Please help me to rationalise?

Hi

i find it helpful to ask other people "would you worry if..." and when they say no, it helps me feel calm, because it's just another level of rationalisation. I am having a very anxious day and wondered if people could reinforce what I already know - that this is just anxiety talking!

Basically, my main issue is that I worry about being helpless outside of the home and not having familiar people around to look after me if I become unable to look after myself. This has led me to suffer asthenophobia (fear of fainting/feeling weak). I have health anxiety, in a way, but it's not the usual kind of worrying you have a serious/fatal illness. I just worry that I will have an inconvenient illness! I don't want to be ill unless a) I currently have time to be ill (like I can take some time off work to recuperate) and b) I am safe at home and have people around to look after me.

At the moment, I am away from home at a conference. I have had an extremely stressful day as several major problems have arisen, and I travelled for six hours to get here. I have a twinge in my groin/hip area that I have had for the last four days, which has not caused me any trouble, but I still can't convince myself that I won't wake up seriously ill and have to try and get help from strangers. What if I fall unconscious in my hotel room and nobody finds me?

I basically just need someone to talk sense to me! I know I'm being irrational, I just can't stop thinking about it and panicking. I just want to be safe at home!

7 Replies

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  • Hiya, I'm Nicki, I was jus reading your blog, I have the exact fear, iv never spoken to someone else who also has a fear of fainting!! Mine also stops me doing pretty much everything I want to do because I worry about fainting, blacking out or making a fool of myself, I like to go out with people because I know they would help me should I find myself in a situation!! I can really relate to what you have said?!!!

    Try to stay calm if you can, distract yourself from your thoughts if possible? You're anxiety is bound to be increased due to the fact you're in unfamiliar surroundings And you've had a long stressful day. I know I am always worse when I'm tired! Hope you start to feel better x x

  • I have also never met anyone else with the same fear! How did yours start? Mine started after I had a bad panic attack outside. I didn't actually black out, but I thought I was going to and I had to go into an office building and ask to lie down! I was really embarrassed but it was the worst panic attack I've ever had and I couldn't go on. Since then, I've been terrified of fainting or becoming so helpless and having to ask others for help. I was agoraphobic for about half a year after the attack I described above and it was a really sudden change in me. Literally the day after the panic attack I tried to go outside and I couldn't! For ages afterwards I carried glucose tablets of chocolate bars to eat whenever I felt faint (which is often - probably because of the anxiety!) Nowadays, the same feelings of panic only affect me if I'm far away from home, but I still end up eating whenever I feel slightly weak to ward off any potential faints. Problem is, I used to be anorexic, so the fact I'm gaining weight from doing this is just adding another layer of stress and then that stress makes me feel faint, and then I eat, and then I feel stressed about overeating (I eat about double what my friends eat...), and then that makes me feel faint.....it's just a vicious cycle and so irrational! So annoying I can't just convince myself to think rationally!

  • Mine started similarly, although I was driving and I had a panic which led to me feelin like I was going to pass out, I didn't but I felt so poorly I couldn't drive home and had to call my boyfriend. Unfortunately I had a couple of things happened during the months between then and now and I have blacked out four times (not necessarily cos of anxiety jus due to stressful situations) because of this it's fuels my fear, whenever I get anxious or ave an attack I feel faint and worry about passing out, unfortunately I too find it really difficult to rAtionalise and therefore have let this fear take over my life, I have no independance what so ever :( x I hope to one day conquer it and get through it,!!!! I also carry a bottle of water and food wih me whereever I go :-/ (it's my safety net) x anxiety is a visual circle, I've been reading a book called at

    At last A life, it's really good, really explains it and helps to put this in perspective! Iv jus got to learn to put it in to practise now! X

  • I hope you start to feel better. I've recently made some steps in that I felt like I was going to faint at work the other day in the morning and was told I could go home if I wanted, but I decided to just stick around and see what happens. I felt weak and tired all day and wasn't eating much because I felt too anxious to, but I managed to stick it out for the full working day and get home fine. I try to remember those times when I feel like I do now, though it's still hard to believe I'll be ok this time too! At the moment I feel faint and sick. I've had room service which I thought would make me feel better, but it was less than I would normally eat and I'm worried I'll faint when I get up tomorrow because I will have gone without food for so long. Maybe I'll order more room service...the travel has meant I couldn't eat that much today because I've been rushing around. I've had a bowl of porridge, a cheese and ham panini and a small bowl of lasagne all day...oh and some biscuits! It is still irrational for me to think I'll faint isn't it? People don't faint if they've eaten three meals right, even if they're small? I normally have snacks but I haven't got that option right now. (By the way, this is so stupid, because I struggled to eat over the weekend and on monday due to anxiety, then walked for six miles yesterday because I was to and fro all over the place...if I didn't faint then I won't faint now!)

  • i am so sorry you are feeling so anxious! it's really great that you were able to brace yourself and travel for work- that's certainly something to be proud of.

    i feel that way (worried of fainting) sometimes as well, and wanted to share a bit of text i found helpful from an online CBT course that I've been doing, paniccenter.net

    "The Facts: People with panic attacks often experience dizziness, lightheadedness and blurred vision, and feel like they’re going to faint. The basic fact is that people do not faint as the result of panic attacks.

    Some people with panic attacks also have times when they faint - but even then they don’t faint during their attack. People who are afraid of needles, blood, and injury tend to faint more than other people. However, the fear response of these people (fainting) is very different from the fear response experienced by people with panic disorder (fight or flight). The symptoms associated with fainting (reduced heart rate and blood pressure) have to do with the body “shutting down” rather than “gearing up” for action. Panic disorder gears you up - you can’t shut down and gear up at the same time.

    Fainting may be a natural response that protects you when you’re severely injured or about to be severely injured. If you are seriously injured, it makes a lot of sense for your body to shut down to reduce blood loss and conserve energy. But you aren’t injured when a panic attack takes place, so you won’t faint."

  • Hi Svya,

    It was nice to read your comment about the fainting feeling when having an anxiety/panic attack. I too feel like I will faint, so the last time I saw my dr. I asked if it was possible and she said "no" and explained why, and you have confirmed exactly the same. I do still worry though when it happens and just try to divert my thoughts if poss.x

  • Thanks for all the replies. I agree that Syva's post is really helpful. Thanks for letting me know. With me, I do seem to feel better if I can just take my pulse and recognise it's anxiety. So long as my heart is going fast, I kind of feel ok weirdly! I guess it's because I can say to myself that what I'm suffering is definitely anxiety. It's when my heart isn't going fast but I still feel unwell that I worry the most, because then I don't know if I'm going to be ok or not....in reality, I'm always ok!

    I should add that the other weird thing is that when I'm actually ill, like I have flu or something, I don't panic as much as when I think I might get ill. How silly is that? Once I'm actually ill, it really doesn't seem that bad! It's the anticipation and the worry I will become ill suddenly and unable to take care of myself!

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