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Author Topic: Just need someplace to vent/discuss  (Read 338 times)

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Offline Taurus4

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Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« on: January 19, 2014, 07:26:59 PM »
I apologize if this is a little long but I really am in need of a place to vent right now to people who I know will most likely understand how I'm feeling. I am currently in a major HA relapse right now (have not felt this bad in about 3 years). My current big health fear is colon cancer and over the past couple months by anxiety has been in overdrive. For about a year now my bowel habits have changed. I always suspected I have had IBS but the symptoms have never been as constant as they have been for a while now. My BMs have been thinner and softer than usual. I can go days without going some weeks and then when I do it's usually not completely solid. I have also been bloated off and on. I have also lost a few pounds recently (nothing major and only really noticeable to me) so of course my mind went straight to "unexplained weight loss". I've been weighting myself multiple times a day now to see if I continue to lose weight. Yeah... It's bad.
I finally saw my doctor about these issues and he pretty much wrote it off as IBS and told me to take fiber supplements. I told him about my anxiety of it being something more serious but he wouldn't even get into a discussion about it being colon cancer because I'm only 24. He did draw some blood to check for any abnormalities and they told me they'd call with any and I haven't heard from them. This has not given me any peace of mind.
It's probably also important to note that my dad was diagnosed with rectal cancer about a year and a half ago and my symptoms started while he was going through treatment. He's healthy and cancer-free now yet my symptoms still remain months later. Even typing this I know this is going to come off as any classic bout of health anxiety but I just can not shake the worst case scenario thoughts out of my head.
When I was in college I had a fear of a brain tumor to the point where I all but demanded an MRI referral from my doctor. Got the MRI and a clean bill of health. My symptoms subsided soon after. I really do not want my anxiety to take me to this point again but I slowly feel it starting to happen. I have a full time job and am in grad school and I just can not afford to waste anymore energy on this. I'd love to hear your thoughts/opinions on this maybe some advice on how to keep myself out of the dark place that I do not wish to return to. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this whole thing.
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Offline anagargano

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 07:55:11 PM »
We have all been there.....but I do think its all anxiety becasue of what your dad has been through......keep telling yourself that...IBS very common with anxiety sufferers....you dont have what your dad had...promise
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Offline Hypo84

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 08:09:58 PM »
If you google, stop googling. You are way to young for colon cancer, so relax and enjoy life.
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Offline Taurus4

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 08:32:41 PM »
I am definitely guilty of googling and it really does drive me nuts. I'm trying really hard to stop. The scariest part of my health anxiety is how it gives me such real symptoms. When I went through my brain tumor fear I would get such horrible shooting pains in my head that I thought I was having an aneurysm. I fear that I'll never know the difference between anxiety and something actually being wrong with me.
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Offline Hypo84

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 08:59:59 PM »
When I was scared I have Hepatitis B I was feeling pressure in my liver area like it was swollen. Brain does crazy things...

How would you know? Well, go from here...Stomach cancer, colon cancer, brain tumor, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer are all the types of cancer that just doesn't affect young people. Yes there are cases, but there are also people that get hit by lightning, die in airplane crash, get killed in a bathtub, get eaten by some wild animal...you get the point? Why aren't you afraid of all of these things and many more?

When you get are 45+ or 50+ then you should start going to regular check ups. That's why when my father was coughing for a month doctor ordered immediate x-ray of lungs (fortunately it was nothing), but when I was coughing he said it's a virus it will just pass. Difference is, he is 70, I am 29.

There are some things that people our age should be considering...women can get breast cancer and should also do those pap test for ovarian cancer...guys should check their testicles to see if there are any changes since testicular cancer can happen at our age. Those are some things that are more likely to happen but still rare.

Finally, fill your day with stuff. Make yourself busy. You can't control your emotions, but you can distract from those anxious thoughts. And when you stop paying so much attention to them, symptoms will eventually disappear on their own.
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Offline i960

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 09:02:43 PM »
Accept the diagnosis.

Understand anxiety is behind physical symptoms because it works hand in hand with the fight/flight system (which is physical). Think about this - what could possibly give you relief from the doctor's testing other than a diagnosis of colon cancer? They could do every test in the world and every negative test would still give you no answers.

You already have the answer anyway. Self-created positive feedback loop between the hippocampus, amygdala, and sympathetic nervous system - all being fed a healthy diet of irrational fear over colon cancer.

People have varying stool all the time. Every single one of us. Different foods, patterns, vitamin levels, etc. etc.  I wouldn't get alarmed by every single stool difference and if I were you I'd stop checking every single one.
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Offline Brick5711

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 10:30:50 PM »
Although I fully agree with the IBS diagnosis, I would ask the doctor at what age you should get your colonoscopy as it will be sooner than others with no family history.
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Offline Taurus4

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 10:45:24 PM »
I was thinking that too. My dad was 55 when diagnosed and his cancer could have been prevented if he had started getting colonoscopies at the recommended age of 50.
Thank you for the responses to this post so far. It's so difficult to rationalize these feelings when my anxiety level is so elevated and it helps to get feedback from people who understand that and won't just laugh it off.
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Offline Brick5711

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 11:22:57 PM »
It's never to young to get a certain type of cancer regardless of your age. Is it rare. Sure. But with family history you have a right to be concerned. I had bleeding with family history. I got it checked out asap. My first doctor laughed at me. The second one did not.
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Offline Venomsoar

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 12:11:33 AM »
You can speak to anyone here, and we all have stories about persistent bowel problems. But since I believe that merely discussing our experiences of anxiety symptoms itself is not very effective in controlling anxiety, I will try and get straight to it since you have massive fears of getting caught up in the vicious circle.

First of all, the fact that you are fearing about getting caught in the cycle means you have already been caught up in it. Now, I say this not to worry you. But notice above the word that I have made bold and italicised… the keyword here is control.

I say this because anxiety cannot be eliminated and if that's your goal, you have set up an impossible task. You need to control it. Which first means you have to accept that you have it - and cannot eliminate it but the key is in controlling your anxiety in which the symptoms caused by it, will also keep under control. That is to say they won't escalate into severe long term symptoms. Like anxiety, you cannot eliminate symptoms of anxiety - only control them. I can use examples: whenever someone has to deliver a speech to a large amount of people, inevitably will they start to become a little anxious; the symptoms caused by this level of anxiety could be the shakes, sweating, puffy face, irritable etc. and this is something that you cannot merely eliminate or avoid - what we do is control them and not let them escalate so we can deliver the speech confidently. 

It is the same with any other more severe anxiety related symptoms and more severe anxiety worries; such as cancer and complete numbness of one half of your body (this is an example of a severe anxiety symptom). The key is in controlling it and not letting it escalate any more severe.

I think this realisation is a massive start in controlling your anxiety - first of all.

Secondly, you need to learn how to distinguish between symptoms caused by anxiety, and symptoms caused by other problems. There are a few tricks I have but the tricks and tools I employ is not necessarily going to work for you. You need to do this in order to prevent your thoughts spiralling out of control and instead, you actually start to think logically and rationally. I will share some of the tricks I use to try and distinguish between anxiety related symptoms and other symptoms which may have other underlining conditions.

A log/journal/diary dedicated to your anxiety thoughts and symptoms: what goes into this is first the times and dates you experience worrying thoughts; along with descriptions of those thoughts; along with an anxiety rating from 1-10 (i.e. the stress level); you should also note down symptoms that you experience during those times.

You need to do this in order to reflect on your symptoms and thoughts and analyse them. Not only will you start to pick up on irrational, illogical thoughts you have, but you may also start to pick up on any patterns to your thoughts and symptoms.

The most obvious pattern is a correlation between anxious thoughts and symptoms. You may also notice a correlation between the severity of the anxious thoughts and the severity of the symptoms. That is to say, the more worrying thoughts you have, either you will experience an increase in symptoms, or you will experience an increase in the severity of a particular symptom(s) or both. Note that I used the word "may" earlier. I say this because you may notice no patterns at all in your symptoms and thoughts (although you will most likely find patterns). Your anxiety could be completely random and illogical. The reason for this is because the worrying thoughts and anxiety you are aware of, says nothing about the anxiety that happens at an unconscious level (again, don't let this worry you).

Anxiety happens at an unconscious level also. So imagine the anxiety you are aware of, and then imagine pulling up a whole new blanket revealing a whole new side to your anxiety (yes this is true). So don't worry too much if you don't find patterns. Just keep in mind that anxiety happens at an unconscious level as well.

Other patterns will be the times you experience symptoms. I say this because my anxiety symptoms are almost non-existing in the first few hours of the day. Then after a couple of hours, my symptoms will randomly appear without no apparent cause. Then they may gradually get worse until night. Sometimes when I have stayed up until early hours in the morning, I notice my symptoms go away. But then at that point, because I am thinking about the symptoms, anxiety symptoms has this funny way of only revealing itself when you think about them. So of course I start to experience the symptoms when I have thought about them.

The hardest thing is when new symptoms come. You may learn that yes, you have a twitch, numbness, abdominal pain that is definitely anxiety… but wait… you have just started to get an headache… what do you do now? With me, if my new symptom correlates with my other symptoms, I use this as a cue. So I am basically using my common anxiety symptoms in order to learn whether new symptoms are caused by anxiety. New symptoms I get often come after a few hours into the day (like my other symptoms); they are either triggered or made worse when I think about them (like my other symptoms); and the most obvious one is that they are there accompanied with my other symptoms at the same time. These are all cues in learning whether new symptoms are anxiety related.

When you start to learn this, you start to control them. Because rather than jumping straight into illogical conclusion, and then letting your anxiety take over into the vicious circle, you treat them as if they are apart of your every day living. And you will soon find that they become either less severe or better, they completely go. But remember that you are never free from it. You may just stop thinking about anxiety. And so it doesn't worry you at all. Therefore you will experience the least anxiety symptoms.

Sorry if this is a lot to read. Never think though that you are guaranteed to succeed with these techniques (not to worry you). Note that these are the measures I go through with my anxiety. It does not necessarily mean these will work for you too (but they may).

And also, never ignore symptoms because of course (without trying to worry you too much), you could mistake an anxiety symptom with something that could actually be wrong (now this becomes an anxiety fear itself which I haven't been able to come up with a rational plan yet). But don't let this fear you too much. Remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry. So if you really feel you have to, go seek advice from professional doctors.

Keep me updated on how you feel.
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Offline Venomsoar

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 12:19:12 AM »
Holy crap… I didn't realise I wrote THAT much!!! Sorry for the massive wall of text. I hope you read it though.
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Offline Taurus4

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 03:04:02 PM »
Thank you for that. I'm trying really hard to not think about it but I'm having another pretty rough day. I wasn't really able to go to the bathroom much over the few days and of course today when I do it's narrow again. I hate being TMI on here but it's so hard to rationalize that this is normal. It's taking everything in my power to not call the doctor to be checked out again. Ugh.
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Offline Taurus4

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2014, 02:54:40 PM »
Bumping this thread up because I've moved into full on freak out mode and I need to be talked down. My issue right now is the weight loss. I know I'm losing weight and I have no explanation as to why unless there really is something medically wrong. I have no loss of appetite and I haven't really changed my eating habits. I may not be eating as much but it's not little enough to be losing weight every few days. My family is telling me they can't see a real difference but the scale and the way my clothes feel are telling me something entirely different. I have never had weight loss as an anxiety symptom before so it's really throwing me for a loop. And the stomach issues are still there. I'm not looking for a diagnosis but I feel ridiculous for already wanting to make another Dr. appointment after just being there last week.
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Offline Venomsoar

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Re: Just need someplace to vent/discuss
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2014, 01:34:58 AM »
Sorry for not being here. I haven't checked on this forum since I last posted. How are you at the moment? Did you see a doctor or are you coping? Or are you still freaking out?
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