Health anxiety...?

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Spugnucket
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/17/2017 10:43 PM (GMT -7)   
First off, some facts about me: I am a 24 y/o single male, 5’ 7”, and around 220 lbs. I’ve been overweight since high school, and kept gaining throughout college. Good news is I just lost about 20 lbs in a couple months this summer (calorie counting works!), and intend to keep losing more until I’ve achieved my goal. When I was in high school, I was diagnosed w/ anxiety/depression/OCD and put on Fluoxetine (Prozac?). I wound up with 50 mg, and took this med faithfully for several years. However, I just sort of cold-turkey stopped taking it sometime later in college—not smart, I know—because I thought I was all better. Evidently not, as I’m still finding myself anxious about a lot. But that’s a whole other topic.

Anyways, I tend to freak out a lot about my health, especially recently. Earlier this summer I had an incident where I went out drinking (don’t usually do that) with a former teacher of mine and a fellow student, and somehow or another one side of my upper lip wound up feeling out of sorts/tingly/numb. Of course I feared something awful, and went on a big Internet quest of self-diagnosis. And naturally, every result I found was something horrific. I even had at least one HORRIBLE panic, possibly one of the worst I've ever had, as a result of me worrying about this.

The weird feeling in my lip ended up lasting for about a week, though it eventually seemed to go away on its own (and I noticed it less the less I thought about it). Eventually, I just wasn't noticing it anymore. I to this day question whether it was actually even there for that long, or whether I was imagining it after some point; just last night a friend (the fellow student) reminded me about the whole situation, and it instantly got me feeling like my lip was still messed up. I suddenly became exceptionally aware of my lip and how it felt, and I had a brief (who am I kidding, it’s still going on) freakout that maybe the lip never got back to normal and I just got used to the weird feeling.

I am always feeling random little pains in my chest and whatnot, thinking that I have a very serious condition. Sometimes I go to bed at night wondering if I’ll even wake up the next morning, for no particular reason. Heck, sorry for TMI but sometimes I can’t even ********* without worrying that my orgasm will somehow trigger a heart attack or some big problem that ends up killing me! It just gets to be a ridiculous level of worry. I live alone in an apt in NYC (just got my Master's in May, and currently starting to freelance as a musician); my family is back in FL where I was born and raised, and I’m constantly worrying that something horrible will happen to me up here and no one will be around for me.

Speaking of FL, last week I just so happened to be visiting home in FL when Hurricane Irma decided to head right for where my family lives. Had been feeling some chest pains this summer and went to the doc to ask about them; the nurse took my blood pressure and asked “Is your blood pressure usually high?” or something to that effect—which totally freaked me out, as I’ve never had blood pressure issues before. One second later, though, she said it was probably just me being stressed about the impending hurricane. But still, even a statement like that made me fear for the worst.

If I recall correctly, the "symptoms" all started the night before I flew back to NYC; I was lying in bed at night, and my right index fingertip started to have a throbbing pain, not unlike the pain you feel after getting your finger pricked at the doc. This freaked me out, though I did manage to get some sleep. It should be noted that earlier that day, I helped my dad
de-board the house (lifting and carrying a lot of heavy wooden boards and planks) since the hurricane had passed.

The next day, when I was still feeling the pain, I started to worry, and began searching all over the Internet to see what could possibly be causing it. Of course I read about diabetes, MS, AIDS, and other conditions (at least one middle-aged uncle of mine has diabetes/neuropathy, and my grandmother has at least neuropathy) which scares me to death; I'm only 24 years old, after all. Perhaps it was me reading about all these other symptoms, but sure enough throughout the day and the following few days I've started experiencing a ton of these symptoms I've read about.

Various symptoms I’ve had show up in the last few days include: visibly pulsating biceps, pulsing in the side of my head, tingling forehead, pulsating/beating eyes, ache/pain in toes, ache/pain in fingers/hand, pain in random spots on my arms/legs, chest pain, cloudy/weird vision in one eye. All of these symptoms have typically lasted for only a few seconds to a couple minutes at a time.

The real kicker is that apparently basically all these symptoms can be caused by... stress/anxiety! And in all fairness, I suppose the likelihood of me suddenly developing some big disease—let alone just a month after I previously had a health-freakout, regarding my lip (...unless that was a symptom of this disease too... OK I'll stop) is kind of low. My parents both seem to think I'm just getting myself all worked up over nothing, that I'm probably fine, and that I need to stop looking online and self-diagnosing myself. They are of the opinion that everyone gets aches and pains, and that I should find something to keep myself so then I won't have as much time to sit around and start either imagining symptoms or obsessing about symptoms that are potentially (and maybe even likely) benign/not too unusual. And they also think that me lifting and carrying all those heavy wooden boards, is the most likely cause of the initial pain in my finger(s).

Is it possible I'm imagining this stuff? Or is it possible my brain is MAKING these pains/aches, kind of like how when someone tells you not to think of something, you immediately start thinking of it? For instance, the other night I was watching a YouTube video, and one commenter pointed out that a guy in the video blinks over 60 times in 30 seconds. Naturally, I immediately became overwhelmingly conscious of every single blink of my own, for the next minute or two. Or like how yesterday, right when I thought "Hm, I haven't had any of that finger pain yet today!", almost as if on cue, I started having finger pain.

Last night I noticed my eyes (eyelids?) pulsing/beating a fair amount... But I think earlier in the day I had had it happen *once* and read about it and started to worry. I guess the big thing I should also point out is though it's possible I'm creating these symptoms on my own or am hyper-aware because I'm currently worried sick, they don't ONLY occur when I think of them. So for instance, yesterday I could just be sitting around doing any random thing, and then one of the symptoms would pop up. Not sure whether or not in order for the symptoms to be a result of anxiety/your own mind, you have to be actively thinking of them, or if they can happen as a result of subconscious worry?

I'm just worried sick. I keep telling myself that I'm probably either causing the symptoms/making them worse with my worry, but then ANOTHER symptom that I read about, happens, and that derails me all over again. I'd like to think that this is just another case of me blowing things waaay out of proportion; for instance, I just hung out with a friend, and I was hardly thinking about this whole thing during those several hours.

And for what it's worth, I also wonder if maybe the stress of being in the path of a hurricane with not enough time to escape (it was supposed to hit the complete opposite side of the state—then at the last minute shifted so that we were going to be directly in its path), was the catalyst for all of this. Up until it got downgraded to a Category 2 mere hours from reaching us, I was legitimately fearing that I was going to die. Cannot remember another time that I (or my family for that matter) was that scared for my life. In fact, the night before the hurricane, while we were getting ready, I started feeling all sorts of weird symptoms and couldn't help but freak out that I was about to have a heart attack or something and die, thus burdening my family with even more than just worrying for their own safety from the hurricane.

So, I guess you could say that I'm a bit of a worry wart, especially as of late. But still, I can't help but worry. Sorry for the long message; thank you for reading.

Post Edited (Spugnucket) : 9/18/2017 10:16:14 AM (GMT-6)


Hibee
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 7065
   Posted 9/18/2017 1:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi

First of all welcome to the forum you will find good support here from others who can relate to what you are going through.

It does sound like you are suffering with health anxiety which can really take over your life if left untreated so I would suggest that your first port of call is with your doctor . They will probably run some test to rule out other conditions which will also put your mind at rest. The main thing to remember with health anxiety is to not google your symptoms as this will only make your anxiety 100 x worse as anxiety is very good at mimicking other conditions.

In the meantime have a look at our resources for some good links to self help sites on the web and continue to post here so we can help support you.

Hibee
I try not to worry about the future -- so I take each day just one anxiety attack at a time.

ANXIETY & PANIC FORUM MODERATOR

Diagnosed with:- Asperger's Syndrome, Dyslexia, GAD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Health Anxiety, OCD, Depression and Scheuermann's Disease (Adult)

Medications:- 60mg Prozac, Olanzapine 10mg, Dihydrocodeine 180mg per day

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27116
   Posted 9/18/2017 8:19 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi SN and welcome!

I am sorry to hear that you are dealing with anxiety and physical symptoms...we know what a challenge this is!

I second Hibee's advice of making a consultation appointment with your doctor to discuss your treatment options. Most people find that a combination of medication and therapy is one that helps them the most with anxiety management.

...and YES! Be sure to visit our Resources at the top of the main forum page here for great self help material. We have links specifically for heath anxiety that will help. Practicing the suggested exercises daily will make a difference in how you feel.

Keep posting for sharing and encouragement. smile

Scaredy Cat
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Spugnucket
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/21/2017 10:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you both for your responses. I don't have a doctor yet up here in NYC; may be good for me to look around for one sooner or later.

Since my initial post, I had a couple days where things seemed for the most part better... Came to the conclusion that I was probably just imagining things. Been counting calories the past few days, drinking only diet soda and water.

And then tonight I went out to eat with a friend. Drank some iced tea with only 3 packs of sugar (should be noted I also had caesar salad and cheese ravioli), and towards the end of the meal/since then I've experienced some throbbing pain in fingers (mostly my left index), and not sure if real or not, but I thought in a few toes as well. Currently obsessing over whether or not my left index fingertip feels clammy/weird. :/ I'm only 24 years old; I'm hoping this is just my anxiety acting up. I just feel really worried/nervous. sad I don't want to have diabetes or something.

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27116
   Posted 9/22/2017 8:27 AM (GMT -7)   
S.,

Of course only your doctor can say for sure... (so do find one and make an appointment as soon as possible)

...what you describe sounds like it could be paresthesia, caused by anxious/overbreathing.

Practicing breathing exercises several times a day will help. See our Resources at the top of the main forum page here for more information and instructions.

Keep us updated, and we'll keep you in support!

S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

Spugnucket
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2017
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/22/2017 10:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks a lot. Looking for a doctor; definitely think it would be good to go see one soon. And thanks; breathing exercises sound look a good idea.
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