Hi everyone, I'm new here and reaching out for some support. Dr. Google has been haunting me for the past month, and I felt that itch to research some more just now, but I know it won't do me any good. So, I'm trying something new! When I feel stressed and anxious to Google, I'm going to reach out for support instead...so hi!
A little about what brings me here and my HA story: I have struggled with GAD my whole life and HA for several years--on and off--mostly around a fear of HIV. I used to work in a tattoo shop so I had no shortage of triggers to fuel my anxiety. My husband is a tattoo artist; I am now in a different line of work, however. A few years ago, my greatest fear happened: I was stuck with a used tattoo needle and FREAKED OUT. I rushed to the nearest hospital, took PEP, and worried nonstop until I could get tested. I eventually met with the head of pathology at a well respected hospital who gave me my results, which were negative across the board. Much to my surprise and relief, the doctor explained to me that I was not at risk for HIV from this event because tattoo needles are solid and HIV dies upon contact with the air. Really? No risk? I almost didn't believe him...but then again, people don't become the head of pathology for lying to patients
This information really put me at ease!
Fast forward to present day: my husband is a tattoo artist and does experience "occupational injuries" (aka needle sticks) from time to time, as all people who work with sharps do (drs, nurses, etc). This never bothered me because of what the good doc told me at the hospital. However, earlier this month, my husband told me about a needle stick he got at work and I PANICKED!! I tried to reassure myself with the info I was told by my trusted doctor, but it didn't work. I started Googling night and day--didn't sleep, didn't eat. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, the information I found on medical websites, blogs by doctors for doctors, and research/case studies confirmed what the head of pathology had told me: there have been ZERO cases of HIV transmission via solid needles (in 22+ years of well documented studies), no cases from tattoos or piercings, the blood on solid needles is not considered to be sufficient to transmit the virus, and there aren't even any of those lovely stats we all like so much because there have been NO RECORDED CASES. The closest stat I could find was based off the numbers for hollow needles (1/300) which is estimated to be less than 1/30,000, so a person is likely to be 99.99997% (or something) A-OK after a solid needle stick. But again, these numbers are really theoretical.
BUT, of course, I have HA/GAD, so these numbers really don't reassure me that much. What if my husband is part of the .00001% and then passes it to me!!! What if he's literally the 1st person to have this happen!!! When I write this out, it certainly does sound ridiculous, but to my anxious mind, it makes perfect sense lol.
I really want to recovery from this horrible problem and learn to let go. I don't want to go back to getting tested every month and being paranoid about my husband's work. I am struggling right now though, so some support and tips would be helpful and appreciated:
1) How do you avoid Google? What do you do instead of Googling?
2) How did you learn to TRUST your doctor? This is so hard for me...my anxiety is convinced it has an MD, haha, and is smarter than all the doctors I've consulted. How did it finally sink in for you to just let it go and trust?
3) How do you, or did you, learn to let go? To say, f**k it--I'm going to live now!! This is what's so scary for me because I keep worrying that I'll be the one in a million case, and the fact remains, I'm not enjoying my life now.
4) Do any of you get that voice that says "you're irresponsible for not worrying"? I get this all the time! I start feeling better, then my anxiety comes in and says, "don't be happy! Your life could be at risk (despite everything you've researched); you are irresponsible for not worrying!" How can I put these thoughts in their place?
Any help, support, encouragement would be most welcomed! It feels really good to know I'm not alone out here, and I believe that we all can overcome this! I want to enjoy my life--no matter what. Having HA is honestly worse than having a medical illness, I think...so I want to beat it bad. Thanks for letting me share :)
Love and light