I was never a worrier... I used to be a really happy, funny guy... until one day I got home to find a letter waiting for me. I opened it to find it was a letter from my local GUM clinic saying that I may have been in contact with some one who had a sexually transmitted infection. So I panicked... I was sexually active at the time and had had some unprotected sex. As a (not out) gay man, my instant thought was ''I have got HIV'' this was the first time I have every experienced ''panic'' I knew I had to get tested.
I made an appointment and got tested for everything, and also had an instant HIV test, all of which came back negative... I was so relieved and thought thank god that's over.... oh how wrong I was.
A few weeks later I started with symptoms related to HIV and panicked again and went to the clinic and got tested again which again, came back negative. Over the space of 3 months I was tested 5 times for HIV all of which came back negative, and I was being careful not to put myself at any further risks of catching the virus. After the fifth test the sexual health adviser referred me to a counsellor. The counsellor spoke to me about a number of things and after the session I felt a lot better and continued with my day to day activities. About a month later (of feeling completely fine) I had symptoms of a heart attack in the middle of the night and thought I was going to die. I don't know why I didn't ring 999, I guess I wanted to believe this wasn't a heart attack, and it was all in my head. I went to the doctors the next day and he told me it was indigestion... Why is this happening to me? Why do I think the littlest symptom is the worst possible illness.
The symptoms I had experienced for what I thought was HIV, was a sore throat, a swollen tonsil and a rash (not all at the same time).... It never occurred to me that this could have just been the start of a cold, or a symptom of me smoking.... no, I thought it was (in my view) the worst illness I could get. And with the heart attack symptoms... again, it never occurred to me that this could have been indigestion or the fact that I hadn't eaten in 8 hours (causing acid reflux)
I confident in a friend who told me I have anxiety issues and that I should go back to the counsellor, for professional help, as the constant thinking and worrying about heart attacks and HIV was affecting my life to the point where I couldn't focus at work, I wasn't being social with my family or friends and I was isolating myself in the comfort of my bedroom trying to distract my self from what I was worrying about only to find myself ''googling'' HIV, Heart attacks, symptoms for various other things which wasn't helping, if fact it was making me 10 times worse.
I haven't yet made any appointments to see the counsellor again because I keep hoping that this will all go away by itself... but apparently it isn't going any where. But I have come to realise that anxiety disorders in what ever shape or form is serious and I know that it will make me very ill in the future if I don't deal with it sooner rather then later.
I will start the process of seeing a counsellor, and I will document my progress as I go.
My goal is to get my life back the way it was before, by being the happy guy that every one wanted to talk to, to be the funny guy at work again and to stop isolating myself at home and go out and enjoy the life I was given.... And to help any one else suffering with anxiety like I am.
Thank you for reading.