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Old 07-12-2019, 08:52 AM   #1
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Health Anxiety

Does anyone else here suffer with/from health anxiety? I'm talking constant, 24/7/365 worry about your own health, convinced you have cancer or some other dread disease anytime an odd symptom pops up, etc.

The older I get, the more I think about my own mortality and the more I worry about my health, which I think a lot of people do as they age. But what do you think crosses over the line into complete and total absurdity? I think I've crossed that line and I'm literally driving myself crazy. There are days I don't even want to get out of bed because I'm convinced I probably won't live much longer anyway, so what's the point in participating in life?

Anyone else? I'd like to know I'm not alone

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Old 07-12-2019, 09:30 AM   #2
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At a certain age (different for different people) I imagine that it wouldn't be difficult to think of any new ache or pain to be the one that could bring life to an end..

I believe that the goal (mine anyway) is to understand that life happens and that your body is changing..

At 62 I had heart bypass surgery.. At 65 I was told I have Type 2 diabetes..
I decided to do what I could to be as healthy as possible but, to not dwell on what might take me out.. To live each day to its fullest and to allow my mind to enjoy whatever adventure came next..

I'm 80 now and while each new small change makes me think, I prefer to check it out and to not allow it to bring me down..

We have one life.. Enjoy it..

Ross
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:26 AM   #3
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Best thing I can say is talk to your doctor. I have issues too, maybe not as sever but I'm doing everything I can to address them, and that is mainly talk with my friends (bore them to nausea) and to my doctor.

Just Cooking has the right of it - you have to think positive.

Talk to yourself too! Tell yourself exactly what you are thinking. Say it out loud and if it doesn't sound silly then go see your doctor again. Do whatever you can to relax your nerves, take a pill (ok, not too many!), have a drink (alcoholic or not, but don't become an alcoholic!). I personally took a Tylenol when my brain was overactive and I couldn't stop my thought process. It did help me relax and move on.

Linda, believe me, you're not alone.
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Old 07-12-2019, 10:57 AM   #4
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Linda, I think it's quite possible that this is related to the fact that you're still grieving your husband's death. If I remember correctly, it was unexpected and devastating for you, so it makes sense that you are afraid something similar could happen to you. I think you could benefit from talking to a professional about your fears. Ask your doctor for a referral to a grief counselor. Hugs.
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:09 AM   #5
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Linda, I think it's quite possible that this is related to the fact that you're still grieving your husband's death. If I remember correctly, it was unexpected and devastating for you, so it makes sense that you are afraid something similar could happen to you. I think you could benefit from talking to a professional about your fears. Ask your doctor for a referral to a grief counselor. Hugs.
I think GG has raised an excellent point. (((Hugs)))
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Old 07-12-2019, 11:12 AM   #6
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I'm No Doctor

Linda, I'd suggested you have a frank and open conversation with your doctor about your fears of "cancer or some other dread disease," and the emotional and mental concerns you so articulately described. I'd also suggest you specifically request a mental health referral.

None of us are gonna get out of this alive but you don't need to complicate the matter by living with untreated depression.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:49 PM   #7
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Thank you, everyone. Your words mean a lot to me.

I too believe GG is right. Ever since Matthew passed away (he just turned 50) I've been obsessing over my own health. More than I used to. And what's even scarier for me is just after he passed away from liver cancer, I find out I have fatty liver. There's some irony for ya.

So I keep thinking I'll have the same fate.

I've talked to my doctor - probably so many times she's tired of listening to it - about my thoughts and fears. Naturally, she tells me I have to stop doing this to myself. I take Ativan for anxiety, but it doesn't always make the thoughts go away. I don't sleep well because laying in bed at night is when my brain goes into overtime and I can't shut it off.

I keep trying to remember something I heard once, that 80% of our fears are based on things that will probably never happen. But that doesn't always work. I also think about a quote from a movie I've seen a couple of times called Skeleton Key. And older Southern woman said something that really hit home with me. She said "You think too much about the time you have left, you don't spend it living."

That's for sure. Because my quality of life stinks right now because my brain won't shut the heck up.
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Old 07-12-2019, 12:54 PM   #8
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I just want to live life without constantly thinking that there's no point in doing the things I want to do because I don't have much time left anyway.
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Old 07-12-2019, 01:33 PM   #9
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"You think too much about the time you have left, you don't spend it living."


Wise words.. Might be helpful to type that out on a few cards and put up in a few places in your home..

Ross
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Old 07-12-2019, 02:49 PM   #10
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I've talked to my doctor - probably so many times she's tired of listening to it - about my thoughts and fears. Naturally, she tells me I have to stop doing this to myself. I take Ativan for anxiety, but it doesn't always make the thoughts go away. I don't sleep well because laying in bed at night is when my brain goes into overtime and I can't shut it off.
This is exactly why you want to talk to a mental health professional. Your doctor is not trained to help you redirect your thinking and, as you already know, telling you to just stop doing it is not helpful and it's not working. Trust me, I went through a very traumatic experience several years ago and I'm not sure how I would have managed it without my therapist. Please ask for a referral to one. Hugs.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:00 PM   #11
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Come on Linda, we all are sending you hugs. Just make a call and ask for that referral.
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:05 PM   #12
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I'm so sorry these feeling are still going on for you Linda. I think you mentioned some time ago that you were seeing a therapist? If you haven't improved it's time to see someone else and not give up on getting the help you need. Serenity is there if you're willing to do the work involved. I don't know if you are the praying kind, but if you are, the Serenity Prayer just about says it all.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:44 PM   #13
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"You think too much about the time you have left, you don't spend it living."


Wise words.. Might be helpful to type that out on a few cards and put up in a few places in your home..

Ross
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This is exactly why you want to talk to a mental health professional. Your doctor is not trained to help you redirect your thinking and, as you already know, telling you to just stop doing it is not helpful and it's not working. Trust me, I went through a very traumatic experience several years ago and I'm not sure how I would have managed it without my therapist. Please ask for a referral to one. Hugs.
Both very good ideas. Thank you
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:48 PM   #14
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Come on Linda, we all are sending you hugs. Just make a call and ask for that referral.
You're all probably right. I'm driving myself crazy.

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I'm so sorry these feeling are still going on for you Linda. I think you mentioned some time ago that you were seeing a therapist? If you haven't improved it's time to see someone else and not give up on getting the help you need. Serenity is there if you're willing to do the work involved. I don't know if you are the praying kind, but if you are, the Serenity Prayer just about says it all.
I saw a therapist, yes, but it's been a while. I really really REALLY dislike sitting in a room with a total stranger telling them my problems. But I agree with all of you that I probably do need it.

No, I don't pray. Not religious at all. But I can recite that prayer without even looking it up because my mom was an alcoholic, so my sister and I went to Alanon (I think it was called) for kids of alcoholics and we said that every meeting.
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:49 PM   #15
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Both very good ideas. Thank you
Will you follow through?

I care. If you'd like to communicate privately, please pm me.
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:00 PM   #16
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Will you follow through?

I care. If you'd like to communicate privately, please pm me.
To be honest, I don't know. I won't lie and say "sure, I'll do it" because it's something I have to think about for a while. But I promise to think about it.

Thank you, GG. I appreciate your concern, I truly do. I'm concerned about me too.
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:57 PM   #17
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Thank you, everyone. Your words mean a lot to me.

I too believe GG is right. Ever since Matthew passed away (he just turned 50) I've been obsessing over my own health. More than I used to. And what's even scarier for me is just after he passed away from liver cancer, I find out I have fatty liver. There's some irony for ya.

So I keep thinking I'll have the same fate.

I've talked to my doctor - probably so many times she's tired of listening to it - about my thoughts and fears. Naturally, she tells me I have to stop doing this to myself. I take Ativan for anxiety, but it doesn't always make the thoughts go away. I don't sleep well because laying in bed at night is when my brain goes into overtime and I can't shut it off.

I keep trying to remember something I heard once, that 80% of our fears are based on things that will probably never happen. But that doesn't always work. I also think about a quote from a movie I've seen a couple of times called Skeleton Key. And older Southern woman said something that really hit home with me. She said "You think too much about the time you have left, you don't spend it living."

That's for sure. Because my quality of life stinks right now because my brain won't shut the heck up.
Just a note on the fatty liver. Anyone over 50 is probably going to have some degree of fatty liver, even if they don't drink any alcohol. I have fatty liver. Good thing is, it can be stopped, and even reversed with a healthy diet and regular light exercise. Eat good foods, and go for walks.

I've had three experiences in life that could have killed me. In my thirties, I was riding my SeaDoo, and some moron in a big, go fast boat ran over me. I was found floating in the lake, unconscious. In my forties, I had cancer. And, a few years ago, an upper GI endoscopy went wrong, and I almost bled to death internally. It was scary, but at the same time, it kind of set me free.

Be careful with the Ativan (lorazapan). I have GAD, and have sudden, unexplainable anxiety attacks from time to time. GAD is a brain chemistry imbalance that causes anxiety for no reason. I have a prescription for lorazapan, but 30 1mg tablets will last me six months, or more. Try not to take it more than you have to, because it can create a dependence.

CD
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Old 07-12-2019, 09:30 PM   #18
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Just a note on the fatty liver. Anyone over 50 is probably going to have some degree of fatty liver, even if they don't drink any alcohol. I have fatty liver. Good thing is, it can be stopped, and even reversed with a healthy diet and regular light exercise. Eat good foods, and go for walks.

I've had three experiences in life that could have killed me. In my thirties, I was riding my SeaDoo, and some moron in a big, go fast boat ran over me. I was found floating in the lake, unconscious. In my forties, I had cancer. And, a few years ago, an upper GI endoscopy went wrong, and I almost bled to death internally. It was scary, but at the same time, it kind of set me free.

Be careful with the Ativan (lorazapan). I have GAD, and have sudden, unexplainable anxiety attacks from time to time. GAD is a brain chemistry imbalance that causes anxiety for no reason. I have a prescription for lorazapan, but 30 1mg tablets will last me six months, or more. Try not to take it more than you have to, because it can create a dependence.

CD
Wow. You've had some close calls. If you don't mind me asking, what type of cancer did you have?

I know about the dependency issue with Ativan. I take it as needed. I'm prescribed 1mg tablets, but most of the time I break them in half.
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Old 07-13-2019, 01:03 AM   #19
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Wow. You've had some close calls. If you don't mind me asking, what type of cancer did you have?

I know about the dependency issue with Ativan. I take it as needed. I'm prescribed 1mg tablets, but most of the time I break them in half.
Testicular seminoma. The same one Lance Armstrong had. He waited way too long to seek treatment, so his cancer spread. It is a very fast growing form of cancer.

When I was diagnosed, it was a punch in the face. But, over time, it helped me to not sweat the little stuff.

I am not religious, either. But, one thing I do when something is bothering me when I'm awake at night, which is a little like prayer IMO, is say what's bothering me out loud, as if I am talking to someone who isn't there, so I can hear the thoughts come out my head, and out of my mouth. It sounds weird, but it works for me. Otherwise, the thoughts just bounce around my head. Somehow, if I hear what I'm thinking, I can deal with them better. Give it a try -- maybe it will help you.

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Old 07-13-2019, 03:14 AM   #20
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Linda, I'm sorry that you have this problem that prevents you from living life fully. I can't relate from an anxiety angle, though, since I subscribe mostly to a "well, there ain't much I can do about it" philosophy when it happens to me. I can whine and moan and cry with the best of them about the situation, but I know there isn't much I can do about it. However, over my lifetime I've tried to avoid running into situations that have medically impacted my blood relatives to avoid having that problem happen to me. Just because your dear Matthew had liver problems doesn't mean you have to worry about dying the same way. Manage a lifestyle that addresses the medical issues in your family lineage, then try to relax knowing that you're being pro-active in staying healthy. GG's suggestion for finding a therapist you feel comfortable with is good, too. Some people just need a little more help than others. I wish you success in finding someone who can help you. (hug)

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...And older Southern woman said something that really hit home with me. She said "You think too much about the time you have left, you don't spend it living."....
That is an excellent motto whether one suffers from anxiety, a physical medical condition...or a lack of motivation to just get 'er done. Thanks for sharing her wisdom. I need that virtual kick in my butt.
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