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Thread: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

  1. #1
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    Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Hi all, so I'm totally new to the site and I'm here out of desperation with an ultimate goal to getting better and then to hopefully support others. At this point I'm a million miles away.

    I've been a worrier and suffered with different forms of anxiety since around 12 years old. Unbelievably but my wife is probably the only person who knows what I go through. I can relate to almost everyone's traits on here, I've done hours of checking myself, googling, feeling dreadful for weeks on end. Not wanting to do social things, looking for relief and reassurance. Work is now massively impacted also

    My most recent meltdown is around bowel cancer, about 3 months ago I saw a spec of blood on TP and since then it's consumed me. I'm waiting for CBT to start and I've contacted the gp to see if I can have any other counselling or if meds are appropriate and to relay how this episode kicked off. I don't have a regular gp so that side of support is not great, it's someone different each time.

    What I think I lack is others to talk to, bounce off or make friends who understand what it's like for me as I feel my wife is at her wits end 😂. I'm not looking for people to reassure me, more to help me with ideas to get rid of the most dibilitating thing ever. I feel at the lowest I've ever been at the moment and trying everything to move forward.

    I've worried about almost every disease that's been in my life or I've heard of and I've lost count now. If anyone wants to connect or can offer any advise at all I would appreciate it so much.

    Hoping there's some good people out there!

    Thanks all

  2. #2
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Hi Krpuk, sorry to hear you're going through this, it's can be really all consuming as you know. Fair play to you for recognising what it is and for taking the huge step to not ask for reassurance. I'm like a broken record on here about it, but as you know it's not going to help you long term so recognising that is massive.

    CBT can help, as can counselling and your GP will be able to make a decision on medication. Everyone is different but I think a lot of the thought patterns us HA sufferers have are very similar, and there is proof here that it can be tamed so don't lose faith. It's hard work and you'll have ups and downs, but you seem to be determined to get there and are taking all the right steps. Is there anything specific you want to talk about? Feel free to send me a PM at any time. I'm not 100% there yet by any stretch but have made huge strides in the last few months through counselling and CBT.

  3. #3
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Quote Originally Posted by Mocadona View Post
    Hi Krpuk, sorry to hear you're going through this, it's can be really all consuming as you know. Fair play to you for recognising what it is and for taking the huge step to not ask for reassurance. I'm like a broken record on here about it, but as you know it's not going to help you long term so recognising that is massive.

    CBT can help, as can counselling and your GP will be able to make a decision on medication. Everyone is different but I think a lot of the thought patterns us HA sufferers have are very similar, and there is proof here that it can be tamed so don't lose faith. It's hard work and you'll have ups and downs, but you seem to be determined to get there and are taking all the right steps. Is there anything specific you want to talk about? Feel free to send me a PM at any time. I'm not 100% there yet by any stretch but have made huge strides in the last few months through counselling and CBT.
    Thanks mocadona for the reply and the kind words. My goal is to be better and I thought that coming online to the forum looking for like minded people who want to journey together towards a better us was a more sensible approach than just simply writing about every meltdown and asking to be told everything will be ok. Randomly I'm quite good at being logical with other people's problems but my own I'm shocking at.. Literally yin and yang!
    I've spoken to my gp today, been offered some meds on a low dosage along with counselling and I have CBT lined up in the background. When I did CBT before it was stopped after 4 sessions because I wasn't having a HA attack at the time which I thought was not really helpful. Hoping for a better outcome this time and I know I need to commit to it 100%
    I'm hoping others can share examples of small wins theyve come across themselves whilst in there own journey. I genuinely feel better when I talk to people about it but not from a reassurance perspective, just knowing I'm not the only one feeling like a crazy person!

    I actually think ( I've done this and recognised it now) searching the symptoms forum is as damaging for me as google as it just ends up leading to reading tons of stuff that can load my mind up with further doubt.. Definitely avoiding that.

    Out of interest do any members know of any talking groups that happen or video meetings etc for people like us?

  4. #4
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    I do agree with you, I completely understand people looking for reassurance - and to be honest sometimes when you are so deep in an obsession it is the only way out - but it would be nice to have some discussion around the actual anxiety as well. You are fully correct of course about the the symptpms forum, it is the same for me so I don't really go there that often, that's a win I suppose - and I haven't been on any ALS forums or anything in a very long time which is something I used to for a lot at the start of that particular scare. I think it's recognising your triggers and then working out strategies to avoid them. Reassurance seeking is the biggest and most difficult one of these. We always seem to think that googling will lead to some gotcha moment where we discover we can't possibly have a particular illness, but it never does, we selectively interpret information and run with what we "want" to see.

    One thing I realised was that the constant battle with my anxiety was exhausting, I think you have to develop some kind of acceptance that it's part of you and that helped me a bit. At the start the CBT stuff for me seemed like it just wasn't working, I was just too obsessed - I would challenge a thought and then try to let it pass, but it was literally happening several times a minute. I thought it would never get better, so it is hard work, and as you've already realised it's important to keep going with it even if you feel OK. Best of luck with it, you really do seem in a good frame of mind for this to be successful.

    ETA: Oh and you definitely shouldn't feel like the only crazy person - you could fill a book with some of the absolutely bonkers ways I've talked myself into a disease. Not to mention the checking, convinced I had weakness because I can't do stuff I could never do like a one armed press up, trying to lift things (up to and including children) with one finger, just to be 100%.
    Last edited by Mocadona; 28-04-23 at 16:57.

  5. #5
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Yes completely agree, we as humans have a natural urge to want to know answers as quick as possible. My frame of mind at the moment is I'm exhausted worrying, it's taken me to a version of myself I don't recognise at all and I cannot let it continue. Something I've found myself thinking recently is HA is starting to get to the point whereby you might as well be on deaths door 😂 because normal life doesn't exist in the midst of a HA meltdown.

    In my circumstances I want to be told I'm fine but will run a country mile to be told to have tests to rule things out because I believe I'm not strong enough to wait for an answer. The time that passes in between I imaging the most doomed outcomes 24/7

    So all this leads me to I'm going to kick this out one way or another, with full expectation of lots of setbacks and failures but I will get there. What you've said about acceptance is correct, there's no ridding of it, it's part of us, it's about keeping it locked up and not allowing it to wreck havoc. In a way the symptoms forum is a way of googling without googling.. ( someone's done it for you) I'm not critical of others at all because I've done it 1000s of times but it's never made me feel better, there's always the next page or example that disapproves your good reassurance theory. Back in the 80s and before the Internet I guarantee that HA was not as prevelant as it is today.

  6. #6
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    I totally agree. It's given us access to information that we don't have the knowledge, training and detachment to evaluate properly.

    I had to pull myself out of the Google hole earlier this week, and luckily I've managed to stay out. It's tough, though, and the shame of some of the checks I've done nearly destroys me.

    Having a good GP on your side can really help. I have a massive medical phobia and was so relieved when I found one who accepted that I knew about my HA and believed me when I said I only wanted tests if she believed they were absolutely necessary.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Google in my case is as close to an addiction as I think I will know. As we all know, in the midst of a severe HA episode the temptation, desperation is completely. Overwhelming and it's just screaming out at me to have a read, then read on and on until I'm really annoyed that it's not helped and just loaded my mind up with more info, more abscure symptoms to add to my knowledge bank to panic about.

    It's 100% certain a contributing factor that my HA has got worse over the years simply as a result of easily accessible info.. Ie mobile phones.

    Re the gp I completely agree, I think a great gp onside is invaluable. I don't have that as I've got a first come first served set up where I am so it's difficult.

    I definitely think talking about how we feel about HA and how we all try to tackle it as opposed to just the latest episode and it's symptoms and reassurance is a better way forward for in my opinion.

  8. #8
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Hi Krpuk,
    I can relate to how you feel. My poor husband and some friends also have to put up with my constant anxiety. I really couple health anxiety with OCD. I can say that I have been convinced I have had dozens of life threatening diseases and none of them have come true. However now that I am older I know the possibility increases for them to be real. My brother also has OCD, he has other obsessions. We just call them "another one" We will call each other up and say, "I'm having another one". And each time we will be convinced that this time, it's the real deal. And funnily enough when this one passes another will pop up. What has helped me most is recognizing the patterns. It takes away the fear a bit. In fact I come on here and when I am really losing it I find someone who is complaining about a particular problem and I look at their history. More times than not, they have a pattern as well and I can see that they have also complained about several other diseases they were convinced they had. I relax a little because so far in my life none of these worries have actually come true. So my point being is recognize that this is a pattern in your life. It may feel all encompassing and crippling in the moment but if you give it a little space you will see that you are doing what you are accustomed to. Now, I still suffer so I don't have an answer to breaking the pattern permanently but just seeing this particular thing has helped a little.

  9. #9
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Hi cusper, thanks for your message.. Its absolutely correct what your saying about patterns. I know I have these but I don't often see it in time before I'm deep into distress. Usually it will be something someone says in general that makes me think, am advert on TV or something that's happened to someone I know or just a random symptom. I seem to have no filter to start with and just catapult to the worst outcome instantly.
    My other massive struggle is actually seeing a gp, I cannot stand the idea of them saying they will run tests or investigate. Even though I know full well it's normal to do that, it's there Jobs, I just cannot handle the unknown of tests and the waiting, panicking etc I'm not sure if others have this but my mind runs through the dreadful scenarios and almost plays out stories to me of having the dreadful disease. All in all its extremely hard, knowing there's others like me helps in at least I know I'm not the only one... All of our traits are identical it's so surreal reading others posts.

  10. #10
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    Re: Severe health anxiety - desperate for help or friends

    Yes! So what my brother says is that what we have is really from primitive instincts of fight or flight and we would have been the people to see danger before the others and warn the tribe. haha but now we live in a different time and probably haven't adjusted well to the modern world. Not to mention everywhere all over news media... there will be headlines like "Symptoms you should never Ignore" ... this sort of media is pure poison to people like us because we are always on alert for this type of thing. I can really relate to what you said about worst case scenario. I do the same. This is why I come to this forum. I come here to see who else is complaining about what I am complaining about. Only I don't always read what they write, I go straight to their history. But usually when I am doing this I am in the throws of a full blown panic attack. I also come here when I am well to help others through their anxiety especially those who have nobody write back to them. I understand completely about the avoiding going for tests at the doctors because the waiting is just so painful. I even have a rule for these things as well. If I have an ongoing symptom that is distressing I have to wait at least 6 weeks to go to the doctor. If it is still there I go. I just had a colonoscopy due to a family history and I was full of pure angst a week before it happened. Everyone kept telling me it is nothing but I did not want to be told I have a life threatening situation. I was terrified. I almost walked out of the waiting room because I couldn't take the fear that was going on inside of me. But it was too late, I did it. They told me I was fine but I knew that because of my family history I had no choice but to do it. Health anxiety is just awful and I wish it on no one. I am so thankful that you wrote in. It helped me last night when I woke up in a panic. I am gaining a bit of acceptance that this is me. My mother, unfortunately trained us since she also is a hypochondriac. But all of the information, such as my mom, my patterns, me... helps me to calm down and realize I am going through "another one" and not THE ONE. It doesn't aways work... clearly. But I think acceptance also helps. Also, a word about googling... Someone once told me that googling is likened to a choose your own adventure novel which will always lead you to the big C or something equally terminal. I never ever google any more. I come here and look for other's patterns. Then I go on youtube and find something that will comfort me. I typically wake up in a panic every night at 3am with a cortisol spike... but I am learning to deal with it and it goes down fairly quickly... I used to be much worse. oh, and another thing that helps is watching podcasts about people who have had NDE's (Near death Experiences) On youtube if you watch JeffMara Podcast. I find that very comforting. These people all tell you that dying is nothing to be afraid of. haha but still.. It hasn't cured me but it really helps.

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