On Health Anxiety

TRIGGER WARNING: I’m talking about anxiety and OCD.

“Blimey Rach, you’re such a hypochondriac”

One of the phrases that I have heard repeatedly throughout my life, as I once again ask someone to reassure me that I am in fact, not dying- and that I should just take a paracetamol and get on with it.

Because, I’ve had horrendous health anxiety for the last few years… and it ain’t getting any better.

I can only assume that it’s a manifestation of my OCD that means that I get obsessively worried about things, constantly overthink symptoms and always imagine the worst case scenario. And that my friends- is the reality for most health anxiety suffers.

Of course- to a certain extent, worrying about things being wrong with you is normal. It would be more worrying to completely ignore when you have physical symptoms, or to just brush them off.

However, for a health anxiety sufferer- we reach a new level of panic and obsessing over them.

It’s almost funny in a way (well, I try to laugh at mine) – because some of the other ridiculous things I’ve done would make you cringe if I shared them on here.

But it’s all part of having an obsessive disorder- living in a constant state of heightened anxiety.

I think to an extent it started off when I got a variety of things wrong with me all at once. I ended up taking about 6 courses of antibiotics within that year- due to piercing infections, UTIs, bladder problems… and a whole range of other things.

I had never been hugely conscious of my health at that point, but once I started to realise that actually- well shit, I’m not invincible and things will make me ill- I started to worry about it more.

I remember in my third-year of university being so paralysed with worry that I missed an entire day of lectures, because I was sitting on my laptop on forums- getting reassurance from other people suffering the same thing.

Thing is, you’re probably reading this thinking ‘fucking hell love, take a chill pill’- and you’re right in a way. I often want to shake myself and be like ‘for fuck sake, you’re fine’- but once you’re in a vicious cycle of worrying about something, it can be hard to break.

You can get all the reassurance from doctors, tests and other people that you want- but in the end, your sneaky little mind will think of a reason that the test was wrong, the doctor missed something…and so on and so on.

It’s something I’m still struggling with today and I’m really working on.

But until then- health anxiety suffers, you ain’t alone here.

It’s just another little hurdle in your disorder that we’ve got to shake away.

Rach

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