My Terrified Existence

I can remember being 10 years old and thinking I had rabies for an entire summer. It was the worst summer of my life. I even went to the library to search up symptoms in a medical encyclopedia. At that time I also knew that the people around me wanted to care and help me, but little took the time to comfort me because my claims were so ridiculous. I was even teased about my fears by my father. After moving in to college, my anxiety came back in full force. One day I would be concerned about a blood clot in my leg and the next day it would be a pain in my chest or shortness of breath. On campus doctor visits were included in tuition so I found myself going to the doctor about once a week. They would find nothing wrong with me and send me on my merry way. I finally came to grips with myself and decided I needed to make an appointment for my hypochondria and anxiety. The doctor put me on a dose of 25 mg of fluoxetine and day. With time my bouts of hypochondria have lessened and only once in a great while do my fears get to me. The panic attacks are the worst things that happen to me though. I can be violently ill and crying because I am afraid of dying. I know that my fears are exaggerated and my pains are probably nothing, but I can't control my emotions at all.  I don't even give myself breast exams anymore for the fear that I will find an abnormal lump. Thinking that I can be moments away from dying scares me the most. I debate whether or not to call 911 because of my "heart attacks".

For the most part my hypochondria is managed, but when it gets to the point of no return I don't know what to do with myself. I'm wondering if anyone has any techniques they use to talk themselves out of this mess. I've asked myself what the worst thing that could happen: I die. Well is dying that bad? Can I come to terms with dying? If one can come to terms with death then I guess there's nothing to be afraid of. 

 

I have also tried a distraction technique. Usually I will play busy games online like bejeweled. Anything to distract me from my pains and having me work up my symptoms.  Music can be soothing too, but try to stay away from emotionally charged songs.

I hope some of this helps for all of you and would also like to hear any suggestions.

Tara

subliminalvermilion subliminalvermilion
18-21, F
3 Responses Feb 19, 2010

Subliminal:

I have been through extreme bouts of hypochondria myself. Some of my worries over the prior years have been: Lung Cancer, Lymph Cancer, Leaukemia, Chrons Disease, Stomach Cancer, Brain Anurism and currently Liver Disease. Ever since I was a child I have always had this problem. I would say that it started at 8 years old when I told my mother I had food stuck in my throat and couldnt eat and got an x-ray to discover everything was fine.

But, this has only gotten worse with time. I had an upper and lower GI to check for Chrons (nevative), I had a blood test to check for Leaukemia (negative) but wbc were elevated so I freaked out more. In any case, when I get this way I start having panic attacks, trouble sleeping, aches and pains (often mimicing these terrible diseases). Its terrible. Im only 29 years old, married with 3 children and this certainly makes me so down that I am not interested in the things I used to be (reading, school, soccer games with children). The only thoughts that seem to penetrate my mind are all in regards to death and how I'm dying and need to get this discovered while maybe I have time before its to late.

On a daily basis I check my weight, temperature, check for jaundice (recently), Blood Pressure, Pulse, among other things. Since I have recently moved to liver disease I have changed my diet to eating about 1 to 2 meals a day of low fat food. What's worse is when I lose weight I actually think its a disease causing it (even when I am doing it intentionally), so then I start eating to gain weight (just to prove that I can). This has been so difficult for me throughout my life. I call several relatives including my wife, mother, aunt who is an NP and my brother. I seek out the reassurance from them. This seriously stresses them out including my wonderful wife. I want to enjoy my life with them but my constant talk about my symptoms (all the time) severely makes my wife and family frusterated. I mean, she has said it well before, that I am being selfish talking about myself all the time. In any case, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in this. I dont have any techniques that can help because I'm the one who doesnt want to go to the doctor in fear of terrible results. In any case, I really liked what you had to say.

My hypochondria also started at an early age. The last time I was on a long state of hypochondria was maybe Dec 2011. What I did was to distract myself with "work". I applied for a job that would really make me busy. <br />
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Sometimes I think that hypochondria gets to us because we are idle. Just like you and I it cam during summer when we're out of school.

When you find out what works, please let me know... at age 10 I was also struck with it. I wonder if that's a significant age for this. And one summer I was convinced I had cancer...I didn't know what kind, nor did I know how you knew you had cancer (lumps or symptoms) but I was so fearful, it destroyed months of my life. It makes me so sad and angry that parts of my childhood were stolen to this horrific thinking disorder!