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Low level health anxiety - any advice

(7 Posts)
SometimesItRains Sun 07-Jun-15 22:46:35

I feel a bit of a fraud as I don't have health anxiety to the extent of some on here, but it is starting to get me down so I wondered if anyone had any helpful tips for dealing with it.

My issue is sickness. It is not the physical act of being sick, which although very unpleasant I can deal with, it is the thought of either me or any of DH and DCs getting a sickness bug. It seems to be on my mind most evenings, to the point that I start to make myself feel sick as I'm thinking about it so much.

I think it all started when DS1 was born (in December) and people were talking about norovirus and how horrible it was. Somehow the thought got into my head that it would be terrible for me to get this while breastfeeding as i would have to carry on feeding whilst feeling like shit. The thing is that DS1 is now 5 and DS2 is 2, so I haven't been breastfeeding for ages now, but the fear seems to have stayed. So much so that sometimes when I am putting them to bed, all I can think about is how one of these days one of them will catch a bug and be up all night and then I might catch it and end up having to look after them while being sick (I'm a SAHM so no childcare for DS2), instead of thinking how cute they are and kissing the, goodnight. I'm fed up of this worry being in my mind at all times. Does anyone have any tips for how to deal with it and stop the thoughts taking over?

MrsEvadneCake Sun 07-Jun-15 22:49:15

This has info about tackling health anxiety. It's a great site. Ignore the fact it talks about serious illness. The process of challenging the thoughts will work the same.

DuhNuh Sun 07-Jun-15 22:58:41

I've recently had counselling for anxiety and one of my most intrusive anxious thoughts was almost exactly this. What has helped me has been to think of a scale of 'coping' as I'd think "I wouldn't be able to cope if me/DH/DC got ill with a tummy bug". So it goes from 0 - I couldn't cope at all (i.e. cannot function or look after me or the family at all) to 10 - I can cope with it all 100%. This was helpful to me as I realised I have never been in a 0 situation and will hopefully never be, judging by my ability to parent on a day to day basis when there are times that it is difficult for other reasons. It also helped when I understood the cycle of anxiety causing physical symptoms such as nausea, which made me anxious, which made me nauseous... etc.

I've also used some mindfulness techniques, advised by my counsellor (the counselling was mindfulness CBT based). Another resource pointed out to me by the counsellor was the Centre for Clinical Interventions (CCI). This is an Australian website written by professionals to provide support for those living in the outback who can't access one to one support. I found its worksheets on health anxiety really, really helpful.

Good luck. I know how this feels and whilst I'm still not 100% 'better' I'm getting there and the above has all helped.

Lilypad15 Sun 07-Jun-15 23:01:06

I have severe health anxiety and emetophobia is a big part of it. Since as long as I can remember I have been terrified of sick. Being sick, feeling sick, other people being sick or saying they feel sick. Even writing the word sick makes me feel queasy. It stops me from living my life, if I feel even a bit sick I won't leave the house unless it's absolutely essential. I can't be around people who are ill, if someone I'm with says they feel sick, I get panic attacks and start to feel sick myself. I've not found anything that helps really as it is all in my head however I did read an article once that stated people with emetophobia aka the fear of vomit, are actually less likely to be sick than those who don't suffer from it. Those with this fear train their brains, often subconsciously, to do everything in its power not to be sick. For example, one thing for me is public transport and I get very anxious if I feel at all nauseous. However if I do, I often find myself desperately thinking of other things or telling myself that it's all in my head and I'm not going to actually be sick. If that makes any sense?? I used to take Buscopan tablets as they had a placebo kind of affect on me in that when I took them, in my mind they were anti sickness/nausea. Emetophobia runs my life, there is a lot of things I won't do because of it, it takes over. As you said, you don't feel like it's as bad as maybe other people's at the minute so if you can nip it in the bud now that would be the best thing.

SometimesItRains Mon 08-Jun-15 09:24:54

Thank you all. The coping scale seems a good idea DuhNuh, you're right - I've never been in a zero situation, which is a helpful thing to acknowledge. I will look at all the websites and hopefully get these intrusive thoughts under control.

Chelsea89 Tue 09-Jun-15 23:47:02

@sometimesitrains Your post could of come straight from me, you have saved me a job for writing this out tonight. I am EXACLY the same. Both my girls have gone to bed tonight complaining of tummy ache which has sent my anxiety through the roof!! It's awful. I'm currently lay in the sofa to scared to go to bed.
Mine started when my oldest daughter caught a tummy bug back in January 14 and it was so bad she never stopped being sick or heaving from 10am to 11pm. Not once. Then my youngest caught it who at the time was only 4 months old and she was hospitalised with it. And since then I've been petrified of them getting poorly or me getting poorly and being unable to look after them. I had cbt and she said a similar thing about the coping scale. When I said I was scared I couldn't cope she asked how I reacted when then was ill, so I told her that I was calm and helped them and cleaned up and cuddled then as much as possible, she then asked if I thought that was a bad thing and what made me think I couldn't cope if i had actually done what every other mum does. Which did help.
My problem now is, I had the coil put in months ago and was unaware that it maxes anxiety worse, it's completely triggered mine off again. The coil has since been removed but I've already slipped back into panic mode. I can go just over a week without eating when they do get tummy bugs so I don't get it as well.
It's awful!!!
I hope you and all pp are all well

ashtrayheart Tue 09-Jun-15 23:50:06

I don't suffer health anxiety but I do suffer from generalised anxiety.
A really helpful mantra (I find anyway) is saying to myself 'it's not happening right now. Whatever happens i will cope'. Cbt may also help.

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