Health Anxiety is a Relentless Bitch

I’ve mentioned anxiety already on TwT, when I asked the question, “What Is It like to Be Disabled by Anxiety?” However, I don’t think I went into nearly enough detail about health anxiety, also known as hypochondria. Living in constant fear of your body betraying you can be a very disabling problem, believe it or not.

I just ate some Chia seeds, dry, and topped them with water because they were so dry. I had never tried those seeds before, but I unfortunately ended up reading an article about it while eating them—needless to say, I stopped promptly when I discovered they can apparently be dangerous, clogging up the esophagus, as was one man’s very unpleasant and no doubt scary experience. For someone with health anxiety to read that is quite terrifying, to be honest.

It’s now twenty past one in the morning and I’m tired, but I can’t sleep now because I’m so anxious, and I have this feeling that if I sleep, I might make things worse for myself, with regards to these seeds, so I’m waiting probably until two, when I think they should be closer to the stomach, but I’m no biology major. Google tells me 6-8 hours for full digestion time, and I can’t wait that long as that’ll be tomorrow! Technically, it already is tomorrow, but—don’t you ever count tomorrow when you wake up, despite it technically being the next day as it’s very early morning? Well, I do.

I had to go out for a walk because I was really anxious. I got back not long ago. I went out for about 50 minutes. Cold, dark, and dreary, but it was either that or be stuck at this very same desk fretting about this and that, which I’m currently trying not to do. I shouldn’t have eaten them so late, or at all for that matter, because my body struggles sometimes, particularly to get rid of gas, … not a pleasant read, I’m sure, but welcome to one of the many facts of life that you cannot evade forever!

I remember watching House some years ago. House is a television series starring Hugh Laurie who plays the role of a very difficult yet fantastically genius doctor. Anyway, there’s this one episode in which you see this guy who is clearly a hypochondriac, but not only that, he’s the typical needy, attention-seeking type, no doubt of the stereo category. Ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t necessarily what health anxiety is all about. I do not go to the doctors every day to harass them about this and that which I feel is wrong with me—I barely have the courage to go to the doctors at all.

I had a fear-type problem with my chest that caused years of anxiety for me, and this anxiety once got so bad I almost called for an ambulance because I was convinced something was gravely wrong with me. At one point I got woken up by a sharp twang, so to say, which hurt and shocked me. I freaked out, thinking my chest was in trouble. Fearing all sorts, I woke my dad up—this being early in the morning—and told him. My dad must have clearly seen I was stressed to high heavens, and he was likely concerned as well, so in the end he took me to the nearest city hospital which was about half an hour’s drive away. In the end, having had an x-ray, they put it down to my anxiety, despite that I was sound asleep at the time.

Some time later, perhaps even years, it finally occurred to me that it was one thing and one thing only that likely caused the disturbance: the spring on the bed twanged right into my ribs.

So as you can tell, health anxiety can really escalate in the sufferer’s mind—sorry to sound so dramatic, but it really is something with which I suffer. I don’t want to be anxious right now, fearing for my life because I ate some fucking seeds; that’s asinine, but it’s not exactly illogical, right? I’m basing my fear on evidence, albeit very questionable. That’s all it takes—something actual, however small, from which a fear can develop.

A sincere thank you goes to the Facebook page Anxiety & Panic Disorders for sharing this article.
Many thanks to the Facebook page Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources for also sharing this article.

Keep up to date with Taut with Thought’s Twitter page!
https://twitter.com/tautwiththought

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4 thoughts on “Health Anxiety is a Relentless Bitch

  1. Hi.
    Thanks for sharing. I suffer quite badly with Health Anxiety…among others. I hate the word Hypochondriac, as its most commonly used in a negative way. I also react quite quickly to small things ie pains, things I’ve read or been told. It really sucks and I often berate myslef for not being ‘normal’ , whatever that is. I am glad to know that I am not the only one that has similar triggers. And thank you for a more benign way to describe my health anxiety.
    Best wishes,
    Zoe.😊

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    1. Thanks for your feedback, Zoe. 🙂

      I’m not keen on the word hypochondria either, and for the very same reason. I berate myself in a similar way, sometimes, but ultimately, we didn’t ask to be like this. I believe we just have to push forward, strong as we can be, and try to make the most of life; it’s all I can really do.

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  2. I can appreciate and relate to the article above. About 4 years ago, I had my first anxiety attack, in which I thought I was having a heart attack and called 911 and had an ambulance take me to the hospital. The doctors ran all kinds of test and came back with nothing. Since then, I have had many attacks and many trips to the hospital. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety and panic attacks and put on several different types of medication. The one that seems to work best for me is Klonopin, but it is extremely additive and hard to get off of. No matter how many times I have an anxiety of panic attack, my mind makes me think I am having a heart attack, and I have been checked out every which way possible, but I can’t get my mind and body to be on the same page. I live in consistent fear daily about being by myself, going on business trips, thinking I am going to have an attack. It has made my life and my family’s life hard to deal with, because I am always fearing the worst. Any feedback on how I can better my situation would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Hi there, Kelly!

      This definitely sounds all kinds of familiar, and it seems clear to me that these ‘attacks’ coincide with health anxiety. Please check out my latest post on what I do when anxiety strikes:

      https://tautwiththought.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/when-anxiety-strikes/

      Perhaps it will be useful to you. It sounds like you have a lot on your plate—are you pushing yourself too hard? Do you give yourself a chance to recover? I recently learned that there’s a distinctive difference between an introvert and an extorvert, in that an introvert finds it difficult to be social for prolonged periods of time and in particularly busy social environments such as parties, so they need time alone to recover, whereas the extrovert would perhaps feed off social interactions and need that as a way for them to recover. I’m sure this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I certainly related.

      Have I read correctly that you fear being alone? Are there any organisations local to which you reach out and meet some new people? Do you use the Internet as a way to speak to interesting people on a regular basis? For me, being social ‘in the real world’ isn’t always so easy, in-fact it rarely is, so I find the Internet a solid way of getting past this particular hurdle of anxiety.

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