Health anxiety- my experience and how to deal with it

Blue and Gray Stethoscope

Hi guys, it’s Thursday and that means only one thing…a new blog! I hope you’re all as excited as I am. I’ve really been finding that blogging has been helping me mentally at the minute, It gives me a drive in the day, It gives me an outlet and it also allows me to come away from life for a while. So to you who’s reading, thank you so much for taking the time to read how I feel. And I hope you can take something away from today’s blog. Anyway, let’s get started.

So today’s blog is surrounding a topic which is something I haven’t spoken about before. Health anxiety is something that I have suffered with since a very young age, and it’s something that, as I’ve got older, I’ve realised a lot of other people suffer with too. In fact, in a way I think it’s part of our human nature to be worried about our health, because let’s be honest, our one aim in life is to stay alive for as long as we can.

Now my journey with health anxiety or as others may know it, hypochondria, started from an extremely young age. I can remember crying before bed every night because I thought that I might die in my sleep. Sounds crazy, right? But at the time it was absolutely terrifying, especially for a 10 year old. From there, at the age of about 11, my panic attacks started, which actually came from the back of an illness that I had. Over the past few years, my health anxiety has really improved, and I’m definitely in a better place with it. However, my health anxiety worsened during the Coronavirus pandemic and I am aware that this was the same for others, even those that didn’t have it before. And that’s why today I want to raise awareness and give you all some tips on how to live with health anxiety.

1). Do not Google. I repeat, do not Google your symptoms. I know how hard it is and I know that you have that rising feeling of anxiety where you just have to click on Google to see what’s wrong with you. The thing is, Google doesn’t know who you are. It doesn’t know your age. It doesn’t know your circumstances, and it certainly isn’t a qualified doctor. Google will always tell you are dying or you have something extreme, but as professionals would tell you do not Google your symptoms, it will only make you more anxious and will be way far from the truth. No matter how tempting it is, please refrain from this and just sit with the anxiety until it passes. Distraction is key for this.

2). Have you considered that it might be psychological? The clue is in the name… health ANXIETY. Anxiety often comes with physical symptoms, even if you don’t realise it. Even if you have chest pains but you are not thinking or worrying about anything, you can subconsciously be stressed.Not only does anxiety come with chest pains and very common anxiety symptoms, there’s also a few physical symptoms that are never spoken about. For example, I was once put on antibiotics because the doctors thought I had bells palsy. It turns out the twitching in my face came down to anxiety. I was also put on daily tablets for my heartburn. I was on these tablets for a year until again the doctors found out this was down to stress. So before you go ringing 999, try to think if any part of you may be anxious and if deep down you are worrying about something, because the chances are it’s nothing serious.

3). Know your body- Anxiety makes us so irrational with so many things, however, it’s important that that very faint voice in the back of our head is heard sometimes, this is the rational voice. Remember that you are the only one that knows what every part of your body looks like and how you feel on a daily basis. You will know deep down in that rational voice, if you really do feel something is wrong. If you know you’re just being a bit irrational and a little bit dramatic then try to take a step back and listen to the rational voice and remember…is this normal for you?

4). Be realistic. I don’t know about you, but during lockdown and the whole coronavirus period I would be worried if I had a slight sore throat or even felt fatigued. But let’s be realistic here.

OK, so you have no energy and you feel tired…but did you get a good sleep last night and have you been to the gym today?

Okay, you have a sore throat, but did you go out drinking last night or have you had enough water today?

Maybe you do have a cough and a little sniffle, but the common cold is called this for a reason.It’s likely that we’ll all get one in a year, maybe even a few. But there’s nothing to worry about, and as long as you look after yourself and it doesn’t go on for long periods of time, you will be absolutely fine.

5). Try something physical– By working out physically, it really helps to connect both our mind and body. Maybe try some meditation or maybe try a workout at the gym. Whatever it is, find something that works for you to help both your body and mind focus. Know your body and know your mind.

Okay, that’s enough for today. I don’t want to bore you with too many tips, but I hope that’s really helped anyone suffering with health anxiety. I loved writing today’s blog and I hope you enjoyed reading it. Remember to look out for next weeks blog on Thursday. Have a great weekend guys, lots of love.🤍

Disclaimer- please remember that if you feel there IS something serious, then ring the doctors or call 999.🤍

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