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Old 04-19-2021, 05:46 PM   #1
AgentQ9A
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Frown Out of control health anxiety

I've been dealing with health anxiety for 20+ years. Since my father died. He died at 54 and I'm now 54. I've been freaking out about that for about the last 10 years. There is nothing that would indicate that I would die at the same age. On the calendar I have lived more days than my father, but that's not something that gives me any relief. I don't know if getting to 55 will help, I hope I make it.

About 18 months ago, I made a promise to my pups to do whatever I could to give them a good life and be there on their final days. To be the last voice they heard and the last face they see. I owe them that. They have 4-5 more years, I think.

Since making that promise my anxiety has gone through the roof. I've even gone to the ER for what turned out to be a panic attack. It did motivate me to change some of my bad habits. I feel like I've only eaten twigs and berries during this time, giving up eating out almost entirely and buying better food at home. We take several walks per day and I try to get some exercise, though I've not been great at that. Over the last 6 months, I've increased my water intake and cut out caffeine as much as possible. It's a terrible life really, but at least it's healthier.

Over the last couple of months some minor things have come up, some that I've dealt with several times. Over the last 2 days, I've been dealing with some minor pain that has many probable and likely reasons, but I'm once again looking only at the worst case. As has become my way.

I spent several hours this afternoon writing up my story of why I have health anxiety. I also wrote about what staying anxious provides me, including the ability to avoid life or setting goals. It allows me to live small without excuses. It all helped a bit, because the reason why I feel the way I do is so obvious.

Has anyone successfully dealt with and overcome health anxiety? Or at least lessened its affect? Books or video recommendations would be welcome.

My sympathies with all who are dealing with this. It really sucks.

Last edited by AgentQ9A; 04-19-2021 at 06:06 PM..
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Out of control health anxiety

Dear AgentQ9A,

As someone who struggles so much with health anxiety, I can totally identify with what you write about. Although the details of our lives are different, I am often consumed by health fears. I wish I knew what to say that would help. I feel bad that I don't know how to be helpful. It is heartbreaking what you are going through!

Sincerely yours, Yao Wen
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: Out of control health anxiety

Thank you @Yaowen. You did help by replying. I do appreciate that you took the time to read and respond.

The biggest heartbreak for me is that I'm not being a good parent to my pups while I'm freaking out. Which is happening more often lately. I struggle with worrying about my health because I don't want to abandon them, but at the same time struggle to keep going when I just want it all to stop. Today I love them enough and still have a little hope to keep going. But I do fear that scale tipping in the other direction. Days like today make it challenging.

Thank you again for responding. It does help. I hope that things get better for you as well.
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Old 04-20-2021, 10:49 AM   #4
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I did not sleep that well last night, but woke up feeling "better." Thanks mostly to my pup wanting to snuggle and for me to pet her. When I quit, she insisted I continue. I remember actually really smiling and saying to myself (and out loud) "I'm so happy right now." That woke my other pup up who then wanted some pets too. They are both such good kids. So, while sleep was not very good or enough, I did feel a little happier when I got out of bed. My mood, so far today, has been better than the last few days.

In my journaling yesterday, I noted that I didn't even look up symptoms of what I suspect is wrong, I just jumped right to that. In finally looking up other symptoms, which I know is a terrible thing to do, I see that I have none of the other symptoms. Just minor pain that can be explained by several more likely things. The funny thing is that I had pain in a different location a week or so ago (that has now gone away) and thought something else was wrong. Most likely it's just bad posture and not getting enough actual physical exercise or even just stretching. But my brain wants to insist that it's the real deal this time (like the 100 other times over the last 20 years), the thing that's going to cause me to die and fail in my promise. And I understand that. It's trying to help me live up to that promise, it's just going about it in a really terrible way. Stick instead of carrot. My anxiety carries a big stick and isn't afraid to use it up against my head. Often.

If anything positive has come about over the last couple of weeks, it has made me pay more attention to my pups. And a bit more to my day to day living. I've dialed in my diet a bit more, after having gone on a bender of sorts. It's been so hard not to feel normal, by eating things I don't often like, all in an attempt to be healthier. I felt that if I let myself enjoy a few treats that I would somehow feel a little more normal. It really didn't, I just felt guilty, like I was prioritizing my pleasure over my promise. I admit that I do feel a little resentful toward my pups, but I didn't need to make that promise, I did it because I had nothing else to live for. Just before making that promise I was really about to give up on life. The promise to them was meant to give me something to live for. I'm still here, 18 months later, so it must have worked. But again, my anxiety went through the roof ever since. I guess I ended up prioritizing anxiety over depression.

Currently, I'm listening to some "brainwave" music to help me relax and so far it's working. I don't know if that's not all just snake oil, but it seems to help. I have a 12 hour playlist of the stuff, so going to keep going to see how it all plays out. I am really, really, REALLY terrible about sticking to the things that are recommended to deal with anxiety and depression. I know I should journal, I know I should be consistent with CBT, I know I should meditate, I know I should get more exercise, I know I should focus more on relaxation. And breathing and muscle relaxation and so on. I KNOW! I think my anxiety has infected my ego, so now I identify with the anxiety as being who I am, and the act of doing something to remedy it, is probably seen as an attack on who I am. I just need to gather the courage to go against what 20 years of programming have done to my mind and do something better. Neuroplasticity, yeah!

Anyway, this came out more bloggy/ranty than I had intended. Thanks for reading and again, if you have any thoughts or advice, I'm ready to hear it. I need all the help I can get.
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:21 AM   #5
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Crazy Re: Out of control health anxiety

Well this doesn't seem to be getting much traction. I guess I'm just not good at this. Thanks to everyone who's stopped in. I wish you well in finding the help and support you need. Have a great day.
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