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Re: Health Anxiety
Oct 1, 2015
[QUOTE=Heather B;5385088]I am having the worst time dealing with health anxiety right now! I am discovering new symptoms almost every week. I feel like I may be dying and it is taking so long to get into the neurologist and rheumatologist that I keep turning to Google for answers. My doctor has done blood work but that's it. He says that everything looks fine, no vitamin or mineral deficiency. He referred me to the neurologist and rheumatologist. My Neuro appt. Is Oct. 14 and rheum isn't until Dec. How it all began.. I had a severe anxiety attack about 3 months ago, out of the blue. Went to the hospital. I started hyperventilating, my heart rate was 168. They completed a CT scan on me to make sure there were no blood clots because I've just recently had an emergency c-section done and run blood tests, everything looked good. The next day I noticed twitching in my side, right at my ribs and in my neck. It soon migrated to my feet, my calves, my eye, my mouth, my nose, my arms... everywhere. Sometimes they are isolated and sometimes they are random. I randomly notice that my heart is pounding and I become short of breath, especially when I'm alone. Over the past month and a half, I've developed leg cramping, warm sensations randomly in my thighs, my left hand feels weak, I feel unstable (lack of balance). I, myself, am completely losing my mind over the fear of a MND. I try not to think about it. I have my moments when I feel okay but also moments when I am on Google, losing it. Lol I will update my post as soon as I get some answers.[/QUOTE]

I have suffered from health anxiety on and off for at least 25 years. Through therapy it was easy to discover how it began since I witnessed my healthy athletic 45 year old father die suddenly at the dinner table of an aneurysm when I was 12, By the time I was 17 I had lost my favorite aunt to breast cancer and when I turned twenty I was diagnosed with cardio myopathy. I spent the next 15 years in and out of the emergency room convinced of heart problems only to be sent home every time with a clean bill of health. Very few doctors wanted to contest my diagnosis of cardio myopathy but they certainly made it clear that their test didn't result in any such findings. Regardless my health anxiety slowly climbed. I spent years pushimg myself physically to the limits only to prove I wouldn't die. This worked until I turned 35. By this time I am Married, kids, stressful job etc.... I finally went back to that same cardiologist and after retesting he simply said "no more myopathy". I was so relieved I didn't even deal with how or why this could be, I didn't hang around to discuss further, I was out of there. 6 months later I quite smoking cigarettes occasionally, I stopped drinking alcohol and decided I could finally live feeling healthy. Free of anxiety.
This was not my reality. I started dealing with a muscle twinge near my left eye that didn't go away for months, when it finally passed I had already been to quest diagnostics for labs of my own. Convinced MS was the culprit. I had some trivial elevations that sent me into a downward spiral of health anxiety that hasn't paused for nearly three years. Since then I have dealt with shortness of breath, lightheadedness, nausea, heartburn, panic attacks that send adrenaline up my spine and my heart rate into the stratisphere. I have called 911 numerous times, I have hired a concierge doctor who is on call 24/7. We have had stool samples, 24 hour urine Samples, stress test, abdominal CT scan, lung function tests, lab work up the wazoo. And it all didn't help one bit. Because there still isn't anything really wrong with me other than low b12. Which doctors traced backed 15 years. More test to reveal that it's only low b12 and nothing else. My symptoms continued. Pour bowel movements, panic daily, rapid heart rate at night, doom and gloom, racing thoughts etc. it wasn't until I removed gluten from my diet via my wives directive, that I started for the first time in 20' years experiencing normal bowel movements daily. I started taking b12 orally and my b12 numbers went from 200's to the 900's!!! Finally we have a positive result from a tangible change and yet my anxiety got worse. Why do I still feel nausea, short of breath or light headed if we've removed the culprit. I have been in a constant state of body scanning health anxiety for so long that I clearly have a trained mind. It's like a record player that has the deepest needle grove from 25 years of constant doom and gloom. Health anxiety is absolutely real and all consuming. I have no expectation that it will go away without the combination of the daily lorazepam I take, the weekly therapy CBT sessions, the deep diaphragm breathing that I do to relax and my families support. I expect that it will take years to retrain my brain how to not catastrohise and or scan my body after every ache or dull passing physical symptom. I want you to know that health anxiety is real, it can control our bodies, make us feel things that turn into daily realities, trick us into thinking the chicken is before the egg. I am learning daily how to deal with this but wanted to add that I have succumb to accepting that health anxiety is real, it is powerful and requires a deep rooted plan of attack to overcome.

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