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  1. #1

    If I Can Do It, So Can You: Success Story

    Hi everyone.

    Wow. Itís been a long while since Iíve used this forum. I guess thatís a good thing, huh?

    Iím not sure how many people will see this or even read it, but I wanted to share my story to give some people suffering with health anxiety a little bit of hope. So, I decided to come back to the place that has given me so much comfort and so much reassurance when I needed it most.

    Iíve always worried about my health, but never about a specific illness or illnesses until I was around the age of 15 (Iím 21 now). I developed a small twitch in the side of my hand, under my pinky, and convinced myself that I had ALS or MS. Thatís when it all started. Since then, some of my major fears have been, but not limited to:
    ē Lymphoma
    ē Leukemia
    ē Bone cancer
    ē Lung cancer
    ē Lupus
    ē Cushingís Syndrome
    ē Testicular cancer
    ē Oral cancer
    ē Brain tumor
    ē Diabetes

    Surprise, surprise: I have none of these conditions. Everything ďsymptomĒ I experienced was just a completely normal thing. But us health anxiety sufferers are extremely hypersensitive. We have stomach painódue to something simple, such as constipationóand convince ourselves that we have stomach cancer.

    When I was going through the worst periods of my H/A, I thought that there was no hope. I thought that this was just the way I was going to have to live. I was going to have to wake up every morning, scared for my life. And just as I woke up, I would go to sleep fearing the same.

    In the past two years I have realized that living in fear is no way to live. Itís not fair to us, our families, our friends, etc. We have to work towards our goal of being almost entirely anxiety-free, no matter how hard it seems. Itís definitely an uphill battle, but Iím here to tell each and every person on this forum that it is possible.

    Hereís how I did it:

    First, donít google symptoms. Googling symptoms is an addiction; we do it because we are seeking reassurance. We are hoping that when we google something, it will tell us that whatever symptom we are experiencing is totally normal. But normal symptoms are also symptoms of serious illnesses, and that just feeds the fear. When you feel the need to google, do something else to distract yourself. Write yourself a list as to why you DONíT have such and such illness.

    Second, find a good counselor. One who listens to your fears and doesnít blow them off. A good counselor wonít make you feel invalid for having irrational fears. Counseling has helped me immensely; getting input from a completely neutral and unbiased source is always extremely helpful.

    Third, look at the facts. Like I mentioned previously, generally there are far more reasons as to why we do not have an illness than there are reasons supporting our anxiety. What proof do you have that youíre genuinely sick? What proof do you not have? Getting a piece of paper and writing this down is a good way to calm down from a panic attack and check back in to reality.

    Fourth, find a doctor who is willing to get you on the right medication. Health anxiety is the result of generalize anxiety. Anxiety will find a place to land wherever it can, which is why you must get to the root problem in order to fix the secondary issue (the secondary issue being health anxiety, of course).

    Fifth and finally, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy!!! This form of therapy works absolute wonders! For those of you who havenít heard of it before, itís basically a type of psychotherapy that challenges our anxious beliefs in order to alter unwanted behaviors. There are many worksheets for free online, but I recommend doing it with a therapist. This has been the single most helpful tool to me. It challenges you to write down the situation that made you anxious, the automatic thoughts you had, and the emotions, behaviors, and physiological impacts those thoughts had on you.

    For anyone thinking that they canít overcome this: youíre wrong. I thought the same thing. I know how hard it is when youíre falling down the rabbit hole. It feels like thereís no way out. But there is.

    While I still have anxious thoughts from time to time regarding my health, H/A has mostly disappeared from my life. I am grateful for everyone on this site that has helped me. If I am able to give hope to even one person, then I feel like this was all worth it.

    Donít give up!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    , , United Kingdom.

    Re: If I Can Do It, So Can You: Success Story


    This is just a courtesy reply to let you know that your post was moved from its original place to a sub-forum that is more relevant to your issue.

    This is nothing personal - it just enables us to keep posts about the same problems in the relevant forums so other members with any experience with the issues can find them more easily.

    Please also read this post:

    ďDon't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.Ē - Natalie Babbitt

    Please help keep NMP running and donate to the running costs:

  3. #3

    Re: If I Can Do It, So Can You: Success Story

    That's a really good post, willll. I agree with what you suggest, having had similar experiences myself. I'm still prone to health anxiety, but also recognise it for what it is and can take action when it crops up.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: If I Can Do It, So Can You: Success Story

    I am having cbt. I google and it’s addictive, but in the end is not reassuring.
    I have talked with my therapist about a life without health anxiety and how much better this would be.
    Thank you for your post.

  5. #5

    Re: If I Can Do It, So Can You: Success Story

    I can agree with not googling psymptoms.

    I have been guilty of this in the past (and also using web MD), and it has got me nowhere- just more anxious

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