Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Symptoms and tips to help deal health anxiety

Symptoms and tips to help deal health anxiety

Worrying about your health is normal, it can encourage you to eat healthily, or exercise regularly, however worrying excessively to the point where you cannot catch your breath, and you feel that horrible sense of impending doom, it's known as health anxiety, and it can be extremely unpleasant.

I've written a little about my anxiety in other posts, but today I want to write about my health anxiety and how much it affects me. I experience panic attacks frequently over nothing, I become so terrified and find it extremely hard to focus on anything else, I'll agonize over every little pain I feel, and I do the one thing that I'm often told off about, and thats search the internet which leads to many sleepless nights and frequent doctor visits.

Below are some common things that happen when you're suffering from health anxiety. 

  • Worrying  You worry over every single pain you feel such as Headache, feeling sick, sore throat, chesty cough, stomach ache, arm pain, palpitations, general aches and pains, and so on. 

  • Searching online Exploring the internet regularly for symptoms and fearing the absolute worst, you could spend hours or days online unable to focus on anything else, you start to believe you have every symptom and can create a lot of unnecessary stress.  

  • Ignoring doctors advice Even though you have visited a doctor, described everything, and had all the necessary tests, you still have these thoughts in your mind you believe the doctor is wrong or has missed something. 

  • Terrified of hearing new diseases on the news or in the papers Seeing or hearing particular news stories about a new type of illness, you search for it online and worry that you're going to catch it.

  • Worry about dying You become so terrified that your dying or are going to die anytime and nothing is going to save you. 

  • Your whole life is affected You worry constantly every day, and it affects every aspect of your life it can interfere with relationships, work, school, parenting, and friendships. 
Whenever you are feeling scared about your health, apart from all the emotional symptoms, it also causes several physical symptoms as well, and these can often misinterpret certain illnesses and these are..... 
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Blurry vision
Constantly worrying about your health can cause these symptoms because the more you focus on them, the worse they are going to be. There have been many times where I've had something simple wrong with me and I've automatically assumed the worst, how many of these sound familiar to you? 

I frequently suffer headaches, and a while ago I did something to my neck which caused them, and they usually last for a week or so. A doctor confirmed this but of course, I ignored his advice and continued to search online for brain tumors.

I experience heart palpitations quite a lot due to my excessive worrying, I've had countless ECGS and I'm constantly told that they're normal and nothing to worry about. But I'll sit and imagine that something is wrong with my heart, and the doctors have not noticed.

Once I experienced a pulse in my left arm by my elbow it went on for weeks I searched online for hours every day and all I kept seeing was MS, I became so freaked out that I nearly had a panic attack and was unable to calm myself down. 

Sort of the same as above I had a pulse-like feeling in my eyelid, I attended the opticians thinking something was wrong with my eye, everything was fine but I was still not convinced so I searched online again and thought I was having a stroke. 

I suffer acid reflux disease and take medication to help, now I understand more about it, but before I would worry about it developing into cancer, even now I'm constantly scared about that happening.

I also have PCOS which means I hardly have periods possibly two or three times a year, I've spent many hours researching signs of it developing into ovary cancer. 

I once sunbathed on a beach, turned onto my front and completely forget to sun cream my back. The next day my partner noticed how sunburnt I was, and of course, this scared me mainly because I have a mole on my back and thought about skin cancer. 

I could go on, but the list is endless. Over the years I have learned how to stop myself from fretting about my health and try to and change my thought process, some of these I researched on my own or had advice from a doctor.

  • Put down your phone or laptop  Easier said then down I know, but when your feeling poorly, or are worrying about illnesses do not go online its causes a vicious cycle and will have you constantly worrying about every sensation you feel in your body.

  • Distraction When your feeling worried and cannot think about anything else, try and distract yourself either by a movie, music, reading, taking a long walk, exercise, knitting anything to occupy your mind for a while. 

  • Write it down I'm not sure if anyone actually does this or not, but I will write down each time I'm feeling something that doesn't feel quite right, ill write the date the time and how I felt. It helps me to understand how im really worrying over nothing and my symptoms are not always as often as they seem. 

  • Listen to your doctor Listen to your doctor even though its difficult because you feel like they haven't taken you seriously or have missed something. But there the professionals and were not they know a lot more then what we do. So try to listen, take their advice and when you leave the doctors office try to switch your mind off and stop thinking about it, extremely hard to do I know. 

  • CBT  Doctors will often advise you to try CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), I'm currently waiting to try this, but I've heard from several people that it's extremely effective and helps you to control your thought patterns and change your way of thinking. 

  • Medications  Anxiety medication can definitely help to calm you down when you're anxious, speak to your doctor to find the right one for you. 

I hope this helped some of you that are suffering from health anxiety, I've experienced this most of my life, and to this day I still get that uncomfortable, nervous feeling. Is there anything you do that helps you stop worrying? let me know in the comments I would love to find new ways to prevent this. xxx

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