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Anxiety Support
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Health anxiety please help

I need some words of comfort right now. I can't sleep. I'm a hypochondriac and I can't stop worrying about my health. I have canceritis. Everything to me is cancer this and tumor that. Now I feel like I have a tumor in my esophagus because I'm having trouble swallowing- not the typical lump in my throat feeling. My chest there's a spot that hurts and it's not like the regular shooting pains. I'm going to schedule an appointment with a GI doctor, but I am scared out of my mind. I know that it is very very very unlikely that I have stomache cancer, esophageal cancer or a tumor in my esophagus but it scares me because I googled all of the symptoms and I have them and I'm loosing so much weight and I'm terrified that I'm gunna die soon. Please help me. Please. I can't sleep.

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Hi Panic234,

Have you tried urge surfing - this is a new technique which I picked up last week from my clinical health psychologist.

We feel an urge to do something we feel we cannot resist and we react. In your case it is thinking about it cancer and using Dr Google.

As this pattern repeats, we come to believe that we must act in order for the urge to go away, that we don't have any choice.

However, there is a choice - we are just not used to making it. The physiological urges are intense but short lived, They may feel like they will go on forever but in fact they will reach a certain point and then start to weaken by themselves - just like a wave in the ocean.

Urge surfing involves letting the urge build up, peak and dissipate on its own, without trying to stop or change it - just like riding a wave.

Another useful alternative coping strategy is distraction - to take your mind off the issue at hand. This can be any (healthy) activity that you can substitute for the behavior of thinking/googling.

Ideally it needs to be

1. Active (you have to do something)

2. Enjoyable

3. Realistic (something you are likely to do)

Examples

go for walk, visit friends, take a shower or bath, paint your nails, listen to music / certain songs, watch a movie

I hope these tips help. I am practicing these myself and documenting on work sheet called Monitoring Body Cues Worksheet

Note that if you research urge surfing you will find it refers a lot to addictions. This is where the tool was originally developed but it is useful just the same.

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Never ever google symptoms they will always say you are dying and that causes more anxiety.

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Don't diagnose yourself. I am just like you, I always worry about my health. Even though I don't have any health problems. Do some deep breathing. Schedule to see the doctor. You're not going to die! Tell yourself you'll be OK and that you're over thinking it. Try to distract yourself. If you need to talk, you can message me :) I'm sorry you're going through this.

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Hi panick 234,

Sorry you cant sleep and feel so awful. Im feeling the same too thats why i created this account just now. Googling symptoms makes things much worst. I have been googling my symptoms and all it does is make me scared because google gives you the worst possible diagnosis for your symptoms and mentions other symptoms that have nothing to do with yours. Makes me paranoid 😥. My best advice get a full check up. Might be something common and low risk. I will do the same in the morning. I will go to the E.R to see why i been feeling so bad. I hope everything goes well with you, if you need to chat any time im here.

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You are working too much, STRESS can mimic all type of illnesses, the lump in your throat can be from your muscles tightening up because of stress, don't be afraid to die, it's apart of life that's one thing that's guarantee to us humans, don't worry so much, to be honest I'm the same way, but it's leaving me cause it's only anxiety's you can call me at 7733318844 it's better to hear than to read

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Hi Panic234, I think you're right to see a GI doctor as it will bring you reassurance, if and when that doctor tells you there's nothing physically wrong you must accept what they say and not think that "they've missed something" or that you know more about your illness than the GI doctor who went to medical school for umpteen years.

I think all your symptoms are anxiety including the pain in the chest and the difficulty swallowing because:

1. That's what you believe, you have told us so

2. Like so many of us you suffer from hypochondria

3. We are having this discussion on the ANXIETY forum

4. The chances of you having cancer are so small they're not worth thinking about

But of course you know all that, you know it's all anxiety, the problem is you have trouble accepting it. You see, when you suffer from health anxiety disorder that causes your nervous system to become over sensitised the smallest worries become magnified into major fears. Headaches become aneurisms, mild stomach ache becomes cancer, an ache in the chest becomes heart disease.

And the trouble is, all the fear this generates floods your nervous system and keeps it over sensitised. If only you could stop frightening yourself to death all the time your nerves would recover and you will be cured.

So, knowing that there's nothing physically wrong and you're NOT going to die, why don't you just accept all these weird feelings in the full knowledge that they are simply blips in your over wrought nervous system and THEY CAN DO YOU NO HARM. If you could learn to just calmly accept these bad feelings with a minimum of fear you will be taking the first step on your road to recovery using self-help techniques.

As I always say, stop worrying about illnesses you don't have and start to address the illness you do have - anxiety. Rest assured, you are not going to die and you don't have cancers or tumours in any form whatsoever. All you have to do is overcome all the fear you're generating and everything will be well, all manner of things WILL be well.

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