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Thread: HA ruined my life

  1. #1

    HA ruined my life

    I literally can't anymore. Health anxiety runs in my family, my mom's uncle is a hypohondriac his whole life and I have these symptoms since 10. Panic attacks, depression, anxiety but health anxiety is killing me. I am awake and thinking about the take out I ordered at Monday and waiting to my covid symptoms to show because I literally was sorry the moment I ate that f*** burger because I ate it from the container directly and maybe it was contaminated, I didn't wash my hands. I didn't go out with anyone for a year and three months and if I catch covid from a burger, I don't know...
    I felt nauseaous and I think that's it, my first symptom.

    This is just an example what I am going through. I am in hell my whole life but with this pandemic it's whole another level. I cannot cope anymore. I don't have any money for the therapist.

    How did you help yourselves?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
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    5,583

    Re: HA ruined my life

    Sorry you're feeling so awful. For me, meds were the answer - just a low dose of citalopram that helps me stay clear-headed enough to practice my coping strategies.

    Over the years I've had various short courses of therapy; they've been immensely useful but the key is keeping up with the coping strategies you learn there. Currently, I've fallen way behind on my meditation and I'm definitely feeling it.

    Remember, the thing about HA is that if you're determined enough, you can (mostly) beat it. It's just bloody hard work.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2016
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    Re: HA ruined my life

    Quote Originally Posted by darlene85 View Post

    How did you help yourselves?
    Hi Darlene, I've had health anxiety since I was a small child, although I obviously didn't understand it at the time. I just always felt unwell. I also have a long list of other mental health issues which all impact on one another but I somehow limped along until I hit 46 and then I had a mental breakdown due to health anxiety. I tried medications (antidepressants, beta blockers etc) but that made things much worse for me; turns out I had developed chemical sensitivity along with the fibromyalgia that was yet to be diagnosed. CBT was partially effective. First lot didn't work at all, but the second lot was better. What helped me most was acceptance and understanding anxiety and the very physical effect it has on the body. I've had the fibro for 11 years but I don't actually know what it feels like to function without anxiety. There are other factors which determine my predisposition to anxiety so I've had to accept that it's part of the deal, and over the last few years I've educated myself about stress/pain etc and I'm getting better at fighting all those 'little fires' (symptoms). I still have days where I just want to die and where I feel like it's just too big a fight. But the next day I pull myself back up again and carry on because I have people in my life to fight for..

    I was having a terrible day last week. I was in bed, and in a lot of pain. My one and only tolerable medication (Codeine) wasn't touching the pain and the despair was starting to overwhelm me. Then my phone bleeped and I saw I had an audio message from my son. The audio was of his unborn baby's heartbeat - my granddaughter/grandson to be - and I knew then that I will cope with all the shit life has to throw at me because I have people to keep going for.

    You can cope. You are coping. You have to learn to make fear your b1tch, not the other way around. The difference with me is that I no longer fear my symptoms. I accept them for what they are and I work with my body to bring my stress levels down.

    In your case, it seems that you are prone to HA because you've grown up around it? But this is a cycle that you can break. It's not going to be easy, but those things which are worth doing rarely are.

    It takes a great deal of strength to endure what you're enduring Darlene. You are stronger than you know and braver than a lion! And one day I hope that you'll see this for yourself.

    It's important for you to understand that your uncle's story isn't your story. You have a different story. You might not get to say in the crappy things that happen in life but most of us do get to choose how we're going to respond to them - at least to some degree. Obstacles? You've just got to overcome them as best you can with what's available to you.

    Overcoming HA is hard work. You're not going to wake up one day and feel OK. It's taken time to reach this stage and it's going to take time to reverse it. Your internal dialogue is crucial, and you will take several steps back along the way, but you keep your eye on the goal and just keep going!

    You have to remind yourself that no amount of fear you've ever experienced has killed you, and it never will. It just feels really unpleasant, and these unpleasant symptoms are because your body is reacting (as it's designed to) to your fearful thoughts, so it stands to reason that the reverse applies. What you're aiming for is for you to control fear, not fear control you.

    At my worst, I felt so fragile that I felt I would break apart but, actually, looking at things now - this was when I was at my strongest, not weakest - because it requires strength to pull oneself out of that hole we find ourselves in, and sometimes it's the case that we have to reach rock bottom in order to be able to push ourselves back up again!

    Bottom line: I turned things around at the age of almost 50 after a lifetime of fear controlling me. If I can do this with my anxiety pre-disposed brain and numerous comorbidities - then I reckon you have a fighting chance lovely!

    I hope some of all this helps you, even if it's only to know that I've been where you are. But if I was to simplify all of which I've written down to one single thing which turned things around for me, it's determination, as without it nothing else would have worked..
    __________________
    Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

  4. #4

    Re: HA ruined my life

    Quote Originally Posted by NoraB View Post
    I hope some of all this helps you, even if it's only to know that I've been where you are. But if I was to simplify all of which I've written down to one single thing which turned things around for me, it's determination, as without it nothing else would have worked..
    Thank you so much. I'm touched. You are a strong woman. And I can only hope to be like you. I am 36 now and I thought that all this will be gone in thirties, I don't know why but it became even worser so I try to cope and I hope I will beat it one day. Some days are better than others but some are really bad. I just want to enjoy life like other people. Be in the moment. Not in my head playing all the dark scenarios.

    I come from a family of anxious people. Death and illness were a big thing in my family, my grandma and mom were so scared of it and my mom's uncle of course, he has the worst HA so I picked that up growing up and now I have all these fears and trying to stop fearing the life itself. Because I think that deep down it's a fear of life. I don't know.

    Anyway, thank you, you really helped me.

  5. #5

    Re: HA ruined my life

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueIris View Post
    Sorry you're feeling so awful. For me, meds were the answer - just a low dose of citalopram that helps me stay clear-headed enough to practice my coping strategies.

    Over the years I've had various short courses of therapy; they've been immensely useful but the key is keeping up with the coping strategies you learn there. Currently, I've fallen way behind on my meditation and I'm definitely feeling it.

    Remember, the thing about HA is that if you're determined enough, you can (mostly) beat it. It's just bloody hard work.
    I am on meds. I haven been on Zoloft for ten years but I think it stopped working. They added Sulpiride and that helped me a lot but I still have bad days. Especially since pandemic.
    Thank you for your support.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    308

    Re: HA ruined my life

    I'm sorry to hear you are suffering. I hope the below is helpful.

    Although many people benefit from a therapist, it isnt essential as they can only give you the tools and talk to you, both of which can be found on this forum.

    Therapists will often point you in the direction of cbt which many people find beneficial. I think there is a sticky thread with an excellent free document.

    You can always talk to friends, family, us on here, whomever you find it comfortable to talk to.

    As others have said, meditation helps, however I feel that this should be used in addition to addressing the real cause of your issues. A bit like a crutch, it helps you move around when injured but you ideally want to get better if you can. Some people are on medication for years and really find it helps them.

    Dont google symptoms. Google offers huge amounts of data that unless you are a medical professional, you are likely to struggle. If you have a medical question, ask a doctor.

    My personal experience dramatically improved when I discovered Jesus. Whenever I am anxious it tell him and I feel much better. I find that I am a lot happier, and much much better in terms of my health anxiety. Of course I get anxious at times but I am so much better and happier.

  7. #7
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    Re: HA ruined my life

    Quote Originally Posted by darlene85 View Post
    I am 36 now and I thought that all this will be gone in thirties, I don't know why but it became even worser so I try to cope and I hope I will beat it one day.
    Some people do 'beat' health anxiety, but most learn to control it. There's a difference..

    Mine is controlled, not 'cured'. I'm predisposed to anxiety so I know that I'm never going to be the person I'd like to be in that respect. So maybe you're setting the bar too high in wanting all this to be completely gone? That just isn't achievable for a lot of people because the kind of people who develop HA often have a string of other mental health issues too. The difference for me is that I've had two significant health concerns this year, and I didn't go down the rabbit hole. The darker scenarios flitted through my mind, for sure, but I didn't dwell on them as I would have done a few years ago because I was able to recognise them for what they were - just thoughts, not reality.

    Some days are better than others but some are really bad. I just want to enjoy life like other people. Be in the moment. Not in my head playing all the dark scenarios.
    I found that the bad days just seemed so much worse after a good day because the good days brought hope - that was the case when I was unwell with HA and it's the case now with my health condition. The key is to accept those good days and ride the bad ones as best I can and know that this particular storm will pass.

    I find it incredibly hard to live in the moment but this is something that does need to worked on with HA. I refer to myself as a 'time traveller' because my mind is forever dwelling on a past that I cannot change or it's in an imagined future - which at one time always included imminent (and worst case scenario) death! It takes practice and diligence to be 'in the now' and in my case, living in the now occurs in minutes or seconds. But those minutes and seconds are where memories are made, and I try and focus on making them as positive as I can so that they will keep me going through my darker days.

    If I push the bar up to the height of 'good health and no anxiety' - I will never achieve it and will always feel like a massive failure. But if I set the bar to 'making the best of this version of myself' - then I feel better with my lot in life. You know?

    I come from a family of anxious people. Death and illness were a big thing in my family, my grandma and mom were so scared of it and my mom's uncle of course, he has the worst HA so I picked that up growing up and now I have all these fears and trying to stop fearing the life itself. Because I think that deep down it's a fear of life. I don't know.
    One of the things which helped me the most in controlling HA was the acceptance that I'm going to die. I don't have any choice in that - none of us do. But I choose to see death as a friend who will come to take me home when it's my time to go. I've known so many people have 'good deaths' where they quietly, and gently, passed over. It's how death is portrayed on tv that fills us with fear, but people love the drama don't they? And there's nothing dramatic in somebody quietly passing away. The masses want to see people clutching at their chests as they bounce off the walls and knock stuff over. But this tends to be the stuff of scripts, rather than reality.

    Something else which helped me was to learn about NDEs - which is the closest we have to knowing what it's like to die and almost everybody who comes back from clinical death resuscitation with a story - says how marvellous it was! So much so, that they had to be convinced to climb back into their knackered bodies! Maybe dying will mean I'm in a bit pf pain for a bit? So what? That's no different to giving birth is it? And I have fibromyalgia, so I'm used to pain. But I'm also lucky enough to live in times where even the most intense pain can be controlled and in that respect my FIL spent the last 2 days of his life zonked out on the good meds - snoring his head off - peaceful as you like! So this 'monster' that I've allowed to hold me hostage all these years is nothing but an illusion.

    My worst fear was leaving my son before my job was done. By 'job', I mean raising him to independence. He's autistic so this was a major factor in my fears. In that respect, I've come to accept that I can only do my best for him while I'm here and trust that others will step in in the event of my death. And I have the option of haunting the crap out of them if they don't! Time spent imagining a future that I have no control over is time that could be better spent preparing him for life, and part of that is to prepare him - albeit sensitively and appropriately - for the death of others and ultimately, his.

    You can be the person who breaks the cycle, Darlene. You can be the one who isn't afraid of death and that, in turn, will influence others in your family. That's quite a legacy to leave behind when your time does come, don't you think?

    Imagine yourself, not running from your fear but turning to face it, and maybe (like me) you will find that it's not as scary as you thought? X
    __________________
    Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

  8. #8

    Re: HA ruined my life

    Hi Darlene,
    just like you i showed early symptoms of h/a when i was very young.My dad suffered h/a as did his brother and 2 sisters so really i was bound to follow.I have tried lots of ways to help myself including,cbt,psychotherapy,hypnotherapy and accupuncture,i also take seroxat which does not work for me anymore.I ask my long suffering wife for reassurance but that does not last and certainly do not google.
    We have to do it by will power,i believe this to be how to do it.Think to yourself when you wake up,today will be better than yesterday and try to go out and be with people who know you and love you for who you are,i have never hidden the fact that i am a hypochondriac.I find that distraction works best for me,being with friends for a good old chat in the fresh air is as good as any tonic or pill and you will get more fun out of it.I go out most days with my wife do a bit of shopping then meet up in the town square with friends.Socially distanced of course and being outside is safer from covid.In the evening watch a good film,or read a book by your favourite author before bed.
    Yes i still have days from hell like you do,just not as many as i did.Sitting in my armchair worrying all day was not the answer to h/a,so this is my answer to your question Darlene [how did you help yourself ?] This answer has taken me 60 years to work out Darlene,i am now 74 so i have no time to dwell on h/a.
    My very best wishes to you, do not spend another day in hell,go out and let life be heaven.

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