  • Reading this made me sob. This is exactly how my brain works. It's absolutely horrendous. I'm new here and am looking to see if I'm the only one torturing myself. The problem is that I can't help it.

  • you're not the only one.it takes some time and work, but it gets better.

  • Oh the relatability of this post is UNREAL! Been exactly the same for me for the past few months (started on Christmas day actually... CHEERS...) One big rush of adrenaline and a brutal panic attack just after christmas dinner and here I am today, normal ol' Adam to very-much abnormal new Adam in the space of 20 horrendous minutes!

    After only a couple of weeks or so of just general anxiety which I quickly learned to deal with thanks to my doctor, the health worries started LITERALLY out of nowhere, and have rarely loosened their grip since -_- I've "had" pretty much every condition you mention in this post multiple times (particularly MS and ALS...) with my main physical symptoms being lightheadedness, dizziness, those weird adrenaline rush things where you can't breathe, super weak legs 99.7% of the time etc. So much fun ;L

    But like you and a couple others who commented, I've found that just sitting back and laughing about it whenever you can has been easily the biggest help. I always try to avoid feeling sorry for myself and constantly poke fun at myself for all my rediculous speculations and despite not helping directly reduce symptoms, it's definitely kept me positive and allowed me to hold on to my personality and sense of humor etc.

    Seeing my dictor about medication tomorrow as I'm supposed to be starting University in September and I really can't see that happening with my borderline inability to walk at the moment, so hopefully I can find something that'll help ease that and I can carry on near-enough as I was before!

    I wish you and everyone else with similar problems the best of luck in recovery, and I just want to say thankyou for this post and the massive amount of reassurance it's given me after a rather rough day! 😊

  • I'm thrilled I provided you with a bit of relief. I hope it's not temporary and sticks around for a bit. My ALS fears are pretty rock solid right now so I would love a break!

  • I know all to well the feeling. I was set to be induced for my daughter in 2014 because I had hypertension they said I go in on a Thursday had her on Saturday and wasn't released until Monday morning. Throughout my last 2 months of pregnancy I had a horrible cough. I hadn't been getting hardly any sleep with my newborn I was only home a little over 24 hours and was so stressed on Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning I tried laying down but every time I tried i felt like I couldn't breathe, like the feeling of being under water too long. I told my husband and he didn't seem to care so I had to have my mom take me to the hospital at 2 in the morning and she basically said it was all in my head and that I was over reacting. I get to the hospital to find out I had postpartum pre eclampsia and the feeling of not being able to breathe was because I had pulmonary edema. I was stayed in that hospital for a week hardly being checked on and so I signed myself out because the refused to release me later that night I went to a different hospital who had then told me I had pneumonia gave me all sorts of meds and it took me 2 weeks to finally be able to sleep laying down again after taking a high dosage of diuretics to pull the water out of my lungs. I was still on blood pressure meds though which were not helping I kept going to the hospital to find out what was wrong they kept increasing my dose my family had been getting even more angry with me because it has been over a month of me going back and forth to the hospital. I finally took myself off the meds and my blood pressure returned to normal. I still to this day get scared that it is going to return I keep it to myself more now rather than telling my husband or family because I fear they do not understand and will just continue to judge me. I have anxieties about other illnesses too mostly cancers which is why I have also quit smoking. I didn't start getting anxiety until I became pregnant and don't know why I have become like this but all I know is that I can't change it as much as I have tried I am scared of taking a lot of medications for the fear it will do other damage. It is nice to have people who understand what it is like or to have people who actually care how you feel. All I want to say is I hate it when people tell me it is all in my head, yes you might have a point but you don't have to bring it up or be rude about it either. Don't let people be mean to you over something you cannot control. That is the end of my rant.

  • I just wanted to comment really quick I read this post and couldn't believe how much this sounds exactly like me and what I did as far as what I thought I had step by step I have lived this als fear for months I watched you tube videos! I would cry all the time it was horrible and having this kind of mental illness is absolutely debilitating to a persons life as well as their families. I wish I knew why are minds obsess about symptoms and illness

  • I hope this brought you some peace. Time is actually one of the biggest things which help deny my ALS fears. The disease itself if progressive, and once you some weakness, or a symptom or whatever may be the initial flag of the disease, nothing gets better. Only goes down from that point. I go back to my old posts, like this one, and see that it was seven months ago. So seven months ago I was terrified of ALS, but I'm no worse today then I was when I originally wrote this.

    Still have bouts of weakness though. Still have soreness and jitteryness. Still feel short of breath at times.

    Basically, I still haven't quite worked out how to handle stress properly. My body is a stressed out wreck and my mind is on over-drive.

    I have better days though. Today was actually a pretty good one. That gives me hope.

    I hope you find peace.

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