Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: I need to fix this

  1. #1

    I need to fix this

    Hi all,

    Thanks for taking the time to read my story so far, I know this is long winded but I have to tell someone. I feel like I've been suffering from health anxiety for years now. I spend whole days thinking about my health. I can't sleep. I avoid certain foods and caffeine (which I love ). I spend hours searching google and talking to my fiance. She is so supportive but I feel it is unfair to keep pouring all my problems on her. What makes me more sad is she actually has a genuine serious health condition. And here is me complaining constantly about my fears of the unknown. I can't be 100% certain so there must be something.

    Some background

    I think I've always been a little anxious at times, especially when it came to loved ones health. I know it sounds contradictory but I had the reputation of being very laid back in my younger years and into my 20s (now in my 30s). But I was also informed and could research health conditions. I did a lot of research when my mother became mentally ill. I knew so much about it, many Dr's would enquire about my background. She was finally hospitalised when I was 17. She was later diagnosed with Schizophrenia. I would research for weeks and had a strong understanding of the condition. I wanted to help her recover. I liked to feel in control and not helpless. My parents had a bad relationship by the time my mother was diagnosed. She was horrible to my father. And he didn't understand it was mainly due to her worsening mental health. She was a lovely woman before she became ill. But it also meant that I was single handedly dealing with my mum's failing health. I would go to all of her appointments and visit her in hospital every day. She wouldn't eat food unless I checked it first. She didn't trust anyone else. It was a hard time, but it gave me a unique understanding of mental health. I felt it matured me as a person.

    So as you might understand I spent a lot of time in and around hospitals because of my mum's health. Later I met my now fiance. She is the love of my life and one of the strongest people I know. And for many years it was great. I had the perfect partner, a great home and a growing business etc. She would later be diagnosed with a serious case of ITP ( a blood disorder ). It was hard. For the first fews months I didn't know how much this would affect things going forward. They told us it might be difficult to start a family or that it might affect her life expectancy etc. So it was a stressful time. Again we go to the hospitality every few weeks due to her condition.

    A couple years later my mother found a mole on her back that looked odd. She went to the GP and they weren't too concerned. To be honest looking back I don't think my mum showed him the correct mole. At that stage she was so used to me being at every appointment and listening to everything, she would kind of tune out. She went home and it continued to change. So I booked her another appointment and she was referred to a dermatologist. They removed it and you have to wait 8 weeks. I spent the 8 weeks googling and stressing. I felt that it was probably a melanoma. The worst kind of skin cancer. I would call the dermatology department several times with my input. As if I could possibly no more than a SPECIALIST It was a melanoma. It confirmed my anxious thoughts. They didn't seem too concerned. They felt it was early stage. They removed more skin. Another 8 week wait to find out that it hadn't spread. She had optional lymph nodes removed and they found nothing. That was over 5 years ago. Even with all of this reassassurance it wasn't enough. I still felt they must have missed something.

    I think it was at this point that I started to develop my own health anxiety. You see I had felt relatively healthy up until that point. I'd usually direct most of my anxiety to other people's health. Then a friend was diagnosed with leukemia. It would later end his life over the space of 2 years. Because he was around my age. It started to change my long held beliefs that these sort of things mostly affected older people.

    There is more.... I could literally go on for days. The amount of stress in the last few years. Some people have told me that they are surprised that I'm holding it together so well. Little do they know that most nights I'm checking most of the body for new moles. I check my stools most days for blood. I have had on and off hemorrhoids for the last couple of years. I think it's made worse by my constant stress. Of course I always felt it was something more. I have been to the GP so many times. I have had a colonoscopy. They found nothing. Said I had a healthy colon. And that it was probably hemorrhoids. I even have visible internal hemorrhoids lol. I feel like I'm crazy. I just can't accept professional opinions on something. I get some brief relief and then my brain moves on to but what else?! I feel like I know better. I DON'T. I'm not an expert. I'm an expert googler lol. And for brief moments I know that I'm just being silly but the anxiety always gets the better of me.

    I have so many health related stories in the last 20 years of my life.

    I'm at the point where if my dad coughs up some phlegm I literally check it to see if there is blood. I see there isn’t and then I feel relief for a little while. He had a lung scan and they found nothing concerning. A little scarring which they said was normal for his age and the fact that he used to be a smoker. I share this info with people. Because I need constant reassurance. A Dr will literally tell me there is nothing to worry about and I still need to Google it. I literally ask my parents about their health every time I see them. Considering their age. They are doing well. My father is 70 and was up fixing his roof the other week. He is fearless compared to me. And I’m a man half his age.

    I have done worse than this but I’m not sure if I’m ready to share. What the hell is wrong with me

    I need to fix this. I need help. I need someone to talk to. It's destroying my life. Just like my business has collapsed since Corona. Normally I would have had the strength to start again and just press on. I was good at that. But now I feel tired and useless.

    It is making me agitated and withdrawn. I don't want to be around friends and family because of my anxiety. It can go into overdrive. I have overshared in the past with them and it has helped. People are generally understanding and want to help. But still I feel like a burden. And go weeks without talking to friends.


    Thanks for listening and reading my messy thoughts.

    Last edited by akirru; 20-10-20 at 13:50.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Posts
    65

    Re: I need to fix this

    Thanks for sharing your story. I will tell you there are many people on here who can relate and who have been through some of the things you describe. No one really knows why we get health anxiety but there are some common themes. Having a sick loved one or going through a traumatic medical experience can often set it off. Sometimes its just stress manifesting itself as a fear of illness.

    Hopefully I can offer a few suggestions that will help you as they have helped me over the years:

    1. Stay fit and get regular exercise. The connection between exercise and mental health (including lowered stress) is undeniable.
    2. Trust doctors but also listen to your body. It's ok to get a second opinion but if scans come back clear and doctors repeatedly tell you you're ok, please trust them.
    3. Repeated self-testing and Googling is unhealthy. There is no reason to constantly check your pulse, stool, or coordination (many of us do it). If you constantly self-test you are just keeping the possibility of illness in the forefront of your mind. Same with Googling. You'll go down rabbit holes.
    4. Talk to someone. Talk to us on this website. I can completely relate to what you said about your spouse. Sometimes I think my husband wants to kill me because I burden him with my health fears. I hate it. I don't want to burden him with it. So I journal and post online.
    5. Finally, get out and do something. I know it's tough in a lockdown world, but staying active and keeping your mind off of things helps.

    I hope this information is helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    1,346

    Re: I need to fix this

    Quote Originally Posted by akirru View Post
    What makes me more sad is she actually has a genuine serious health condition. And here is me complaining constantly about my fears of the unknown.


    Health anxiety is a genuine mental health disorder. Few people would choose to have it, so don't be too hard on yourself.

    It was a hard time, but it gave me a unique understanding of mental health. I felt it matured me as a person.
    17 is very young to be going through something like your mother being hospitalised due to mental health.

    It was a melanoma. It confirmed my anxious thoughts. They didn't seem too concerned. They felt it was early stage. They removed more skin. Another 8 week wait to find out that it hadn't spread. She had optional lymph nodes removed and they found nothing. That was over 5 years ago. Even with all of this reassassurance it wasn't enough. I still felt they must have missed something.


    I suspected my mother had ovarian cancer and I made her go to the doctors. I was right, she did have cancer, but they removed her bits and all was well. She died seven years later- cancer free. However, no nasty disease I have ever imagined for myself has come true...

    I have done worse than this but I’m not sure if I’m ready to share. What the hell is wrong with me


    It won't be anything we haven't done ourselves or read on here, trust me.

    I need to fix this. I need help. I need someone to talk to. It's destroying my life. Just like my business has collapsed since Corona. Normally I would have had the strength to start again and just press on. I was good at that. But now I feel tired and useless.
    You're certainly down, but by no means, out.

    I came back from a nervous breakdown with HA. I didn't think I had the strength either, but it's amazing what determination can achieve...

    I could wax lyrical about what you need to do to alleviate symptoms that come with health anxiety, and I have done in other threads, but there is only one thing that will truly fix you, and that's accepting that illness of some kind will happen to most of us in our lifetime and death will happen to all of us. Get your head around that, and you will kick HA to the gutter.

    But it's not just about facing fear - it's about changing how you think and reframing situations. It's about living in the moment and the knowledge that people generally do get to choose their attitude in any given situation - even if the initial reaction is negative.

    If you haven't already, go see your GP who can refer you for some CBT ( or you can self-refer via the NHS CBT page) or perhaps medication may help you short term if your anxiety is severe and you're struggling to function.

    You've said that you are naturally a researcher? You could put that to good use by researching the crap out of health anxiety and anxiety symptoms so you can better understand the role which stress plays in fight or flight and the effects on the body which ultimately feed into the whole cycle of 'I have this symptom, there is something wrong with me, I'm going to die' Or someone else is going to die because HA can be about other people, rather than ourselves.

    When it comes to worrying about the health of those we love, all we can do is accept their mortality - as we must our own - and make each moment count.

    All the best to you.
    Last edited by NoraB; 22-10-20 at 08:48.
    __________________
    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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    100

    Re: I need to fix this

    Hello Akirru,
    thank you for being so honest. It is heart-brakimg to read your story, partly because I feel so sorry for you, and partly because it is like reading my own story...
    I unfortunately can’t be as insightful as previous posters. NoraB has given you tremendous advise. I can only second that. Please get help - CBT and medication, if needed. Hypochondria is a terrible disease, which robs you of all joy, and in this is is worse than some serious physical conditions.
    But you can get better if you work on it. There are many posters here who did get better, just read the success stories. Therapy and meds can help, but you yourself MUST work hard on it too, as NoraB said, by reframing your thought patterns.
    it requires some research about hypochondria, some determination. And at first, when you fight the urge to get more reassurance, it becomes even worse. You get even more anxious and stressed. But then, gradually, you start feeling better, if you don’t give in. It is a leap of faith.
    I myself only learning/trying to do it now. But with the help of meds I am already doing much better.
    You did the first crucial step - you’ve decided that enough is enough. It is along and hard journey, and there will be setbacks. Perhaps, you will never be fully HA free. But you can definitely get the joy of life back, no doubts about it!
    Let’s do it, Akirru, start fighting, and you will succeed!

  5. #5

    Re: I need to fix this

    Hi all,

    sorry for the delayed reply. I have been so busy this week. First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. It means so much to me

    I'm so glad that I've found this place. I have just been reading other peoples stories. Hearing other peoples stories makes me feel like a person again. You guys are so nice in your replies. I almost never cry but I felt a rush of emotion reading them.

    I have read everything you all said several times. I wanted it to sink in properly. I know that I can't do this alone and that I probably need to get help. I would love to do CBT. But unfortunately I don't think you can get it on the NHS in Scotland. So I would most likely have to go private. This is something I want to do and will start doing as soon as it's financially possible for me. I have bought a book Overcoming Health Anxiety: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques. Maybe this can help until I get some real therapy. I will call the GP next week and see what is available to me. The idea of doing that makes me anxious. But I need to start changing and healing etc.

    First of all an update. I heard what you said about changing my outlook on life and my approach to health. For example I have an unhealthy obsession with my stools. In fact I have an obsession with red and its relation to bleeding. The strange thing is. I know that if you get bright red blood in that area it's normally nothing to worry about unless it's a lot of blood etc. And you should be more worried about bleeding further up. So my first trial is to stop checking!! I have gone 3 days so far. I know it doesn't seem like much. But at the moment, I'm normally waiting to check my next one to make sure that there is no blood etc. It's almost like I inspect things with a magnifying glass. I'm looking for a problem. At the moment I'm starting to feel more anxious about not checking. But my fiance thinks that will pass with time. And I'll start to forget about it etc.

    I want to be in a position where I can check things objectively with a glance. Just a glance. And then if something worries me. Leave it a day/week and check again. And then goto the GP if it's still a problem. No GOOGLE!

    I know this will take time and realistically I'm going to slip back into old habbits. I just need to stop seeing it as a failure and see it as progression instead.

    I will definitely stick around and will try to participate. I like helping people when my anxiety isn't too high.

    Thanks so much


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    100

    Re: I need to fix this

    Great decision to stop checking!
    And, as you already noticed, you will feel much more anxious in the beginning. You’ll feel terrible at first, convinced that you are missing something. But gradually, slowly, it will ease up and you’ll start to calm down and won’t feel this obsessive need to check anymore. It gets worse before it starts to get better.
    Usually people say - change your mindset, and your life/habits etc will follow. For us, HA guys, it is vice versa. We must change our habits first (e.g. Stop checking or going to docs), and only then mindset could/will change. Strange, isn’t it? But true :-)
    don’t give up and after some time you’ll feel compulsive need to check less and less!

  7. #7

    Re: I need to fix this

    Sorry to hear you are having a bad time. As a health anxiety sufferer myself, I know how consuming it can be. How did you find the book you bought, was it helpful?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    1,346

    Re: I need to fix this

    Quote Originally Posted by akirru View Post
    I want to be in a position where I can check things objectively with a glance. Just a glance. And then if something worries me. Leave it a day/week and check again. And then goto the GP if it's still a problem. No GOOGLE!


    Yes. You need to be able to glance at your poo and not feel that fear, and you obviously understand that avoidance is as bad as scrutinizing the contents of your poo.

    realistically I'm going to slip back into old habbits. I just need to stop seeing it as a failure and see it as progression instead.
    It's absolutely not failure. It's all part of the journey. You know this. You're being proactive. Good on ya!
    Last edited by NoraB; 28-10-20 at 08:36.
    __________________
    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

  9. #9

    Re: I need to fix this

    Quote Originally Posted by Slug View Post
    Sorry to hear you are having a bad time. As a health anxiety sufferer myself, I know how consuming it can be. How did you find the book you bought, was it helpful?


    Yes the book has some really helpful activities to do. Quite good for reframing your thought process. Sometimes when I see things on paper, it's either not as bad or it can let me see that I'm going too far etc. It was relatively inexpensive and highly recommended. They have several books for different types of mental health issues. My fiancÚ read the one about social anxiety, she said that was good too.

    I feel less anxious overall since I stopped checking so religiously. The first few days were the hardest. But I have noticed that since I stopped checking it is also helping with my general well-being. I feel better about other things too. I still have the urge sometimes to check things when I feel a twitch of pain etc. But I'm getting better at telling myself it's just my anxiety and not a real health problem. It's going to take a while, but I've started!

    I'll to keep the thread updated with any changes.

  10. #10

    Re: I need to fix this

    Update!

    So it took me a week. I actually cancelled my first call with a GP because of nerves. That was a mistake. My GP was lovely and I explained my story to her today and it felt like an immediate relief. She said that it sounds overwhelming for me. She also tried to reassure me of my current worries. She looked at my previous records and said that at my age and looking at my last blood tests (August). I'm all good for now, in as much as you can never be 100% track!
    certain. She also said that of the 11000 patients at that practice not one person under the age of 40 is being treated for cancer. She said it happens! But it's rare and that I need to start living my life.

    I asked her about CBT and as I expected the waiting list in Scotland for psychiatric help is 9 months. So I may need to look into doing something privately. But she recommended some reading material. The Dr also recommended that I start a low dose of anti-anxiety meds. I think I'm on Sertraline. It takes several weeks to start working but hopefully it takes the immediate edge off things. If I can calm down in the short term, I can probably start to get my life back!!

    So I'm starting meds. She said they usually recommend at least 6 months of the meds. I was a little apprehensive due to side effects etc but I think that's just my health anxiety. So here is hoping this will start to work for me. She also gave me some more cream for my long-suffering skin condition. And I also asked if it would be possible to contact her once a month to talk over my worries. I thought this would be a good step to remove the self diagnosis problem I'm having. She said it sounded like a great idea and has already put me in for a callback in 4 weeks.

    I'll keep you guys posted and I just want to say thanks!!!!!!! I know some of these changes seem obvious. I also ask why I haven't done any of this yet. But hearing that I'm not alone and not a freak really compelled me to do more and get back on


    Love you guys

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Don't know how to fix this
    By scaredgirl86 in forum Depression from Panic/Anxiety
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 26-08-17, 23:07
  2. Afraid of everything? Not sure how to fix this.
    By LiveAboveIt in forum General Anxiety / Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-04-16, 03:49
  3. Can we fix it?
    By jada in forum Pets/Animals
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-11-10, 03:00
  4. Jim'll fix it
    By janeybaby25 in forum Misc
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 31-10-08, 18:29

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •