Hello. I feel so weird doing this. I am just feeling really alone and at my wit's end trying to find a way to cope with my anxiety. I have always dealt with anxiety and obsessive thoughts in some form or another since I was a child, and have had very mild bouts of hypochondria off and on.
In January of this year, I had a pregnancy scare (I wasn't) immediately followed by a childhood friend in her late 20s (my age) being diagnosed with cancer (she has since beat it like an effing rockstar). I just went off the deep end. I have been going through a lot of life transitions in the past couple years, including moving away from my hometown and training for a new career path (in skin care, which let me tell you did not help me when I was panicking about a family history of melanomas and remembering every single sunburn I've ever had).
I also got engaged this summer to a guy I've been with for 5 years and moved to my current city with. He was away for 2 1/2 months this summer, during which time I lived alone. I really descended into total anxiety free-for-all and began to analyze every minor ache or pain. It was mostly centered around my skin, and I think training to be an esthetician did not allow me any rest from my focus on skin. I was especially obsessed with my lips, which tend to chap easily. I found photos of people with cancer on their lips and somehow became obsessed with the idea of my "vermilion border" and how healthy it was, would I have to have a vermilion-ectomy, would my handsome fiance stay with me after cancer had eaten my lips, etc etc.
I have since transitioned (not that it's gone, it's always in the back of my mind) from obsessing about my skin, to suddenly becoming obsessed with my right breast (after a weekend of travel and heavy bags left me with muscle pain, and I poked around a little too much, I scheduled my yearly OB appt soon after and it's coming up in a week). I've had a few flings where I've obsessed over my eyes, my nails (oh no, ridges! I'm dying) and some strange bug bites, and today I am in a panic over swollen lymph nodes under my jaw and a tender, swollen bump in my mouth next to my tongue on one side. A sore throat has convinced me I am suffering from long-undiagnosed, surely fatal cancer. Lymphoma probably.
I was a Web MD addict, but now I know better and literally won't even allow myself to google 'chapped lip remedies' as all roads tend to lead to cancer. I'm terrified of it, I have so many family and friends who have suffered and died from it and it has just become an ever present monster in my life. It is robbing me of the special joy of being engaged, living debt-free, probably healthy, and happy in a big city with the man I love who finally finished school with his masters and is making wonderful paintings, with me in the first job I have ever loved and surrounded by new, growing friendships. I feel out of control, helpless, and depressed and am usually convinced that if I don't listen to my body I am going to ignore an important symptom and die from it. Last week I hit my head on a fire extinguisher and became convinced I was going to die like those people do who don't know their brains are bleeding and they go on to dinner and bed and never wake up.
Just knowing other people are going through this helps, and seeing the list of HA symptoms lends credibility to my logical side. I am hoping I can nip this in the bud before it gets out of control and I don't know how to cope anymore.
Thanks for reading, that was a lot.