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Thread: Reverse psychology?

  1. #1
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    Reverse psychology?

    So I am once again convinced I have a particular cancer that I cycle through a few times a year with my HA and quite often at this time of year.

    Despite this prior knowledge and repeated instances being sure I had this thing over the years, the feeling that this time it's for real has been impossible to shake.

    Too many years of Google results are sitting in my head like a HA wikipedia and I'm mentally checking off the symptoms one by one.

    Note to the newbies, this is why NOT Googling is so important. Do not let these scary symptoms and stories into your brain.

    Anywho, I am trying really hard to conquer my HA as after 15 years I am really quite sick of it (pun intended). I've got a new therapist and am trying a different kind of therapy that I think is my best chance of getting the root of my issues.

    But with this glimmer of hope comes the insidious thought that just as I make a recovery from HA, the very thing I fear the most (cancer, neuro disease etc) will make its move and ruin everything. My self-sabotage is nothing if not predictable.

    My CBT exercises are just not cutting the mustard with this go round of this cancer fear, so today I decided to just go with it and tell myself I'm right and I do have this cancer. Every time I catch myself worrying about a symptom I don't try to talk myself out of it, I just say, "yep, you're probably right, it's cancer"

    Stressing about family coming for Christmas? Don't worry about it, you'll probably be having surgery.

    Annoyed by someone at work? Don't worry about it, you'll be taking a big chunk of time off and maybe never coming back.

    Freaked out by discovering I was wearing my work pass on my belt after looking for it for an hour with no memory of putting it on? No need to worry about dementia anymore.

    I don't know if this reverse psychology is healthy, but it's been interesting. My brain is literally fighting itself. Every time I go with the fear, some other thought comes rushing in to counter it.

    Anyone ever tried reverse psychology for health anxiety? I'm going to keep doing it until I see my therapist midweek to see how it plays out. At this point anything's worth a try.
    Last edited by carriewriting; 23-11-20 at 09:57.

  2. #2
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    I think you're on the right track here, but instead of using the dialogue 'I have cancer', perhaps try using something like 'I might have it, I might not, but today I'm alive so I'll live for today'. In other words, yes it's possible, but worrying hasn't got me anywhere so far and I doubt it's going to start helping now.

    Ingrained habitual thinking can take a long time to reverse and there are no immediate tricks, so acceptance of the possibility of your worst fear is probably your best ally in the meantime.

    It's probably a good idea to start the day with a mantra -

    "Today I don't have cancer, so I will enjoy today and worry about tomorrow when it happens"

    You might not feelf those words today, but you will start to feel them after practising the mantra fifty or a hundred mornings in a row.

  3. #3
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    Thanks. It's been an interesting day. On the one hand my anxiety about the cancer is a lot lower tonight, but I seem to have transferred it to another long standing fear dementia after forgetting about putting on my work pass!. I guess I should work on that next. I'll try not to go in so hard on fear and try your suggestion.

  4. #4
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    Why not just accept that you have health anxiety which follows a very predictable pattern, Carrie? Normalise your fears..They are hardly a new phenomenon. They are routine fears for you so to be expected. Don't respond, just accept?

  5. #5
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    Quote Originally Posted by ankietyjoe View Post
    'I might have it, I might not, but today I'm alive so I'll live for today'.
    Anxietyjoe is exactly right. I think you are on the right track with not giving weight to the thoughts but I would switch the thoughts from "I have cancer, oh well" to exactly what Axietyjoe said. I think telling yourself you have cancer isn't healthy in the long run because you are deepening your belief. Instead just recognize it as a thought and don't give it the attention it's seeking.

    Best Wishes.
    __________________
    I asked myself one day, "What if I actually don't have cancer? What if I'm not really dying? Then surely I'm alive and should be living."

    Not a doctor or a psychologist, just a guy who's been to a lot of them.

  6. #6
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    Quote Originally Posted by pulisa View Post
    Why not just accept that you have health anxiety which follows a very predictable pattern, Carrie? Normalise your fears..They are hardly a new phenomenon. They are routine fears for you so to be expected. Don't respond, just accept?
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    __________________
    I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another. ~ John Lennon

  7. #7
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    Quote Originally Posted by NotDeadYet View Post
    Anxietyjoe is exactly right. I think you are on the right track with not giving weight to the thoughts but I would switch the thoughts from "I have cancer, oh well" to exactly what Axietyjoe said. I think telling yourself you have cancer isn't healthy in the long run because you are deepening your belief. Instead just recognize it as a thought and don't give it the attention it's seeking.

    Best Wishes.
    I completely agree with this.


    Resign yourself that you have no control over certain things, but that still allows you to live happily today. That's not the same as resigning yourself to your worst fear happening now, it will be difficult to remain motivated under those circumstances.

  8. #8
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    Thanks friends. I agree I took it a little too far yesterday, almost like shock therapy! But it did help in identifying the thoughts behind the feelings and putting some space between them. That's something I've struggled to do until now.

    You know when you're so sick of something you just want it to be over so you do something drastic? That was me yesterday. Frustrated and annoyed with myself for being this way. I'm feeling more optimistic today and will be doing some self-care to balance the scales.

  9. #9
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    Re: Reverse psychology?

    Quote Originally Posted by carriewriting View Post
    Thanks friends. I agree I took it a little too far yesterday, almost like shock therapy! But it did help in identifying the thoughts behind the feelings and putting some space between them. That's something I've struggled to do until now.

    You know when you're so sick of something you just want it to be over so you do something drastic? That was me yesterday. Frustrated and annoyed with myself for being this way. I'm feeling more optimistic today and will be doing some self-care to balance the scales.
    If nothing else, it might be the vehicle you need to embrace acceptance.

    If you're ok with HAVING cancer, I'm sure you'll be fine not having it and not worrying about it too. So to speak.

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