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Health Anxiety (about child)

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Tcr1987 Sun 02-Aug-20 07:25:57


I’ve searched through a few old threads but can’t find much about health anxiety that’s focused on the children rather than yourself.

Since my boy was born (he’s now nearly two) I’ve had very high anxiety and particularity about his health. For various, and some valid, reasons I convinced myself that he has cystic fibrosis when he was very young. Only a private consultation and sweat test could put my mind at rest. I’ve been concerned about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy from very early on too, as it took him until he was 4 months to just hold his head up properly during tummy time.

My attention turned to me when I was due back to work and became convinced I had MND. At this point I was put on sertraline (which made things worse) and had 6 CBT sessions.

I’m currently beside myself (fixating on his movements and not really sleeping), convinced my son has Duchennes because he can’t walk up the stairs, even with help.

I’ve been labelled with anxiety now so I struggle to get my partner or family on board with my concerns and I feel so trapped. I don’t know what’s real any more and can’t enjoy life or my son.

If you read this far, any encouraging words from those with this kind of health anxiety or those with children who were slow with their physical development would be very much appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
AleynEivlys Tue 15-Sep-20 17:34:24

Hi there.

I'm sorry you haven't had any replies. I've actually had a Mumsnet account for a while but hadn't bothered verifying my email address until now ... the reason I am doing it now being that in this post, you have basically described me.

I have two children - both girls - aged 6 and 3. I've always had anxiety, even before I had them, but since my eldest was born my anxiety has been almost entirely fixated on her.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many 'conditions' I have diagnosed her with. It started when she was very small (just weeks old) and I became convinced she had retinoblastoma, a rare childhood eye cancer, as she had a white eye in a few photos. Cue me running off to a private paediatric ophthalmologist after I wasn't satisfied with the GP's assurance that her eyes were fine. She didn't have it of course, but did that stop me? Nope. After that, it was dysphagia (she choked on my fast let downs and had nursing strikes - turned out she had a posterior tongue tie). Then it was mild cerebral palsy. I worried about that until she was nearly two, long after she was walking and talking and doing absolutely everything she should be.

The next 'big' worry, like you have experienced, was cystic fibrosis. I thought I saw polyps up her nose ... turned out it was just her turbinates. What else? Brain cancer, brittle bones, seizures, sleep apnoea, Rett syndrome, amblyopia, neurofibromatosis (that was a really horrible one) - these are just the ones that come immediately to mind, but you name it, I've worried about it. And thrown money at it!!

Other than the tongue tie, which I finally worked out myself and had snipped when she was 4.5 months old, she hasn't been diagnosed with a single one of the conditions I have worried about.

I know that doesn't make it any easier though, when you're living with this shit. It seems like with anxiety like this, and the help of Google, you can convince yourself of anything, no matter how much pain it causes you and no matter how much you hate it. Personally, all it takes is one symptom on the list and I'm sold. It sucks.

The good news is that my anxiety HAS lessened somewhat the older she has got. Now she is at school and I can have a proper conversation with her about what hurts, how she is, how she's feeling, etc. I find it a bit easier not to get totally swept away. It still happens sometimes, though - like recently, I worked myself up into a state thinking she has Noonan syndrome ... she doesn't really have any of the other symptoms, but does (I believe) have pectus excavatum, so of course my mind jumps to the worst case scenario! I've managed to pull myself out of that way of thinking mostly, but some days are worse than others and I look at her with such horribly analytical eyes, which is just the most hideous juxtaposition.

Funnily, I don't worry about her younger sister nearly as much. There were a few things when she was a baby, but I was nothing like as bad second time round. I am not sure why this is - maybe everyone worries about their first born more? Or maybe because I had such difficulty breastfeeding her to start with because of her tongue tie and nursing strikes, I have some sort of mild PTSD-like thing going on? The worst part of me argues that I've got some kind of 'instinct' that has always known there is something 'wrong' with her and eventually I am going to find out what it is, even though deep down I know she is a totally normal, healthy, typical 6 year old girl.

I don't have many people to talk to either as most are sick of hearing about this. I just get 'FFS, SHE'S FINE' all the time ... sure, I get why it annoys them but seriously, if they spent one second inside my head, maybe they'd be a little more gentle with me. Especially when I am fighting so hard to hide this from my children, for fear of them turning out like me, that I'm just exhausted by it.

Do you mind if I ask why you thought you had MND? As last year I diagnosed myself with multiple sclerosis after I started having weird crawling, prickling feelings in my skin, twitching of my limbs, and feelings of general fatigue and weakness all over my body. My vitamin D was found to be severely low due to very extended BF and I am being heavily supplemented but the weakness is ongoing and I'm beginning to wonder if it's just a lifetime of anxiety finally catching up to me.

I'd also like to ask about your son. Did you struggle to conceive? Was his birth traumatic at all? Did he feed ok? Was he ever poorly? Do you have any idea where this came from for you?

Sorry this is so long, I'm just really interested to hear about someone else who suffers with this like I do. I hope you will see this.

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