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by Ken Goodman, LCSW

Join ADAA member Ken Goodman, LCSW for a LIVE webinar on December 7 -  Health Anxiety Part 2: Learn How to Face Your Fear of Death and Overcome Health Anxiety

The illness you fear might not be the illness you have. I recently conducted an online support group for people with all sorts of health fears, from cancer and heart disease to ALS and MS. Each shared their worries about moles on the skin, irregular heart palpitations, and numbness and tingling. Although their specific fears varied, they all had one thing in common; none of them had ever been diagnosed with a series illness and they all related to the following scenario:

Dina felt great after getting a clean bill of health from her physician but as she tried to fall asleep, she dwelled on one statement he made, Tumors can grow at any time. Come back in six months if you’re concerned.  Questions raced through her mind as she tossed and turned, Why did he tell me that? If there was nothing wrong, why would he say come back in six months?  What if he missed something? Why do I keep getting headaches and dizziness? Dina felt so anxious she got out of bed and searched the web for answers.  As she reread the same articles about symptoms of brain cancer, she began to feel lightheaded.  Why do I keep feeling this way? Do I really have brain cancer? Is this really happening? 

The good news was, Dina did not have brain cancer or a brain tumor. Dina had health anxiety. There are two types of health anxieties: Somatic Symptom Disorder and Illness Anxiety Disorder, formally known as hypochondriasis.  Many people with health anxiety are often unable to function or enjoy life due to their fears and preoccupations. They obsess over bodily functions (breathing, heartbeat), physical oddities (skin blemishes), and physical discomfort (headaches, stomach aches, lightheadedness).They might worry about a specific organ (brain, heart) or a disease they heard about on the news or at work (MS, diabetes). They are preoccupied with the belief that they have, or are in danger of contracting, a serious illness. Many will purse doctors and tests repeatedly for reassurance, but are reluctant to seek mental health treatment since they believe their condition is medically based.   

Why does health anxiety persist despite reassurance from doctors?

Although some refuse to be examined by their physician due to their fear of discovering the worst, seeking reassurance from doctors, insisting on repeated medical tests, and visits to urgent care, are more common in health anxiety. Being reassured by the doctor that there is no serious medical illness brings relief -- temporarily. The vicious cycle quickly resumes as new thoughts and physical sensation surface, followed by googling and self-diagnosis, misinterpretations of news in the media, anxiety, and more visits to doctors to resolve the uncertainty. The cycle ignites with each new alarming thought or symptom. 

The False Alarm

Car alarms are set off when a criminal breaks in but imagine how problematic it would be if the siren blared each time a pedestrian walked by.  The car alarm would be misinterpreting innocent people as dangerous criminals.

With health anxiety there is the misinterpretation of discomfort and normal bodily sensations as dangerous. The body is very noisy. Healthy human bodies produce all sorts of physical symptoms that might be uncomfortable, unexpected, and unwanted, but not dangerous.

Normal sensations in the body that can produce fear and worry include changes in visual acuity, heart rate, blood pressure, saliva levels, depth of breathing, balance, and muscle tone, just to name a few.These are normal and harmless bodily changes, but when a person believes they are symptoms of a terrible disease, it causes anxiety.The sensations are real, but the beliefs are false.

Why do people misinterpret sensations in their body and overestimate danger? 

Sometimes misinterpretation is due to assumptions about an illness. For example, “My cousin died of cancer. It’s only a matter of time until I get it.”  Or, viruses sped easily. People in Africa are dying of Ebola. It could easily spread to the U.S.  People with health anxiety might hold rigid definitions of good health, perhaps believing that any discomfort whatsoever means bad health.

Anxiety is a protective mechanism and scanning the body for an illness seems like the right thing to do to protect ourselves. However, when we are preoccupied with something, we tend to notice it. Last month when I was looking to purchase a new car, I suddenly began to notice every car on the road; the make, model, and the color. Previously, I didn’t pay attention. Looking for symptoms makes you notice subtle sensations you might otherwise ignore. When you become preoccupied with bodily sensations, those sensations become amplified and last longer.

This is when it gets tricky. 

Each scan of the body produces uncertainty and doubt, giving the imagination opportunity to create stories. As you imagine the worst, your body’s alarm system sounds off in the form of symptoms of anxiety (racing heart, tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, jitters, tingling, lightheadedness, nausea, stomach discomfort, sweating, headaches, etc.) giving your imagination additional fuel to create great works of fiction.The symptoms are real. The thoughts are false.

The Most Effective Treatment is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Since it is possible to suffer with anxiety and a serious medical condition, medical problems must be ruled out with a thorough physical exam. Once this is accomplished, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for any form of anxiety including health related anxiety.

CBT is a therapy model that focuses on our cognition, the way we think, and our behaviors, the way we act. The main concept behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation (the fear of ALS) effect how we feel (afraid and anxious) and how we behave (holding out our hands to see if they are trembling). We tend to assign meaning to specific situations (tingling means we have MS).  It’s not the actual situation causing our anxiety, but the meaning – accurate or not. And, when you have anxiety, you give your thoughts a lot of meaning, and thus, a lot of power. 

CBT aims to help you overcome fears by correcting irrational thoughts and changing problematic behaviors.  By acquiring a certain mindset, you can learn to approach anxious situations differently and learn to tolerate discomfort and uncertainty. Illness anxiety can be overcome with the help of a skilled anxiety specialist and CBT.  You can find a therapist in your state on the ADAA website.  And for additional information on Illness Anxiety watch my free ADAA webinar.

This blog post has been updated by the author - June 22, 2020


Additional ADAA Resources by Ken Goodman:

LIVE Webinar - December 7, 2020 - Join ADAA member Ken Goodman, LCSW - Health Anxiety Part 2: Learn How to Face Your Fear of Death and Overcome Health Anxiety

Additional Resources:


About the Author

Ken Goodman, LCSW, treats anxiety and OCD in Los Angeles. He is the author of The Anxiety Solution Series: Your Guide to Overcoming Panic, Worry, Compulsions and Fear, A Step-by-Step Self-help Audio Program, Break Free from Anxiety, a coloring, self-help book for anxiety sufferers, and the Emetophobia Manual, for those who suffer with the fear of vomit.  Ken Goodman is an ADAA board member and Clinical Fellow. Visit Ken's website.

 

I constantly fear I’m going to die for no reason, like my heart beats fast, I get dizzy or lightheaded, so I feel like something is wrong with my brain. I’ve also thought “maybe I’m dizzy because I have a tumor or aneurysm pressing on vessels in my brain, also triggering minor headaches here and there”. The thoughts are endless, and with health anxiety, I now know that it’s just my brain freaking myself out and heightening my dizziness because of anxiety. I never had this last year. But I’m thinking a couple events that have happened within the past 7-8 months have triggered the constant worry and fear of dying or passing out or not being ok in the grocery store. Being in public is very difficult. Even knowing I have to go to work gives me anxiety, because I know I have to deal with people. It’s a constant battle within ourselves and it’s very hard but we CAN overcome some of it. I’m still trying to train my brain differently and get in touch with a specialist. I really, truly hope the best for everyone on this site, because I understand you. 100%. Let’s all try our best to get better and feel healthier.

Your comment is me to a tea! I have always lived a very positive life, with a very get on with it attitude, but since this march I have become so anxious about my health, every little ache pain or twinge has my brain going mad! Before I would of ignored it or even no noticed it but now, I'm convinced it's something really serious! It's ruining Evey part of my life! I feel so acres and worried all the time and it's exhausting! I really hope that we can all get some help and feel better soon because this is an unbearable way to live! X

I have spent years seeking help from doctors, specialists and worrying about all different types of cancers. I must have spent thousands on private scans. My brain is so In tune to find something to latch on to that even in the middle of the night when I role over I wake myself up convinced that there is a lump under my arm from how I’ve been laying. It completely ruined my life and I’m always on guard. I had to ban myself from putting cream onmy body just in case I’d find a lump. I’ve given myself permanent skin damage from feeling under my arms for lumps. You always feel very alone as it’s quite embarrassing as nobody that I know can relate to how I am or understand. We obviously don’t want to be this way and is the most disabling feeling. We wouldn’t watch animals suffer like this, there really needs to be more awareness for this type of anxiety. I hope everyone finds some peace.

I am with you here Fay,i have suffered this hell for many years,over thinking everything about illness.
You are so right about feeling alone,i do not think even my psychologist knows how i feel.The only piece i have seen on the web that says how we feel is by some women,look it up it is so real[The glow hypochondria] it comes up as mamamia,but read underneath and it says The glow.
These ladies certainly know about h/a,they all suffer from it.
All my doctor says is go to psychology,but it does not work for h/a,and yes it has completely ruined my life,and that of my wife as well.
Best wishes Fay.Geezer.

Hi Fay,
I just want to ask you if you would like to write to me about h/a.
You are so like me with what you have written that i felt i had to ask you.
like you i do not know anyone like me and it does feel lonely.
If you do not wish to then that is o/k.
Geezer46

Hi every1 this is so me this as ruined my life i dont go anywhere no more its so frightening even got to the point where iv visited my doctors anf hospital so many times they call me a frequent flyer if only they understood where im coming from ill chat with any1 on here so if u like email me rebeccacook358@yahoo.co.uk

I get stuck in this loop too. I'm doing it right now, because I'm thinking about having to leave the house. I'm also out of the beta blocker that I was using to maybe help control this. It could easily be the placebo effect, thinking it was working anyway. I don't have anyone to talk about this stuff with either. If anyone wants to talk, my email is katalepsy and it's @gmail.com

I can so relate! I watched my FIL pass away from lung cancer in April of this year and that's when the health anxiety began for me. I have been to several doctors and the ER and have been told I am fine. Everyday I find a new cancer that I believe I have and I Google it until I am completely convinced that I have it and I'm going to die. This is not life...this is hell. I pray we all find some peace.

In the same situation...ive had scary thoughts about something being wrong with me. I went to the doc and is now waiting on my results. I am soo afraid that i may get bad news. I keep googling and the more i read...the more i get scared. I feel soo alone....i can't sleep and i keep getting nervous all the time. Sometimes i be ok but then my brain keeps making me think negative thoughts. I hope im alright cause i don't like feeling this way.

I WANTED TO REPLY AS I CAN A MILLION TIMES RELATE TO YOU. I DO EXACTLY THE SAME AND IT IS JUST AWFUL AND REALLY AFFECTING MY LIFE. I PRAY FOR PEACE FOR YOU.

Read the message written above. I’m going through a bad bout of ha right now but the book called DARE is really a revelation... I don’t believe counseling cured me in the past but the approach in this book could work for many. Please do it. And my heart goes out to you all as I know how debilitating this ha is. We will get there xx

I also bought this book but fail to see how it helps with health anxiety. It isn’t really addressed anywhere in the book and comes with a caveat that your should also first go to your doctor to rule everything out. Maybe I missed something and hope you can maybe help me find more use in that book. It came across more as an ad for their app which becomes expensive if you want to access anything half decent to help. That being said for me, I am glad that you found help in it

this is so me.im even afraid of touching my skin if theres itchines because of fear of finding a lump.im so afraid niw beacuse my muscle in my abdomen seems to be unproportion same with the muscles from my diap area.it is so bad and annoying i just cried and felt wxhausted afterwards

Hi Lottie,
I never had health anxiety till this year, I'm 43, happily married, beautiful kids etc.. I would always ignore an ache or pain & have a valid reason for it! Then after a stressful, very very busy year 2018. I got ingestion & thought it was a heart attack! & since then every twinge in my chest or a headache is heart attack or brain tumour or stroke! I went to doctor afew times & got checked out & Im fine! I'm healthy! But still the fear of heart attacks / strokes etc. take over when I get an ache or pain! It's really annoying & I do try to rationalise it & breath & get over it! But it's not easy & am hoping it disappears as fast as it came! All the best guys.X

Kate it’s like you are living my life! I fear the grocery store, I always want to be with someone so if (when) I pass out I’ll have someone I know with me and they will be able to get help or contact my family! I have fought this off and on for about 18 months, though I had it under control but it’s coming back pretty strong last couple months. News stories about “sudden” deaths due to Heart issue or aneurism are a real trigger for me and I tend to go off the edge. This is where I am tonight, afraid to go watch fire works because I don’t want to be out in public in case I die! I just want to be normal! God help me!

I’m the exact same!!! I think it’s tome to get on anti depressants but oh wait I’m scared to take them?

Yes! I also have a phobia of taking medicines or even trying anything new for fear of having a reaction. I cannot eat chicken or eggs and it makes eating out impossible. I never thought I could be a hypochondriac before yesterday. Mainly because I don't think I have any diseases and am very healthy, but let me get a bug bite or an itch/rash/anything out of normal and I am in orbit with a hypersensitive acknowledgement of every tiny twinge or sensation in my body. I often tie my panic attack into something I have eaten and then I refuse to eat that item again. I don't eat out, I cannot try new things, and my food list is a short one to say the least. Generally, I don't go to the Dr but have been more this year because of some female issues. I've learned how to use natural methods of healing if I get sick- which is very rare. I do know that when my thyroid is out of whack, the anxiety hits. I would like to encourage everyone on this thread to ask for a complete thyroid panel (not just a TSH) to make sure that isn't what's causing a lot of your issues. When I have mine in balance, I'm a different person. Thank you all for sharing. I hate that we are all in this shape but it helps to know you're not alone. Praying for us all tonight and asking for miracles.

Hi Cassie. Hope you find yourself well. I wonder if I'm depressed even though I don't feel like it, but often wonder if antidepressants would help, but I'm scared to take them. Have you made any changes since?

I'm 56 and the older I get, the more I worry. I am starting to fear driving because I am worried I will suffer sudden death at the wheel. I don't want to be alone in public because I worry a medical emergency will occur and my husband will not be with me. Anxiety really SUCKS!

I suffer from health anxiety.I am constantly worried about health.I have a hiatal
hernia and irritable bowel syndrome which bother me all the time.I am also
constantly worried about dental problems.I also hae arthritis which bothers me along with muscle tension.Health anxiety has ruined my life.

Hi nick I have everything you have hiatus hernia, IBS arthritis, aches and pains. I get fed up with myself sometimes. I read it could be something in your life that’s done this. I could write a book on illnesses and people I love die. I was in hospital from the age of 8 for six months with a rare form of rheumatism. Away from my family, I’ve nursed my loved ones and seen so much pain.all that doesn’t help, as I’m getting older now, I worry that it’s my turn. But you will be fine, I know it’s hard, I’ve never been anywhere about it, I’m thinking of it though. We must take ourselves away from all of this, I’ve started to do some watercolour painting. That does relax me a bit, is there anything you could do. All this worrying is causing your tummy troubles to be worse. Ive had IBS and hiatus hernia driving me mad. Now I’m trying to deal with it. I hope knowing you are not alone with all you problems has helped take care Eve x

blood clots freak me out and like l strained my leg so l usually think its a bloodclot l have anxiety started when l was 8 now during this time l am 10 and a ten year old cannot deal with this panic attacks have happened it started with fainting(which l was scared of) the hear attacks the cancer then strokes now its bloodclots. all those things l have been scared of

Wow you described me to a T - some relief knowing I’m not the only person in the world with these thoughts! It is definitely exhausting! I’m glad you have it under control. Best of luck to you!

Your post describes me as if you knows me personally WOW this anxiety is taking over my life only had it about a yr now but reading everyone’s post has me so afraid that this is something I will be dealing with the rest of my life I definitely need help I can’t sleep most night because my thoughts are everywhere and mainly on my heartbeats this is very difficult to deal with.

I too am fixated on what my hearts doing .. beating too fast too slow, skipping beats. Have to try to find a way to lay in bed where I cant feel it or hear it. Making my life a complete misery

My heart makes me so uncomfortable. It feels like it will explode. My palms sweat my hands shake & I can't sleep.
Just started propranolol today.

I have heart anxiety too. I am 37 and have had it for 2 years. It tends to come and go but has been living in the back of my head since my last panic attack 8 months ago. The fixation is frustrating because i know i am fine, but the mind becomes almost accustomed to triggering the anxiety. I am not a doctor or a therapist, but my wife is a psychiatrist and has helped me as well as a therapist i was seeing for a while. I feel like i am slowly overcoming, but its almost like the health anxiety just keeps wanting to pull me in.

If i can offer some help/advice that may be useful from experience it would be this.
1.Try to find what caused it in the first place and think about why that event(s) are triggering your anxiety.
2.Know and understand your triggers-why they cause the anxiety.
3. Breathe right. This sounds stupid, but i wasn't breathing right. Your anxious feelings trigger fight or flight which makes you want to breath fast and shallow. Breathe slow and full breaths while saying to yourself...i am fine there is nothing wrong. again sounds dumb but it actually helps.
3.Big one for me...understand that the mind is very powerful. Your anxiety can manifest in different ways even physically. So that palpitation, elevated heart rate, numbness in your arm/hand, muscle twitch in the chest, tightness in your neck.. is either just a normal occurance or triggered by your underlying anxiety and you are hyper focused on it.
4. Exercise and eat better- i know that it is hard and exercise may not make sense but the more you strengthen your heart and understand it and your heart rate the less you will feel uncomfortable with it. That has helped me alot

Again I am just speaking from experience in hopes that this make someone at least feel a little better. Good luck to all of us. It is a tough thing to tackle and overcome.

Eric, seriously, thank you for this. All of these points are incredibly helpful and powerful. I'm 30 and my generalized anxiety turned into severe health anxiety in the past couple years. I feel like I've reached my breaking point, but my mind is still trying to convince me I'm dying--always of something specific and the exact symptoms always seem to materialize exactly when I'm worrying about that particular illness, and my husband doesn't know how to help me anymore--which is ok, because reassurance only fuels the fire anyway.

It's baffling because the "symptoms" I'm experiencing are real (and terrifying), but I've still never ended up being diagnosed with the feared illness. I was so sure I had colon cancer and Parkinson's and Crohn's and I don't even remember what else. (Right now it's MND. Ugh.) Point #3 is really helping me understand how what I'm feeling is connected to what I'm thinking. But everything you said is amazingly helpful. Thank you for sharing. I'm so encouraged that you're slowly climbing out of it!!! Keep fighting. Wishing you the best!

This really helped me I have had the panic that I’m having a heart attack loads of times this year I have been on a ecg machine twice blood tests ct scan as well chest X-rays always come back fine I did get told I have mild tricuspid regurgitation which is really common people can have this and not even know. But yet my mind still tells me that there is something wrong with me the brain is a very powerful tool and I can’t believe that it can even make you body have all the tell tell signs of a heat attack. Even though your not.

Hi

I first had a panic attack when I was 24 I am now 52. And boy that first experience I thought that was it. I have had so many attacks since then and wonder if like me every attack the feelings get more and more severe so that the actual palpitations feels like a hard spike, chest tightens to the extreme, all food I eat is painful right in the middle of my abdomen and with each moutful my heart races more and more. I am scared of eating and I get terrible heartburn. I stay up at night scared of going to sleep when my anxiety if high - I am trying to believe it is only anxiety yet for me atm I am not convinved. Cancer, heart issues, diatetes, High BP, strokes all run in my family. I too have seen the Doc many many times, and so far found nothing albeit only initial tests like ECG and heart ultrasound done they were ok, my BP is always on the low side, I live in constant body pain so much I can barely walk some days with the muscle and bone pain. I had a CT scan of the abdo 5 years ago when I lost a ton of weight due to caring for my terminal (lung cancer) mom at home all by myselft until she passed holding her hand - following havin taken her to my dads bedside to hold his hand as he died holding her hand from pneumonia following a massive strok - whilst my brother was also fighting and still fighting cancer - it took its toll rel bad so I am always on the look out trying to protect myslef when what I read from earlier posts is I am doing more harm than good - I am looking for prevention as I certainly dont want to go the same way nor put my family through that - I struggle with what I saw and had to deal with. Also watched both my inlaws die - one with full organ failure and the other went off as a donor so hard saying goodbye to all these people. I dont have the best relationship with my husband and had to divorce my first one for being continually unfaithful and abusive. My son is a self harmer and always telling me he is going to top himself . I dont have any support and work hard providing for my family very little time for me and this year well what can we do x

At this very moment I am sitting at work in the middle of a panic attack because I thought I was having a stroke. I am NOT having a stroke. It is the most bizarre thing ever and completely self fulfilling because the panic makes the 'symptoms' worse. Then heart starts beating out of your chest, hold on, now its a stroke and a heart attack! Or perhaps it was a heart attack the whole time. Anyway I always know I'm being ridiculous but there's always that thought of 'but what if I'm not?'...and then round we go again. Reading this thread has made me feel better though!

I have really bad anxiety and I keep having real neck pain but doctors can’t figure out what’s causing the pain. I’ve done plenty of mri ct scans X-ray blood work and nothing sinister shows up feel helpless cause my mind keeps racing with fear

To be clear: Im not a doctor. I have health anxiety and I am not qualified to hand out any advice : just my experience as a lay-person with health anxiety.

In response to your post - I have had lots of physical stuff including neck pain thats just nothing to do with my anxiety (and also nothing catastrophic) that i worked through with an osteopath and a personal trainer to great effect. Maybe ur neck pain is just a bit of an alignment issue or imbalance with muscle strength. Easily resolved and not dangerous. I recommend u talk to an osteopath - you might find a couple of adjustments fixes the issue immediately . And if ur a desk worker - try a standing desk or adjusting monitor height - sometimes its just the little things.

I also have neck pain a lot of the time runs up into my skull back of head. Then I have headaches seems like all the time not migraines just annoying pressure headaches and dizziness

I have been suffering from anxiety since past 4 years. I feel dizzy or weird sensations in my head most of the times of the day which make me really anxious. Sometimes I feel a vertigo kind of sensation in my head just for a second which make me feel very uncomfortable. I have gotten into few stupid beliefs and real experience the symptoms like if I don’t nap in the afternoon I feel dizzy in the evening and cannot do any activity can’t even cook. I can’t go anywhere on my own, even when I have to go to the grocery store I try to make the trip as quick as possible or convince myself that I can get uber if things get out of control. Travelling to work is a real issue for me I get really anxious about public transport and dread getting a panic attack in trains or while in transit , fear fainting in front of hundreds of people. At work as well when ever I get weird sensations and get obsessed with the thought of leaving work midday and taking a cab home. There have been so many times in my last job that I gave so many different excuses and left mid day from work , it also happened so many times that I left for work from home and changed my mind took a leave and came back home from half way to work. Because of this I got fired from my last job. Now with my new job I am really nervous of how I am going to manage this issue. I am so depressed. I envy people when I see them commute to work, go on holidays and be stress free and enjoy. I wish I can be like that but the symptoms are so real and worst we cannot control them. I feel trapped unable to do even the simple of the chores people do everyday and every day is like a battle for me which I am tired of fighting now.

Finally i came across someone with whom i share similar symptoms...or thoughts i would say...it gets better when my family is around...but returns once im left alone with my toddler ...scared that if something happens 2 me who will take care of him...whats the solution to such prob?

I have horrible health anxiety since finding my mom in the floor 3 years ago. No none health issues. My dad chose not to have an autopsy it was ruled cardiac. Now as a single parent I have horrific health anxiety afraid I have a ticking time bomb inside me and that my son will find me or that I'll die and leave him all alone. Every day I think I'm dying of a heart attack or stroke. I hit my head last week and convinced myself it was going to kill me. The dr sent me home because I didn't have and neurological symptoms. Today I've cried for at least an hour because I noticed a bruise on my gums which lead me to look in my throat and now I'm afraid I have cancer. I hate this so much. I'm so miserable. I'm scheduling appointment now for oral cancer screening. Last weekend I whipped myself up into such a panicked and frenzied stated my blood pressure and heart rate really were dangerously high. Not due to any underlying disease but solely because of a vicious cycle panic attack over the thought of having a heart attack. I just wish I could find some peace and lead a happy normal life.

I can understand you completely. I too have dizziness very often and whenever something is wrong with my body, it immediately trigger the silly thoughts that I have some disease or sickness. I see doctor very very often to get assurance. I hate this feelings too. I even have anxiety attack when I think that something is wrong with me. The more I think the worst I become. Sometimes I even think that I have hiv, and this thought is killing me that I live in fear and check every symptoms and read every article online to confirm my symptoms and I get blood test every few months to make sure I am ok. I hate this feeling so so much.

You are not alone ! I feel your pain ! I have found reading what other people writes helps me understand it’s all in my head ! Prayers for you ! I suffer with it on a daily

I feel the exact same way not a way to live but ironically we sort about the alternative I dont even like saying the word I am getting therapy and meds just started I pray every night for good health and my family I cry to myself sometimes cause I’m so scared . No one really understands and the pain seems real. I hope for a better 2020

This panic episode is centered around the heart, a favorite of mine in my rotation of health problems I fear. Amongst issues such as having a heart attack, I’m deathly afraid (no pun intended) of being diagnosed with a brain tumor and/ or ALS. Oddly enough, cancers and things of that nature don’t bother me as much since I view cancer as something you can beat and something that, if caught, will not take your life suddenly like some of my other concerns. Between those three major issues, I am living in constant fear of sudden death. It’s exhausting and terrifying and frustrating at the same time. There are days I want to cry, and sometimes do, because I am a prisoner in my own body, and then there are days where I’m so fed up I find myself saying “just kill me already so I can at least be at peace!”, but either way, I am always in a heightened state of panic. Reading through these comments, I can insert my name into just about all of them as so many of my symptoms mirror everyone else’s. This is comforting to a degree, but as you know, there is always a little voice inside your head saying “but you actually DO have a medical issue”, so comfort is fast and fleeting. I wish everyone here peace, calmness, and strength as we all fight big bad health anxiety.

Hi Adi, hope you are feeling better or at least having a better week. I have also developed these stupid symptoms of thinking that if I don't take a nap I can't function and feel dizzy or light-headed and start to panic. Wondering how things are going with for you so far. It's nice to talk to people that feel the same way and knowing we're not alone. I have good and bad days, but I can slowly feel it creeping up:/

Hi there I came across this thread from being desperate to find answers and what you’re experiencing sounds so similar to me! It’s like a motion in your head every now and again that makes you a bit woah and then goes? Did you ever find out if it was anything serious? My ears really ache too and I have dull headaches I’m petrified I have a tumour :(

Hey Adi.
I feel consoled after going through ur post . Believee u have not said anything that I have not experienced. Infact I face them on daily basis .
I am 29 yrs old and suffering from this condition from past 1.5 yrs .
The things u said about feeling weird or unexplained lightheadedness , light continuous pain at the back of head , then vertigo sort of problem are exactly what I feel .
Sometimes the fear shifts from getting a heart attack to brain tumor or stroke.
I am really scared to go to a doctor
I have done 4-5 visits GP nd therapists too .I feel they don't take me seriously.

Can u tell me ..how are u managing this.
It will be if a great help
sidhesh91@gmail.com

Adi, I feel the same way. I have battled with severe anxiety/panic and now, agoraphobia for the past 15 years. I’ve tried everything and feel so hopeless. I can’t drive, I can’t go to the grocery store alone, I constantly lie to my friends and family about being busy or “sick” so I don’t have to be around them. I started getting migraines about a year ago and thought, “here it is, a brain tumor!” The more I think about it, the more it consumes my whole day. I wake up fine, but after 30 “was that a slight sensation in my head, perhaps the start of a headache?” Thoughts, I start to get VERY real headaches! My doc won’t do an mri because I had one 2 years prior and it was clear. Can’t tumors pop up in 2 years time?! I look forward to napping everyday, just so I don’t have to feel this way. One of the worst things is that I feel very, very alone. I’ve never met anyone who suffers like me. I wish there was a group I could meet with, like AA. If anyone here wants to connect, please get in touch

I've convinced myself that if i don't panic about anything and everything (God) that's right God will punish me for not caring!!! I've had some blood in my poo recently and my wife has said it's probably piles however in my head it's prostate cancer without a shadow of a doubt...she said if your really that concernd go and make an appointment with the Doctor....it's irrelevant anyone trying to reassure me i go quite and don't want to talk to anyone even my wife and kid's I'm so lonley when I'm going through this...it's so bad it's ruining my life....even now i see people on here going through the same thing and i still think I'm the only one..definitely need to see a shrink..

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