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Scared of living, scared of dying

(43 Posts)
ghostinthemachine Tue 25-Sep-07 18:19:47

Have changed my name as just can't face fessing up to the mess I exist in.

I am an extraordinarily lucky woman. I have a moderately functional family, two healthy and happy sons, a loving DH whom I adore, a beautiful house, financial security, a job I enjoy etc etc etc. My cup seriously runneth over.

The thing is I ruin it all for myself by being totally negative about things, worrying about stuff, getting in a stew and, in particular obsesing about my health.

I'm particulary terrified of cancer and every day I'm convinced that my symptoms fit something I've read in the news / on here or something. I also worry that my worrying will actually cause cancer, in a kind of self fulfilling prohecy kind of way.

I really, really don't know what to do about it. I'm totally terrified of dying and worry about what would happen to my children and how the loss of their mother could affect them. I think about it in terms that someone already diagnosed with a terminal illness might. I haven't quite planned my funeral but to be honest I sometimes get so into the whole fear that I'm almost at that point.

I go the GP immediately anything worries me, and quite frankly it's laughable how often I've been there in the last 6 months. When I get there I present the public facade of being mildly concerned and 'oh I'm just checking' kind of lighthearted approach that I give to most people when in reality I've been awake all night thinking the absolute worst. I can't bear to tell the real story as GP's just write off hypochondriacs. Also GP's will just give me AD's which I really don't want to get as I want to try and beat this anxiety rather than mask it. Am also scared of taking them.

My poor DH of course sees the real me and it's beyond him. He can't understand why I'm so scared of illness and being a bloke he's not a high scorer on empathy. It's fair to say his sympathy supply is near empty. He thinks I am like this for attention, but if that is the case the attention is so negative and I put myself through so much trauma in the process that I just don't really feel that's the root of it. My family know I'm a bit of a worrier (it's a famly joke) but don't know the half of it and I don't want them to either.

The bottom line is I really need help in tackling this. It's horrible living like this - constantly on the look out of possible symptoms of illness, feeling permanently anxious to the extent that physical symptoms to start to present themselves and I get even more stressed.

I don't know what to do. I don't know where to get help. I don't know if anyone else is like this. I feel alone and scared.

Dior Tue 25-Sep-07 18:27:14

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Blossomhill Tue 25-Sep-07 18:35:54

I could have written your post about 10 yrs ago.
I was constantly checking myself for lumps and signs of cancer. I still do in the back of my mind have thoughts but no where near as bad as they were. I eventually went to my gp and burst into tears and told her everything and ended up having counselling for it which I believe was a a big turning point. I was always reading magazines such as take a break, woman etc and 9/10 every week there would be a story about someone dying from cancer. So I know now what my triggers are. I try and avoid reading stories as I know that I will then overnight get the symptoms.
Sorry you are going through this. Please seek help. I have suffered from anxiety all of my life and I know how horrible it can feel. Take care xx

MellowMa Tue 25-Sep-07 18:51:14

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Wisteria Tue 25-Sep-07 18:58:05

You sound as though you are suffering from Anxiety.

Please go to see your GP - either ad's coupled with some counselling or CBT therapy on its own will help you beat this for ever.

It is nothing to be ashamed of, there are heaps of us out there who suffer with some degree of depression and the hardest part is admitting that you need some help. It won't go away on its own and you run the risk of transferring this onto your dcs.

lucyellensmum Tue 25-Sep-07 18:58:28

Ghost, i am so sorry you are going through this. I am exactly the same, well i was, until i did exactly what you said you want to do - i went to the doctor and broke down, told her how i felt. She was expecting me, i had been in the nurses clinic the day before in hysterics almost, i thought my tonsils were tumours!!! Yes, i know, ridiculous, but there i was convinced, yet again, taht this time, it was really it.

It was taking over my life, to the point i have become severely depressed and nearly lost my partner.

She most certainly did not dismiss me as a hypochondriac. It is not that simple, its anxiety and as i am discovering, extremely common. The trouble is, it takes hold, you cant escape it, then you need help.

I was given citalopram, i think its the cheaper version of the drug a previous poster mentioned. I just dont feel i have to check check and check again. I still sometimes make DP come to the bath with me as that was when i would fear the most i would find something. It got to the point i woudlnt bath. Its ridiculous i know, i would only bath if time was short and i woudlnt have too much time to brood.

I am still waiting for counselling, i have other issues but basically, now im not waking up scared anymore.

Don't dismiss the ADs, i think once we get in such a state we need some chemical help to be honest. I was completely anti, even once i had the prescription i left it in a drawer for two weeks. I can honestly say they have saved my relationship, possibly even my life. I totally empathise with the scared of living scared of dying title to this thread.

You are not a freak, and most certainly you are not alone and help IS out there. You deserve to be happy, now its up to you to do something about it

onlyjoking9329 Tue 25-Sep-07 19:03:46

this must be very hard for you right now, to me it sounds very much like anxiety, don't just leave it go and have some counselling then think about the ADs

MellowMa Tue 25-Sep-07 19:06:13

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podgegl20 Tue 25-Sep-07 19:08:37

Wow, this is exactly how i feel! I too have 2 sons etc etc. I have spent many years feeling like this. I decided I was fed up with waking up every morning thinking what have I got to worry about today. I have spoken to my doctor about it and she was very sympathetic and has referred me for CBT. I am starting on Friday.Fortunately I have some fantastic friends who listen so patiently and never make me feel stupid. I hate myself for feeling like this but find it very hard to change my way of thinking. It would be interesting to speak to you more about it.

MellowMa Tue 25-Sep-07 19:10:23

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MellowMa Tue 25-Sep-07 19:10:24

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MellowMa Tue 25-Sep-07 19:10:39

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Wisteria Tue 25-Sep-07 19:11:20

For all of you that are suffering and waiting for counselling.

If you contact your nearest University (depending on whether they have a relevant dept)it is entirely possible that you might get some for free with a much shorter waiting list than the NHS. People doing a masters degree or similar have to give a set amount of hours for free in order to attain their qualification and they are all already fully trained and often practicing counsellors and so it's a free exchange IYSWIM.

ghostinthemachine Tue 25-Sep-07 19:18:09

Oh, OJ, really sweet of you to reply considering your own circumstances at the moment. When I hear of people like Steve and MB's dh I am so very ashamed of myself at feeling like this.

The thing with AD's is that I feel deep down inside that I DO have the strength to beat it, I'm sure. I feel that my hypochondria rears it's ugly head the most when I'm a bit bored or when something else in my life is causing concern, so I manage to mutate that concern into some terrible illness. That way the other problem seems less serious in comparison. I also wonder if I'm protecting myself so that if I do ever get told I'm really ill I've already prepared myself for it IYKWIM.

Also I would feel like I'd failed to take ADs. Don't know why, I just perceive a stigma which I know is pointless. (BTW I would only think that of myself, I would never think any less of anyone else taking them - as with this crushing anxiety, different rules seem to apply with everyone else). Obviously I wouldn't be going round wearing a T-shirt with "I'm on Happy Pills" emblazoned on the front but I'd be terrified of anyone finding out (even the thoguht of anyone on here realising who I am makes me feel awful). Pathically old fashioned and narrow minded of me.

Also I'm terrified I'd get addicted to them.

Does CBT work? I'm not sure I have the patience to wait for it on the NHS - is it expensive to pay for?

ghostinthemachine Tue 25-Sep-07 19:29:34

Melloma - thanks for that link. I will bookmark it and remember it if I do pluck up courage to see the dr.

Wisteria - that's a useful tip which I will bear in mind. A friend of mine once did a counselling course and I remember her doing that too.

podgegl20 - what are we like, eh? It's debilitating isn't it. Good luck with the CBT - I will be interested how you're finding it. What are you like as a person generally? The reason I ask is that in normal life, and when functioning as I should I'm so different to this. I'm confident, resourceful, have intelligent things to say, opinionated (some might say), and generally have buckets of joie do vivre. When I'm in this mode I want to retreat, stay on MN all day, tearful, lack motivation etc. It's so Jekyl and Hyde. I feel for my DH no knowing who he's coming home to of an evening.

WRT friends I hate letting my guard down. I once told a friend that I was finding it difficult with two small kids and other pressures of life and I found the attention she then showered on me (emails , phone calls, "how are you today, call me, email me" etcetc) very uncomfortable and I almost resented it. I don't have many friends locally (live in quite a remote area) and all my best friends live quite a long way away (25+ miles). I know there's always the phone but I'd rather talk these things through face to face, that is if I can face telling anyone about it.

Sorry rambling.

DottyDot Tue 25-Sep-07 19:33:32

ghost - don't know if you've ever had ADs before, but from a second hand point of view (my dp has had to take them twice for PND and depression) I can honestly say they were a life saver and both times she needed them they did the trick and got her through very tricky patches. She was on them for about 6 months and then came off them with no problems at all.

If you had something else medically wrong with you, you'd take something. Please try not to think you'd failed - try to see it the other way around - you'd be working your way towards success at feeling better?

Coolmama Tue 25-Sep-07 19:52:58

ghost - I'm so sad for you that you have to go through this.
I think the heart of the matter is the idea that you somehow are not worth or do not deserve all the blessings you have, therefore it is just a matter of time until the universe "drops the other shoe" and rips the rug out from under you.
This translates into you obssessing about the most terrible thing you can think of happening and that is getting cancer (other people think about being HIV+ or having some other terminal illness) but the idea is that this is almost what you merit.
The idea of therapy is to get to understand why you feel that your life, love, children DH etc don't really all belong to you - as if you have somehow landed there by false pretence and it will be taken away from you -IYSWIM.
The upside is that this is not terminal - (sorry, couldn't resist!grin) but can be helped and brought under control. It will require some commitment from you and may take a while, but is definitely worth the effort.
Do you really want to get to be 85, lying on your deathbed and truly grieving for a life you never lived, the children you never truly loved and the deep relationship you never had with DH because you spent the last 40 years terrified of dying? That would be really sad.
So, until you can get to see someone - Get out of bed each day and say to yourself "I am fine" and every time you feel yourself start to panic, repeat it as much as you need to.
The other thing that might help is just think about a big box that holds all the love you have for life, your DH and your children. Then imagine your anxiety and fear of life as this dark black inky sludge which takes up all the space in your box - what happens to the love in your soul?

Wisteria Tue 25-Sep-07 20:05:29

Wonderful post CoolMama smile

ghostinthemachine Tue 25-Sep-07 20:06:46

Coolmama, you may have a point about not deserving this - my mother is very much like that and although I have buckets of self esteem and am more than happy to reward myself for things it could be an inherited / learnt trait from her.

I often think it may be terminal though, hence my fear about a self fulfilling prophecy. Quite unlikely, I know but nonetheless a real fear for me too.

No you're right I don't want to be aged 85 regretting the time spent worrying. I also don't want DH to have to weather this anymore. He deserves more, and so do we as a couple and that's the reason why I'm here on MN seeking help.

I will try and I'm fine approach and see how I do in the short term whilst looking into other help.

As for the inky mess - it gets over everything and me and my poor DH are drowing under it.

Coolmama Tue 25-Sep-07 20:08:56

well if you feel you are drowning, then kick your legs and swim, dammit, SWIM!!!!!

Wisteria Tue 25-Sep-07 20:12:10

I always thought I had buckets of self esteem until I looked into it.

Coolmama is absolutely spot on about needing to justify feelings - I come across as a confident, successful person but do, at the same time (and I've only just admitted it myself), display scarily depressive traits and it very often (more often than not) comes from inherited/ learnt patterns of behaviour, WRT what I said about sorting it now, before your dcs pick it up.

Psychobabble Tue 25-Sep-07 20:29:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lucyellensmum Tue 25-Sep-07 20:47:08

Ghost, do at least think about the ADs im not trying to push, but once anxiety sets in it becomes a physical thing, my doctor said to my partner. "LEM is not going to get better on her own, if she had a bad back, you wouldnt expect it just to get better" That is a very good point.

I do think a positive attitude can help, and coolmamas post was really, well, cool My doctor recommened this site, i cant quite remember the URL but if you google moodgym, you should be able to find it. It is like an online CBT course. It is a bit naff and patronising but if you can get past that it is really good to help rationalise your feelings.

You seem like a really intelligent and articulate person. Do some research into this, you will surprise yourself, you are far from the only one who feels like this. I totally understand the feeling of failure regarding the ADs, i still feel like that - i just got to the point, after about two years of hell, where i knew i had to do something.

Go to the doctors, they will suggest ADs but you dont have to have them, my doctor just said fine, if you need them, come back, i was back within a week! But what this did acheive was getting my name down for counselling, still waiting, NHS, but maybe you could look into CBT, which apparently is really good for this sort of thing. Not sure what it costs though.

You owe it to yourself and your family to sort this out.

You ARE fine, you just need some help to realise this.

Best of luck x

lucyellensmum Tue 25-Sep-07 20:54:48

ive just noticed you are scared of addiction, dont be. SSRIs which is what you will be offered are known not to be physically addictive. That is not saying that people do not become dependent upon them, but they are not like valium and other ADs. Apparently, the average course of treatment lasts about six months and they work best with some form of counselling or therapy. They just get you into a state of mind where you can benefit from the counselling and move on. My counsellor said to me on the assesment that i did, having been on ADs for a few weeks and already feeling heaps better than i did, that judging by my answers to their test (edinburgh i assume) i was bordering on the severely depressed and was almost too screwed up to benefit, she said without the ADs they couldnt have helped me, so would assume then i would need some sort of psychiatric assesment.

I dont want to worry you, but this shit does not go away, you have to do something. It depends on what you need for you to decide if ADs are the right thing for you, they may not be, i can only comment on my situation. I have had this problem for a long time, two years i have been in a bad way, i just didnt recognise it. You deserve to feel better and you CAN.

podgegl20 Tue 25-Sep-07 21:37:21

I think Coolmama has hit the 'nail on the head' it's almost like 'things are too good to be true' and something is going to come along to spoil it.
I will let you know how the CBT goes. The therapist was great when I met her, she said we were going to retrain my thoughts to not dwell on things and not let 'bad thoughts' stick in my mind so much.
I would really recommend talking to someone I felt it helped to admit it out loud. Hope you have a good doctor you can talk to.

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