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Here is some advice for dealing with Health Anxiety

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by zeeman01, Jul 8, 2021.

  1. zeeman01

    zeeman01 Peer Supporter

    So I've been dealing with new TMS symptoms and some small relapses too. I've come to recognize that Health Anxiety is a constant theme for me and I think it's driving some of my fear and my TMS symptoms. I wound up working with a therapist and taking an online course to deal with this.
    Here some learning I found that may be useful to others.

    1) Recognize that your perspective can be off by doing the following:

    Catastrophizing - thinking the worst case only
    Fortunetelling - predict the future (which we can't)
    Negative Filtering - Only looking at the bad
    What if thinking (similar to fortunetelling)

    Ask yourself do I have firm evidence that my health anxiety is warranted. Would that evidence hold up in a court of law that I actually have a brain tumour for example?

    2) Realize your default behaviour patterns and making things worse or perpetuating your health anxiety
    For example, most people with health anxiety will do some of the following BY DEFAULT over and over
    Search google for answers/images
    Visit online health forums
    Constantly scan their body for issues
    Seek reassurance from a loved one many times
    Visit many doctors over and over

    In each case, you may get a small temporary relief but in most cases these behaviours will be repeated again and again and actually worsen and feed your anxiety. They will not help you move forward.

    If you must engage in one of these behaviours, recognize that is a bad habit and limit it to only x amount of time for that day but ultimately you should try to replace these behaviours with good ones such as guided mediation or yoga or exercise. Something more positive.

    3) Trust your doctors. If they have not found anything significantly wrong with you it's mostly like related to TMS/anxiety

    4) Recognize that stress and emotions can cause many strange physical symptoms such as headaches, tingling, pain, stomach issues etc. Basically TMS. No need to be catastrophic about it.

    5) Change your lens of focus when dealing with health anxiety triggers. For instance if you are watching a commercial about cancer. Try not to focus on the term cancer.
    Take a larger view of things such as looking at what the lady is wearing in the commercial. What does the background look like. Get rid of that laser focus lens and widen the lens to reduce the anxiety

    I did also read Claire Weeks book Hope and Help for your Nerves but the advice above is more specific towards health anxiety

    and remember... "My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened"

    I hope this helps some folks!
    JoySeeker, PainNoMore, Plz568 and 5 others like this.
  2. FredAmir

    FredAmir Well known member

    Thanks for sharing, Zeeman.

    Good list to keep in mind. Another set of questions to ask is:

    1. Is this thought fact or fiction?
    2. Is this thought helping me or hurting me?

    if the answer is no to both of then, tell yourself to stop the thought and move forward.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
    BloodMoon, Cap'n Spanky and tgirl like this.
  3. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    Great advice.
    FredAmir likes this.
  4. Plz568

    Plz568 Peer Supporter

    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  5. Plz568

    Plz568 Peer Supporter

    This is so helpful thank you! I’m totally activated right now - so many symptoms and fearful. I look to this forum and it helps me do much!
  6. Celayne

    Celayne Well known member

    >>Another set of questions to ask is:

    1. Is this thought fact or fiction?
    2. Is this thought helping me or hurting me?<<

    if the answer is no to both of then, tell yourself to stop the thought and move forward.<<

    Stopping the thoughts is often easier said than done. At least for me, damaging thoughts can get pulled into a "fear loop" that becomes a tape running in the background over and over again. It can be really hard to remain calm and stop the fear cycle.
    Cap'n Spanky likes this.
  7. PainNoMore

    PainNoMore Peer Supporter

    this has been a battle for me so thanks for the breakdown
  8. This is very helpful. Last month I had a flare up of back pain (June of 2021) and it had been 8 months since I learned about TMS and read Dr. Sarno's books and watched the documentary - All the Rage.
    I am now out of back pain very quickly after reminding myself what I know about TMS. But suddenly I realized that my shoulder/arm pain which has been going on off and on for a few months is on my mind a lot and is probably TMS because everything else always is. I'm so tired of dragging myself to the doctor and nothing is really ever wrong other than arthritis or depression. I just have not made the appointment because I can't take another bunch of medical stuff. I easily get into fears because of some of the caregiving and difficulities I saw my parents and inlaws and husband go thru.
    I'm not online looking up the possibilities because I have had rotator and other shoulder issues before ... and even with doctor appointments time was the only thing that really helped. I'm barely able to make a ponytail with my hair and the pain is real but it's always super real with all my other issues too ... so somehow I was fooled for a long time by this new issue.
    The other night watching a Netflix show I really like I "caught" myself lifting my arm way up over my head and it didn't hurt until I realized what I had done but every dang morning when I try to put my hair up ... it's painful and frustrating.
    Ugh. I just hope this can go away by doing the work I'm doing in Unlearn Your Pain/Dr. Schubiner. Otherwise I'll have to go back to the doctor and I hate to. I always like to get any kind of medical checkup at a time when I am not in a TMS flare up. That way I usually can deal with bloodwork and stuff and not be so super worried.

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