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Author Topic: Anxiety and Hypervigilance  (Read 382 times)

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Offline gvjaguar

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Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« on: April 08, 2014, 11:02:58 PM »
Greetings everyone,

It's been a couple months since I've posted on here and I'm glad to say that I've definitely been making progress but I'm not where I want to be yet. I've been seeing a counselor and I'm on a couple meds to help reduce anxiety levels, but I'm totally not out of the woods yet.

As many of you know, my worst fear in life is having ALS or MS and constantly thinking about these diseases absolutely terrifies me and makes it hard to function in my life. The main problem for me is the feeling of being constantly tuned-in about having one of these illnesses, and it seems that I've been seeing more references to people with ALS or MS in the media and through people talking around me than ever before in my life. For example, the super bowl commercial featuring Steve Gleason who has ALS has always just happened to come up while I'm watching t.v. During my flight to Orlando for Spring Break a few weeks ago I happened to open up one of the in-flight magazines and there was an article about a guy spreading awareness for ALS. That pretty much ruined my trip because I feel like someone is trying to tell me that I have this disease. In addition, I always hear references in the media to Lou Gehrig or happened to hear my friends talking about him and my anxiety gets even worse. Lastly, tonight my friends and I were talking about what to name our team for the end of the semester kickball tournament and somehow Lou Gehrig yet again got brought up. That really pretty much just killed my day.

I also see references to Steven Hawking all the time as well, whether I'm browsing through Netflix, my ***** timeline, or even hearing friends talk about him, his damn name always pops up and it absolutely kills me because I think someone or a higher power is trying to tell me I have this disease. In addition, I also hear references to Montel williams, as well as last week one of my professors told me a story about one of his friends who died of MS seemingly out of the blue.

Has anyone else had similar experiences and turned out to be absolutely fine? And does this sound like anxiety? Like why would I keep seeing references to people with these terrible diseases pretty much everyday if someone wasn't trying to tell me I have it? I had a similar experience back in high school when I thought I had gotten a girl pregnant and I worried about it pretty much every day and I would see commercials about Teen Mom or pregnancy tests and I would flip out and my day would be ruined.

I'm only twenty-two years old and I can't imagine having this disease at such a young age, I thought it was rare. All this worrying started after I began having random muscle twitches all over my body after I began standing on my feet in one spot all day as a cashier. I'm wondering if this could be caused by a pinched nerve in my back because sometimes when I yawn my shoulder and arm muscles will twitch and then stop as soon as I stop yawning. Also, I sometimes have low back pain, which again, could be a pinched nerve. But anyways, I also have creepy crawling like sensations on my body, mostly my legs, but also my arms but only when clothing is rubbing up against it. In addition, I feel as if my skin is easy to leave impressions in, and I don't know why but I'm afraid that is also indicative of ALS or MS. If I'm standing or moving around there aren't any twitches or sensations, it's only when I try to sit down or lay down. Has anyone else experienced this? I apologize for the ridiculously long post but I am so thankful and appreciative of the responses I receive. Thanks again guys.
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Offline Roxy2012

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Re: Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2014, 11:54:05 PM »
I have the same problem.. Theres an ad on the radio about a lady with ms it comes on in the morning on my drive to work. I quickly turn it down bc it will freak me out.. I try to avoid hearing about MS bc I think "theres my sign I MUST have it" Its my biggest fear atm...

Even though it scares me.. I do know that it rarely kills people.
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Offline Sunlover

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Re: Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2014, 05:45:03 AM »
You are just focusing on that illness.  I myself never hear of those things, especially ALS as I never thought I had it or feared it.  I fear cancer and ALL I hear are commercials for cancer, every other person is getting cancer.    I am also an emetophobic (fear of puking) and I could be somewhere in a crowd, all I hear is blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, noise all around me, but all of a sudden ONE LONE voice will boom out of the other side of the room, "Yea, she was throwing up all night"...  all the other people and noises just fade into the background.   Same with you.  It's not a sign.  Well, the only sign it is is that it is on your mind, that's all.
(oh and the reason I'm afraid of cancer? It's NOT the cancer, I'm deathly afraid of the CHEMO because they say you throw up!!)
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Offline 2jrts

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Re: Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2014, 06:48:50 AM »
This happens with me all the time. When I was afraid I had uterine cancer, I was watching a movie and a character in it was diagnosed with uterine cancer. How many movies out there have characters with uterine cancer?!? Pretty much one - and it was the one I was watching. I, too, thought it was a sign. The same thing happened a couple years ago when I thought I had skin cancer. I randomly met two people in a 24 hour period who both proceeded to tell me all about their recent skin cancer diagnoses. It is not you and it is not a sign - but it still is freaky
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Offline LilJenny45

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Re: Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2014, 07:15:26 AM »
This is a relatively common phenomenon, not just with health anxiety but in general. You've never noticed something before (here all the ALS references), but somehow you become aware of them (being afraid of getting it). Suddenly, they're *everywhere*. Of course, they're suddenly popping up all over the place because the universe is sending you a message, right? No. You're just listening out for them, so they take on additional significance even though they are, in fact, not out of the ordinary. There are thousands of people seeing just as many references as you. Does that mean you are all being told you have ALS. Of course not. It has no more significance for you than for everybody else who hears/sees the same things.
It's like when my mum bought a Honda Cr-V years ago. I had never heard of one until she did, but once she did, suddenly I saw them every three feet. Were they suddenly more prevalent? Was the universe telling me to get a Cr-V? No, but my attention having been brought to notice them, I did.
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Offline gvjaguar

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Re: Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 11:19:10 AM »
wow, thanks to you all of your for replying. Just reading your experiences has made me feel a lot better and knowing that I'm not only one experiences this from time to time. It's like whenever I hear a mention of someone with ALS or MS it provokes my anxiety to come out in full force which absolutely destroys me, but I just have to learn to get out of that train of thought. Before I even had muscle twitches I probably heard a million references in my lifetime to Stephen Hawking or Lou Gehrig and didn't think twice about it. But now after all these weird sensations started I began to associate these references to a perceived illness and I thought God or some higher force was trying to hint at me to prepare for having one of these diseases.

All in all, especially with my anxiety, it's hard to get out of this cycle of thinking. You hear all these references to people with these diseases and you can't escape it. I'm only twenty-two years old and really am too young to get ALS don't you think? In addition, I had really bad OCD when I was younger as well as minor Tourette's (which is practically non-existent these days), which makes me think these anxious feelings and creepy-crawly sensations are related to that as opposed to some deadly neurological disease. None of these restless leg feelings happened before I started working as a cashier, so I guess I should look at the positives and realize it can't be something bad.

It's hard trying to function when you're constantly tuned in thinking someone or a higher power is trying to send you a message but perhaps it's all just really in my head because I'm on high alert. Again, when I went through a pregnancy scare a couple years ago I had seen numerous references to child birth, babies, tv shows about babies, baby dolls making noises while walking down an aisle at a store, and I never ended up actually having a baby. So I guess I just have to focus on that and remind myself that I've been through a similar experience before.

Thanks again for all of your replies and input, it is definitely helping me to calm down and keep my rational mind in perspective. I'd love to hear about more people's experiences as well as any reassuring information that I couldn't have any of these diseases.
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Offline gvjaguar

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Re: Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 02:12:37 PM »
This morning alone I already experienced two references to Stephen Hawking, one in a game of Evil Apples, and the other on the tv show American Dad. Ugh, why can't I just get away from this stupid disease?
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Offline gvjaguar

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Re: Anxiety and Hypervigilance
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2014, 01:17:04 AM »
Has anybody else seen references to their specific fear in the media or a conversation and think it was a sign? It scares me to death.
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