Support for Health Anxiety/Hypochondria Sufferers
I posted here around this time last year, and now I'm having the same problem again. I felt pain by the bump in my head, around my left ear, and I freaked out. I've noticed a bump on my left side since around November of 2007, when I was feeling around my head for swollen lymph nodes, as I had mono then. I had panic attacks over it last year, which subsided after a lot of issues happened and my depression came back. I started worrying about it again when I had a bad headache back in the end of November, where I felt like the area around my left temple and eye was about to explode. My head hurts sometimes, usually after I've been outside, and while my parents brushed it off as the cold, I'm scared it really was a brain tumor I had and that I shouldn't have believed it was anxiety.
Now that bump hurt today, I feel pains in different places on my head, mostly on the left but the right as well, short pains but enough to freak me out. I feel like I'm forgetting things, like I'll think about something I want to look up online or say to someone, but I end up doing something else, one minute later I forget what I was going to look up and have to think about it before I remember. I noticed this a lot more now and it scares me. Also, I'm again back to feeling fuzzy when I wake up, like I'm still half in my dreams and my thoughts go all over the place, and I feel like I'm going insane. I check the mirror to see if my pupils are even, and I keep thinking my left is smaller than my right, but I can't tell for certain. My left ear feels clogged, like it's about to pop when I wake up.
I know I'm a hypochondriac because early in December, I cut my hand on a friend's car door handle, and I was freaking out thinking I would get tetanus. Then I was sick to my stomach last week and freaked out that something was wrong with my digestive system. But during the past two months, all I've been thinking was that I had a brain tumor and the pain I felt in my head today freaked me out. I feel like I can't talk to anyone, because my parents tell me to stop bothering and stressing them out, and they just really do their own thing. I can't talk to my boyfriend about it because my anxiety last year was part of what broke us up. Actually, it was right after I was having bad panic attacks that he broke up with me, and I stopped thinking about the brain tumor because of that. I can't bring it up with him because I'm terrified of losing him.
I'm scared to go to the doctor because I'm terrified it really is a tumor and there's no hope for me, that it grew so much and that I'm going to die soon. I keep thinking I have hardly any time left, and there's no point in continuing school, and that every happy time with my friends could be one of the last. I'm so scared of my life changing and losing my mind. Unlike last time, I haven't spoken about this to anyone outside my family or gone online to WebMD or anything, but the thought is still there. I just feel so afraid that I'm really, truly sick, and that a brain tumor is causing the head pain, depression, and everything else.
Brain tumor scare. I don't even know if I need to decribe anything else. I can say that I feel like part of my head is bigger than another part. I'm aware our bodies are assymmetrical, but ugh, I swear this one ... spot on the back of my head is bigger than the corresponding area on the left side. It's between that "dip" or "curve" in the back and my right area; that area feels more raised than it should be, especially compared to the left side. I've had this worry before, and I've had it for a while...so I guess people would say I can't possibly have it because I haven't exhibited any new or worse symptoms, but I don't know...
Sometimes my memory isn't up to par, and I seem to make more errors in typing and writing these days. Occasionally I also get blips in my reading. Today I noticed I kept losing balance, mostly confined to my left side/leg/foot. It's scaring me because, well, if it's the right side of the brain, obviously it'd be causing issues to the left side of the body. (Then again, I recently noticed my right arm wasn't doing so well, and that my left was doing better?)
Ugh, I don't know. Now that I have health insurance, I'm tempted to go make an appointment with some doctor...to make my primary physician and get a full check-out done. I haven't had one in years and years, and although I have to pay the deductibles, which rapes my paychecks (seriously—I only work part-time, being a college student, and pay's only $8.50/hr before deductions are all taken out), it might be worth the peace of mind. I've had my boyfriend feel around on my head, and he tells me my head feels normal. I've also done plenty of self checks, and sometimes that spot does feel bigger, but sometimes it doesn't?
Uuuuuuuuuuugh. I feel so fljasljfs;aljsdlj ask sjl. I hate this. It's freaking me out. It's causing me much more stress than I need.
I honestly think that television adverts in the US are a big cause of my hypochondria. I was running in the gym, watching a trashy cheerleader-movie, feeling quite good about life, when it changes to a commercial and a man wreathed in smoke talks about a woman who had a stomach ache and died of pancreatic cancer three months later. The advert was trying to drum up funds for a cure, and so I felt guilty about being so angry at it, but . . . REALLY, don't they know what adverts like that do to people like me? Don't they know the hours of anxiety and fear that they cause?
Fortunately, I have none of the risk factors and none of the symptoms, so I'm not worried about it any longer, but still . . . !
Sun, Oct. 12th, 2008, 08:35 am
So I created this account for the purpose of posting here, because I think I've been a hypochondriac in hiding for years and it's now starting to come out in full-force, and I'm so glad there's a forum where people can discuss it. I've always been the person who flips out over silly things - I thought I was pregnant even though all I'd never had actual sex (only everything but), stuff like that.
But now...I just started medical school, and I see these patients at least once a week with terrible illnesses, cancer and autoimmune disease and whatnot. I keep trying to tell myself that I'm in a hospital, which is basically a concentrated area of rarre medical cases, and that these things aren't as common as they seem, but it's hard to infuse yourself with logic when you're a hypochondriac (as many of you know).
I'm seeing a doctor for this next week, because I can't take the anxiety anymore, but I needed to vent it out for the time being because it's getting in the way; I can't study properly or focus because of it. So here it is:
Around May or so of this year, I got a sinus infection. After it went away, I was left with this one little lymph node in my throat, as well as an even tinier one under my jaw. Both were very mobile and less than an inch (which are considered "normal" for lymph nodes), so I guess I wasn't worried about it. They then stayed on for a few months, and still I didn't pay much attention. But for some reason, once school started, I started getting more and more obsessed with my little lymph node friends. They would stay around the same size and were still mobile, but I kept thinking of whether it could be something else.
The bomb really hit when I got a cold early this month/late last month. Of course, my lymph nodes swelled in response, and it was all very normal. But now, for some reason, I keep wanting to google every little thing that goes on with me and see if it's related to persistent lymph nodes or swollen lymph nodes. At this point, all the lymph nodes are of normal size, move around fine, all those things, and yet I'm STILL convinced it could be worse! Oh, I should also mention that I've had congestion in my right ear (like I keep having to pop it by yawning or opening my mouth) for a few months; my mom (a doctor) kept telling me that was because of sinuses but I keep thinking it's some random frightening cause, like a tumor or something. I'm also convinced that when I push down on the cartilage in my throat, it hurts; my mom's response: you're pushing on it, of COURSE it's going to hurt! Haha. And finally, I have had trouble swallowing tiny particles and pills ONLY, they get stuck in my throat and I have to keep drinking water to push them down. I never remembered having that trouble with pills before, but it could be a new symptom, which worries me. My mom, again, said I have nothing to worry about, and it's probably because of my reflux and a slight inflammation of my esophagus, but hey, it could be something terrible like cancer, right?
Yesterday I hit a low - I couldn't stop crying for most of the morning. I was convinced I had acute myelogenous leukemia, or some kind of rare disease. I was so freaked out, I couldn't focus. I realize that this is getting in the way of my life and I'm planning on getting the physical aspect of it checked out mid next week, and then the psychological parts of it right afterward. I know that I have to stop worrying - these symptoms don't seem that bad and I don't have a lot of the other things that people with cancer get, like constant fatigue, night sweats, major weight loss. But I get so scared when that cartilage in my throat hurts a little, or right now that one side of the bone in my jaw feels a little sore. I'm terrified I have some kind of cancer of the head and neck and it's spreading...it's a paralyzing fear, and it doesn't help that everyone I know just keeps saying I'm crazy. My boyfriend won't even listen anymore, he just gets annoyed with me. And I'm worried that I'm going to be a crappy doctor if I keep acting like this.
I just wish this would all go away so I could quit being so scared, but I know that even if all these symptoms went away, I'd just find something new to worry about. Sigh.
EDIT: Great, now I'm getting worried about that jaw pain because I heard that bone pain is a symptom of bone cancer; I sometimes get pain in the area between my rib and my sternum, too. It's not bad pain, but it's there...I hope I don't spend the day crying again.
I went to the doctor today, and I feel like I'm going to die. It's about the same problem I posted about last time...only now...
I went and described all my symptoms, told him everything that might be wrong with my body, medications I'm taking, blah blah blah. Well, he said it could be several things...one of which was gastritis, another of which was a stomach bug. I can't remember one or two he said. But, unfortunately for my hypochondriac self, he had to add that it's possible for me to have Crohn's disease. Of course, I had to zero in on that one. Now I'm absolutely terrified that I have the beginnings of Crohn's disease. My dad doesn't think I do, but ... ugh. (One of my friends said it was only in "white people" and that I'd have a chance to have it if someone on my dad's—the "white" side—side of the family had it—which no one does...)
It sounded so dire. He told me that if I vomit or keep having diarrhea, I need to go to the hospital. I really, really, really, really don't want to go to the hospital. I'm absolutely terrified of those places. I was practically traumatized last time I was there, when they wanted to scan my stomach, and I had to drink a liquid...ugh. I could NOT drink and then roll over to those positions while lying down; I was way too nauseated, anxious, and uncomfortable. Those nurses and whatnot were so annoyed at me. I hated it. I also hated having to be in this area specifically for ... problems related to mine, stuck in a room with a girl who kept throwing up. Ugh, god, vomiting freaks me out.
But, really, I'm so scared of what this could be. The doctor said I had so many things wrong with me that I might/probably should get bloodwork. This wouldn't be a problem if I had health insurance and a regular doctor, neither of which I have. I have a yeast infection, these abdominal issues, an ear infection, and maybe an upper respiratory infection. I feel like my body is a walking, talking infection. I'm so scared of whether this all will get worse or not.
Granted, he gave me two antibiotics, and I recently took them. I just hope they start working fast...and I hope that what I have in my abdomen is an infection and not something horrible like polyps, tumors, Crohn's disease, etc.
God, I'm having such a hard time thinking about it. Any time I feel any twinge or movement in my abdominal area, I get scared. I'm even scared of going to the bathroom. That's so pathetic. :(
Does anyone know how a pinched nerve on the head feels? Or the variations of headaches (particular migraines)? I'm having these strange head pain sensations, and they're...bothering me because I think I've might've felt them once before but can't entirely recall. I keep scaring myself, thinking it's a damn brain tumor, when it...may not be. (I also recently thought my right eye was dilating/not matching my left eye, so come Saturday I'm going to make an eye appointment.)
What I'm feeling are...tiny areas of pain. They're probably the size of Sharpie points, and they're on a few different, spaced out areas on my right side. I was thinking I had a tumor or something on my right side, especially when last night, a big chunk of the right side of my head (from my right temple to my right ear) hurt when I was washing my hair. It seems to have gone away for the most part, but I'm still experiencing those pinpoints of pain. Occasionally I get smaller, duller aches near my ears. I'm really hoping this is just some kind of messed up migraine and nothing else. D:
I've felt like the right side of my smile doesn't go up as high as my left, but that...isn't enough to signal a brain tumor, is it? I don't seem to have noticeable loss of any motor movements, and I haven't had a seizure...My vision itself also seems normal. I don't think my headaches have gotten much worse...or more often. I don't think I can feel any protrusions. My memory seems to be unaffected for the most part...
I'm probably worrying for nothing. But, honestly, I feel like I run around in circles with myself. Other people have a greater chance of talking me out of my problems, and I have even succeeded in convincing others that they're not in dire need of the E.R. and yet I cannot seem to help myself. I sorely wish I could afford therapy somehow. It isn't that I have missed work or college or whatever for all my worries, but I could use less stress, anxiety, and panic attacks.
ETA: Great. I feel like my right arm is disembodied, or that I'm losing feeling in it. SFLkajsfjl;sd.
So I've tried the pills again. They're just not going to work. Lexapro makes me angry and fat. Zoloft keeps me from sleeping and instead of taking me off it, he wants me to take something for sleep that makes me shake all the time. Nothing seems to work. I just can't stop worrying. I'm sure it's this way for a lot of you, but I can't seem to watch television anymore. I see illness everywhere, and not just common, every day stuff, but the kind of things that I fear the most. I stopped watching medical shows all together a little while ago, but I started again. I am so
terrified of neuromuscular disorders that I am always checking my strength and reflexes. I measure my muscles and lift weights. I'm sure I'm injuring myself by lifting too much, but I'm trying so hard to convince myself that I'm not dying. I'm at work right now and it's so hard to get work done sometimes. I can't concentrate. If I have a muscle pain or feel a little tired, I nearly have a panic attack. What on earth can I do? If medication isn't going to help me and counseling only helps for a while, how am I going to live like this?
I've been in therapy but it's been a while. I found that right off the bat they wanted me on medication. I took said medication, in this case Zoloft, but the side effects were too much for me to handle. It kept me up at night and I shook all the time. I think that just the therapy alone helped more than anything, but I stopped when I got better. And I was fine until a month and a half ago. I've had a horrible relapse. I'm not quite to the breakdown stage, but I'm close. I'm having a hard time functioning. I'm tense all the time and that gives me headaches. The headaches make me sick and the cycle begins again. I'm going back to therapy tomorrow, but my question is this: does this ever go away? Will I ever be able to live a quiet, normal life? Have you gotten better and relapsed? How many times? What helps you most, therapy, drugs, or a combo?