Your posting is quite revealing to me re: anxiety . . . you have several substantial pressures . . . it is true that if we can distract ourselves, then we do not focus so much on listening to our bodies for every little creak and creating a false scenario but there is a limit . . . .too many distractions can have a rebound effect . . . rather than helping to lessen recovery, this approach can also intensify it . . . you are under pressure re: dissertation (even though you have found a way around your problem) and I know this from personal experience . . . I also faced a rather substantial problem with mine and until I found my solution, the anxiety increased . . . even once I found the solution, it was as if I was so fatigued from thinking along with the anxiety that I became exhausted . . . so exhausted that I even lost interest in finishing the dissertation . . . the getting to the solution consumed so much of me and my resources that after I found the solution it was a bit like a disappointment because not having the problem created a void and anxiety rushed in and, quite frankly, once I found the solution, I got bored with the process of finishing it off . . .I did finish it but I can understand why you now feel as if nothing is important . . .
You also are working on a business . . . now, I am not a professional and I am not criticizing your therapist, but I do wonder whether she/he is not contributing to creating a situation that encourages anxiety . . . running your own business let alone expanding it is indeed distracting, but along with a dissertation, well, that might be too much distraction and not giving you enough time to deal with the root causes of your anxiety . . . . distraction is good to a certain extent to re-focus your attention from your anxiety symptoms elsewhere, but too much distraction adds to a sense of being overwhelmed and can cause fatigue which adds to your sense of health problems . . . I guess for me, not knowing much of your background, I would see that you need to finish your dissertation so that is off your "to do" list and focus on maintaining your business. In all likelihood, a PhD will bring you increased options to make more money to invest in your business . . . just my opinion . . . I would prefer to see your therapist guiding you to deal with the causes of your anxiety and help you to develop management techniques . . . for me, distraction was/is great but I needed time to take care of myself . . .
You are also a Dad and a husband . . . . you may want to look at the fact that your concern about health issues is probably triggered by your concept of a father . . . you want to be there to protect your son and see him grow up and participate in all the markers that come with a child becoming an adult . . . the best way you can do that is to recover from your anxiety so he will have the Dad that can enjoy all of his milestones . . . .
You may need to approach your anxiety issues in terms familiar to you . . . your dissertation and your business probably started with recognizing an issue and looking at options and then investing in the best options available . . .we probably all hit what I call speed bumps or set backs in our recovery process . . . all I have done and all I believe anyone can do is simply pick myself up again and start with the process . . .sometimes for every step forward, there are two steps back but eventually I got to go more and more steps forward and fewer and fewer steps back . . . I wish that there could be an easy fix for anxiety . . .I have never found one and I looked . . .
Right now, you have the best distraction to anxiety in the world and the best reason for recovering from anxiety . . . .your son . . . . consider your options and choose the one that you feel is best and that can be accomplished . . . .and look at it in small chunks . . . do it one day at a time . . . not only your dissertation and your business and being a father and a husband, but also look at your recover as on step at a time .. . . in the beginning, re-focusing away from health anxiety is difficult . . . but it does get better . . . perhaps a distraction could be doing something with your son but investing all of your attention in that activity . . . in the beginning your mind may slip away to anxiety, but pull it back . . . if you are doing a dissertation, then you know about focus . . . consider every activity, not matter how small (even brushing your teeth) as the most important activity at that moment and focus on it . . . and, as for your therapist, well, if your therapist is not open to hearing what you are feeling, perhaps it may be time to consider a second opinion . . . as I said, I am not a med professional but I went through a stage in which every minute of every waking hour was full of activities until I realized I was trying to suffocate my anxiety without actually addressing the problem . . . yes, I did use distraction to some extent but it was coupled with working to understand the source of my anxiety . . . .
Let me close just by saying that you need to be proactive with anxiety, but you do need to "work the process" . . . but I am sure that if I can manage my anxiety (and, yes, I still have episodes but I am better equipped to manage them), then you can manage it . . . . please let us know how you are doing . . . .take care, kc