Health Anxiety Spiraling out of Control



New member
Oct 16, 2018
Hello everyone,

This is my first post on this site but unfortunately not my first on an anxiety forum. I'm a 24 year old healthy male (in the military, no tobacco and rarely drink alcohol). This has been a painstaking struggle for a long time and it's always reassuring to be in a community. So a quick history: First experience was in high school with heart worries for a "skipping" heartbeat. I was feeling a bit depressed and anxious at the time and my mother said this kind of palpitation was normal and that she got it sometimes too. I insisted I go to the doctors and they did an EKG, and I guess saw something that they needed to evaluate on an echocardiogram. The results were negative and I was fine, but the worry and trauma I felt has manifested over the years. i have convinced myself that I have every cancer imaginable, from mouth to brain to lymphoma to heart failure, kidney failure etc. Literally everything. Have only gone to the ER one or two times because i mainly feel the panic at night when I'm less likely to drop everything and go to the hospital. I also test a bit high on my physicals for blood pressure but the doctor never seems worried and calls it "white coat syndrome" because my heart rate goes up as soon as he straps it on my arm.

Now for my current issues. Working lately I have been feeling stressed and anxious, with mild headaches that come and go in different parts of my head. Then, the washers and dryers in our barracks were taken out for two weeks while being replaced. I took my laundry to my girlfriend's house to wash there. She added "Downy Unstopables" which smelled great. I did a couple loads of laundry then bought it for myself. I was also using a new deodorant. About a week later I start getting a rash. First on my right armpit, then my left. There were a few red bumps and it chafed and hurt when clothes rubbed or when putting on deodorant. Assuming it was the deodorant, I stopped and switched to my old stuff. I then got a red rash on my lower right nipple and yet another bump, very painful considering I wear a ballistic vest every day. I googled the Downy product and realized many people were having reactions, but since I didn't find the EXACT rash I was looking for, I thought the worst and that it may be something else. With antihistamines and rewashing all my stuff the rashes faded, but the red bumps on my right armpit are back. Perhaps from not rewashing my clothes long enough. HOWEVER since all this has started I have catastrophized. Bumps on my armpits? Obviously the lymph nodes indicating serious disease! The rash on my nipple is still gone but it is still a tad firm and discolored. What does that mean? Breast Cancer of course! Yes you heard that right. I, a 24 year old male, have convinced myself I am dying of breast cancer.The past few days I have had awful panic attacks about it at night, then at work I'm too tired to function and can't help but to fall asleep, and then when I wake up I repeat the panic attacks. I feel like as a seemingly healthy 24 year old, my body is falling apart. It may be an illusion but it feels so real and I don't know how to live like this anymore. Common sense tells me I got rashes in these areas because that's where sweat/rubbing takes place but I have convinced myself that because there were bumps involved it's cancer.

I don't know where to go from here. In the military there is a degree of stigma that comes with seeking mental help. But my panic attacks are so bad that it feels like I'm dying every night. I'd love to hear some words of wisdom from others suffering.

Thank you so much


New member
Oct 21, 2018
Hi there, I feel your pain. My health related anxiety is getting progressively worse. Never got to stage of real panic attacks before but had a bad one tonight. Called an ambulance who came out and said all my obs were completely normal. Literally felt like I was having a heart attack, felt like I was going to collapse. Hot flush/light headed tingling in both forearms and face.

I've worried about cancer for years, as per your story everything is something despite continual trips to doctor whom tell me everything is fine.

It's very tiring. Each time I feel like this though I imagine getting a little bit better as it's another horrible feeling that doesn't result in death to tick of my list.
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