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I need to get this over with, finally.


anabbm
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Hi, well, my name is Anna, I'm 19 years old. And I need to talk about this because there's no one else I can talk to, they all freak out or ignore what I'm saying. Anyway, I've lived with health anxiety ever since I was very young, I could even say that it began ever since I can remember. I think it all began with the fact that I saw my grandmother leave, sick, and never came back. Since then I've ben afraid of death, which caused me many, many different problems. There was a point, when I was like 5, when I began to worry more about my health than any other time before (as if there were much time before that), I was so worried I would die in my sleep, and then I thought I had a brain tumor (which has been the most recurrent fear I've had), I remember checking my ears to see if there was any blood in them; then I would worry about concussions, and the list goes on and on, to the point where I couldn't function normally, I seriously don't understand what I did to get out of that. The point is, I did.

I got into middle school, and that health anxiety had to go away because another type of anxiety came in, just general anxiety to be honest. I've never taken medication to help me out in my life, but I'm pretty sure it would've helped, and it would help now, a lot. My nails are don't exist anymore now. When I was in 8th grade, I got depressed for a while, it was hard, but I'd much rather have that now than what I'm having. Bad stuff began to happen in my social life and school life, like, everything was perfect in one moment and then it all fell through. On my last year of high school, I felt completely alone. Which led to me being very sad for a long period of time. I wasn't depressed, but I was sad, I'd cry every night and then I'd be alright in the morning, or at least I thought I was. Everything finally stopped when I finished high school, and college started.

I was so busy with school, I didn't have time for my own thoughts. But I was very, very stressed out. In the summer of my first semester I was ok, until one night I decided that I needed to do a self breast exam, because I hadn't done one in a while and I thought it was the right thing to do. Just in case. By now I hadn't had a health anxiety situation in a long time, so I was worried I would find something but i wasn't freaking out. Until I did. I found a small lump on my left breast, I freaked out for weeks until I finally went to the doctor, she checked me out, then told me I needed to get an ultrasound, just in case. She didn't think it was something to worry about. I told my friends and family and they told me the same thing. So I finally calmed down, because they were right. But I spent three weeks freaking out, which was terrible. I nearly wasted my whole summer freaking out. Although it was nice finding it was nothing.

Anyway, school began again and I forgot about it all. Until November arrived, and this is when all hell broke loose.

My finals were about to begin, but I wasn't feeling stressed out, I just felt I had a lot of work in my hands. Truth is, this semester wasn't a fun one, many things happened and i wasn't feeling very comfortable at school, but I had managed to go all the way until the end, so I wasn't going to let it get to me. But I had to stop working out, and that was a bad thing because it has been a routine of mine for at least three years now, it didn't bother me, until I felt a small pain on my lower right side of the abdomen, where the appendix is. I always freak out about it, even though I have irritable bowel syndrome, thanks to all the anxiety. I don't know what made me freak out even more. I just couldn't help it, I really thought I was going to die. It lasted for a week or so, and then stopped, because I began to worry about many, many other things. First it was the fact that my doctor might have overlooked something on the ultrasound, and I did the worst I could've done which is look it up on google, and according to it, it was a possibility. Then I stopped worrying about it and began worrying about lumps on my head, and then it went back to my breasts, until I reached my ribs and found something slightly unusual, which felt like lumps over it (now it turns out they are muscle knots because of my sitting position and the stress, ugh), then that passed and I began the frantic search for lumps on my head, again, and I found none, but I did find that my head is weirdly shaped, which causes me to think that in fact I do have something. And that's the phase I'm in now. The lumps on the head, I'm slowly getting out of it, and I'm hoping it's the last one, but I'm still freaking out about it, and I don't know what else to do now. I want to go to the doctor to check me out, to tell me that either everything's fine or in fact there's something terribly wrong with me, which might just be me. I think I need help, as in professional mental health, because if stress is going to begin triggering this sort of "anxiety attacks" I'm just going to go mad. I don't know how I finished my finals, because there was a point where I would just be shaking out of fear and anxiety and stress. I just wanted to stop everything and sleep.

Like I said, now I'm feeling a bit better, but I'm still not ok. So before I do go to the doctor, and then seek help, I wanted to get this out of my head because it's just about time. I just need someone to tell me I'm not crazy, I don't care about the ok or not ok, 'cause let's face it, life is what it is. When I and if I get sick, I will get sick, that's it. I just hate living in fear. I want to enjoy the holidays, and be happy, and calm, be able to sleep with the lights off. I don't want to be hyper aware of my body, and I want to be able to wear cute nail polish.

Does anyone have any words of advice? Or just want to share their thoughts or experiences? That would help a lot. And if not, thanks for listening reading.

:)

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Hi Anna. :-)

I agree that you should have everything you're afraid of checked out medically.

But I'm also sure that can only be the first step, because you seem to be aware that that's not going to stop you worrying, right? That worry, by the way, isn't "crazy"; it's hypochondria. You're worried about your health, which is a healthy thing to be, but to excess, which isn't. It's a form of obsessive thinking, but the good thing is that it's treatable.

In a way, you've been right all along, there is something (mildly) wrong; it just isn't life-threatening and it is treatable. So the next stop after your medical doctor should be a psychiatrist or talk therapist who specializes in OCD and hypochondria.

(And I bet your head is a perfectly normal shape.) :-P

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Hey, thanks for replying, I really just needed someone to listen, especially because this fear becomes more recurrent at night and I need to express it out somehow, writing seems to be the best way.

So yes, I think I'll make an appointment with my doctor soon, this week probably, just to be sure about everything, you know? Half my mind tells me everything's fine and I calm down but then comes the panic and the anxiety and I get bad again. So going to the doctor is completely on my to do list right now, and yes, my next step after that will be therapy, I don't want this to be a common thing when my stress levels get high, it's hard living like this.

Anyway, thanks again. It cheered me up and made me make more sense of what's going on, really, thanks.

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Expressing is always better than holding it in. That's what we're here for, in fact. It's possible that your loved ones have been discouraging you from expressing? Freaking out or dismissing would be confusing; the problem is that if it is hypochondria, people being realistic might seem to be dismissing, to you.

So, it's probably best to check, and then to go on to see what you can do about the anxiety and repetitive thinking.

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Well, I've talked to them a bit about it, I actually got really sick about two days ago, stomach flu. It was pretty awful, but I'm much better now. And my family was concerned and they took me to the doctor and I had proper care, but when it comes to my "worries" and how I talk about them, they do check on them, and after that they try to reassure me that everything's fine. Last summer, when I had the lump on breast problem, my mother was the one that helped me out with it, she took the to the doctor and everything was fine. This time, as I've been freaking out for a longer period of time, she seems to be concerned more by my freak outs than by my several problems, which I think is fine, but I do want to have everything checked out, like you have said before, just in case.

So, after this whole sickness I had happened this week, I couldn't get everything else I was worrying about checked out, but I think this was more of a wake up call to my family than to me, it seems. If everything goes as planned, then I might finally have all my fears checked out as soon as possible. I just hope everything goes fine. :)

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