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Author Topic: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you  (Read 900 times)

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Offline cameronj

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2014, 01:54:28 AM »
It's just incredibly frustrating trying to get over the fear of that .02% likelihood of something happening to me. Logically speaking, I know that I am completely irrational with these fears and any trip to the ER for additional tests would merely be a waste of money. Yet, the illogical half of my has this overpowering desire to head to the ER to seek conformation that I am fine, but like you both said, all this will do is continue the vicious cycle of the need for reassurance.

I want to thank both of you again for providing me with brilliant insights. I want you to know that I truly appreciate you both taking the time to help me. This is a vicious ailment and it's comforting to know that there's thousands of other people going through the same thing every day. Ironically, we are all most likely extremely  healthy and won't have any health problems for quite some time. I'm starting to slowly become cognizant of the slow uphill battle that I have in front of me. I'm just hoping that sometime in the near future that I'll be able to look back and see how ludicrous all of my obsessions were, but right now, it's very difficult to see that happening since a part of me still believes that I am dying.
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Offline cameronj

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2014, 01:56:19 AM »
Also, Tunnelvisionary, I wish that everyone on here could read your insightful post. I think it could help numerous people

Also, redapples, yes my father used to be a psychiatrist and realizes that I am I guess "mentally ill," but I feel like he has given up on me. He's said that he doesn't think therapy will help me because I will merely manipulate the therapist and play mind games with them. The reality is that I truly want to recover from this and my mom has been highly supportive of my need for needing reassurance, but my issues are beginning to affect their own health from all of the stress I am putting them under. Well they have suggested that I go to the hospital, take a semester off from college, and postpone taking the LSAT in order to get my issues under control. I'm opposed to this proposition because I don't want to derail my goals by that much, but I haven't been able to come up with any other solution to get me back to where I need to be mentally. I also think that part of my parents reluctance to get me a therapist is the fact that I will be going back to college in August, so if I start therapy here (back at home), I'll have to discontinue seeing the therapist after a month
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Offline redapples

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2014, 02:36:12 AM »
I'm sorry your dad feels that way. I'm glad your mother is supportive....

You do seem to really want to recover and that is so evident in your posts here.  I wish you the best of luck and keep us posted. I know you  can do it. :action-smiley-065:
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Offline Tunnelvisionary

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2014, 04:50:49 AM »
The first steps of getting out of any kind of anxiety situation will always be difficult, especially if its your first time ever attempting such a thing. You are incredibly uncertain about if you're doing the right thing, if you will be anxious forever, if something might be seriously wrong, etc. But the more practice you get with it, the more experience you gain, and the more you begin to truly trust the process and recognize for yourself that your desire for reassurance is making things 100x worse. Your desire to check and go to the ER will grow and grow. If you see it through without checking, I promise you that it will get better the more you embrace the uncertainty and anxiety as well. Don't try to make yourself feel fine. Don't do anything to reassure yourself. When things get tough, I find it helps to close my eyes, breathe deeply, and embrace the uncertain feelings without engaging in urges to run to my computer, or figure out statistics in my head.

I don't recommend going after you worst fears/compulsions first unless you feel you can handle them. Having a therapist who specializes in OCD (and ERP therapy...a type of CBT technique) will be extremely helpful. Remember that HA is a symptom of an unhealthy thought process. Don't focus on the symptom, focus on fixing the unhealthy thought/behavior process.

Like I said, it will be terrifying to do this at first, especially if all you know is reassurance-seeking. But you will have glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. But this is stuff you have to remember to keep doing. You can overcome anxiety for a week or two or maybe longer, and then feel like you can search google for diseases with no problem, but this will put you right back in the loop. At first it won't feel too bad, but if you don't do anything to get out of the loop quickly, you can end up becoming anxious about everything again.

I've only been on this forum for a few days, but I'm no stranger to anxiety disorders, and I think the major problem with this forum is that there isn't too much focus on treating hypochondria. Rather, it's kind of a place where people are seeking reassurance that their symptoms are nothing. While this is a welcome change from google telling us we are dying, it is still feeding the anxiety loop, and still feeding the HA. This is by no means meant to be disrespectful toward the forum, it is great that it is here and it seems like there are a lot of smart people here, but from what I've seen it just seems like people are coming here and not getting help for the real root cause.

A therapist can be very useful, even if you only see them a few times and have to switch. If you like them, at least you can know what to look for in another therapist. Additionally, you could see if you can pay your therapist for email exchange so you can have contact with them while you're at college.

Also, if this is too much to handle right now, it's perfectly fine to take a step back to let yourself recover from anxiety disorders. Right now, I'm recovering from OCD and an eating disorder, and I've been a part-time student at my university for a while. When you don't know how to handle anxiety and it is wrecking your life, the daily stresses you have to go through can add to the HA anxiety. Taking time to unload and take care of your mental health is probably better in the long-run anyway. Of course, that is entirely up to you. Just don't feel bad at all if you feel that is what you need to do.

Lastly, if you want to solidify this information in your head, I highly suggest searching "Mark Freeman OCD" on YouTube. Whether or not you have OCD, HA is extremely similar and lots of advice for anxiety disorders overlap and can be beneficial to most everyone. His videos are short, to the point, extremely informative, and very positive. He has been a huge help in my recovery process and took the stigma and shame out of seeking a therapist. I am not affiliated with him in any way and he doesn't make money from those videos, so this is not an ad. He is just a super helpful guy and the way he presents his info is so clear and concise.

Hope this helps cameronj. It will take time, patience, and perseverance but I have a good feeling you will get over this.
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Anxiety disorders in a nutshell.

Anxiety/Uncertainty ---> Checking/Reassurance/Googling behaviors ---> Brief relief but fuels obsessiveness about disease. ---> Repeat

Stop anxiety by stopping the checking/reassurance/googling! Tough at first, but stick with it.

Offline Tunnelvisionary

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2014, 05:00:31 AM »
redapples: thanks for your response! the picture idea sounds like a good idea, unless you start constantly checking the picture.  Like if you get worried about the stove, and then check your picture every time you get worried, it's the same basic reassurance/checking behavior. OCD can be tricky like that. While it is better than rushing home from wherever you are to go see if your stove is still turned off, you want to not feed the disorder at all.

So that means checking once, and then if you get the urge to do so again, you don't check again in any way. This means possibly coming to terms with the fact that you may be wrong and you may have left it on. But its about learning to live with that uncertainty. Eventually the need to check multiple times disappears and you learn to trust the first check, but if you fall back into old behaviors, the anxiety and mental tricks will come back too.
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Anxiety disorders in a nutshell.

Anxiety/Uncertainty ---> Checking/Reassurance/Googling behaviors ---> Brief relief but fuels obsessiveness about disease. ---> Repeat

Stop anxiety by stopping the checking/reassurance/googling! Tough at first, but stick with it.

Offline vardnas

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2014, 12:16:18 PM »
Great thread here; Tunnelvisionary thanks for posting those insights!

I just wanted to chime in here and say to the OP that, at 21 years old, you are an adult, and thereby eligible to seek out the kind of care YOU WANT AND NEED, not the kind your parents think is best. You struggle with perfectionistic thinking—I do, too—and I'd bet that your parents have, for a very long time, been the ones primarily making the decisions in your life. I could be wrong, and I only say that because my parents were the same way, and that kind of upbringing leads to a more anxious personality, too, because we're never taught self-sufficiency. All of these character traits go hand-in-hand, naturally.

As a perfectionist, I can see how you'd like to simply accept your anxiety, stop your reassurance-seeking, and move on with your life. As someone who struggled mightily in the past with her own anxiety issues, I can tell you that getting over HA or anxiety or whatever you want to call it, takes A LONG TIME. It is, by nature, an imperfect process. If anything, going through this now will set you up for a healthier future, one where you're not constantly putting so much pressure on yourself to be "correct" all the time.

Don't expect yourself to just be able to accept your anxiety and halt any and all negative reinforcement behaviors in one day—again, that is UNREALISTIC, PERFECTIONISTIC thinking that you're going to need to let go of if you have any hope of moving forward in this process. You're going to fail. You're going to know, rationally, in your mind, that anxiety is the root cause of your issues, but you're still going to find yourself obsessively googling for hours—you're going to know it's not helpful, but you're going to do it anyway. You're going to have periods where you feel good, and then you're going to feel XYZ symptom and get fearful again and that's going to make you mad at yourself because you couldn't keep it together. The road to recovery here is really a two steps forward, one step back process. Acceptance happens everyday. You have to accept your anxiety every day—it's not just a one and done proposition.

CBT, psychodynamic therapy, these are both good options, but again, they take TIME. Months, in fact. Yeah, maybe your first therapist was a dog, but even when you find a good one, don't expect magic right away. The point of them is to venture into the underlying factors as to WHY you have developed an anxious mindset and to then learn how to reverse it. But just as you didn't develop an anxious personality overnight, neither will you reverse it overnight, either. So many HA sufferers (on this board and elsewhere) are merely desperate for symptom mitigation—they want to make the headaches go away, or the palpitations, and more than that they want to jettison that awful, oppressive fear. But, as we all have learned the hard way, none of that goes away with a medical test, a prescription, or a gentle word of reassurance. It goes away once we have managed to get our stress hormones down to pre-reactive levels, and again, that takes TIME and a gradual, habitual acceptance that what we're dealing with is anxiety.

I wish it were not that way. I wish we could all go visit a doctor once, be told we have anxiety, and never struggle with it again. I wish change was instant. But it's not. Again, you're young cameronj, and you have a whole life to live that doesn't include an anxious mindset. This process is going to be slower than you'd like; you're going to struggle; it's going to be sh*tty. But at the risk of sounding cheesy, there are better times at the other end. So do what's in YOUR best interest (not in your parents' best interest), be patient, and go easy on yourself. You'll get there eventually.
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In case anyone is still confused:  googling your symptoms will cause you to remain in a state of extreme anxiety. Stepping away from the internet is the first step toward lasting peace.

Offline Tunnelvisionary

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2014, 12:30:49 PM »
That was a great reply vardnas, backed 100%, especially about the part where you mention that you know your problem is anxiety but you keep googling anyway. Being a year and a half into recovery from a myriad of anxiety disorders, I can still get caught up in these repetitive behaviors. Sometimes my mind still fools me into believing that googling just one symptom will be okay, but it ALWAYS leads to more and more googling and a greater need for reassurance.

The process most definitely takes time and will have setbacks, but that is totally okay! No one's recovery is 100% smooth sailing. That means this is a great opportunity to break out of perfectionist thinking!
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Anxiety disorders in a nutshell.

Anxiety/Uncertainty ---> Checking/Reassurance/Googling behaviors ---> Brief relief but fuels obsessiveness about disease. ---> Repeat

Stop anxiety by stopping the checking/reassurance/googling! Tough at first, but stick with it.

Offline RK

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2014, 04:32:10 PM »
Great tips from TV, I have been diagnosed with HA and OCD too, I don't fear death or diseases but I have a weird phobia of not being able to breathe. I always think that I will get breathing problems if I get any disease and then I would struggle for breathe. Any advise on how to get over this phobia?
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Offline redapples

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2014, 08:17:45 PM »
Tunnelvisionary,

Oh, once I take the picture and get out the door, I look at it once...if that. And that's really all I need. Sometimes I don't even look at the picture! That of course, was before the meds kicked in.

Of course, if I'm having an OCD day, then I will take a photo ...look at it once...and that's that.  :action-smiley-065:

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Offline MLB2805

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Re: I could really use some advice. Please and thank you
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2014, 08:36:22 PM »
Tunnelvisionary... Great posts! How long have you had anxiety?
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You don't have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.

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