Kmj023: Mark Freeman has videos about overcoming OCD on YouTube that are short, simple, and easy to understand. The basic gist of his information is that anxiety disorders often stem from a fear of uncertainty, or a fear of not knowing.
Everyone goes through this, but those of us with anxiety disorders have bad coping behaviors for this fear. For example, with health anxiety, a fear comes up that makes you afraid you have some health issue, you REACT to it by compulsively thinking about it a lot, by constant body checking, by mental checking, googling your symptoms for reassurance, or talking to doctors/other people to reassure yourself. You feel better for a little while, but the kicker is that seeking this reassurance often triggers obsessiveness about the problem. Eventually you WILL doubt whatever reassured you initially, which is what makes OCD and HA so detrimental to life. If left unabated, you will repeat the exact same steps as above, which does nothing to alleviate anxiety but just serves to trigger it more and more the longer and more often you engage in those reactive checking/reassurance behaviors.
Googling is very tempting because it offers us that chance of being assured that nothing is wrong. In this state of seeking reassurance, nothing except the perfect reassurance will work. Bloody diarrhea? Oh, it says that in ulcerative colitis, the symptoms are severe...so I don't have that. Check 2-3 other sources to confirm. One person said their ulcerative colitis started out very mildly. Oh no. My symptoms are mild. There is a chance I could have UC!! Then comes more googling in more of an attempt to seek reassurance, but you see more and more small pieces of info that could indicate that you have UC and then your anxiety blows up the symptoms more and more to make it feel like your case is actually more severe.
This all actually happened to me recently! Haha.
The way to break out of this cycle is to completely STOP those reactive behaviors. Don't switch them around, just STOP all of them. This will make your brain freak out for a long time...maybe even a few days. Your brain thinks these reassurance behaviors are necessary and helpful, when they are actually not, so stopping them will make your brain feel like you are going to get yourself killed if you don't seek reassurance. But if you remain steady in your resolve to just embrace the feelings uncertainty and anxiety and don't keep checking google, your doctor, your body, or asking peers, you will eventually overcome the anxiety loop and find yourself naturally more unafraid of your health issue as well as more accepting of things being out of your control in life.
This is all info I got from Mark Freeman's videos on YouTube, HIGHLY recommend anyone check it out. I feel like HA is a symptom of OCD or GAD and not a new disease in itself, so I feel like the advice applies to anyone going through this.
The important thing is to realize that the specific disease you are afraid of doesn't matter. What matters is tackling the underlying behaviors that promote the fears. The disease you are afraid of is a superficial symptom of anxiety. This advice applies no matter what disease you are afraid of, because you are tackling a mental issue here, not a physical one. I've been on this forum a few days and it is so great that there is a space for us to chill out and realize that we don't have all the answers and we don't need to google anything, but I also see this place is being used as another place to seek reassurance that we are not going through something terrible. Recognizing hypochondria is great, but steps need to be taken not to reinforce it too, even here. This isn't aimed at anyone in particular, just an observation.
I had been freaking myself out about my disease for the past few days, but I feel a lot calmer and a lot more able to adapt in case it turns out to be something bad. I do hope it is just benign hemorrhoids or something, but we will see!
Lindsay2427: I was in the hospital for cellulitis (skin infection) on my foot and was on antibiotics. They gave me an antibiotic that has a high risk of acquiring c diff colitis, which is another colon infection brought on by the bacteria c diff. I had been completely fine bowel wise prior to that hospital visit, but as soon as I left, spots of blood started to appear on my stool. They blood got worse over the next few months and so my doctor gave me flagyl because he suspected that my problem was c diff. It was working great for a week and a half, but then I got bloody stools again while still on it, so we'll see what happens.