Anxiety About Health Issues
It’s normal to carry some anxiety when your body doesn’t feel right or if you notice an unexplained change, after all we know our body’s best, right?
I wasn’t always like this, I remember going to a GP about a breast lump and being given the all clear, my anxiety went with the Dr’s reassurance. There was even a time where I watched a mole on my stomach fall off, I didn’t even flinch. I just didn’t think about serious illnesses as I was raised to walk it off, nothing couldn’t be cured with some Lucozade and bed rest.
I lost my dad to suicide in 2014, though I coped better than I expected, mortality was shoved in front of me and didn’t allow me to ignore it. I had always been scared of death but I was still in the mindset that all humans live till at least 80 before passing from old age. Now I carry the weight of mortality on my shoulders, it’s always there and I am always aware. Mortality is my stalker and one day it will catch me – that’s what my mind tells me anyway. It’s kind of ironic that though I am suicidal, I don’t want to die.
The first time was when I was eating a pizza from Pizza Hut (YUM) and my stomach gave me excruciating pain, nothing like I had ever experienced before. I’d never had an adverse reaction to food, in fact, I could eat triple my body weight and feel fine. I tried to ignore it but it didn’t go away, it got worse. I felt like someone had a cake mixer in my stomach. I was in tears and felt like I was going to die.
I convinced myself I had bowel cancer, even with a camera examination (ouch) the worst end of me and so many ultrasounds. Even though the evidence stated I physically I was healthy, I believed I was dying, that the Dr’s were wrong and they would feel terrible when I died young because of their mistake. It didn’t help that I would spend hours googling my symptoms, ignoring harmless causes because I wanted proof that it was something serious.
Those pains have since eased, I get them now and again but I have controlled it. I’m not convinced it’s IBS as the remedies for that don’t work but I no longer live in fear of bowl cancer – something my great aunt died from. The likelihood is an intolerance but what I cannot tell you, only that it’s certain unrelated foods. Maybe it is my mental health but I just wish I had better support through this, if I was physically fine, why wasn’t I given support for my mental health?
Then I found another lump in my breast, it’s a very obvious one and 2 years later it is still there. The Dr says it’s just fat, which it most likely it. But now I obsessively check my breasts because I don’t know what’s a lump or not anymore. It scares me to think I may never know if I have breast cancer or not until it’s too late. When I get really scared, it seems I can find even more lumps, anxiety certainly can manifest in more ways than just your mind.
More recently, I’ve had problems with my lady area. It’s awkward to talk about but simply sex was excruciating and I bled. I then decided I had cervical cancer, my biggest fear since the HPV jabs will have worn off when I was 18 and now cannot have a smear till 25. I have a bad history so it wouldn’t be a surprise if I did have it, luckily so far I’ve never had an STI. Again, I can’t tell you how many stories I have read about young women getting terminal stage cervical cancer, which causes me to start having pains.
No doctor would listen to me, they’d look and not say a word and ignore it, not even to comfort me. After so many visits I finically had a doctor that saw the problem, after a year of trying to get it sorted, he gave me a cream it worked. Doctors put it down to anxiety but the fact this new doctor found something, shows it wasn’t in my head and I was being shoved into a stereotype by the others.
If I have chest pains or a bad migraine I will always google it and decide I’m dying. Any little problem and I will search for the worst-case scenario, I avoid doctors now because I am scared of being judged. I actively search myself for abnormalities until I feel faint from the fear, it’s a bad habit.
My biggest fear is if I have a real problem, a terminal illness, I’ll be ignored and treated for anxiety rather than the real physical problem. I swear I’ll die young due to medical neglect.
Currently, I have not found a way to tell if the problem is real or not, I just wind myself up enough so I need to see a doctor, it’s better to get checked if you’re not sure.
The important thing is to not google or self-diagnose, most doctors know what they are doing but if you feel ignored, be persistent and try new Dr’s till you find a way to manage.
The fact is that I am perfectly healthy, I am not ill or in danger of dying young, I am just scared of getting ill and not having a chance to live my life. I understand this and I am getting support for my issues. We need to remember that mental health is very complex and the brain is powerful, if your mind gets ill enough, like mine, it can make it very hard to understand reality which is very stressful.
Though this is all very TMI, I want readers to know that they are not alone and that I understand how difficult and stressful it can be. I’ve spoken to others who have been through similar situations and all that tells me is that we still have a long way to go in raising awareness of mental health and educating!
I would really recommend finding medical support as the fear of getting sick can very quickly become dangerous and all I want is you to be healthy and happy, especially when it comes to being in your own skin.