• Hi. It’s great to see you. Welcome!

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life. Amongst our membership there is a wealth of expertise that has been developed through having to deal with mental health issues.

    We are an actively moderated forum with a team of experienced moderators. We also have a specialist safety team that works extra hard to keep the forum safe for visitors and members.

    Register now to access many more features and forums!

Horrible health anxiety

S

Sg3

New member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
3
Location
NM
I’m really struggling today. Had a good day yesterday with minimal symptoms. Today the tingling in my right foot/left hand has returned with a vengeance, I think I’m feeling stiffness/weakness in my left arm but I’m still able to able to do everything I need to do, my back is stiff, I’m worried about my vision. Man, this is a struggle.
My doctor told me everytime the anxiety kicks in to go for a run. have you tried working out?
 
M

Marianda

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
302
Location
South America
I struggle with health anxiety. I have experienced in my mind the ugliest diseases you may think about. I start feeling the symptoms, then i gooogle the disease and read all what i can find about it and my world starts falling apart. I hate this!!!
 
A

Anxious Amanda

New member
Joined
Jan 31, 2020
Messages
4
Location
USA
I can really relate to everyone here. I have suffered with health anxiety for the past 7 years and general anxiety for much longer. Usually I have focused on heart issues, strokes, etc as I have high cholesterol genetically. But I am in the midst of a terrible experience right now that has me completely out of control. At the beginning of this month I had noticed my vision going a little hazy on and off and I had been experiencing tingling and numbness in my arm, leg, and face for a few months. I went to immediate care and they did blood work which came back normal and then sent me for a CT scan at the main hospital. I was proud of myself for keeping pretty calm through this. Then the doctor called after waiting about an hour in the waiting room at the hospital and told me that there were spots on my brain indicative of MS. Naturally I freaked out, sobbing while my husband tried to calm me down. This was a Friday at 5 pm so I spent the weekend trying to come to terms with this diagnosis. Monday I then was sent for an MRI by my primary care doctor who was also convinced I had MS. The MRI came back normal and no one really knew what to think of that. I still followed up with an ophthalmologist who did not see evidence of optic neuritis and a neurologist who felt that my original ct scan was grossly over read and did not see evidence of MS in either the ct or MRI. So I’m supposed to be happy now right? Wrong because I am still having these symptoms, I am dizzy, my eyesight is weird, I’m tingling, etc. Then a few days ago, I start with this small twitch in my left pinky toe that happens every so often and does not hurt. I started freaking out because I have been told I do not have MS (which I only partially believe..) but if it isn’t that what is it? And of course the muscle twitch in my toe is enough to set me off down a spiral of ALS. I had a Nerve Conduction/EMG Test today, mostly to see if I had a pinched nerve or anything, but the doctor assured me as well that I do not have ALS and he still does not believe I have MS. I want to believe this.. but I keep thinking, what if it’s just too early to detect the issues? I am still freaking out and I cannot relax. I have never been in this bad of shape with my prior health anxiety... I am on the verge of a mental breakdown still trying to go to work and live my life somehow. I am so scared and all I can do every time I feel this twitch and tingling I just imagine myself on a ventilator 3 years from now and go into full on panic with vomiting, sobbing, etc. I know that this extreme stress I am feeling could be contributing to these twitches and dizziness.. but it has always been so hard for me to truly believe anxiety can manifest so physically. I really need help and don’t know where to turn...
 
L

Laudanum

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
210
Location
Surrey
I'm worried I'll have a heart attack if I go for a run, LOL.
 
R

RoxRacingMind

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Miami
First of all, thank you for sharing. I really mean it when I say I can truly empathise with what your going through, I am just sorry that you have endured this experience on and off for so many years.

I'm really hoping that the right support and medication will get me back to my 'normal self', which I long to have back.

I hope sharing my thoughts and experiences will provide you with some comfort and reassurance that your not alone.

I too have been living with health anxiety, which begun in May this year. I'm thinking it stemmed from when I was away on a business trip. I was stopping in a hotel room alone but was with colleagues; so plenty of opportunity to socialise and be distracted.
Sadly, while I was away I found out some shocking news about the care service abuse scandal, which many would have seen on BBC panorama. As a Learning Disability Nurse, my heart sank, following on from Winterbourne View, Staffs Hospital and many more - I was saddened knowing that more vulnerable adults had been let down again. The publicity of this went viral, which made it more difficult, as I was attending Nursing Congress - which highlighted the scandal through debate and discussion; something I found extremely emotional.

The following evening, I received the devastating news that a loved one was victim of this abuse, which was heartbreaking. I believe this was the start of my battles with anxiety.
That evening, I experienced a panic attack. I was restless, clammy, nauseas, unsettled tummy, palpitating heart. After trying lying on floor, breathing techniques, sitting in the hotel reception, outside, inside again. I went back to my room and the loneliness exasperated it further, I didn't see an out from it - all I could think about was being on the front of the newspaper the following day 'Newly Qualified nurse found dead in Liverpool Hotel'. I tried so hard to calm myself down, and allow my mind calmed by symptoms didn't which influenced my thoughts towards 'somethings wrong'. I lay in the dark with extreme shakes to the point my bed was moving - I've never experienced anything like it, I felt like I was possessed.

I 'survived' the night, and fell asleep through exhaustion. The following morning I felt really emotional, tierd and found myself being focussed on my chest. This was the beginning of timing, watching, feeling for my pulse. My heart rate felt steady/in range but strong, like it was going to burst out my chest. I tried to speak to others but I didn't feel comfortable enough to truly share what I had been through the night before, so it continued for the remainder of the trip.

I had been so excited for so long about my business trip and the weekend to follow, as I was meeting my best friends to attend a festival, something I LOVE! However, I ended up not eating, hyperventilating and feeling like I was going to die.
Ongoing thoughts during this time and continue are...
'Something bad is going to happen'
'This is it, this is my final day'
'I need an ambulance'
'I'm going to collapse'
'I'm going to have a heart attack'
'I don't care about anything anymore'

All of the above continued throughout events and milestones which I would usually jump for joy at. I have always been sociable, independent, outgoing, adventurous, travelled and lived overseas alone - yet despite my family, friends and partner being there, I had never ever felt so lost and alone. I felt disappointed - that I should be excited that I'm going to Greece, London, France, that it was my birthday. I loved my job, my role and felt my work was the only peace I found, despite the demand, responsibility and complexity of cases, I have as a nurse.

The list is to long to write but my self diagnosis through google, become out of hand; one week I had breast cancer - rationalise; sore boobs from hormones, the next MS - tension, aching muscles, tremors - rationalise; yet still can run 5k and go to netball and yoga without getting tired...though I still had so many symptoms, as you say 'how can something not be wrong, what if they've missed something!'.

My symptoms throughout a day/week (not all at one once) consist of:
Heartburn
Headaches
Upset tummy
Nausea
Pins and needles in arms
Strong heart beat which I can feel at rest and when lying down
Muscle spasms
Tight throat
Irregular breathing despite 'normal respiration range'
Hot flushes
Shakes/Tremours

I have been to the doctors 5 times, as well as an A&E trip; each time a different conclusion but no explanation to how I was feeling -
Start CBT, try Propranolol - did but made me feel worse, try relaxing, yoga, meditation, a sports massage, lets take bloods for everything, clotting, bleeding, inflammation - clear x100times, lets do an ECG/24 hour tape - clear with 'normal' irregular heartbeats, why don't you try Sertroline…

Anti-depressants was something I have always been completely against, never got it - not as a nurse but as I an individual. I always thought before, you can solve it yourself, surly it's not that hard! - but maybe nothing significant had happened to me before, for that I am extremely lucky, but now it had.

The acceptance of trying/needing medication to help me cope hasn't been an 'easy pill to swallow' (excuse the pun). I felt it symbolised failure; how can I be a 'good nurse' if I can only cope with medication that will alter my anxiety/stress levels. How can I talk to people about feel anxious or in crisis when I'm going home and feeling the same. Then one day, my wonderful nursing colleague said to me 'if you had something wrong with your kidneys or stomach, what would you do?' and of course my answer was 'accept treatment/take medication to make it better', she went on and said 'well why is it any different, we shouldn't feel ashamed if we need to take a small tablet each day to make our mind better'.

As I sit here writing this, (my heart continues to feel like its about to explode - no trigger, but I'm starting to accept that it's probably a symptom of my mind) but I am five days into taking Sertroline..I'm not sure what the next few weeks hold - it hasn't made me feel different, sleepy or unwell, occasional nausea but that could be anything..but I am hoping that even for a short time it will get me back to my 'normal self'; who's calm, content and loves nothing more than having 'me time' in my house, surrounded by candles, drinking a glass of red and watching Ru Paul's Drag Race without feeling like I need a paramedic! Instead of the frightened, tense, reliant person my anxiety as forced me to be.

I hope this helps...I more than happy to talk about my experience, I have found talking to the best medicine yet.

Thank you :)
I understand you completely. For the past month I have been in such high anxiety with almost every other day thinking I was having a heart attack. Thinking today is the day.
I actually had another episode today. I was sitting at work entering my data when I began to feel off. It was this heat that started to spread throughout my whole body. Was feeling dizzy and palpitations. My heart rate climbed to 150 and I had to try to talk myself out of it. I’ve had cardiac work up done and thinks looked pretty normal. I was told to go out and live a normal life. Yet, I’m struggling to get back to myself. I don’t want to be alone, even stopping the purchase of my own home and moved back in with my parents. I haven’t been able to go out with my friends in over a month. Even stopped seeing the guy I was talking to before this all started.
I‘m seeing a therapist who has been helping with nonmedicine approaches but I had to see a psychiatrist because the anxiety and possible attacks have started to interfere with my day to day life. She placed me on the same medication as you as well as clonazepam for emergency situations. I’m on day 3 and I don’t feel any different. I know I was told it would take about a week to start feeling anything but I’m hoping this starts to help me cope with whatever is going on with me.
 
R

RoxRacingMind

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Miami
I'm worried I'll have a heart attack if I go for a run, LOL.
I understand you! I feel the same. I haven’t even gone for a walk nor been able to be intimate with my partner since all this has happened. The cardiologist cleared me but I still can’t help to think that there is still something wrong they missed.
 
L

Laudanum

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
210
Location
Surrey
I understand you! I feel the same. I haven’t even gone for a walk nor been able to be intimate with my partner since all this has happened. The cardiologist cleared me but I still can’t help to think that there is still something wrong they missed.
I can empathise. I have walked a lot since then, even been to festivals, but daren't run. I think I will try 10 seconds then 20 seconds etc. Apparently exercise is good for the heart even if it does have something wrong with it. It's only over-exertion that's a problem.
 
R

RoxRacingMind

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2020
Messages
8
Location
Miami
I can empathise. I have walked a lot since then, even been to festivals, but daren't run. I think I will try 10 seconds then 20 seconds etc. Apparently exercise is good for the heart even if it does have something wrong with it. It's only over-exertion that's a problem.
You’re right. Exercise is suppose to be good. I think I’m going to start with walking around the block a few times before I make it back to the gym.
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
24
Location
UK
I can really relate to everyone here. I have suffered with health anxiety for the past 7 years and general anxiety for much longer. Usually I have focused on heart issues, strokes, etc as I have high cholesterol genetically. But I am in the midst of a terrible experience right now that has me completely out of control. At the beginning of this month I had noticed my vision going a little hazy on and off and I had been experiencing tingling and numbness in my arm, leg, and face for a few months. I went to immediate care and they did blood work which came back normal and then sent me for a CT scan at the main hospital. I was proud of myself for keeping pretty calm through this. Then the doctor called after waiting about an hour in the waiting room at the hospital and told me that there were spots on my brain indicative of MS. Naturally I freaked out, sobbing while my husband tried to calm me down. This was a Friday at 5 pm so I spent the weekend trying to come to terms with this diagnosis. Monday I then was sent for an MRI by my primary care doctor who was also convinced I had MS. The MRI came back normal and no one really knew what to think of that. I still followed up with an ophthalmologist who did not see evidence of optic neuritis and a neurologist who felt that my original ct scan was grossly over read and did not see evidence of MS in either the ct or MRI. So I’m supposed to be happy now right? Wrong because I am still having these symptoms, I am dizzy, my eyesight is weird, I’m tingling, etc. Then a few days ago, I start with this small twitch in my left pinky toe that happens every so often and does not hurt. I started freaking out because I have been told I do not have MS (which I only partially believe..) but if it isn’t that what is it? And of course the muscle twitch in my toe is enough to set me off down a spiral of ALS. I had a Nerve Conduction/EMG Test today, mostly to see if I had a pinched nerve or anything, but the doctor assured me as well that I do not have ALS and he still does not believe I have MS. I want to believe this.. but I keep thinking, what if it’s just too early to detect the issues? I am still freaking out and I cannot relax. I have never been in this bad of shape with my prior health anxiety... I am on the verge of a mental breakdown still trying to go to work and live my life somehow. I am so scared and all I can do every time I feel this twitch and tingling I just imagine myself on a ventilator 3 years from now and go into full on panic with vomiting, sobbing, etc. I know that this extreme stress I am feeling could be contributing to these twitches and dizziness.. but it has always been so hard for me to truly believe anxiety can manifest so physically. I really need help and don’t know where to turn...

Hi Amanda. I’m so sorry to hear of this experience you’re going through. It sounds truly awful and I can imagine I would be feeling the same way as you if I was in your situation.

Although it can be hard sometimes, when we suffer with health anxiety, we really should take the advice of the experts. What you were told originally is obviously not helping, but a neurologist has reviewed both your scans and concluded that’s you do not have MS. That is something to be celebrated.

I’m no expert, but I believe a lumbar puncture is usually also needed for confirmation of MS. Perhaps you could ask if your neurologist feel safe this is warranted? Perhaps you could ask them or an explanation as to why he does not think this isn’t MS, and some advice on what’s may be causing your symptoms?

My thoughts are with you at this difficult time and I hope you find a way through it.

Best wishes, R.
 
L

Laudanum

Well-known member
Joined
May 30, 2019
Messages
210
Location
Surrey
You’re right. Exercise is suppose to be good. I think I’m going to start with walking around the block a few times before I make it back to the gym.
Indeed. When someone has had a heart attack, for example, they do cardiac rehab (exercise). Good luck.
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
24
Location
UK
Hi,

I know exactly what you're going through. I have epilepsy and a family history of hypothyroidism, and my health anxiety pressures my thoughts into those unhealthy ways all the time. It's hard to even find a break from the mental exhaustion (and I'm only in my 20s!)

I present with symptoms for hypothyroidism when my life gets really stressful (recent loss of close family member) and every time I do I think "This is it" or "it gets worse every time". It's completely destroyed my work-life balance and now I'm just a part-timer who still has trouble finding appointments (UK based, the NHS is in a lot trouble). As soon as I go see a doctor about one thing, my mind starts focusing on another. If it's not my heart I'm worried about, it's the epilepsy. If it's not that it's the hypothyroidism. It just never ends!

The trick is to always stay on top of it, and never let your thoughts run rampant, especially when you're alone. It's hard having health anxiety as I'm sure you're well aware. But it seems that it never truly goes away. I don't really have any other advice, I've been reading up on the topic for two years and I'm still suffering. But if I find anything that works, I'll let you know!

All the best,
Pale

Thanks for the reply Pale, much appreciated.

I can totally relate to that point of being on your own, and that being the most important time to not let your thoughts run rampant. I'm on here today as I'm feeling a resurgence of my anxiety and am looking for some reassurance, and your advice has rung true. I'm just going to reply to a few more comments, and then will leave the forum for the day.
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
24
Location
UK
Have you ever heard of somatic delusions? The belief that you have a cronic condition, illness or something life threatening, when the medical tests are normal. Not saying your delusional but you may want to talk to your pych doc.

Hi Nate,

Totally! I actually hope that this is what I'm suffering from rather than the alternative. I think I have also been guilty of this in the past and was amazed then when my test results came back negative. I've referred myself for some CBT in my local area and am just trying to find an appointment time that works for me.
 
R

RunnerBean

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2019
Messages
24
Location
UK
My doctor told me everytime the anxiety kicks in to go for a run. have you tried working out?

Hi SG,

Thanks for the reply.
Yeah, I'm a regular runner. Years ago in my 20s when I really starting experiencing this anxiety for the first time, I went to see my doctor who suggested exercise as a way to combat it. I started running then and have become quite addicted to it over the years. At the moment, it's a struggle to get out the house, but I'm still doing almost all of the runs for a half marathon I have coming up.
 
S

Spectator

Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2020
Messages
7
Location
United States
Not long ago I felt this extremely sharp pain in my spleen area whenever I moved slightly. I was terrified that my spleen was enlarged and was going to burst and kill me. A few days and some Tylenol later I was fine. Whenever my throat gets sore I look in the mirror and shine a flashlight in my mouth. I then convince myself that my tonsils are swollen and I have strep or tonsillitis. One time I randomly had vertigo for a few seconds and later in the week my ears felt clogged. I was convinced I had some sort of serious ear problem.
 
Top