Health Anxiety Disorder #SSP


#1

Does anybody else here suffer from this and have any advice or tips?

I’m going to blur this big in case people don’t want to read depressing thoughts

I seem to through patches of convincing myself I’m dying of loads of different things, normally cancer but sometimes STIs, heart attack etc.
Sometimes I can be fine for months at a time and then I’ll have periods of all consuming dread and when I’ve had a kinda “ambiguous” diagnosis of being fine by the GP I’ll immediately look for something else that might be killing me.
Not sure if it’s death I’m afraid of or hospitals and treatments.
I guess it stems from my dad dying when I was a child but it seems to have gotten worse since one of my best friends passed away from an aggressive cancer.
Hard to avoid googling things and I think I’m getting to the point where I’m not going to be happy with a GP until they actually diagnose me with something serious

Anybody here found a way to live with and through this?

Thanks x


#2

It’s milder but I do worry a lot, I have a lot of bad diseases in my family and I don’t really look after myself so worry when something goes wrong. One amazing thing though is that the GP/walk in centres/Urgent care will never turn you away and will assuage any fears. There have been a few times I had chest pains I was sure were not anxiety related or my eyes were very sore and they always checked me out and I felt better, even if they did say something was wrong (because then you know and can go about treating it). basically just get medical help when you feel you need it, even if that’s ringing your gp for a telephone consultation or going to your local walk in clinic if you feel you need to see someone ASAP


#3

thanks for listening and responding!

Yeah a big issue for me is feeling guilty for my symptoms and also feeling like I’m wasting GPs time and that they think I’m stupid. Can’t really tell how true any of this is.


#4

Oh no don’t feel that way! Just let them know you are unsure, I’m always honest like “I do suffer from anxiety so it could be nothing but…” and leave the ball in their court. Sometimes they hear everything and ask me to come in, sometimes they put a GP on the phone and sometimes they say to leave it for a GP appointment (which is a nice way of saying there’s nothing wrong pls calm down). I usually get freaked out by something every other month-ish, if it’s more frequent tell your GP and ask for a contingency plan next time you feel this way and see what they suggest you do!
Pls don’t feel like you can’t tell them out of timewasting concerns, they are here to help


#5

Yeah I know you are right. I usually downplay my own concerns once I’m in there because I obviously secretly want them to say it’s nothing.

Wish we could all just have a comprehensive set of scans once a year or something. I know a big part of a GPs job is risk assesment/probability stuff


#6

Hope you get control of your worries too of course JB, sounds like you’re thinking about it all rationally so that’s good :slight_smile:


#7

Thank you! You are too, as you know where it’s coming from which is good!


#8

Speaking from experience (partner’s), anxiety is totally normal, particularly when you have family history. Always better to have tests / keep on top your health issues than assume you’re being paranoid - if you’re not happy with the advice you get, try a second opinion. In terms of coping, I’d suggest distraction - for a start keep up the great Colin Mawson work!! (and Keep Well).


#9

Thanks mate, good advice, will get to the docs tomorrow so going to try not to think about stuff until then


#10

It comes in waves - I’ve convinced myself I have the worst diseases/cancers going previously but the anxiety has got less over time. Coping methods I’ve used are -

  • Not using the internet to self-diagnose
  • If symptoms hang around for more than 2 weeks, only go to the doctors then

  • Keeping myself mentally occupied - books, work etc.! Symptoms become worse the more I thought about them - or I got ghost symptoms because I imagined them.

  • Having confidence that because I am so in tune with my body and any symptoms, if there is anything wrong with me I will catch it early enough to get treated. Basically, turning it my thoughts into a positive.

  • There is a website that I occasionally visit if I’m particularly worried - it’s basically the opposite of medical websites where Health Anxiety sufferers go, let out their worries, and other sufferers pitch in and explain why they’re probably not dying. It’s good to get some perspective from other people who have experienced the same things, and it can also highlight the ridiculousness of some of the anxieties I’m feeling (i.e. I often think ‘Why would that person suddenly think they’ve got cancer just because of that? How ridiculous!’ and then suddenly I realise I’m one of those people!). There’s also some good posts on the likelihood of actually having some of these conditions and lots of myth busting. My only warning is that although it’s given me perspective, it might trigger more anxiety for others…


#11

Great response thanks for your help!


#12

especially like the idea of being confident about your ability to pay attention to your symptoms. I always worry I’ve left everything too late and generally don’t remember when things have started


#13

Might be a good idea to make a note in a diary of a particular symptom if it’s troubling you - I often noticed something and thought maybe I’d had it for months! Helps with the 2 week rule as well.