Severe hypochondria

This is a very long read, but please take the time to read it and tell me what I should do. I feel like I'm at a dead end. I'm 17 years old and for the past couple of months I've discovered that I am a terribly awful hypochondriac. It all started with a mole on my back, that I've had for years and years, mostly since I can remember. I can remember it being pointed out to me from time to time, I guess because it was a single solitary about 1/4 inch raised mole on my back. (I have other moles on my back, they're just tiny and not raised). I've always been a fair skinned person, and never been out in the sun much at all except for occasions during the summer when I would go swimming and a few beach trips I've been on in my life. I would almost always burn when I did stay out. This year when summer came around, I started babysitting for my aunt and myself and the kids were outside at the pool (in the sun) almost everyday. After about a couple of weeks, my aunt (who had stage 1 melanoma a few years back but caught it just in time) joined us at the pool one day and started talking about her experience with the melanoma. My mole was pointed out by my cousin and she looked at it and told me that it looked weird, and I should get it checked. Although it's perfectly round and is all one color, it has a tiny border that's slightly less raised than the center and a lighter color. I passed it off and about a month later the mole was pointed out to me again by a different family member. This was after a month had passed and I was still outside in the sun at least every other day. The mole had formed a crusty, very dry look to it. After taking a good look at it in the mirror for probably the first time in my life, I went in to full blown panic mode. I told my family that I was with that I was dying and had stage 4 melanoma. I made my mom call and set up a doctors appointment right then. It was all I could think about. I had also been suffering from shortness of breath since the beginning of summer, but I've always struggled some with it and very bad allergies, which usually trigger it. I couldn't keep myself off of google, looking at pictures of melanomas and reading symptoms of it, and all said shortness if breath in advanced melanoma, which did nothing but scare me even more. My aunt who had the melanoma took a good look at it and assured me it was not anything to worry about. I went to the doctor and she checked me for all symptoms of advanced melanoma and looked at the mole. She told me the mole didn't have the major characteristics of melanoma, (the asymmetry, jagged border, weird colors, large diameter), but she would send me to a dermatologist for "safe measures" and because "peace of mind goes a long way". Although my doctor told me this, I still couldn't shake the fear that I was dying of this deadly disease. All I could tell myself was that if it wasn't something to truly be concerned about, she wouldnt be sending me to a derm, or that she's not a specialist so she may not even know. I became extremely obsessed with the mole and even took a picture of it and sent it to a dermatologist online (overseas) who replied to me and told me the mole did not look like melanoma and not to worry. The anxiety then started to come and go. I moved, so I never made it to the dermatologist. I did get so bad that I quit eating and started having awful muscle aches and pains, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, and all any of this did was make it much worse. I went to a doc in the box and she prescribed me zoloft and suggested i see a psychiatrist. She looked at the mole and told me it looked fine to her. After talking to myself, I finally seemed to convince myself that I was being irrational. The anxiety of it went away for a short time. Then, after a week of the zoloft, I started having severe diarrhea and frequent urination. This promoted another trip to the doctor, for her to run tests and give me a checkup just for her to tell me there was nothing wrong with me. Then I began to convince myself I had kidney cancer, although i had NO symptoms whatsoever of it, just from the frequent urination I had for a couple of days. A week passed and I went back to th doctor and asked for her to do blood work and send it off to be tested for STD's, because I also convinced myself I had one. Everything came back fine.

After I got over all of this, I began with the mole again. I still am stuck on it. I stare at it in the mirror. I'm constantly feeling it through my shirt. I squeeze it to see if ooze or blood comes out. I'm constantly checking other parts of my body like my lymph nodes, liver, etc. to check and see if they're swollen, as these are signs of melanoma. I convince myself that it's nothing after I bug and bug everyone I'm close to to tell me that it's nothing to worry about. The crusty look to it that it developed was just from my whole entire back being severely dry and after a week of applying lotion it didn't really look crusty to it anymore. I take pictures of it and stare at it. I find myself in class and at work looking at the pictures. It looks nothing like any melanoma picture I've seen. I still can't fully convince myself however, because the negative thoughts always come back. Please tell me what I should do. I've been on zoloft for a month and it has helped a little bit, but only in other areas, like with my social anxiety and depression.

11 Replies

  • What would reassure you that this is something benign? Do you want to insist on seeing a dermatologist in your new location?

  • wes0727, you need to go to a dermatologist who will once and for all put your mind at ease. There's got to be doctors even though you moved. It seems like everyone else's

    opinion is not calming your obsessive thoughts on it. Please set up an appointment and let us know how you are doing. Take care.

  • I would like to see a dermatologist but I'm scared to death. I'm very scared that I'm going to find out it is what I'm so scared of it being

  • The problem with health anxiety is that reassurance doesn't last. If you saw a dermatologist and he said all clear would your stress go away. Sometimes if the GP refers you to a specialist you get more stressed because you think that the GP must think something sinister is happening. I think all your symptoms are worry over the mole. If your GP was in any doubt she would treat it seriously. Your doctor will have seen many of these so will no what she is looking for. Saying that if you are fair skinned like myself cover up and use a high factor sun cream

  • Your risk is about 1/10,000. I'm sure you know the features to look for eg size >5mm , irreg margin, 3 or more different colours, bleeding, itchiness.

    As mentioned , would a dermatologist be sufficient to reassure you? If not, what would you like? Bear in mind that biopsies leave scars.

  • Is a biopsy an entire removal of a mole? That's what I would like. I know I'm being ridiculous as the mole has no traits of a melanoma, but my health anxiety convinces me not to try to see a dermatologist because I'm scared to death my huge fear is going to be realized to be true.

  • i don't get this, your worried that if you see a dermatologist your fears will be realised, but not worried that a biopsy will cause your fears to be realised? And you don't want the biopsy to be done by a specialist. That doesn't make sense! And you'll have a scar to worry about and you know it has no traits of malignancy. That's a no win situation!

  • I suffer from extreme Health Anxiety, as well, and something like this happened to me a couple of years ago. I even went to the doctor and he was concerned...which made my anxiety way worse...of course.

    So, he sent me to a another doctor to get it cut out. For about 2 weeks I was in tears, shaking, planning out my funeral in my mind, and worried about my loved ones.

    I went to the doctor, dealt with getting it cut out and everything all by myself. I was terrified!

    But, it ended up being something crazy dealing with a vein??? I was so relieved and felt dumb for going through so much chaos for nothing. But, I got through it and felt way better afterward.

    And, the whole process of them removing the "mole" was completely painless. They numbed the spot, cut it out, and sent me home. It took like 30 and out. It did feel weird though, lol.

    I know how terrifying everything can be when you have Health Anxiety, believe me, but, just get it over with and you'll feel better...I promise. "Knowing is half the battle."...I love that quote, because it's so true. Once you know for sure, then you can finally know what to do and how to react....instead of being stuck in limbo not knowing and freaking out over something you don't even know is true or not.

    Believe me, I know exactly how it feels and how our brains work.

    I actually have a channel on YouTube..."Living With Health Anxiety"...look it up, you might find comfort in some of my videos. I have 200 videos from over 3 years. It's under construction and very raw and real, but, you should still be able to find some helpful videos. Smile,'re not alone ❤

  • In the absence of seeing a specialist, you are living each day as if you have cancer. Stop self-diagnosing (you are not a doctor) and let the professional do their job!

  • Have it checked by dermatologist to ease your mind.... Then you will hopefully be able to put it behind you!! Good luck

  • I swear I've been in the exact same spot. I obsessed over my moles on my back for years. I've been to the dermatologist a few times and he always says I'm fine. It's been a few years since I've been in to have them looked at and I'm terrified again! I was obsessed with looking in the mirror. Everywhere is go I'd look! Now I'm not looking cause I'm afraid that I'll freak myself out again so I avoid the mirror! I will only wear clothes that cover them. It's total avoidance! I won't see any doctors anymore. They scare me so bad! I still convince myself I'm dying from time to time! It's crazy!!

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