Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Constant health scares, little to no reassurances.

  1. #1

    Constant health scares, looking for advice.

    Hey guys, hope you're all doing well. I feel like my life has been completely taken over by my health anxiety to the point where I no longer go through a single day without worrying about something I either feel or see on myself. I've had blood tests up the wazoo, the day before yesterday was my last one and it came back clear. The past 5 years have been a nightmare frankly. I've had swollen lymph nodes (one of which remained swollen indefinitely), a swollen parotid gland, fungal tongue infection, petechiae which continue to appear on my lower limbs/feet, random acute hives all over, double vision for which I had to undergo a CT scan, joint pain, IBS, night sweats, frequent urination, hot flashes, cold shivering, skin discoloration, you name it. I've always tried to be prompt whenever I notice something new pop up and have rushed to doctors to have it checked and have tests performed among which extensive blood panels (these are frequent), lymph node ultrasounds and the CT I mentioned. I get a feeling like despite my tests always coming back clear, there may be something sinister at play which is undetected and this causes me to spiral downward in a endless anxiety-ridden state. I also ended up going to a Neurologist at one point who put me on Alprazolam for a while but frankly the improvements I noticed where slight. I'm looking for reassurances here and similar experiences you've dealt with and any tips on how to cope would be really appreciated, thank you guys.
    Last edited by vcamp90; 29-05-21 at 04:46.

  2. #2

    Re: Constant health scares, little to no reassurances.

    You sound as though you've really gone down the rabbit hole of health anxiety which I know only too well. Have you looked into seeking the help of a therapist? The only way out of this is having 'tools' to use so whenever you feel yourself going down that same path you can make changes to your behaviours and way of thinking. I think on the forum there are links to websites that offer help with health anxiety so that might be a good place to start? Really hope that you can find a way out of this as I know it's pure hell.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    157

    Re: Constant health scares, looking for advice.

    What are you currently worried about? Is it lymphoma? Or are you currently struggling with the HA.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2,688

    Re: Constant health scares, looking for advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by vcamp90 View Post
    I'm looking for reassurances here and similar experiences you've dealt with and any tips on how to cope would be really appreciated, thank you guys.
    I had a mental breakdown with my health anxiety but I got through it though and I'm out the other side..

    Tips?

    Therapy.

    Elimination of stimulants in the diet. (body has enough stress hormones going on from our fear)

    Relaxation techniques - especially deep breathing.

    Understanding the stress response and how the body reacts exactly the same whether it's a sabre toothed-tiger coming at me or my imaginary diagnosis of cancer, MS, strokes, heart attacks - whatever.

    But the most important tip I can give you is acceptance.

    Acceptance that life means uncertainty and the only certain thing is eventual death. That's a cert - a definite. It's non-negotiable. And illness is a probability for most of us..

    Death and dying applies to every living thing on the planet, and for humans - that little dash between our birth and death is our story to write in response to life. We're given the plot but our response is something that we can control, or work on for a better outcome.

    The problem with HAers is that they're constantly time-travelling to a fearfully imagined future - immediate or otherwise - and that means that they're not living - they're existing. They mistake common (and not so common) anxiety symptoms for disease. Stress causes a lot of anxiety symptoms (literally hundreds) and so there are always symptoms. It's a bit like the game 'Whack a Mole' where you whack one mole and another pops up? Same with health anxiety. You deal with one symptom and another pops up - only you've never had this one before. It's different, therefore your mind tells you that 'this time, there is something terribly wrong with you'. But the tests will come back clear and the word 'anxiety' keeps cropping up in the GP surgery and hospitals but the HAer can't accept that there's nothing seriously wrong with them because they feel so ill. It 'feels like they're dying' even though they have no experience of dying? The doctors have missed something? The tests were wrong? Google concurs with their diagnosis, so why not actual doctors?

    I managed to climb out of the rabbit hole the night before I had a colonoscopy which I was 100% certain would reveal bowel cancer. That night I decided to accept whatever was coming my way and I felt calm for the first time in years. I simply slid over from the passenger seat into the drivers seat and took hold of the wheel, and this was much better because HA drives like a dickhead!

    Of course, there was no cancer. Turns out, I had one of the best looking colons in Britain - which goes to show how much of a dick the human mind can be. But it works the opposite way too. I thought my way into mental breakdown so I had to think my way out again, and I did. But I didn't do it by avoidance or trying block HA thoughts out. I let them all come, but stopped reacting with fear. I observed them and saw them for what they were - just thoughts, not reality. I worked on lowering my stress hormones by doing the above - and I worked on accepting that I can't control anything in life except my response.

    Health anxiety is a horrible disorder. It's all-consuming and exhausting. It's life ruining - for our families as well as us. It's like we're running from something all the time and ourheart rates are constantly high - even when we're at rest because our minds are still sprinting away which releases more adrenalin etc. If we can stop, turn around and look at what it is we're running from, we will see that there's nothing there. The monster, beast, or gremlin exists only in our minds. It's not real but our brain doesn't know that - which is why the fight or flight response is always triggered, and we have the ability to physically turn that off by deep breathing. If we think of a happy memory, our body will release feel-good hormones, and it doesn't matter if all we can manage is a few seconds a day - what matters is that we understand that this is something we can all control to some extent. Some people will be able to be cured of this disorder; others, like me, will always need to maintain control by doing what we know works, but so far this year I've had two health concerns and I've yet to go back down that hole, so my HA is being managed and that's the best I can hope for - and I accept it.

    Effort

    We can throw meds at HA and settle into a medicated existence (complete with side-effects) which will take the edge of the symptoms but this won't deal with the disorder itself, or how we came to develop it. That'll be waiting for us when the GP takes us off the pills. Or we can decide to graft our way back to mental health. Some of us have no choice because we can't take meds, (chemical sensitivity etc) and that's been my story.

    Some people need meds to get them in a more receptive place for therapy to be effective, but therapy must be part of the plan if health anxiety is to be controlled in any meaningful and lasting way. Some people on here obviously want the quick fix. They want to feel better but are not prepared to put the work in, so they suffer on, and a million threads later, they're still here. I go into depth with most of my posts but I do know that with some people - all they want is tea and sympathy - which has its place, don't get me wrong, but reassurance and sympathy - alone - won't make HA go away.

    In my case, I had developed fibromyalgia so those symptoms were being thrown into the mix, but I have also lived with someone who had a breakdown with their HA and they were physically well. So I understand, completely, how devastating (and convincing) HA can be.

    Every night I used to go to sleep (I say sleep, I had insomnia and woke up after an 30 minutes) and I'd worry about what was happening inside my body. I visualised rusty pipes and leakages and tumours. Now I thank it for doing such a great job in keeping me alive because I know that it's constantly healing and repairing itself and that cells are dying and being replaced all the time. Fight or flight is my body keeping me alive - just as it's meant to - it just feels really unpleasant when I'm at rest, not running away. But I can shut that down within a minute now and in doing that, I'm giving something back to my body. I now visualise the inside of my body as looking fabulous. Gleaming pipes, and no leakages - well, there's a slight leakage when I laugh or sneeze but that's heaving out massive babies for ya!

    This is my long-drawn out way of saying that recovery from HA is down to us and us alone. NO amount of reassurance on here will help because it's a short term fix to a long term problem. Put the work in, and you can show HA who is boss, for sure!

    Hopefully you'll find something useful in my ramblings?

    All the best.
    __________________
    Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

  5. #5

    Re: Constant health scares, little to no reassurances.

    @NorahB - wow! This is so well articulated that Iím screen shorting this response so I can read and re-read it again & again. Iím also going to share with my husband who doesnít quite ďget it.Ē Literally have tears as I feel like you have completely summarized the experience and I love the promise of hope. Thank you for sharing your experience. It really is the best thing Iíve read in a while.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2,688

    Re: Constant health scares, little to no reassurances.

    Quote Originally Posted by sel123 View Post
    @NorahB - wow! This is so well articulated that I’m screen shorting this response so I can read and re-read it again & again. I’m also going to share with my husband who doesn’t quite “get it.” Literally have tears as I feel like you have completely summarized the experience and I love the promise of hope. Thank you for sharing your experience. It really is the best thing I’ve read in a while.
    I'm so glad it's helped you. Thanks for the feedback; it means a lot to me. X
    __________________
    Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    1,061

    Re: Constant health scares, looking for advice.

    Hi NoraB
    Thank you for the most amazing reply to a HA post I have ever read. I'm also taking screen shots to print it out so that I can re-read it.
    I'm having a terrible time with HA, really terrible and I have had enough.
    You are a star!! Much love from Barcelona x

  8. #8

    Re: Constant health scares, little to no reassurances.

    Camp I hope you are doing a bit better. I am going through a terrible time mid kidney infection with my health anxiety so wanted to give a big hug

    Nora your post has been great what wonderful ways to see things

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

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

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-10-18, 20:24
  2. Constant Worry About My Health
    By Black in forum Health Anxiety
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 13-03-16, 08:48
  3. Constant Health anxiety
    By pinky1990 in forum General Anxiety / Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 28-09-13, 13:32
  4. Constant health anxiety :(
    By ks in forum Health Anxiety
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 16-08-12, 05:47
  5. I need reassurances desparately, can anyone help?
    By CGI in forum Palpitations, Ectopics, Missed beats, Heart Worries
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 15-02-09, 23:09

Posting Permissions

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