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My paranoia and anxiety is ruining my life - please help

(7 Posts)
poptartpoptart Tue 14-Jun-11 13:54:52

I've name changed because I feel so pathetic posting this, but I am getting to a point where I just can't cope anymore.

I am constantly worried that my DS (6yo) is going to get ill or even die.

To give a bit of background, he was hospitalised twice as a baby with gastroenteritis, was dangerously dehydrated and put on a drip both times.

Then at the age of two he had this weird coughing problem which went on for two and a half years. He would cough uncontrollably for weeks, day and night and the doctors didn't know what was causing it. He was treated for reflux and asthma but none of the medicine helped. He was admitted to hospital for tests but the doctors were unable to make a diagnosis.

These days he suffers quite badly with hayfever in the summer months, but is otherwise a strong healthy boy. The problem is my own paranoia.

Every time he coughs, and I mean even just to clear his throat, I freeze and my blood runs cold. All the memories of that horrible time come flooding back and I just go into mental meltdown. I worry that the coughing problem is starting all over again. Even when he is perfectly well I wake up in the mornings and my first thought is that he will be ill that day. Of course 99 per cent of the time he isn't and is fine, but it doesn't stop me worrying and being anxious all the time.

If I hear that another child at school is sick, I am paranoid that he will catch it and I find myself deliberately avoiding situations where I think he might catch something, such as softplay centres or swimming pools.

This is really having a negative effect on me. I don't let on to DS how worried I am and I tend to keep it all inside. But I walk around feeling totally on the edge all the time and I know I am missing out having fun with him because I just can't relax.

Even when he has had common childhood ailments, tummy bugs, colds, etc, I am just a nervous wreck. I worry that I will miss something important and he will become seriously ill or even die because I didn't do the right thing. I am constantly at the doctors over the slightest thing with him and I'm sure they are all fed up with the totally neurotic mother I know I have become.

I know my feelings are completely irrational, and I know all children get ill sometimes, but I dread it because I feel I can't cope. I then start thinking all sorts of horrible things that might happen. I love him so much - he is my only child and there's no chance of me having any more - and the thought of losing him is too much to bear.

I've talked to DP and my family about this and although they are understanding and sympathetic they don't know how to help me because ultimately I know I am being irrational, but I just can't control my fears.

I haven't told my GP because I don't want to be put on pills - I don't have depression, just paranoia about this one issue. But I do need some sort of help because these negative thoughts are controlling my life.

I've thought about therapy - CBT in particular, but it's not available on the NHS in my area and there's no way we can afford to do it privately.

Am I the only person to feel like this? What's wrong with me? Why can't I just look at this rationally like other people do and deal with it?

Any help or words of advice would be much appreciated as I dread feeling like this day after day.

madmouse Tue 14-Jun-11 14:04:47

I know where you are coming from - my ds was in hospital for his first 3 weeks as he had fits that stopped his breathing when he was 12 hours old. It took a long time to stop the fits and a week later they found out he had brain damage. Thankfully despite disabilities he is a very sturdy if small 3 year old.

I can cope with colds, bugs, fevers - but panic if he's unwell and I'm not sure what is wrong or if there is an issue with his breathing. I cope thanks to a DH who knows how I tick - I tell him my fears, he tells me to stop being an eejit and I believe him as ds is his everything and if he's not worried there's nothing to worry about. I also turn to a good friend who does some appropriate arse kicking if needed (I still have the text he sent me last time: You don't need you're bottom kicked because you know you're overreacting'.

You really need CBT - that is what you really really need. And I do not really believe that the NHS in your area can decide not to offer it as NICE is all in favour of it. I'm sure that the GP will be able to refer you when you go to talk about this. Because of course you need to.

For me the big warning sign is if you start to avoid certain situations and ds misses out like not taking him swimming. But all this loss of joy in your life is not good for you either.

ScarlettIsWalking Tue 14-Jun-11 14:14:47

I can completely relate to what you say. Dd has a very similar history and I suffer in the same way with regards to her health. She is also my only.

I honestly don't know what to suggest as I struggle every day. I also wake worried and don't cope with usual bugs and illnesses. I just can't stop thinking about the hospitalisations sad

Feel free to pm me if you like

Hunterswish Tue 14-Jun-11 14:26:25

Hi smile
I don't know if I will be of any help? You really do need to speak to the G.P though. To be pointed in the right direction for therapy on NHS....I understand where it has come from it is the fact that you are stressing the way that you are.It must be very hard and restricting for you?
You need to take the first step an make an appointment for the Dr, then fingers crossed you can start getting the help you need and your life back smile
Wish you all the best
Take care

cjel Tue 14-Jun-11 15:21:57

Don't keep saying you know you are being irrational, because the waya your mind is now working the thought s seem rational to it. Please don't dismiss yourself as silly, our children are so precious and you had such a wobble with yours its really understandable that you feel like you do. There are counselling services which offer free sessions to people who can't afford to pay. Your gp can refer you as well but will probably be limited to say 6 sessions. Please try everything you can to get the help you needxx

poptartpoptart Tue 14-Jun-11 20:27:01

Thank you for all your replies. I have decided I will go and talk to my GP and ask for help as I really really don't want to go on like this being worried and anxious day after day.
Has anyone any experience of CBT? Does it work?

madmouse Tue 14-Jun-11 22:00:58

Yes, CBT works if you have a good therapist. It doesn't help you resolve deep seated issues of the past but it helps you work out strategies for problems in the here and now.

For example I have a long standing eating disorder - I had old fashioned talking therapy for the causes of that and recently completed a CBT program to tackle the actual eating habits and learned some techniques to respond to stress in different ways.

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