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Thread: Extreme Health Anxiety...Any advise

  1. #1

    Extreme Health Anxiety...Any advise

    Hey everyone. So my entire adult life I have been crippled with health anxiety (hypochondria). Every little ache or pain, every odd feeling or common cold, any headache or cramp, is life threatening....in my head at least. I am completely crippled by this, what i consider, mental illness. It controls every aspect of my being. All day everyday all I do is obsess over my health and if I will survive the next hour. I have been to the ER multiple times in any given year.

    I'm 26 and have had every array of testing you can imagine, some multiple times. CT Scans, MRI, EKG, blood test after blood test. It's unbearable. I'm convinced it's a pulmonary embolism, or stroke, or heart attack, or cancer, or a deadly virus, or a common cold that has evolved into sepsis, or appendicitis, or kidney failure, or EtC Etc etc. It just goes on and on. Once my mind is put at ease at the hospital after multiple testing, I just move onto the next thing. I might have an hour at most of peace. So just a little background. I have gone and sought counseling. I have been placed on Prozac and Walbutrin and a bunch of other things.

    I am currently not on prescriptions and really do not want to be. My wife is sick and tired of hearing about my "illnesses" and like the boy who cried wolf, wouldn't believe me if something was actually wrong. I truly do no know what to do. I assume this all stemmed from me watching my mother battle and eventually succumb to cancer when I was 15. I honestly view life in a twisted way. I basically just go through life waiting to receive the bad news from a doctor or suffer some health issue. I am a reasonable man, a rational man, a logical man. I consider myself a realist, but when it comes to health, even the most ridiculous diagnosis seems real. So i guess in a nutshell I am seeing if anybody else has experienced this or who does. ANy bit of advise would help because i am starting to lose my mind slowly. It's starting to consume me. Thank you

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Capricorn3's Avatar
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    I can only strongly advise professional counselling/therapy, and more therapy, and more therapy. For as long as it takes, even if it's years. Clearly this is a massive issue and as you can see, has got you nowhere on your own. This is very clearly an issue for an experienced professional counsellor/therapist (imo).

    Also, one day your wife will reach her breaking point and you will lose her (understandably). Do all that you can to help yourself. Don't find excuses why you can't.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    My husband's sister is like you. She is exhausting. You need therapy and if the first therapist isnt helpful, find another one. You dont need to live like this. I agree, one day your wife will be gone if you dont get a handle on this.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    watching my mother battle and eventually succumb to cancer when I was 15
    In my personal opinion, this is what is at the root of all of this.

    You've not processed or dealt with the pain, grief and possibly even PTSD from this experience.

    You need professional help in terms of a therapist who can help guide you through the mourning process of your mother and to help you learn new coping skills of the anxiety you felt when she was sick.
    You have experienced a significant amount of mental trauma at a young age due to this experience and it's coming out in these hypochodriac ways.

    Your life doesn't have to be this way. You just need to find the right help and to heal properly.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    That's why you're getting worse.
    Originally Posted by AverageGuy17
    I am currently not on prescriptions and really do not want to be.
    "Treatment
    The goal of treatment is to help you manage anxiety about your health and improve your ability to function in daily life. Psychotherapy — also called talk therapy — can be helpful for illness anxiety disorder. Sometimes medications may be added.

    Psychotherapy
    Because physical sensations can be related to emotional distress and health anxiety, psychotherapy — particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) — can be an effective treatment. CBT helps you learn skills to manage illness anxiety disorder and find different ways to manage your worries other than excessive medical testing or avoidance of medical care.

    CBT can help you:

    Identify your fears and beliefs about having a serious medical disease
    Learn alternate ways to view your body sensations by working to change unhelpful thoughts
    Become more aware of how your worries affect you and your behavior
    Change the way you respond to your body sensations and symptoms
    Learn skills to cope with and tolerate anxiety and stress
    Reduce avoidance of situations and activities due to physical sensations
    Reduce behaviors of frequently checking your body for signs of illness and repeatedly seeking reassurance
    Improve daily functioning at home, at work, in relationships and in social situations
    Address other mental health disorders, such as depression
    Other therapies such as behavioral stress management and exposure therapy also may be helpful.

    Medications
    Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may help treat illness anxiety disorder. Medications to treat mood or anxiety disorders, if present, also may help.

    Talk with your doctor about medication options and the possible side effects and risks."

  7. #6
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    I agree to find a better therapist. I’m sorry you are experiencing this. My friend tells me she is like this too and it was really hard not to have her daughter follow in her footsteps. Ironically and sadly she does have cancer now. I tend toward this kind of anxiety too but have it in check. I did have a stroke almost 10 years ago and fully recovered. I can tell you that my symptoms were fairly typical but I didn’t even know I was having one. So even being that focused on “health “ doesn’t mean you’ll know when something is wrong.

  8. #7
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    Originally Posted by AverageGuy17
    All day everyday all I do is obsess over my health and if I will survive the next hour.
    You're going to die.
    Accept that fact and start living. (Watch your wife instantly brighten!)

    Stop watching/reading all manipulative tv/periodicals. (Pill ads are a dead giveaway.)
    No more pining away for those lost. They may be in a much better place, and sad you're wasting so much time.

    Life is short and what follows is forever. Plan for that, not just one more day, month or year. (Ask someone over a hundred how fast their life went.)

  9. #8
    Platinum Member itsallgrand's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to enotalone. I hope you'll come back and post again, but even if you do not, I'm going to respond in the hopes that maybe someone can feel a little less alone and hopeful who is dealing with something similar.

    I do not have your particular symptoms, but I do feel like I can relate greatly. I too lost a parent as a teen, 14 to be exact. It was a vehicle accident involving a drunk driver. My brother was also involved, and he almost lost his life. He went through years of recovery.
    My mother and I spent about half a year living in the hospital, in rooms provided by an excellent charity. I wanted to be by my brothers side as much as possible, and so I did see and got to know a lot of families and children who were going through terrible things.
    All of this, and the rest of the story, made a huge impact on me and I did have trauma. Which I did not understand for many years later.

    I had Years and years of extreme anxiety. I rarely slept, I had horrible nightmares every night. And during the days I had disturbing images intruding in my mind of people being hurt and suffering. I do understand the feeling like you are losing control of your mind, the feeling of drowning in it and out of control.

    What really changed my life was meeting a psychiatrist who specialized in trauma. I received a proper thorough diagnosis, and a multi prong therapy plan. I had my doctor on board, physical therapy and my psychiatrist.

    Don't lose hope. There is help out there. People can recover. And you aren't alone! I'm glad you have a loving wife. Support is so important. We are here if you ever want to talk more. Wishing you the absolute best.

  10. #9
    Member MrAdversity's Avatar
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    Been in your shoes exactly to the T of what your experiencing! I went through so many things in a year with extreme weight loss from sickness and stress and divorce - brought on a crazy amount of generalized anxiety and health anxiety bc during all that drama I was also testing for bladder cancer … I have been surrounded by cancer with my mother, myself and relatives who have passed, when I was little I also thought when my parents when out to dinner something would happen and they would never return (a consequence of my parents divorce most likely) as I was an only child -

    Anyway it got so bad I would pace around my home, wouldn't go out for fear of traffic (just one example of how I would think), wouldn't eat certain foods for fear of allergies (shellfish allergy) which resulted in me thinking I would also develop of peanut allergy etc, would be very bad going out to eat with people as I would physically restrict feeding myself thinking I would get sick etc. As you can see I was pretty screwed up !

    I decided after it starting effecting my work that I needed help and I was the only one who could take myself out of the rut - I sought after a psychologist focusing on CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) ..At first it was strange but after awhile honestly you don't even realize your changing your habits (bad habits). You see CBT changes your internal thinking, so right now or for me in the past I did the circle of negativity what if this what if that it was a never ending cycle that resulted in worsening anxiety - but with CBT I was digging in the sand deep and deeper layer by layer uncovering the last layer in which was the direct cause of my anxiety - learned helplessness (not being able to get help when needed anywhere with anything that may happen with myself)…

    Slowly but surely the DR got me switching my thoughts (again as an example of one of my irrational fears) from what if I get stuck in traffic and have a panic attack to ok so If I have a panic moment in traffic what will happen? And don't you think there are 100s of people around you in the same traffic thinking the same things wanting to get out of the traffic too? So in theory over the course of 6 mos I was changing my thinking habits basically arguing against my internal monologue with positive arguments breaking the endless of what if cycles

    Now I did remarry and I did carry over some min health anxiety (but the CBD basically cured me of generalized anxiety) bc of how amazing it works but I digress my wife was getting pretty tired of the aliments etc ...One day after being called out on it at a dinner party of all things (was feeling my pulse for some strange reason on my neck) I was embarrssaed and angry and dediced to change my ways and ever since have been working on the last 5% of my anxiety with just livig my life and not worrying, eating what I want, knowing aliments are common with colds, flu, getting older etc, knowing im in good company and help is all around me hence ive gained all my weight back and than some, do everything I want to do now, vacations over seas etc, work in the medical field and am very go to at my job, and make sure I just don't get overwhelmed which I have found triggers my anxiety ...And just know your wife will look for comfort elsewhere if it gets to a boiling point ( I don't mean cheating ) but she wants A MAN and I don't mean that like im judging you but like my wife she wants someone who can hold there own in every sense of the way, my wife used to tell me all the time I feel like our roles are reversed or you should have been born a woman I swear - don't let her see you like this, get help and move forward - at the end of the day your health is your problem no hers ...

    I suggest looking into CBT therapy, and realize life is short and worrying makes no sense of the things you cannot control, knowing after all your tests your ok should only make you feel like a million bucks, and even if the worst comes along you can be treated early and still be ok! Don't waste away your life with fear!!! Take it from me been there and have been beating it for 8 yrs now...and for the love of all that is holy do not google or WebMD!!! And stop going to the ER!!! Get a hobby, start working out, go out with family or friends more, fix things, take on a project etc ...all things that have saved my mind during the process of change! Feel free to PM anytime if you need help! I know how lonely it can be during this process -
    Last edited by MrAdversity; 01-29-2019 at 01:11 PM.

  11. 02-07-2019, 10:59 AM

  12. 02-07-2019, 11:48 AM


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