My name is Chet, and I'm a total hypochondriac.
A little of my backstory:
It really all started about 3 months ago (I'm new to this game) but ever since then I've had heart issues, stomach, brain and leukemia cancer, ALS, MS, and god knows what else
I went to the ER because I was having chest pains out of the blue for about a week, I was freaking out, my gf rushed me into the ER without any health insurance, I was there until 4 in the morning to be told I was having gas in my chest.
I was ok for a couple more weeks until my stomach started hurting, all the while i was googling like crazy (worst thing I've ever decided to do) and it seemed every symptom I would read about, I was seem to contract.
I did go to the chiropractor a little while later (was having back pain) and he discovered I had a lot of gas in my intestinal Tract.. He said take some pro-biotics and you'll be fine... And I decided to google intestinal gas as a symptom, instantly leading me into several life threatening diseases as the culprits.
All the while, even after x rays, blood work, heart monitors... I was still having constant panic attacks about my heart. I could swear I would loose all feeling in my left arm, felt like I was going to die of a heart attack right there on the spot, only to be completely fine the next day.
After the stomach had been hurting off an on, a band that I am currently in actually played a benefit for ALS.. In which the founder actually had ALS.. And that set off a whole new segment!
I had a night where I got the chills (like full body tremors) and I was freezing and vibrating like crazy (like when you get the chills when you have the flu) and this scared me to death... (I was also going through a diabetes kick at this time, convinced I had it for sure)
It started with my thumb twitching, now to this day my whole body is a twitching mess, certain areas seem to be chronic, others at random.
I would be obsessed with googling, and constant strength tests. I work from home so I could get no work done as I was always exhausted, waiting for the next symptom to strike me to an early grave. Then recently I had a fear of MS because my symptoms more closely matched it.
Currently I get random pains, twitching muscles, aches, headaches, heated skin patches, itchy skin, numbness, chest pains, Stomach issues, abnormal bathroom patterns (I seriously go to the bathroom 5-15 times a day just for #2) and many more I'm sure I'm forgetting...
I got to the point where I would just break down, and even on days where I had absolutely nothing wrong with me but still felt like there was some disease lurking around my body waiting to take me at any moment..
But to all who struggle with Health Anxiety, there is hope.
I am by no means fully recovered, but id like to share some of the realizations and things that have helped me through this disease (yes I view HA as a disease)
1. Support - my gf has always been there to support me, assure me nothing is wrong and to bring logic into play. I am a 21 year old athletic and active individual with a fairly good family history and no history of any medical issues.. Sometimes taking a look at your track record, how many times you've truly been sick with something worse, and you made it across the other side just fine.
2. This Forum - I've been silently reading this forum for months and I have to say this is one of the most supportive groups of people I've ever come across. I think it's because we all understand that we all seek reassurance that it's in our heads, to know that we aren't alone in this fight against anxiety. I've only now decided I want to tell my story and start getting personal help and give all the help I can!
3. Don't Google - seriously, thou shalt not google. I swear half of my symptoms would have never arises if I just wouldn't have googled.
If you get a new symptom, ask yourself this question:
Do you know anything this new symptom could be linked to? And if so, how do you know that?
You'd be surprised to find out that almost all of your symptoms you've heard in passing on a google thread that it was linked to some cancerous neurological brain killing super virus bacteria that only 3 people in the history of forever have had... And now the only logical explanation is that you have it. When is the last time you had a chronic issue that arose and you had absolutely no idea what it could mean? I can't say I have any!
4. Listen to the doctors - they do this everyday.. You and google do not. Just because frankthedouchenozzle564 said on ***** answers that tumors can't be caught on x rays, doesn't mean that the doctor who does these things EVERY DAY is a dummy who doesn't know what he's talking about when he said if there was something wierd he would have seen it. They study for YEARS on these subjects, you studied maybe a total of a week of about 0.0000001% of medicine, yet you and frankthedpuchenozzle564 are the all knowing powers of medicine.
5. Look at the statistics - did you ever notice that most hypochondriacs are between the age of 15 - 30? If you have weird, uncomfortable feelings, maybe it's your hormones setting in or settling out, your body isn't really ever done changing, it's constantly readapting. Just accept some of these things as your body just doing it's thing. And also consider the fact, that your just getting older, buddy!
6. The pain scale - when is the last time you've had a symptom that was above a 3 or a 4 on your discomfort scale? I constantly use this as my judgement for how bad I feel. I get twitches, pains, numbness, aches, etc... But nothing ever seems to be unbearable, just noticeable and enough to scare the living daylights outta me. Realize that most people that are having this real diseases are having EXTREME conditions, constant vomiting, can't see or walk straight, cannot preform basic human functions. Until your leg just stops working entirely or you smile permentantly like the Joker, just relax a little bit.
Next time a discomfort pops up, use the pain scale, if it's above a 5, then bring it to your attention and address it.
7. Longevity - when was the last time you had a symptom that wouldn't let up for over 2 weeks straight? Have you ever actually been able to get your mind off of your health and relax, only to find out that your symptoms seem to just disappear?
That's because it's in your head :) people with these diseases have issues that are prominent and don't just have "good days and bad days" ... If it's anything serious, odds are it's going to be there whether your worried about it or not.
Try the 2 week rule, if something is nothing you for over 2 weeks and has not gone away in the slightest or gotten worse without letting up, then worry about it... Until then (which will probably be 99.99999% of the time) get some R & R
8. Basic body functions - seriously, get some sleep... Eat well, and drink water like there is no tomorrow. Do you know how many crazy symptoms can be caused just by simply not chugging enough aqua throughout the day? Pair that with your body that's not sleeping enough, getting correct nutrition, and whose anxiety is through the roof... And that just doesn't like a good cocktail. You'll be surprised how far just balancing macros, drinking water, and 8 hours of shut eye can do for a person!
9 get some activities - when do you get your worst? Is it when your out with your friends having a night on the town, or is it when your alone in your underwear with your cat, watching burn notice? Your mind is going to wonder when it doesn't have something to keep it preoccupied.. And is obviously going to default to your HA! Find activities that help you... For me taking showers, reading the forums, and going on walks with my gf and my dog really help my unwind.. And there is something out there for everyone that helps you tune out the worries and just focus on the present.
And that's all I got to say about that!
Seriously, these are things that I've found that help me out, give them a try, it can't hurt as they are HA approved and tested. I realize that it may not help everyone, but if at least 1 person benefits in some way from reading this, well that's all I care about accomplishing!