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Feeling so fed up - health anxiety ruining my life

(6 Posts)
Dearyme1 Sun 24-Aug-14 14:43:03

I know there are lots of us in the same boat re. health anxiety but lately I've had a major set back.

It's severe. I think about bad health all day long.

I have lots of contact with GPs - about seven times in the last two weeks with different gripes all 'adding up' to cancer of one sort or the other. I truly believe I have cancer. I have been urgently referred to an affective disorders team but heard nothing as yet - it was about a week ago.

What's feeding it all is that I just don't feel like a 'well' or healthy person and I feel like every day there is another ache/pain/symptom to contend with which all feed this horrible, horrible focus on cancer and the absolute conviction that I have it.

To give you all some idea symptoms include:

* Depression
* Tiredness
* Aches in my chest (right hand side) leading to jaw and arm (I've been told this is a trapped nerve but I'm finding this very difficult to accept. I think it's a tumour pressing on nerves
* Nausea - like morning sickness but I'm not pregnant. Poss due to PMT and hormones
* Aching in areas where glands are - neck, groin, behind knees
* Feeling like the glands in my neck are swollen

Other 'one off' symptoms - which seem in my head to equal lymphoma

* A lesion on my hand
* Itching all over body on one occasion
* One night of night sweats

I have had a full blood test done by the GP - which were all normal.
However I have read that you can have cancer or lymphoma and still have normal bloods.

The GP is not concerned about tumours or lymphoma and I've seen several - and a couple more than once - in the last few weeks. However I do feel that my health anxiety (and the fact that they all know I have it) makes them kind of just reassure me given the amount of times everything has been all right in the past when I've thought I've had a brain tumour, breast cancer etc etc etc etc etc

DH is rightly fed up of me, DM is too, I can't focus on anything properly as my main concern is my health.

I'm sorry for the massive rant - I just wanted to get it all down and 'out there'.

violator Sun 24-Aug-14 15:00:36

The one thing an anxious person will always do is seek reassurance. Whether that's asking a friend "will I be ok?" asking on mumsnet, or going to a GP.

The thing is though, the reassurance is never enough. You'll keep going back to ask again, because all reassurance does is continue the cycle of anxiety. You know this already, you've been back and forth to the doc.

This is going to sound ridiculously easy, but it's not. It will, however, curb the anxiety after an initial spike, and ultimately cure it.

Don't ask for reassurance. Don't ask anyone. Not your GP, your friends, online, do not google. Don't search for symptoms and illnesses online.

That's the first step.

Step two is to sit with your anxiety. Feel it. Don't run away from it, or try to distract yourself from it. Acknowledge it, tell yourself "yes, I'm really anxious about this, it's a very unpleasant feeling. My hands are clammy, my tummy's churning, my heart is racing. That's ok, none if that can or will harm me."

It won't harm you. The anxiety will rise and then it will subside. And the more often you do this, the less and less it rises, the more tolerable the physical elements of it. In a short space of time, you will have trained your brain not to fear it.

This works for all anxieties. Not just health anxiety. The biggest problem with health anxiety is that we have endless access to reassurance with the Internet now. All it does is keep the cycle going.

I promise you, if you can do the above (and you can) you'll beat it for good. I did. It wasn't easy, but I got my life back.

Dearyme1 Sun 24-Aug-14 21:59:25

Thank you. I have tried this as I know deep down this is the ONLY answer. I get to day three or four and I just can't cope any more without my Google crutch or some other form of sly reassurance seeking.

How bad did it get for you? Was it health too?

violator Mon 25-Aug-14 09:08:45

Getting to day three or four is really good!
Think about someone quitting smoking. They get to day three or four and feel they can't stick the discomfort any more (they can, really) and light up a cig and go back to starting over again.
If they could have ploughed through, they'd be a non smoker. Yeah it's not easy at all, it's really difficult at the start, but it gets easier.
There's always times they'll think if reaching for a cig, but those times become rarer and rarer.

That's how it works.

Yep I was hospitalised with severe anxiety. I completed a programme as an outpatient which taught me how to lessen anxiety. It did work, for me and everyone else on the programme.

You can do it. Think if how amazing you'll feel when you've finally kicked it to the kerb.

FelicityFoxton Mon 25-Aug-14 09:26:03

I feel for you. I'm not as bad as you but still pretty bad sometimes. I keep as much as possible to myself because the 'sane' part of my brain knows that what I'm actually suffering from is Health Anxiety.

I always feel the need to explain to my family that I have HA not hypochondria - so, I don't imagine my symptoms - they're real - I just then imagine them to be fatal. So far this year I've had ovarian cancer , bladder cancer , bowel cancer and interstitial cystitis - and of course , in my head, this is untreatable and although won't kill me , it will mean my life will be ruined.

It's absolutely bloody exhausting. I've had full bloods done - all normal . A pelvic scan - normal. Oh apart from the smallest fibroid in the world. And countless urine tests - these are not normal - they always show traces of blood - but OF COURSE this won't be something like an infection or just one of those things - that'll be the bladder cancer I mentioned earlier.

I marvel on here about the threads relating to boils etc and everyone joking about them and squeezing them. I just know that if I had one if see it as a sign that my immune system was impaired. I'm an idiot!

So all that waffle was to say that you're not alone. I don't want counselling however. I know why I have HA ( both my parents were diagnosed with cancer and one is terminally ill - this was 5 years ago ) and this started it. So I know the cause because I never gave this stuff a second thought before. I suppose I just hope that the good periods I have will gradually increase and that I'll always have the larger side of my brain telling me I'm an absolute idiot and to get a grip

Mandylisa Wed 27-Jul-16 08:24:08

God just found these to read and it describes me to the precise there a proven cure for health anxiety?

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