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Health anxiety

(45 Posts)
mummyofone16 Sun 05-Feb-17 16:54:00

Hi everyone I really need some advice. For about 4weeks now I've been suffering terribly from health anxiety. It started with redness on my breast which turned out to be nothing (was at breast clinic) since then I cannot stop worrying about everything mainly cancer. I've diagnosed myself with all different types. Been back to gp who done full bloods and tried to reassure me that the things I was experiencing where just done to anxiety (chest pain, breathlessness and more) these didn't start until I started worrying so it makes sense but I can't stop panicking. I'm being referred for cbt but haven't heard anything yet. I have a 6month old son and loving fiancé but he just doesn't get it and thinks I just to "catch a grip" but I can't! I'm constantly checking myself, googling symptoms, weighing myself and worrying. I have a sore little finger today when I move it and I keep thinking it's something bad or part of a bigger problem although I could've lay on it or hurt it I can't remember. It's really affecting my life and starting to bring my mood down. I'm very irritable and hate being alone at home with my son as my mind goes into overdrive and I literally convince myself I'm going to die and leave him and he will grow up without me. I cry a lot because of these thoughts. Can anyone help me? I feel like I can't escape these thoughts xx

Jamhandprints Sun 05-Feb-17 17:02:23

I get this too. It comes when I'm stressed. Can you get a bit of relaxation or fun somewhere? A change of scene? Do you go to any baby groups or activities? You can call IAPT yourself and they will do telephone counselling. You'll get put to the top of the list because you've had a baby recently. Google "relaxing breathing" and do it every day. Then as you relax hopefully the health side will get better on it's own. Mine got a lot better when I went back to work, do you think that might help you? X x

mummyofone16 Sun 05-Feb-17 17:15:57

Thanks for replying. I do go twice a week for an hour to surestart groups with my son (swimming and just a chatting/play group) and visit family and friends but I hate coming home I just have this feeling of dread pulling in my drive. I feel like I can't talk to anyone. Partner doesn't understand and my mum listens but I still feel no better. My closest friend says she feels like this from time to time but not the the extent that I do. I don't want to bother them everyday with my problems. I'm due back to work next month only going back part time and I'm looking forward to it as I do think it'll help. I'm sitting in my living room and my son is asleep and my partner is cheering on his football team and here's me on here drowning in my worry and anxiety. Xx

Jamhandprints Sun 05-Feb-17 17:41:22

It is an awful feeling. :-( You need to start looking after yourself and getting out of the house more. Can you find any local baby and toddler groups, they are a great place to have a grown up conversation and feel normal. Most churches run one and everyone is friendly. What do you like to do? Any hobbies? Just get through one day at a time and make dure you congratulate yourself for the things you do well each day. You'll get through this. X xflowers

FriedPisces Sun 05-Feb-17 17:47:52

Yes I have it too, it's debilitating sometimes.
Definitely stress related. I've diagnosed myself with all kinds, mainly cancer.
I find that I remind myself that it comes and goes, it's a mental illness and I will get through it which helps a bit. CBT is a big help. Knowing there are others out there like me is helpful too. Then what others have said here re hobbies, getting out and seeing people, exercise if you can find time/inclination. It WILL pass and you WILL get through it. flowers xx

lovechocolate123 Sun 05-Feb-17 18:36:49

I suffer health anxiety . Started about 18 months ago. I was the same, never wanting to be alone with the kids. My hubby is like your fiancé. The hard thing is I have no one to talk to about it really. I did have a course of CBT which really helped. Also, the book Overcoming health anxiety helped. It never goes though. Right now I have a sore right breast so I am thinking I have breast cancer arghh ! Xx

mummyofone16 Sun 05-Feb-17 19:10:48

Thanks so much for replying girls it's awful but I'm so glad others feel the same. I will try and get out more so I'm not at home able to dwell on it! I'm hoping to hear about the cbt this week and get an app asap. I feel better when I type the things out so hoping saying them out loud will help even more. It's bringing my mood down so much. I was so happy with my life before and now I can't enjoy anything.xx

anxious2017 Sun 05-Feb-17 19:12:37

I have severe health anxiety. I can't go out because I'm too scared I'll collapse. I have had cbt and it didn't do a thing. Waiting for something else now but there's a 12 month waiting list for anything on the NHS so I'm pretty screwed.

lovechocolate123 Sun 05-Feb-17 19:13:33

You will again. The CBT will definitely help. In the meantime see if you can get the book. I am here if you need someone to listen x

mummyofone16 Sun 05-Feb-17 19:28:48

Anxious2017 I really hope u get some help asap that's terrible u can't leave the house. I wish I could offer some advice but I'm suffering terribly at the minute. Night time is the worst as my son still wakes 2/3 and I'm awake thinking all sorts! Just know u aren't alone.xx

Love chocolate123 thank u for ur advice and support! I'm sure u will be hearing lots from me! I feel a little better now but it never goes away xx

mummyofone16 Sun 05-Feb-17 20:16:06

Can I just ask do all of u still feel bad even after the doctors reassurances? I was with my gp twice last week but I still didn't and don't feel any better. I feel like she's missing something or could be wrong. I really feel like going again but I know what she will say. Also I can't read or watch anything sad or listen to slow/sad songs all these things escalate my anxiety. Can anyone relate? I find I see and hear all scary health stories so much more now, i sometimes think it's a sign I do have something wrong with me! I came down the other day feeling just ok and saw a action cancer leaflet had been posted through letterbox it just started me off worrying! I feel so bad for those people suffering that I signed up to cancer research and I'm donating £5 every month. Although it's not normal does any of these feelings sound normal to any of u?xx

lovechocolate123 Sun 05-Feb-17 21:31:47

This was exactly me. After going to the gp I would feel ok for a while then after a day or I would think they are all wrong and have missed something. Vicious cyle. I couldn't even listen to adverts for any cancer charity or watch any hospital drama. One day I walked past UCH and started feeling anxious. Didn't want to even plan for the future because I knew I was ill. I am better now but as soon as I have a symptom my mind goes into overdrive. You are not alone. I found going for walks and being with others helped. What helped the most was finding out that I am not alone and chatting to others on here xxx

mummyofone16 Mon 06-Feb-17 07:20:02

Thanks although I briefly mention it to my fiancé, mum and best friend I never tell them all those things in my last post I'm scared they will think I'm crazy! Which is how I feel sometimes. Had a bad night as I kept wakening and worrying. I hope this letter comes soon. Gp is open clinic today and I feel like going again (could sit for 2hr before I'm seen) i don't want to waste her time even though I think there's something wrong with me. I have like pressure from time to time at the base of my skull (mind is in overdrive) but I know it might be from all the stressing I'm doing. I just need reassurance even though I know it won't last. Xx

FriedPisces Mon 06-Feb-17 10:12:21

Hi mummyofone I just wanted to say that those things sound similar to me and things I have gone through. Like they must be missing something or whatever. the only time I felt reassured was when the GP looked at something and went "oh yes, that's x" and were so assured in their response so it was fine. HOWEVER - I still went home and googled connections between that thing and cancer. It's important to stay away from the internet which is easier said than done, I know. But if I do it I add "UK" to my search term and that limits the US stuff because a lot of that is very scary. I also tend to stick to the NHS website although that will give you worse case scenario and isn't 100% failsafe.
But when I'm struggling I do find certain music will set me off but I'm very sensitive to music anyway. And adverts, bloody adverts! But they're not signs, they are just things that are there.

Please also remember that many of your symptoms will be a direct result of your stress over it. It's so chicken and egg/vicious circle stuff but the headaches I get sometimes are a result of worrying and stress.

Honestly, it is absolute shite, it is a horrible thing to deal with. I get painful boobs before my period sometimes and my brain automatically goes "boobs hurting? Breast cancer." I just have to tell it to fuck off!

If you do go to the GP she or he might pick up on the frequency of your visits and offer the right kind of help for this health anxiety - in an ideal world.

This will pass, you will be fine xx flowers

CherryBlini Mon 06-Feb-17 10:31:54

Yes i suffer and I don't know what to do about it really but I'm trying to help myself! My HA started when both my parents were diagnosed with cancer .. so I know the root cause. This leads me to think that therapy won't help - what's the point? I know what's causing it!

The 'sane' side of my brain tells me that what I'm thinking is completely mad. I KNOW that the fact I've got a painful back doesn't mean it's some sort of secondary cancer. I absolutely know that. I know that the fact my left breast aches doesn't mean cancer - it probably means hormonal changes as I'm 45 now. I keep telling myself this and I really do know it.

It's just a shame the HA keeps popping up all the bloody time. I'm dealing with it by trying to eat well, taking up yoga and reading more. Having a relaxing bath. I'm considering reflexology and I might look into the Headspace app. I won't go to the doctor and waste his/her time because I know I have HA and not a brain tumour - although the brain tumour was last month hmm I am going to try and beat this without any medication .. I'm not depressed or mad - I've just got this damn HA and I know full well what's brought it on. I also don't look online at anxiety forums - full of people making themselves worse I find

Sympathies all round

FriedPisces Mon 06-Feb-17 11:07:20

Oh god, yes. I looked at a HA forum once and it was hell. Just a forum full of ideas for my stupid brain!

I actually stay away from the GP as well nowadays. I was made a hell of a lot worse when I took my DS to the GP about bedwetting, she referred me to the enuresis clinic but for some reason we ended up with a consultant. She had a look at him, found a birthmark on his back and sent him for a full MRI to see if he had spina bifida - he was 8 at the time. Sent me completely doolally. He's had that bloody birthmark since birth, if it was a flag for something shouldn't they have looked into it before he was 8 ffs?! Anyway, having to put my poor DS through that made me worse and so I stay away in case they refer me for tests. Which might be counter productive really. Anyway, it came back clear, she apologised for taking so long to tell me and acknowledged that it had been a worry for me (I appreciated that I have to say) and she sent us to the clinic where he was supposed to go in the first place. He sat down and told the nurse he'd been dry for two weeks and she sent us on our way, no worries about it whatsoever.
But that's when my HA went into overdrive. Having kids was a big trigger for me. Possibly related to my PND as well I guess.

CherryBlini Mon 06-Feb-17 11:25:38

I know Pisces. I just have to keep saying to myself 'just stop' because it really is stupid

I don't consider myself to have a MH issue either. Its intrusive thoughts and I'm very well aware of them and what is causing them. All we can do is work on trying to lessen them

Wenchelda Mon 06-Feb-17 12:09:40

I've had terrible health anxiety too. It's awful. In fact I nearly didn't click on your thread as often just seeing things about health issues - especially cancer - can start me panicking. Mine started when I completely convinced myself I had bone cancer and would be dead in a matter of months. I had the worst panic attack I've ever experienced. My DH and my mum tried to reason with me and even though I knew they were being logical, I couldn't believe a word they said. My mum came with me to the GP where I was just a sobbing wreck throughout the appointment and was referred for CBT. Initially I thought cbt would be a waste of time, as no one can guarantee I'll never get cancer (or any other horrible illness) so how could I possibly stop worrying about it? However after a year's worth of sessions, I am in control of it. To an extent, the anxiety is still there at the back of my mind - I don't think it will ever go away - but the cbt helped me immensely with learning how to rationalise my thoughts and not let my
mind run away with itself.

I also used an app called "Mindfulness daily" which help to keep you focussed on the here & now, and to let go of worries that you can't do anything about.

A couple of useful things I learnt from my sessions that you could try when you are in the middle of a panic attack -

Square breathing. So picture a square in you're mind, and "trace" it's outline as you breathe. So across the top of the square, breathe in and think of something that makes you feel happy .. it could be a person, a place, a colour; anything as long as it has a positive association for you. Then hold your breathe as you trace down the side of the square. Trace along the bottom of the square and breathe out whilst thinking about the negative thoughts that you want to let go of. Again hold your breath as you trace the final side of the square. (I sure if you Google square breathing it may give you a better explanation than me!)

Another one is 54321 to make you focus on the present moment and take your mind away from your anxieties. So name 5 things you can see; 4 things you can hear; 3 things you can touch; 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.

Oh and having a couple of positive affirmations to repeat to yourself can be helpful too. Anything that you feel is appropriate to your specific situation. Examples that were suggested by my therapist include things like "All is well, right here, right now" and "I am safe & well and have all that I need". I often use versions of these to try and calm myself when the need arises.

The MIND website has some useful stuff on it too.

CherryBlini Mon 06-Feb-17 12:22:01

Wenchelda - what exactly does CBT comprise of? What does it do? I've never had a panic attack - my thoughts are more classed as OCD I suppose. I'll think (as I unload the dishwasher whilst looking out the window) ' if I can unload this by the time no more than ten cars have gone past, nothing bad will happen to me health wise' or something equally bloody mad grin I know it's a total nonsense. So how can CBT help when you have self awareness, know what the root cause is and know you're being silly?

Glad to hear you're getting to grips with it.

Juveniledelinquent Mon 06-Feb-17 12:22:42

Another vote for CBT.

Juveniledelinquent Mon 06-Feb-17 12:26:00

CBT challenges you and teaches you to think differently about things. You get homework and you have to do it if you want to get better. You don't sit and talk endlessly about how you got to where you are, CBT is focused on your behaviour and how to change it.

Wenchelda Mon 06-Feb-17 12:34:51

I agree with juvenile that cbt challenges you to change your way of thinking. My anxiety was always focused on a specific thing - so for example if I had a bad headache, I was convinced it was some kind of brain tumour (even though logically I knew it was from lack of sleep, for example). So the cbt helps you look at the most rational explanation. I had "homework" where every time I had thoughts like this, I had to rate how anxious it made me. Then I had to write down what evidence was there that my thought was true? What eveidence was there that my thought was untrue? What would be a more rational way to think about the situation? Then re-rate my anxiety based on the facts.

CherryBlini Mon 06-Feb-17 13:15:33

Oh I didn't know that about CBT! I assumed it was fairly pointless if you knew how you came to have HA and I also assumed it was all therapy and chat based. It actually sounds like something that could be beneficial

The thing I also find tricky is the thought that I could get cancer .. how do you guys deal with that?

Susiesoap7 Mon 06-Feb-17 14:53:21

Try the nomorepanic.co.uk forum. It gives a list of symptoms for health anxiety, I found Claire weekes books very good, the are quite old now but I find them much better than the modern ones.

Juveniledelinquent Mon 06-Feb-17 15:20:08

I've had cancer. My health anxiety went off the scale after I finished treatment. I had CBT and it helped enormously. These days if I feel anxious about something, I can talk myself into getting things into perspective.

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