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Please help...(5 Posts)
Hello, I'm 24 weeks pregnant and am a sufferer of health anxiety. This is long standing from before pregnancy but is now twenty times worse. I have been referred for CBT and went for the initial assessment which was back in September. The therapist then made me an appointment for 3 weeks time (8th October) because she was going to be on holiday. I was a bit frustrated but felt ok and waited patiently for my first session and I did manage ok. When the day before my appointment came I got a phone call saying the therapist was off sick and they would phone me in a few days for a new appointment. Anyway a couple of weeks passed, I chased it up and they said they would get in touch. I'm still sat here 6 weeks later with no appointment! I'm really starting to struggle again.
At the moment I'm wide awake and have been since 5am because my husband got up because he remembered he had locked the cats in and locked the cat flap by accident. Now obviously our cat flap is quite grubby because they're in and out a lot of the time which suits us fine because they don't have a litter tray and my anxieties about toxoplasmosis infection have been kept to a bare minimum (extra hand washing on my part but nothing too serious). Now after doing this he got back into bed and I'm constantly thinking "you haven't washed your hands" but I didn't dare say anything to him because to be fair he takes the brunt of my health anxiety and is constantly reassuring my paranoia and thought he would be mad. So I decide to let it go and just try to forget about it. Anyway we are both wide awake and lay chatting for a bit when suddenly he puts his fingers on my lips. Bless him he did it really tenderly when we were talking and meant it as a nice gesture, I guess it was just a natural thing for him to do at that moment. Anyway I completely freak out because he still hasn't washed his hands from his cat flap trip. I run to wash my face telling him how he "doesn't give a shit" and this has now completely awakened my health anxiety. I'm fearful for my darling unborn and feel so alone. He was saying to me he used the other hand but he won't remember he's just saying it to put my mind at ease. I'm now sat downstairs crying, he's probably gone back to sleep and hadn't thought about it which makes me mad! He was saying well "let's get rid of the cats" which he knows isn't a solution and I know we don't need to do that as the risks are small. I don't have to clean a litter tray, the cats have their own area to live in (utility) and only come in the house when supervised (so I can make sure they're not up on the kitchen sides etc). I just know we need to be more careful and wash hands after handling etc.
I guess I'm wondering what everyone thinks the risks are to do with this. I know cats only shed toxoplasmosis for a few weeks after infection but what if they contaminated the cat flap months ago and it's still on there? He touched my lips and now I can't stop thinking I'm going to be infected. Oh and I should add that I know I do not have immunity as I had a blood test a few weeks into my pregnancy and when my cat lightly scratched me a couple of weeks ago I rang my midwife and she checked my blood from my booking sample. The stupid thing is I've managed to out my fears about the scratch to bed and now all of this.
I know that I need to sort out my CBT sessions I just feel so stupid chasing it up all of the time. I hope someone can help. Thanks.
I suffer with health anxiety & I've never heard of this toxoplasosis. It doesn't seem like something to worry about sometimes the more you know about illnesses & conditions the worse your anxiety is... lost of people have cats & dogs & a lot of them won't be that clean just like a lot of people who don't have cats & they are probably quite healthy. .. have you thought about medication? It has helped me loads I'm sure you can take some whilst pregnant. .. health anxiety just takes over you it is vile. But I'm sure you will be fine regarding the cat thing. ..
It's a shame about the CBT but while you're waiting there are loads of books on CBT on Amazon - one called "Mind over Mood" that you might find helpful. I've never heard of toxoplasosis either! You need to try to get a handle on your anxiety before the baby is born. Incidentally what you describe sounds more like OCD?
As a CBT therapist I can tell you this: hassle the hell out of them! No way should you have been left hanging like that after a telephone assessment so call them again and don't feel it's the wrong thing to do. Services are so stretched and busy that you do need to make a noise, and I can only apologise on behalf of all NHS CBT therapists for the waiting lists being so long - it's frustrating for us too, to keep people waiting so long. I agree with NanaNina, your anxiety sounds more like intrusive thoughts about contamination in this instance. Health Anxiety tends to be an intense search for symptoms of a particular feared illness, e.g obsession with breast cancer and constant breast checking, whereas you sound as if your worries are about contamination (leading to a particular feared condition). You might like to check out the books in the 'Overcoming' series: Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by Veale & Willson. i hope you get help very soon. Xx
Thank you to all I have just read your messages. I have ordered that book Imojen, I am waiting for it to arrive! I've seen my midwife today and talked about my worries. I'm going to ring the CBT place now and get onto it. It's not fair, it wasn't a telephone assessment it was an actual face to face appointment... Anyway I'm going to try to sort it. Yes I have also been diagnosed with OCD and I do know I have intrusive thoughts. Thank you for your support. Xx
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