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Unkn0wn Pleasures 03-20-2016 10:40 AM

"Health Anxiety" Anyone?
I more or less got over my social anxiety with therapy, and used the same cognitive "tools" with my obsessive-compulsive issues. But they don't work for this and its getting out of hand: I have an exam tomorrow and I haven't gotten any productive study done because I can't concentrate. The other day I was worrying so much about a chronic problem (that I've had for years!) that I almost cried during a lecture and came home early. And I'm driving my partner mad. And resenting him because he doesn't "care."

Ugh, I swear anxiety can't be cured, it just morphs into a different form. It's like whack-a-mole. :( How do I think myself out of this?

truant 03-20-2016 11:05 AM

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It might not be "morphing" precisely; it may be that once you've resolved a problem, your mind automatically turns to the next problem and begins dwelling on it, instead. This problem would have given you this anxiety if your mind hadn't been busy feeling anxious about the other things.

It happens to me, too. Really, I think this is why people have "first world problems": because whatever problem they consider most serious in the moment carries a great deal of weight, even if, in the grand scheme of things, it may not be very important.

When you solve serious problems, though, and you have more happiness in your life, the happiness can outweigh the anxiety you get from these smaller problems, so on the whole, you life can seem good, even if there are still things that worry or annoy you.

Maybe instead of using your tools on the problem directly, try focusing on things that relate to the problem, that aggravate it or that prevent you from managing it more effectively. I had a health problem that bothered me that I couldn't manage properly because my anxiety prevented me from seeing a doctor. Once I did force myself to see a doctor, I was able to better manage the problem. I had to focus on the anxiety preventing me from dealing with the problem, instead of the problem itself. There may be things connected to your problem that your tools can fix that will make the problem itself less pressing.

shy pt 03-20-2016 12:41 PM

I'm sorry that you're struggling so much with the health anxiety right now :frown2:

As a lightly hypochondriac I can relate. Exercise really helps keeping my mind calm...not always, but usually it works.

I also heard that CBT may help.

I hope things get better for you soon!

Depo 03-20-2016 01:17 PM

Medication is the only thing that has helped me ease my health anxiety. When I look back at the person I used to be before taking meds, I think about all the pain that health anxiety had caused me. I was 100% sure I had cancer and every little symptom was the beginning of a terrible disease. An eye tick that wouldn't go away and hyperalgesia in my arms = brain cancer, chronic abdominal pain and bleeding = colon cancer/chrohn's disease, a new mole I wasn't aware of = melanoma.

My health anxiety got to the point I could barely function at work, sometimes I had to ask permission in order to leave early (because I was feeling intense abdominal pain), panic attacks that would make think about death and bouts of crying that wouldn't stop. My bf (whom I used to live with) started to think I was crazy, said I was exaggerating. It was madness. I felt that my own body was my worst enemy. I thought I was losing my mind, obsessing over these symptoms which occupied my mind day and night.

Then I went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed me benzos and it all stopped. It didn't stop at once, but suddenly I found myself not caring about the diseases.

I even have a tiny flesh-colored bump on my cheek (less than 1 mm in diameter) which I'm pretty sure is basal-cell carcinoma (the most common form of cancer in the human body, but is not lethal), that hasn't healed for over 2 years and I need to use corticoesteroid cream in order to keep it at bay (I can barely see it when I look at the mirror.) because if I don't use it it starts to feel itchy. A dermatologist told me it was just a wart, but I don't think so. It hasn't grown in size, but even when I think about surgery (if I ever need it), I don't feel anxious about it. But it was meds that took me out of that hole, which IMO is worse than SA.

Lish3rs 03-20-2016 01:30 PM

I get intense stomach pain at times and it leads me to watching what I eat like a hawk, but I can never figure out everything that could possibly cause it. So this makes me wonder if I'm just imagining it or not. I know it's there, but maybe it's anxiety-induced. This is just one example of health-related concerns I've ever had obsessive-excessive worrying over.

It doesn't bother me, but I know most people don't think about all of this as much as I do. At some doctor visits they just brush it off like I am imagining things, or that I shouldn't worry. It doesn't stop my thoughts though.

tboz612 03-23-2016 06:30 PM

I know exactly what you mean. I have always had ocd and general anxiety, at some point(about 5 years ago) I became obsessed with health. I always thought and still think I am sick with something. I worry about this so much and have for so long that I now have physical symptoms. And now I associate all those physical symptoms (ex: basically chronic pain) with being sick, it's a vicious cycle. I am trying to beat it by not feeding into those thoughts, but it's hard.

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