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Author Topic: Exhausted from years of bouts of fear  (Read 334 times)

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Offline tiredoflivinginfear

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Exhausted from years of bouts of fear
« on: January 01, 2014, 01:51:48 PM »
Hello everyone and Happy New Year,

I am a 41 yo mother of two in need of some serious psychological relief. I posted everything below in the Introductory section but I will post it here again in the hope I will get some reassurance.

After a few years of escalating health anxiety, I am afraid I have become a full-blown hypochondriac, in fear almost all the time.

Over the past years I have dealt with so many health scares and associated panic that I feel completely exhausted with fear.
These past three years have included a weird distortion of smell (Parosmia) which I got from a strong virus and which ended up in horrible worries about something with the brain; then a nail injury which my GP first suspected to be melanoma and sent me to a dermatologist right away; she was able to put my complete panic to rest very quickly, thank Heaven; then a small fibroid discovered this year, which I had to make 100% sure was not sarcoma, despite reassurance from my gyno that this is extremely rare. I couldn't help pushing for further, high-tech tests so I can know 100%; then my first mammogram which came out fine but with a few benign calcifications; so I still panic over these occasionally and I am already making plans about arranging some yearly MRI-s somehow because I can't stand the thought of adding more radiation with yearly routine mammograms; then I had one very early period this year which I freaked out over and that is when they discovered the small fibroid; this is also when a questionable doctor chose to do a  Pap smear that came out inconclusive because  it was done at the wrong time of the month; I freaked out again and I frantically insisted that they repeat it right away - and the test came back fine the second time, when it was done properly;... all this on a backdrop of chronic  back pain that I have had since the birth of my second child 5 years ago and will simply not go away no matter what I do. I just had an MRI of the spine - and this was normal too.

My current scare is a reflux/indigestion/lump in the throat/weird sensation when swallowing ...apparently caused by a cocktail of antibiotics, prednisone and ibuprofen which I had to be on in December due to a terrible virus I caught from my kids. I normally don't take any medication.
So now I am due for a visit with a gastroengterologist so he can do an endoscopy and take the fear of "I don't even want to say it" out of my blood - because this is how deeply I feel fear of horrible illness.

Between all these, I have been in hysterics for 3 years now, though I have been having health scares since my late 20's. Now that I am officially in my 40's, the health anxiety is obviously getting worse because after 40 you become statistically "fair game" for any horrible disease.

Every time, tests are run and things turn out fine, yet I cannot help focusing on the tiny chance where whatever symptoms I am having might mean something REALLY bad.

I know I have serious issues because I have also suffered from aerophobia for over a decade and it has only gotten worse as the years went by, especially after the birth of my children. I am basically out of control with fear and panic when I am in a plane and I tense so badly that I think I probably caused my chronic back pain this way.

I never smoked, I don't drink ( never did,  maybe less than half a glass of wine on very rare occasions); I do like fruits and vegetables (especially in raw salads) which I eat a lot, not out of "health duty", but simply because I love them.
On top of that, pretty much all people in my family, on both sides, have lived long lives and all seem to have iron genes.

And yet, despite all these, I live in constant fear, maybe with a few more relaxed periods between "health episodes" triggered by some kind of symptom.  As soon as I get something that COULD also mean something serious (even if very rarely), I think of the worst.
The worst part is waiting for test results (MRI-s, ultra-sounds, etc) - I become a complete basket case.

Right now I am so depressed and low energy because of the upcoming endoscopy...that if anyone can find a way to convince me that I have virtually zero chance of hearing something bad, I would be willing to pay in gold.

I just keep praying that 2014 will be different and that I won't have any new symptoms to worry about and investigate.

I am trying to find a way to not to get sick at all anymore, not even with the slightest illness - but with 2 kids bringing all sorts of viruses at home, it seems to be impossible. I do plan on getting on some serious health program with a naturopath - the kind of doctors you should go to before having anything serious.

I feel like I am wasting away good years of my life because of this constant fear of potentially bad illness....not to mention my husand is starting to be terribly frustrated with my panic attacks.

I am not even sure where a hypochondriac should begin to address this situation...I am literally at the end of my wits....and so, so tired and devitalized.

Thank you so much for listening...
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Offline sad_dad

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Re: Exhausted from years of bouts of fear
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2014, 05:33:33 PM »
All I can say is you are definitely not alone. I turn 43 next month. I am badly overweight. I have had so many doctor visits and tests in the last year because I also thought I was doomed to die. My best friend died 1 year ago at age 41 from sudden cardiac arrest. He was a long time type 1 diabetic, but otherwise in pretty decent shape and worked out. After he died, my hypochondria and fear pf death increased exponentially,. though I had been having some fears even before that happened. I worry about heart failure. I worry about cancer. I worry about viruses. I get horrifying visions of myself in a casket, and leaving my 6 year old daughter behind. I often wish I had never been born, just so I wouldn't have to deal with the inevitable end and loss. I am depressed constantly. I take Klonopin and other anti-D's. As I get older and death becomes nearer, I get more and more afraid, and can't stop thinking about it. Its nauseating. I also have intense fears of anything happening to my daughter, like leukemia. She is my only baby, and the most important thing to me in the world. I worry about there being nothing after death, and never seeing my girl again, or being with her. About all my thoughts and memories just evaporating into nothing. It sickens me. I really don't know how this will ever get any better.
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Offline mhmommy

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Re: Exhausted from years of bouts of fear
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2014, 07:17:44 PM »
I'm turning 40 this year & had first mammo.
am planning to do mri.
it sounds like you're doing everything right.
AZ has been so good for me keeps me off google,
online. Have you tried acupuncture? Once you get a small
team, therapy, naturopath you will get the reassurance on a more
regular basis that you are doing everything you can
and have therapist to talk to.
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Offline mhmommy

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Re: Exhausted from years of bouts of fear
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2014, 07:20:33 PM »
I'm with you dad. my daughter is 5
my boys 11 and 14. my dh tells me how much
I've wasted, months being scared and he's right.
I don't feel good physically and have to figure it out
but yeah I think I'm dying sometimes or will get cancer
from ct radiation not see my kids grow up.
ESP my lil girl. we have to be gentle with ourselves
I think and I'm trying to forgive myself for medical
mistakes etc.
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Offline kcg13

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Re: Exhausted from years of bouts of fear
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2014, 11:48:00 PM »
Hi tiredoflivinginfear.  Welcome to the AZ.  I totally understand where you are coming from.  My personal fears lean heavily toward cancer.  I can begin to think every little thing I feel is a sign or symptom.  It sounds like you are doing what you should be doing in terms of taking care of yourself & following what the Dr tells you to do.  That is something you could feel good about!  In my opinion, handling HA is all in the thoughts.  When my thoughts aren't healthy, usually my HA is at its worst.  One of the best CBT things I learned is that our thoughts dictate our emotions.  So if you are thinking negatively, you are going to feel that way, or sick, or anxious, etc.  One of the cardinal rules for us is no googling.  Ever!  We are not qualified to diagnose ourselves or decide what kind of testing we need.  The healthy thing to do is make & keep any yearly Dr appts that are recommended for you based upon age & family history and get those done - no special requests!  And for that, you need to find a dr you trust - spending time doing that is more important than spending time getting additional tests just to be sure since you don't trust your Dr.  Regular sleep & exercise helps overall.  I know if I don't sleep right, my anxiety can go crazy, or if I feel overwhelmed (breathing breaks help).  With exercise - I recently started running & that has done amazing things to my attitue.  So try different things until you feel the endorphins flowing.  It already sounds like you do a great job eating (good for you!). Searching for tips on this site is great, I learned the most about dealing with my HA through this site.  Check out the HA module stickied at the top of the page.  It is one of the best I have found.  Please hang on.  I understand the frustration & depression that comes with all of this.  And it doesn't go away over night.  Resolve to make one change towards helping your anxiety this year.  Just one at a time.  It is not easy, but it can be done with a lot of hard work.  I hoped this helped and encouraged you - giving you some ideas and letting you know you are definitely not alone - hugs to you.  hang in there.
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Our thoughts dictate our emotions .... in other words, how you think is what you will feel.

Offline tiredoflivinginfear

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Re: Exhausted from years of bouts of fear
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 01:26:05 PM »
Thank you everyone who replied - and sad_dad, my thoughts are with you. As crazy as this sounds, the weight issue is one thing that is somewhat calming to me - because I feel like I have control over it. Perhaps getting on a weight loss regimen would give you more courage and optimism, especially as you see routine medical/blood tests get progressively better as you lose the weight.

I am only very slightly overweight right now (with a BMI of 26 - 25 being normal) though with clothes on, nobody could tell.   Yet the thought that I can get this darn BMI exactly to where it needs to be via MY ACTIONS, is incredibly empowering.
Cells multiplying out of control, with no one being able to stop them - this is a horrific nightmare for me.

That being said, I ended up at the ER yesterday because the fear, pressure and the need to know NOW - got the best out of me. I was hoping they would be able to do an endoscopy there, so I won't have to wait until Monday when the GI dr. scheduled one in his office.

I was in such distress I could not put it in words. The ER dr. said something about needing a scope but that this is difficult to get "after hours" (as if this was not an ER!) and wanted me to do a barrium swallow x ray instead. I could not believe one of the biggest and supposedly fanciest hospitals in this country do not have an endoscope in the ER at all times. Instead, they were all too willing to fry me with radiation.
 
So I refused - because radiation is another one of my terrible fears now.
I had enough of it in the past, before becoming aware of its dangers (between quite a few dental x rays over the years, CT scan years ago when I hit my head hard at work, x rays for the foot, x-rays for the neck spine with the chiro, the first mammogram last year...and a few more I probably can't think of now) - I was not going to get anymore for sure.
 
They told me they can't tell me if I am in critical condition without this test, but I stood my ground and said no.
They gave me an anxiety pill and eventually sent me home, after they made me sign a paper that says I refused treatment.

So 3 more days of mental agony. 

I continue to have belching, bloating, sensation that food gets stuck in the pipe or slides too slowly...
It is a nightmare.

I had never had reflux before - but the gastro managed to worry me even more yesterday when he said that I could have had it for years without being aware of it bc the body gets used to it. When I mentioned the cocktail of medicines I was put on recently (azythromicing, amoxicilin, prednisone, and some ibuprofen I took for back pain) and which may have triggered the reflux episode - he brushed it off. He appeared to want to be convinced this is something I have had chronically just because I have post-nasal drip and clear my throat a lot in the morning. He said acid reflux and post-nasal drip can be related (or confused with reflux) but I know for sure my usual throat clearing comes from post-nasal drip, not splashes of acid from the stomach, because I was diagnosed years ago with chronic rhinitis, I am stuffy and congested very often and I feel the darn thing going down from my nose in the morning all the time. By contrast, I rarely - if ever - get a burp with a bit of acid splashing up. 

So I still don't know why it was so hard for him to accept that this episode of reflux could have been triggered by the cocktail of medications - as if these medicines are sacred and could do no harm ever.

Sometimes I have a feeling these doctors have a criminal, secretive pact to always defend/cover up for the nasty side effects of pharmaceuticals they prescribe constantly. Lord forbid should anything practiced by the medical establishment in collaboration with those greedy pharmaceutical companies should be  challenged or questioned.

 And yet, it is exactly while I was taking these medicines that symptoms started. I even felt a few amoxicilin pills burning my pipe a few minutes after getting them in, as I made the mistake of taking them with very little water. And it started from there.

 Now I am counting the minutes until Monday morning. I pray I can get back to life after the endoscopy - as right now I am hardly alive.

Through a miracle from the Good Lord - they will say it was just an episode of reflux but my esophagus itself is not damaged.
If it is GERD, I hope not too much damage has been done over the years.
If it is an Esophiliac Esophagus - I would be OK with that  - at least I know I will have to find out what foods I am allergic to and stay away from them.

I just pray they don't find Barret's or ...oh Lord, that thing that creates so much horror in me I can't even type it.

Thank you again  for any thought, help or encouragement...

I am trying so badly to focus on this fact, namely that a never-smoking, non-drinking, fruits-and-vegetables eating female of 41 has a very low chance of this horrible disease; and yet, my mind can't process it well enough to create a bit of calm in me.
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