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Author Topic: Helping loved ones with HA - Looking for advise!  (Read 119 times)

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Offline shefloats

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Helping loved ones with HA - Looking for advise!
« on: December 21, 2013, 04:05:27 PM »
Hi all,

So just to give a little history... My sister has an undiagnosed mental health issue definitely.  I personally believe she has borderline personality disorder due to her intense mood swings, fear of abandonment, and rollercoaster romances....Her boyfriend recently broke up with her and she has not been taking it well.  I believe the stress from this break up may have caused some health anxiety for her.

She had a kidney infection a few weeks back and was treated with antibiotics.  She followed up with her doctor until the infection cleared....but then about 2 weeks ago she has been convinced that her kidney is failing, despite several visits to her doctor and emergency.  They have tested her blood and urine several times and sent her on her way.  Since then, she has mentioned several symptoms that sound like anxiety to me (Dizziness, racing heart, nausea, etc) but is now convinced that she has blood poisoning.

I know that in her mind she thinks she is dying, and is scared, and I want to help her.  I've gone to the hospital with her and all her doctors appointments as I have been trying to be as supportive as possible. She just thinks that none of the doctors are listening to her and that she has blood poisoning because her kidney failed.

Obviously if something was medically wrong I would want it to be looked at, but I just think a lot of this is actually in her head and exasperated by anxiety. I am trying to figure out how to support her without making her feel like I'm just pushing her concerns aside, but at the same time I don't want to fuel the fire.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should tell her or how I should bring the idea of health anxiety up to her?  Keeping in mind she is EXTREMELY sensitive to perceived criticism/abandonment/etc.

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Offline PinsNneedles

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Re: Helping loved ones with HA - Looking for advise!
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2013, 05:19:51 AM »
Sounds like living with me at times  :happy0151:

Trying to think how I like to be dealt with when I am being irrational about health worries, I think firstly I like someone just to listen and not offer an opinion until I have finished ranting. Then being told that "it must be awful and tiring to feel this way" shows some sympathy and not irritation. Move on to other physical symptoms that might indicate the illness that is currently the hot topic, normally in doing this I find that I have very few linked directly to the hot topic but it's good to get it all out.
At this point it is a good time to quote some facts, I am not 100% sure on this but I think with failing organs and blood poisoning, the road to death is pretty sharpish. Gently point out that you have researched this and have hard facts that things would be deteriorating a hell of a lot quicker than they are if they had this ailment. Expect a lot of "buts" and "ifs" at this point however this is the time I start to come back to reality when having the conversation. I still offer a defence to my point but it gets weaker in the face of hard facts, and then I normally have a small huff to try and cover up the fact I feel a bit stupid, and then move on.

The thing to remember is that the process above could take anything from an hour to days. The worst thing for me is if someone just says 'pull yourself together, there is nothing wrong with you, the doctor has said............' It just doesn't work when someone is feeling like they are close to death and are incredibly vulnerable. Need to talk about how it makes them feel, don't be positive in a way that suggests you don't believe because the feelings the person is having are very very real to them. It's not easy, but you will find a way to talk this person down.

Good luck and just shout if you want to know how a certain thing might make a freak like me feel  :happy0151:

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