Health anxiety is something I struggle with since developing my “anxiety/Ocd” disorder. Everyday it’s a battle over what disease I feel like I have. When I first started my never-ending journey with anxiety, I didn’t know what caused it. Thinking about it now, I know it was my health scares. I have a fear of having any terminal disease you can think of.
If I have a headache, it’s most likely a brain tumor.
If I have a cold, it’s incurable pneumonia.
If I have a rash, its HIV or skin cancer.
Having Health Anxiety is such a gut-wrenching feeling, that you can’t shake. I have had numerous test done, they all say your OK. Your blood work is fine, your white blood cells are OK, your HIV Negative, yet something in my head won’t let those thoughts go. My biggest fear is developing a disease and passing it to my son or husband. But the thought I dread the most is losing my family, whether it be by death of a disease, or just losing them in this life. Meaning they find out I have XYZ, and I’m left abandoned by the people I love the most. I know it’s not rational but my fear seems to be bigger than me. I pray that this will never happen, but this is life, in life anything can happen.
I remember being about 12 years old. I found a lump in my right armpit. Nothing major, it was small. Immediately, my mind said you have cancer. That’s it, game over. Finally, my grandma took me to get it checked. The doctor said it was just a small sweat glad blockage that created this mass. That was it. Nothing serious, nothing life-threatening. I went on with doubt, but I went on in life. Years later as an adult, I found myself in the same position. Doctor’s office, nervous, asking if it was anything to worry about. Once again, an ultrasound was clear. Just something cosmetic, not harmful at all. Looking back, I can see how the worry never left my mind.
The same situation happened when I had a cyst on my foot. I was so nervous I had some type of illness. Yet it was just a ganglion cyst. I kept worrying about it excessively until one day I went to the doctor and they advised me it was a benign cyst. They removed it and that was that. I tend to find myself worrying about stuff normal people would brush off. I had a mole on my hand I never noticed, and immediately freaked out thinking its cancer for sure. The same goes for the HIV testing, I’ve had numerous test done for this, all negative. Yet my mind says, “well what if its hidden so good they can’t detect it”. Take a thought I had yesterday for example: I had ordered two tacos, they didn’t use the right meat, my coworker said just tell them. So, I did. They made me new tacos with the correct meat. This was my thought while I took the first bite. “What if the cook got pissed that you complained, he has a disease and he put it in your food”. The thought would not be something that crosses the normal person’s brain. If it does, it would probably be forgotten right away. Not me, that thought stuck with me all day. I’m the type of person that can’t leave a water bottle open and unattended, I immediately think someone did something to it. It doesn’t make sense to the rational person, but that’s the thing my mind is not being rational. It’s going to the most catastrophic, never seen case. That’s the thing with health anxiety/ocd you can’t seem to rationalize with yourself. You can be told your fine by doctors, take test that come out fine, yet your mind won’t believe it. You try and try and try to accept the answer you are given but something says it’s not accurate.
I never realized how my OCD and anxiety really controlled my life. But looking back I know I have always been a worried person. I tend to think the worst in each situation. I can’t tell you how many times, my husband was going to come home late. When it would hit past a certain time, my mind would think what if he was in an accident. It was worst when he wouldn’t answer his phone. I am not a “crazy” wife. I’m an anxious wife. I literally could probably cry just thinking if I were to lose him or my son. My husband and son have helped me through the worst of my anxiety and for that I will forever be thankful. The fear of losing them is bigger than me having any disease. I wish I could just sit back and enjoy life without a care in the world. Unfortunately, I was dealt this card in life, and I must learn to manage it. I must learn that it will be OK no matter what happens in life. I will be ok. It will take some time, but I do see progress made already. I am not sure why this is my life, but I know God has a reason and a plan. Time will tell.
As for me, I know I will be OK.
Maybe not today, but someday.