Health anxiety

Does anyone struggle with health anxiety because I do it's starting to feel like it's taking over my life, I'm always looking for answers to the million questions in my head , I'm on the Internet,books,constant taking to family and friends looking for reassurance.

I'm at the docs too much with which I dread to see my notes as they proberly read hypercondiac be warned.

If I wasn't experiencing an unsympathetic rhuemy and maybe see the same GP everytime I would feel more secure but I don't ,going on the Internet is so bad for me as I soon find something that then leads me on to something else which then leaves me thinking I have another nasty scary condition/disease

Please tell me if anyone suffers with this too and how do you deal with it or even better overcome it.

11 Replies

  • Yes! This describes me too so accurately. My health anxiety has been building up for a number of years now and I think it may be partly down to an innate tendency towards anxiety and depression but also down to the way I've been treated by the health service over the past decade particularly.

    I used to have good relationships with my various GPs over the years until about 10 years ago when the system seemed to change completely and it became very difficult to even see the same GP twice and there no seems to be a high turnover at very large impersonal surgeries. It also probably doesn't help that I have had problems having various issues correctly diagnosed - I was continually told that I was having gynae pain for it to actually turn out to be appendicitis and I had to have the appendix taken out. I have lost the trust that I used to have for the medical profession and this also makes me research everything carefully online - I was prescribed mefanamic acid by one GP about 3 years ago when I have APS so I just feel that we have to be our own advocates.

    I constantly seem to acquire new symptoms and aches etc which like you make me worry that something else is going wrong with my body and it seems that noone wants to listen. I'm convinced I must have hypochondriac stamped all over my files as well! I hate my body - always have done - and just feel that all the time it's waiting to present me with another problem.

    As far as solutions to these feelings are concerned? I've not managed to find any really effective ones I'm afraid. Distraction is good - if I'm busy then I can't dwell on my aches and pains or sit looking at the internet for too long. I was prescribed sertraline at one stage but hated taking that as it made me feel much worse.

    Hopefully it helps to know that it's not just you who feels like this and I do really feel that it is in some way connected to our underlying autoimmune disease and is something not addressed by the health professionals in any effective way.

  • Thankyou sjogibear for replying it does help in a small way to know that I'm not alone with suffering anxiety, yes I too have lost trust in the health system I recently had to see a dermatologist for my daughter (not me which makes a change) and she was so lovely and talkative and softly spoken and most helpful it left me wishing that she was my rheumatologist, alas sadly that's not the case.

    The problem with the Internet is it can scare you too much as it has too much information but without it I would know very little about lupus.

    For me too much information is very overwhelming but not enough is so frustrating I'm just constantly looking for answers, but as my husband said you will never find it by obsessing on the Internet, if he had his way he would throw my laptop out of the window he says I scare myself too much and sadly I think he's right.


  • My husband has just agreed with your husband! I can't just leave it alone though . . . Do feel free to message me if it helps - a problem shared does help a little bit anyway x

  • Yes, I feel the same. Some days I want to scream and feel crazy panicky! So many questions dancing around in my head that I can not think straight. My brain already foggy so it males it worse when I get anxiety. I just try to stay busy when I have enough energy to get up and move around or try to sleep otherwise. Since I have trouble falling asleep. I get more anxious and frustrated at times. I guess we just have to hang on and I come on here to read and learn as much as I can. Hugs and hope you can find a solution to help you.

  • Could you try telling yourself that you have Lupus and that really, under the circumstances, your anxieties are quite rational and GPs are well paid to listen. Many people go to see the GP about relatively insignificant things so why shouldn't you? And what you can't read or overhear, you can't know - so it's pointless speculating on what they say about you behind your back. They may not say anything or feel quite sympathetic towards you privately. The highest proportion of any GP's list consists of patients who suffer from chronic illness so you certainly won't be their most demanding or needy patient.

    That said I think all the same things, do all the same googling of every symptom and hate myself for being a doctor botherer. But it can't be helped. Thinking more positively about myself and filling my days with work and treats and listening to my favourite music really helps. and when my husband has had enough he hides my laptop or distracts me with something tasty on a plate! Don't beat yourself up for suffering from health anxiety. Your immune system can do that all by itself!

  • Why Thankyou twichtytoes that is sound advice and today I'm not working as I'm part time and I'm going to do just that keep myself busy as best as I can if I can't keep moving I'm going to reboot my kindle and enjoy a good read which I haven't done for months.

    I also know you are right about doctors my doctors have been pretty good it's just me who's paranoid I hate bothering them as sometimes it feels so petty but for me I need reassurance which I don't always get.

    And today NO google.

  • Some medicine side effects can do that to you. Like Methotrexate has does side effects so check your medicine leaflet and read through it. Stay strong pray God will give you peace.

  • You are not alone! We are all more or less the same, worried about the implications and feeling as sitting ducks waiting for some obscure complicating to arrive and trying hard not to panic because of it.

    The main reason is the unpredictability of this disease - as NO ONE knows how it is going to develop, our brains remain focused and, as my neuro said, vigilant until we can be sure that we are safe. As we cannot be sure, then the brain doesn't stop worrying. We try to calm it down by seeking reassurance but we can't get it (whether because the resources on the Internet paint an even worse picture, or because the doctors themselves have no idea and dismiss us) so we worry even more. And so it goes on and on until we get really hyper.

    My neuro prescribed Propanolol for anxiety, low dose. She said to take it for at least a month to give the brain a break from this circle of worry. I can see her point. If our brain is in a frenzy of worry, it orders all the body cells to be in fighting mode. While that happens, the body isn't doing its usual process of repair, clean and maintain, so we get even more damage and abnormal cells slipping through the net while the immune system focuses on receiving the 'go, order from the brain.

    I also agree with the previous responses that taking the attention away from it, helps. Since I've stopped working 3 years ago my social gatherings are nill. Everyone is at work during the day and in the evening I'm either too tired to go out or I'd rather spend them with my husband who is back from work. Having a social life is so important because it puts everything into perspective and listening to others chat about 'normal' things takes the mind off the worry. And an hour of laughter with girlfriends about silly things does us a world of good.

    My neuro suggested to have some hobbies. Actually I have too many of those. The point is not having a hobby but having a preoccupation that is sufficiently meaningful to take your mind off worry.

    There isn't an easy answer to the health anxiety question. Each of us try to survive it as well as we can. But it is good that you at least recognise that it is happening. That's definitely a big achievement. If you could find ways to focus that powerful mind onto less worrying things and lull the brain into a sense of security, then you're on a good track.

  • Hi purple top Thankyou for your fantastic advice when I posted this blog I didn't even think I would get a response let alone some very good advice and encouragement ,I do believe I have made the first step by acknowledging my anxiety and am going to try to deal with it the best way I can.

    The first step I have made is plucking up the courage to ask my GP to change my rhuematoligist which he is going to try to do so fingers crossed that will happen.

    I need to cheer up as it will soon be christmas and my family will be around me which I love xxxx

  • You have described me exactly! I don't yet have a diagnosis and as a result have spent the last 15+ years looking for answers. It was only last year I was referred to a rheumatologist and he is wonderful. It is him who thinks I have seronegative lupus because, although my bloods are negative, I have all the symptoms. Won't commit to a diagnosis just yet but has said I definitely have a connective tissue disease. Started me on Hydroxychloroquine and, this has helped in many areas. I also changed my GP back in March. Same practice but the GP I was seeing told me it was time for me to see someone else! It was the best thing he ever did! My new GP is wonderful. He knows there is something wrong and makes an appointment for me to see him every 2-4 weeks. It is only now I see how disinterested my old GP was and how little he did to help me. Could you change your GP so you get continuity of care? This is what helped me to feel less panicky and I honestly haven't looked at every health site going since seeing him.

  • Yes!

    Describes me too. For just over 2 year (all) my symptons have got worse, but only been diagnosed with Anxiety - for which ive be prescribed 30mg mitazapine.

    All i felt that this has done is that i sleep better/more. None of my '101' ailments have gone, though some maybe less powerful/intense :-/

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