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Thread: Mid life crisis?

  1. #1
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    Mid life crisis?

    OK I don't know where this is going to go or whether a mid life crisis even exists or if it's a myth. I turned 54 in June and wasn't in the least bothered, at least I mean that it didn't really register. But after some thinking I'm wondering if it would explain why I've developed health anxiety.

    My anxiety diagnosis has always been GAD and social. There has often been some depression lurking but not in recent years, especially after being put on a combination of mirtazapine/venlafaxine. But yesterday after navigating Asda on my own I came home, did some housework and started reading the paper where I read about ex-footballer Tony Cottee having a stroke. He's apparently ok but I panicked because I read he is 54 too. So I started obsessing about the same thing happening to me, last week it was throat cancer.

    Then I realised that all my episodes of health anxiety have come since I turned 50. Is this a natural progression? Logic would suggest yes, as apparently people with health anxiety often have a pre-existing anxiety disorder, so I've read anyway. Or maybe its a simple case of me having too much time on my hands. The irony is that over the last year I've kept up a brisk walking routine, have lost weight and am probably fitter than I've been in the last 10 years?!
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  2. #2
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    Hi Fishman.

    Ive read on here that health anxiety is not a diagnosis in itself, so I guess it comes under the GAD umbrella, and perhaps that's just what your GAD is focused on at the moment. I think that as we age, we do become more aware of our own mortality, especially when there is a trigger like the one in the news. That's only natural, but you can try to rationalise the thoughts, like it's rare to suffer a stroke at 54, and that you're keeping yourself fit and well. Strokes can happen at any age, but they are unusual in younger people. I'm sure it's just because the footballer happened to be your age that you honed in on it. Having lots of time on your hands is definitely a breeding ground for rumination too. Perhaps trying to distract yourself with something enjoyable would help?
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  3. #3
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    I'm not sure about the mid life crisis theory, but I agree with DS that health anxiety is simply an offshoot of a pre-existing anxiety disorder, or rather part of the same umbrella. I'm pretty sure some people's journey with anxiety begins with health anxiety too.

    My take on what's happening to you is that connections are being made in your brain to suggest that a health crisis is imminent. Some of it might be subconscious, some of it conscious.

    The weird thing is that some footballers die in their 20s or 30s too, and some seem to be immortal. There doesn't seem to be any logic on focusing on that one footballer, except that he happened to be the same age as you are now.

    I think the key here is breaking the mental pattern of worry. The habit of obsessing over certain things can be alleviated by actively switching thoughts when you feel it happening. If you check a symptom or google anything, stop yourself and go and do something else. Distraction is the key as most anxiety responds best to 'ignore it and it'll go away'.

  4. #4
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    Hi fishman,.

    In my opinion I don't think it's age related, just a show of hands on here will show many members in their teenage years. However. I didn't have health anxiety in my younger years even though I had some health matters that could have warranted it.
    And logically speaking, it would be health matters that could trigger health anxiety.
    So on my personal assumptions, I think it is clumped together with all the other anxious thoughts and becomes general over obsessing and worrying and negativity.
    How it escalates to this point, I don't know.

  5. #5
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    Do you think you have too much time on your hands, Fishman? Could you develop your gardening skills any further afield? Something familiar but not challenging which you actually enjoy doing and where you can be creative?

    I hadn't heard about Tony Cottee-plenty of much younger footballers seem to have bad health though once their playing days are over. You said in another thread that you don't even have any symptoms but it's just the fear of..... Would you have made the connection if he had been 44 not 54?

  6. #6
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    Thanks all of you. I think I need a good talking to by somebody because I STILL resort to google. The internet truly is a double edged sword but your advice there Joe is sound. That said the footballer story was in the newspaper but I do need to address my reaction to anxiety sources.

    This whole age thing has come on suddenly. Though why now I don't know. On the subject of strokes, a friend of ours had one in 1996 aged 31. And yet in all those years I've never felt I was about to follow suit. He made a full recovery but his wife still worries I think.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by pulisa View Post
    Do you think you have too much time on your hands, Fishman? Could you develop your gardening skills any further afield? Something familiar but not challenging which you actually enjoy doing and where you can be creative?

    I hadn't heard about Tony Cottee-plenty of much younger footballers seem to have bad health though once their playing days are over. You said in another thread that you don't even have any symptoms but it's just the fear of..... Would you have made the connection if he had been 44 not 54?
    Sorry Pulisa I missed your post. I do sometimes think I have too much free time, Mrs F is so often asleep that I feel compelled to be here for her but at the same time that I can't be away from her for too long. Though my Dad needs me at his tomorrow. I feel I can't be everywhere?
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  8. #8
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    There is no possible way to move away from health anxiety if you still Google, it's simply not possible.

    That is what I would work on first.

  9. #9
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    There is no possible way to move away from health anxiety if you still Google, it's simply not possible.

    That is what I would work on first.
    I agree. But you need a decent strategy in place to deflect your desire to google-or a deterrent. I still believe in blocking google whilst you are at the early stages of stopping yourself.

  10. #10
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    Re: Mid life crisis?

    How would you go about blocking google though? Could it be configured to block medical sites? OK update, I've added a block-site extension on to google chrome. But that will work for just chrome...
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