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Thread: Long term health anxiety

  1. #1
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    Long term health anxiety

    Hello

    I have posted on here off and on for many years.

    I am now 51 and still really struggling to cope with my HA. I worry that having had it for nearly 45 years that there really is no chance of me ever being able to manage it. I know that I will always have anxiety and that it is something every human has to some degree but I live in constant fear and even when I have no particular health worry at a given time, I still feel anxious. It's exhausting and ruining my life. I'm booked in to see a cbt therapist yet again (I have had more cbt than I can think of) in the hope that I may be able to take control - this is someone I have found through lots of research who specialises in HA and OCD. My CBT therapists have always been lovely and helpful and they have all gone through the same pattern of thought tracking, identifying thinking errors etc etc and yet, I'm stuck. Maybe it's me and I am just not putting the effort into getting better?

    I also take sertraline and more recently my GP added pregabalin. I don't think the sertraline does anything having been on it for 10 years, but I did think that the pregabalin was helping for a while. I hate that I am taking medication, that it doesn't seem to help and yet here I am on two lots. I read about people with health anxiety and they have often suffered for a short time or a few years and not taken any meds. I envy those people so much.

    Since turning 50 things have gotten worse and I literally bounce from one illness to another. I have this worry that now I am this age it's much more likely that the illness I fear will be much more likely to appear now that I have hit this age. I am definitely peri-menopausal, but not sure that comes into how I am feeling or, if it does, there's much I can do about it. I have a great job with much responsibility and have been dealing with all the current issues relating to covid really well, which has been tricky for schools.`

    I don't really know why I am writing this, I suppose I need to get things out of my system and maybe hear that I am not the only one to be like this for so bloody long.

    S x

  2. #2
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    Mar 2016
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    I had HA until three years ago and I'm 50, so there is hope.

    You might well be putting the effort in but if you're not doing the right things, it doesn't make any odds.

    How did your HA start?
    __________________
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  3. #3
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    I’m sorry to hear that you endured it for so long too, but love that you have managed to stop it 3 years ago. What did you do if you don’t mind me asking?

    S x

  4. #4
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by flatterycat View Post
    I’m sorry to hear that you endured it for so long too, but love that you have managed to stop it 3 years ago. What did you do if you don’t mind me asking?

    S x
    It came to a head when I accepted that I was going to die of bowel cancer ( I didn't have bowel cancer) and I stopped running from my fears. Next day I had a colonoscopy and was mega shocked to find out that I have one of the best looking colons in the UK! No sign of cancer, whatsoever! I'd given myself a nervous breakdown and made myself VERY poorly imagining I have so many nasty diseases. In the end, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia - which is a pain in the bum (and everywhere else) but it's not life-threatening. Enough was enough. I couldn't keep putting myself and my family through that kind of stress, so I worked my botty off to get better, and the key to it all is acceptance.
    __________________
    There is a light. There is. Look for it. Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past. It was light where you went once. It is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again. ~ Jennifer Worth

  5. #5
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by NoraB View Post
    It came to a head when I accepted that I was going to die of bowel cancer ( I didn't have bowel cancer) and I stopped running from my fears. Next day I had a colonoscopy and was mega shocked to find out that I have one of the best looking colons in the UK! No sign of cancer, whatsoever! I'd given myself a nervous breakdown and made myself VERY poorly imagining I have so many nasty diseases. In the end, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia - which is a pain in the bum (and everywhere else) but it's not life-threatening. Enough was enough. I couldn't keep putting myself and my family through that kind of stress, so I worked my botty off to get better, and the key to it all is acceptance.
    Thank-you for sharing that Nora.
    I’ve heard of so many people who have just one day said ‘enough’ and accepted things. Gosh I wish I could get to that point. Did you have CBT? How much did it impact on your day to day life?

    S x

  6. #6
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    You are not alone. I am 49 and also have long term HA. I'm sure peri-menopause is making it worse and I feel the same way about the risk of something serious happening now I'm in the "older" age bracket.

    I tend to cycle through the same HA fears, although this year I have added a few new ones to the mix. I used to be in the "have a test, get a clear result, calm down for a little bit, worry again" pattern, but this year I've found not even the tests reassure me anymore.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Nora that acceptance is the only way out of this. I'm trying hard, but it's a struggle to break these ingrained thought patterns.

    I'm starting schema therapy this week as CBT only helps to some extent and my therapist thinks it's worth a try to get to the bottom of why I have this underlying feeling of dread all the time.

    It's important to share how you're feeling and this can be a good place because people understand what you're going through.

    All the very best x

  7. #7
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by flatterycat View Post
    Thank-you for sharing that Nora.
    I’ve heard of so many people who have just one day said ‘enough’ and accepted things. Gosh I wish I could get to that point. Did you have CBT? How much did it impact on your day to day life?

    S x
    I had two lots of CBT - the first didn't help at all, but the second was very helpful - different therapist - different approach.

    I had a full nervous and physical breakdown. I couldn't function. I sat in a chair and lived from minute to minute because hours were too much to bear. HA took me to a place I never want to go again.

    You don't have to reach breaking point to accept - you just have to make that mental shift.

    HA is, at its core, a fear of death and dying, or a fear of leaving a child or loved one who is dependant on us - so it is these fears which need to be addressed by turning to face them, instead of running from them, fearing or avoiding them - which every HA sufferer does.

    To accept life, one must accept death and dying.

    Get your head around that, and you can kiss goodbye to health anxiety.
    __________________
    There is a light. There is. Look for it. Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past. It was light where you went once. It is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again. ~ Jennifer Worth

  8. #8
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by NoraB View Post
    It came to a head when I accepted that I was going to die of bowel cancer ( I didn't have bowel cancer) and I stopped running from my fears. Next day I had a colonoscopy and was mega shocked to find out that I have one of the best looking colons in the UK! No sign of cancer, whatsoever! I'd given myself a nervous breakdown and made myself VERY poorly imagining I have so many nasty diseases. In the end, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia - which is a pain in the bum (and everywhere else) but it's not life-threatening. Enough was enough. I couldn't keep putting myself and my family through that kind of stress, so I worked my botty off to get better, and the key to it all is acceptance.
    It's a very real problem when you have an autoimmune conditions like Fibro, CFS or both or other related issues. It can certainly cause HA because the autoimmune conditions cause real symptoms (along with depression) which often can't be explained. I seem to have an HA flare when I have another autoimmune issue pop up, it takes me a while to come to grips with it. The CFS along with the small fibre neuropathy is not nice pleasant but it's not life threatening. Luckily I've come out of my depression and during this time, have connected with two new friends who have conditions similar to mine so I'm not feeling so alone in this.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    Quote Originally Posted by WiseMonkey View Post
    It's a very real problem when you have an autoimmune conditions like Fibro, CFS or both or other related issues. It can certainly cause HA because the autoimmune conditions cause real symptoms (along with depression) which often can't be explained. I seem to have an HA flare when I have another autoimmune issue pop up, it takes me a while to come to grips with it. The CFS along with the small fibre neuropathy is not nice pleasant but it's not life threatening. Luckily I've come out of my depression and during this time, have connected with two new friends who have conditions similar to mine so I'm not feeling so alone in this.
    I'm currently being investigated for a new symptom (abdo pain with some other symptoms) and not once I have I fallen down the rabbit hole.

    I had an issue last year where I couldn't walk, or sit down, and my GP sent for an urgent MRI scan and I still didn't go down that hole. This is because I'd addressed my HA at its core. I faced my fear - which was ultimately leaving my autistic son.

    The HA I had as a child went when I was 13 because I had an experience which took away my fear of death. I was ok for about 4 years, and then the HA crept back in when I had my first son which coincided with my MIL's health deteriorating, but it wasn't the fear of death - it was the fear of leaving my children - just as it was with my youngest son - only more so because I was 39 when I had him and he's autistic. Nothing has scared me more than the thoughts of me not being here for him!

    My mother died 9 years ago, and that's when this most severest phase of HA kicked in. Mum, who was a force to be reckoned with, was taken out so quickly that nobody saw it coming - not even her. First I lost her, and 5 years later I lost my mind. I had fibromyalgia, but I didn't know it. What I imagined were all the terminating diseases which are classic of HA.

    Most importantly, I turned myself around before I got my diagnosis, not after when then there was nothing to fear.

    I keep wondering if I will fall into the hole again, and it feels weird not to be, but once I accepted my situation (no matter how bad it was going to be) the fear left me.

    RE fibro: it definitely helps to talk to people who are going through the same thing. It's does me good to have a good old whinge about the state of my bowels (or whatever) but also to see the humour in the situation. As far as I'm concerned humour is the best medicine there is.
    __________________
    There is a light. There is. Look for it. Look for it shining over your shoulder, on the past. It was light where you went once. It is light where you are now. It will be light where you will go again. ~ Jennifer Worth

  10. #10
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    Re: Long term health anxiety

    Hello Carrie

    Thank you for your reply. I’m sorry you’re also suffering with it and I really hope that the schema therapy helps.
    You sound just like me in that I too used to be ok after tests, but that doesn’t last nearly as long anymore. I also agree that acceptance is key, but like you say, it’s how you get to that point.

    Nora - yes you are so right about the real fear. If I could get over that I would feel free of this awful way of living.

    sarah x

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