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Thread: Get a plan and get on it

  1. #101

    Re: Get a plan and get on it

    Thank you so much for these pointers, I've started my plan of action to take back control of my life. It involves accommodating more time for exercise, good eating with supplements, stretches and meal prep. The vast majority of the illnesses and diseases we fear with HA can be prevented, if not mitigated by truly beneficial exercise and a good lifestyle.

    I'll see if I can arrange seeing a GP every six weeks but the surgery I have to go to is a very busy one so they might not be able to help in that regard. A regular check up just to see if anythings changed would be ideal for everyone but of course cutbacks in funding and support will make it difficult unless you go private.

    I'm starting a CBT exercise training course in a few weeks which I am looking forward to, a good couch to 5k run with people will do me good as well.

    For me, HA is making me feel powerless and pathetic, so anything I can do to fight off that feeling is great.

  2. #102

    Re: Get a plan and get on it

    Solid advice Chris, I've suffered with depression and anxiety for years, the first piece of advice I give to others is simply don't let it beat you. Sounds pretty obvious to non sufferers but those few words can be just the inspiration you need.

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Re: Get a plan and get on it

    Thank you, this post has actually helped a lot - making me think there is hope to actually overcome this. I'm actually pretty new to HA - its only been going on for 2 months, I can't imagine how it must be for some of you to deal with it for years, this past 2 months have felt like the longest and worst two months of my life. In the past 2 months I've self diagnosed myself with 4 different cancers that were all disproven by my doctor but each time I will find a new symptom to be worried about right now.

    Like literally this morning my doctor checked and made sure my lymph nodes are okay and now 8 hours later I am obsessing over a bump in my neck that my physiotherapist said is just a tiny peace of cartilage or something like that that grew there for no reason and I must've had it forever but I just keep being like HOW DOES HE KNOW?? HOW DID I NOT NOTICE IT BEFORE?? You probably know how it goes.

    Anyway I guess this gives me a little bit of hope because right now this feels endless but it seems like some of you managed to get better. I can't keep on living like this, I just want my life back and to feel a normal bodily sensation without automatically coming up with 5 kinds of possible cancer in my head...

  4. #104

    Re: Get a plan and get on it

    Joined this morning and your post was one of the first I read. Really helpful, thank you

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Get a plan and get on it

    Quote Originally Posted by cpe1978 View Post
    Evening everyone,

    I don't post on here all the often at the moment, mainly because my job has become phenomenally demanding and so when I get home my time belongs to my kids rather than an Internet forum. But, I pop on here occasionally and thought that I would give my perspective on recovery from HA, tell you all a bit of my story in case it resonates at all.

    There is nothing in this post that I haven't said before, but for the most part the membership here has changed significantly since I started posting in about June 2013.

    Firstly, let me tell you a little about me. I am a 36 year old guy from the UK. I have it all, a great family, I live in a fantastic place, I have a job doing something I love, I have two wonderful children and I have the financial freedom to basically do what I fancy. Don't get me wrong, I am not gloating, but just trying to highlight the perversity of health anxiety, the fact that twelve months ago this thing took me from living a life I had dreamed of to virtually becoming a recluse, a terrible father, even worse husband and to a point where I almost gave up my new, dream job because I felt I could not cope. I was at the bottom. I have never had serious suicidal thoughts, but I often wonder if I didn't have children whether I might have.

    I have always had a tendency for depression and actually thinking back I think I have always had anxious tendencies. I am a perfectionist in every way, and easy to dismiss things that I do that don't meet my exacting standards. I would bet that these are traits that many here can associate with.

    So, it all started when I learned that my father, when he was a couple of years older than me was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer. Firstly let me tell you he is now 65 so I think that diagnosis was more a reflection of the standard of medicine in the mid eighties. I had a sudden thought, 'what if it was hereditary', 'what if I have it?' 'He had no symptoms'.

    I hit google, relentlessly, endlessly for days at a time. I wouldn't sleep, choosing to stay up late and read stories of kidney cancer. I phone Macmillan helpline, I even contacted a specialist in renal cancer and then I booked an ultrasound scan. And then it cascaded, I came to the conclusion that I didn't have renal cancer, but maybe I had renal failure, after all, my urine was a bit foamy, or perhaps I had MS because I noticed some tingling or numbness.

    You know the score guys, I could list fifteen conditions at least that I had in a six month period and that is probably a conservative estimate. I used to get home from work and instead of my first thought being about what to do with the kids, I would head to the bathroom to check myself, prod and poke. Given a chance I could find a new obsession every day. I basically became useless at work and god knows now how I got away with it.

    Ok so that is the bad, but today, a year on, my life has turned around. I hesitate to say I am better, because I don't believe that is an appropriate way to think....more on that later, but I am enjoying life and I am not so much of a nightmare to live with

    So let me tell you what I did. This doesn't mean it will work for everyone, it doesn't mean it is right and it is only my take on things. But the thing that prompted me to post this today, was an email I received from a member on here a couple of days ago to say thank you for helping her. Frankly I didn't do anything at all, other than help to remind her that the main issue she faced was anxiety and there were things she could do to tackle that. A few months ago she could see no way out, now in her words, her life has turned around.

    1) Develop a plan. No one achieved anything significant without a plan of action. As a HA suffered you should not underestimate the magnitude of what you are taking on, nor the effort that it will take to get through it. Getting through it successfully will take effort and for me you need to think about what you are doing and how to execute it,

    2) Measure success differently. This comes back to the point of feeling better. Try not to measure HA in absolute terms. View it is a journey and so long as that journey has a positive trajectory, acknowledging that there will be bumps and pitfalls then that is fine. Don't beat yourself up when things don't go we'll, but rather take a long term view, look backwards as well as forwards and give yourself credit for journey travelled.

    3) Take responsibility. I have seen many people on here saying they have tried everything, drugs, therapy wasn't for them etc. I wonder how many of those people genuinely invested in these things or participated passively? To get better from any health condition you have to be actively engaged in your recovery, the health service is there to help you, but you are the chief when it comes to safeguarding your well being, whether it is physical or mental.

    4) Remember that mental health has parity with physical. Well it should anyway. You should never feel ashamed going to your GP to discuss mental health, band they should never make you feel bad for doing so, nor should they shrug their shoulder and write you a script. If they do, change GP, there are so many things that they can signpost you to or do things themselves to help.

    5) Stop googling. This is so hard, I know, but it can be done. I gradually reduced my google time, replaced it with other activities and before long I found I could resist the temptation. Now I rarely think about googling health conditions, and even if I do, I can read what I see with perspective and a rational head.

    6) Acknowledge you have HA. That's not to say that you are immune from physical health conditions, but the one thing everyone has on here is anxiety. When you acknowledge that even a tiny part of your issue may be HA and you seek help for it, there is a decent odds bet that your symptoms will diminish.

    7) Find a doctor you can trust. This was the best thing I did, and I went through three GPs before I felt comfortable. I arranged an appointment, wrote down what I wanted to say and agreed the following:
    * I knew I had lost my rational mind when it came to listening to my body and I wanted her to know that.
    * I wanted to see her every six weeks to discuss physical concerns and I wanted her to take me seriously no matter how ludicrous they were. I also wanted to monitor my mental health in that way. This was a strategy to beat the desire to go to the GP every two minutes.
    * Under no circumstances was she to refer me for tests, unless it was necessary in her objective medical opinion. This was the best thing I did. Equally she was not to put anything glibly down to 'just anxiety'.

    After about four months of this I found myself with nothing to discuss and questioning why I was there. I haven't seen the GP now since January and a year ago I would have seen her ten times in that time.

    8) Understand the mechanisms of anxiety. I didn't find CBT useful in the way that some people do in terms of exercises to do etc. but I did find it useful in understanding the mechanics of anxiety. I taught me that I was focusing my efforts on the wrong thing, that i wanted to eliminate uncertainty (which is impossible) and that my constant checking was also part of the same picture. When I learned that actually what I needed to affect was my reaction to things then it started to fall sensibly into place and I developed my own strategies for progress. From that point on, I used therapy as a kind of weight watchers, keeping me in check every fortnight and keeping me diligent. I was fortunate that I could pay privately, but I had to make big sacrifices to do so.

    9) Find a listening ear. Family isn't always the best, I was a nightmare to live with to be honest. So I came here. I was lucky that when I arrived here, I found half a dozen people who were all committed to recovery. We supported one another and made progress together. I am proud to call some of those people my friends now, keep in touch with some on here, others by email and hope to catch up with one or two for a glass of wine at some point.

    Be aware though, that very understandably, Internet forums like this attract people who are desperate and upset and in a difficult place. That can sometimes give the impression that recovery is impossible. Know that it isn't. I have seen so many people who were completely desperate, yet have come out the other side. The issue is that most no longer post, and so quite naturally the prime content of this site becomes about symptoms rather than anxiety.

    Try and find peers to lean on, collaborate and work together and support one another. It really helps.

    Finally, I will leave you with something that a member called Skippy said that really stuck with me.

    'Your recovery from HA starts when you start to fear not living now more than you do dying' or something to that effect. Very true. We are all going to die one day, but I for one I am going to have one hell of a time before that happens and I hope you all do too. Don't let health anxiety rule you, you are in charge, get a plan, be flexible and take control.

    I hope none of this is too contentious and that it resonates with some.

    Take care and good luck everyone. I know how you are feeling and how low this can make you, but I also know that you can get better. I have achieved many things in my life I am proud of, but nothing was tougher than getting out of the mental hole I was in. Getting where I am today stands as my proudest achievement and it can be yours too.

    Thanks for reading if you made it this far

    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself!

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