So many moons back, I came out as a hypochondriac. My fabulous doctor corrected me, and said I had “health anxiety.” Let’s take a look at the “anxiety” part of the phrase. (From dictionary dot com): “Synonyms 1. fear, foreboding; worry, disquiet. A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.”
A while back, I had a diagnosis of GERD – Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. It explained away a lot of my heartburn-gas-cum “fear of pending heart attack” feelings. I’ve been on acid reducers for a number of months now, and if I have heartburn now? It’s my own damn fault, which basically means I said fuck it, and had Mexican food, or citrus, or cheese.
My doctor said that we’d work on the symptoms, and see if removing the symptoms removed the anxiety. And we’d go from there. So the symptoms were removed within a week of starting Aciphex. And I felt great. For a while. Until I heard about someone I know who had a heart attack due to an infection that got out of hand and went unchecked. So I started to freak out about my heart health again. After some time passed, and my symptoms were under control, life continued status quo. Then we heard about a friend who had an awful ordeal in childbirth, had an infection from her c-section, and suffered a pulmonary embolism. She is now doing MUCH MUCH better, but it was touch and go for quite some time. It sparked my anxiety again. I figure, hey, I’m fat, I smoked for 18 years, and let’s face it, outside of the 1 mile walk to Malka’s daycare every day, I’m not exercising. Plus, add in the stress of a child, owning property, two senior citizen cats, a partner, a relatively new job, and let’s face it, life can throw some stressors out there.
But then I was feeling OK for a while, Blogapalooza was there to take my mind off of things. The preparation, and the actual event. And then I read an article in Real Simple Magazine this month about a woman who was in perfect health, had awesome ekg’s, wonderful cholesterol, good blood pressure, etc. But she still had to have bypass surgery, because her arteries were SO clogged. I was reading about her symptoms, and spending all day yesterday and today wondering if my tingly left hand was a symptom. I’ve had excellent ekg’s, my cholesterol is 162, and my blood pressure is 120 over 80 on a bad day; 116 over 70 or so on average.
I have had a referral to a cardiologist for about 4 months now. I haven’t called. When the referral was given, it was becuase I was having palpitations. My doctor told me that palpitations can be caused by stress. The simple knowledge of this eased the actual palpitations themselves. The other part of the reason that I haven’t called is that I’m afraid that they might actually find something. And part of me is worried that they won’t. Which would mean that I have anxiety.
I shared with Narda tonight a fear that I thought I had never told anyone, but me, being the boundary-less wonder that I am, apparantly had. When I was younger, in my teens, I would often be found saying that I’d never make it to 40. Gulp. Well, 40 is right around the corner, and I WANT to be here. Well into my 100’s, thankyouverymuch. But the fear? Is that I jinxed myself – self fulfilling prophecy and all that crap.
Talking to Narda tonight, and even writing about it seems to have lessened the anxiety somewhat.
I never thought I’d be “one of those people” that “needed” anxiety medication. I was so wrong. Humility is something to be so incredibly grateful for.
I will still make an appointment with the cardiologist, but I will also talk to my doctor about this anxiety. And ask for medication. I cannot continue to function in this state of constant fear about my health. My bubbe, z”l was a self-described “Worrier.” I didn’t get it. Until now. They say that traits tend to skip a generation. For further proof – NEITHER of my parents drink alcohol, coffee, or smoked cigarettes. One of my jobs as a teen was to call the waitress over to refill Bubbe’s coffee, because it “got cold.” You get the point about the whole “skipping a generation thing.” Now pardon me while I go have some wine.
I did stick to my food plan today. Which is something. And I drank a lot of water. Which is a good thing, too. I do know that removing the physical symptoms will help alleviate the anxiety in a big way. Losing weight is part of that process. Doing things to help take care of myself is part of that too.
Thanks for letting me share.
5 thoughts on “Skeletons…”
Your post really speaks to me, becase I am definitely a hypochondriac. I also have GERD, and have taken Prilosec for it until recently when my doc advised me it was unsafe for those trying to conceive, so now I am on Nexium.
I have a history of high blood pressure in my family, so I am convinced I will have it. (I can feel my pulse pounding in my ears as I type this). Once a doctor told me to buy an Omron electronic monitor for home use, which was the worst advice I ever received. For example, I took it this past weekend and had it as high as 130/100, then to take it again and have it read 110/70. I wish I didn’t have this overly anxious way about me, especially with health stuff. If I hear about any rare medical condition, I go through periods where I am convinced I have it.
It is so helpful to have a DP that is the opposite of me on this front, and it sounds like you have wonderful support. Just know that you are not alone.
I was convinced and proclaimed loudly that I would die before I was 30…
don’t worry luv, we will be attending our kids weddings, grandkids births and so on. *sqwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeee* did i say grandkids???
I am SO proud of you for facing these fears head on. Anxiety is a very real medical condition and thankfully it is treatable.
sending hugs your way.
That is great that you are facing all of this. I can understand your fears but dealing with it is a big step and you are. I think you will live for a loooooong time.
It’s great that you are processing this stuff. While in high school I was sure, as in absolutely positive, that I would be dead by about 30. Not because I thought 30 was SO old, but rather due to being depressed, a touch nihilistic and some other crap. I am now over 40! How the hell that happened I am not quite sure and I don’t remember when it shifted to being fine about living life a little more but luckily it did.