Do any of you end up feeling like a hypochondriac because you feel all these physical symptoms, only to be told by doctors that it's probably anxiety?
I think I'm a generally healthy person ... that is, I've never been diagnosed with anything serious, and I have no history of serious diseases in my family. Yet, I am always sure that something catastrophic will happen to me. Over the past 10 years or so, I've had several instances where I had ongoing concerns about my heart. I was sure that I was having symptoms of a heart attack. I'd go to the doctor, and he'd listen to my heart and say that due to my young age and lack of risk factors, I couldn't be having heart trouble. I was glad for the reassurance, so I'd usually be okay after that. I've also had recurring fears about my eyes (I'm very nearsighted and have been convinced that I'll develop serious eye problems as a result).
A couple weeks I had another incidence of this type of thing. It started with a heartburn-like chest pain, which went away but then came back over the next several days. I started to get a tight feeling in my chest, and worried it was my heart. Finally after worrying myself sick over a weekend, I went to see a doctor, who did an EKG and said that it was normal. She thought it was acid reflux maybe, and anxiety.
Even now, I'm feeling like I often have trouble getting a good breath, and I keep yawning to get enough air. But I notice that when I'm not thinking about it, I don't have so much trouble.
I guess my question is, do you guys have trouble differentiating what's a serious concern and what's in your head? I tend to search the internet every time I have a health concern, and I end up thinking I have all these serious conditions. I honestly can't tell how much is real and how much is mental. I feel like I'm going crazy!
Are there any meds that help with this specific problem? If so, what are they? Sorry for the length of this post.
Hi there sugarplum, reading your post was like reading about myself. Im CONVINCED i have a heart problem, but 5 ECG's have all come back normal. My mother has to hide our doctors book because i tend to read up on all different illnesses and find i have many of the symptoms! This constant yawning your having is called Over Breathing. Its one of the worst symptoms i get. Im forever trying to take a deep enough breath to feel satisfied. By the end of the day, im completely worn out. Now ive started worrying my lungs are gonna collapse because of all the yawning i do!
Hi Tracey, thanks for the reply. I guess part of why I continue to be anxious is because I haven't really had ALL the tests I could have ... I have only had an EKG, but no ECG or stress test. I am conflicted about that -- on one hand I want to have it done, because then I could absolutely rule out any heart problems. But on the other hand, the act of going to doctors and having these scary tests done causes more anxiety in itself. I don't think I mentioned in my first post, I have a huge fear of going to doctors. I get really nervous and my BP goes up and I'm convinced they're going to find something really bad wrong with me, so I absolutely hate going. It's a cruel irony, because going to doctors is the only thing that will convince me that I *don't* have these illnesses that I worry about, yet I'm too anxious to go to them!
Oh well ... I have an appt. scheduled with my doctor on Oct. 6, and I plan to have a complete physical, so I'll ask him at that time about having more tests done.
being a hypochondriac can be nerve wrecking on the mind. i always feel the doctor is missing something as well. every pain or discomfort i get, im always demanding a reason why and this drives me into worrying. sometimes i just wish i was stupid. seriously, it seems like people who have access to all this medical info get this problem. i am actually thinking of becoming a primary care physician and going to med school. i think it would bring peace to my mind if i did such a thing. anyhow, we simply need to retrain our minds to think correctly. i dont think it is bad to be concerned about your health but try not to be too obsessive. although it is very hard, try to blow off your symptoms. there is going to be a time where you will have to find some trust in your doctor. if it takes more tests to convince do that. that's how i am too
sugarplum i know exactly what you are talking about. i dont worry about heart problems but other things which is a LOOOONNGG story. i dont know how to stop thinking about these things. right now i am taking my temperature like 2-3 times a day b/c of a sore throat and headache. last night i woke up with complete body sweats but im not sure if its something wrong or just stressed out to the max while im sleeping. every doctor i see tells me i check out fine. i dont know what to do. i have tried meds i dont agree with any of them they make me lose appetite which makes my situation only worse. i dont know how to stop this thinking but its going to kill me in itself if i dont. im at wits end. i already see a pschologist and pschitrist in a week. i need a roommate whos a doctor or something to live with me. im scared of dying a slow death and STILL having people say nothings wrong with me.
for months i was totally convinced i had brain cancer because of headaches that i had. i finally went to the doctor for anxiety and he gave me paxil. i haven't been that crazy with all the diseases but i have been able to control it!! hope this helps
Hello all. I went to the er a couple of weeks ago because I could hardly breath and my chest hurt bad when I would take a breath. I went through tests, x-ray, millions of questions...and it was an anxiety attack. I felt so stupied. And I told the doctor he was crazy! He explained to me that people with anxiety disorder are a lot more in touch with their body and surroundings than normal people. And I probaly pulled something, and the more I thought about it, the worse I got. And now that I sit back and think about it, I believe every word of it. It does make sense. We worry about everything. We seem to notice so much more. And because we worry so much, we will stress about it. I hope you are indeed ok!! And the best of luck to all of you! Sincerely, Lori
I always thought of myself as a hypochondriac, and tried to ignore my symptoms, out of fear of looking bad to my Doctor. 6 years I dealt with terrible pains in my chest area, along the sternum. I would be left in tears from the pain, but determined I was just being a baby. Anyway, gradually the pains got so bad one day when I was driving with my kids! I had trouble driving to a spot where I could just sit and endure the pains til they were over. Then I went to the ER, and they said it was heartburn. My worst fears were realized, and I believed I was a hypochondriac. But my family forced me to see my Doctor. Turned out I was filled to the brim with gall stones and had to have my gall bladder removed. Point being, I personally have to force myself to see the doctor, in spite of whatever he may think about me. The symptoms always should be taken seriously, hypochondria or no. In my small opinion. Hope that helps a little.
[This message has been edited by GinnyUSA (edited 09-27-2003).]
I'm a hypochondriac. Over the years, I have thought I had heart problems, MS, a brain tumor, and now I'm afraid I have a lung disease. I have been tested for asthma. Two test said I have it, the last one was normal. I don't know who to believe. I sleep well, so I am only short of breath when I am awake andthinking about it. Like now, reading these messages!
I hate this!
Hi - just to follow up my own post, I have a doctor's appointment on Monday and I keep obsessing over it. I keep trying to think of the right questions to ask to make sure that I get checked for everything that I'm worried about. When I look at it objectively, I realize I'm always trying to diagnose myself instead of just waiting to see what the doctor says. I always have to go in there with several things in mind that I think I might have, instead of leaving it to him to ask the questions. It's good to be prepared and informed, but I think I take it too far.
By the time Monday comes I'll probably be a wreck ...
I was just diagnosed with anxiety, agoraphobia. I have often wondered if I was a hypochondriac too. I agree with everything that everyone has posted on this thread. Our knowlegde of medical conditions does cause us to worry more. I was a CNA, and a Medical transcriptionist for a short time hence the poor spelling and grammar. I have also read that we as chronic worriers are more sensitive to our own bodies and environments heightening the painful effects and stressing us out even more.
Even my husband has called me a hypochondriac in the past and he is also sick of me being freaked out or worried that I am going to die! I have given up on trying to get him to accept and support me while I try to get myself well. I would love the support but am determined that no matter what the cause of my pain or worry, I will get better with help, and you will too.
Making a list of questions is a good Idea, we all calm down when we are organized. I can never sleep the nite before an appointment of any kind regardless of preparations. Just keep in mind it is the first step to recovery and will help you feel better. My best advice is to be completely honest with your doc about everything nomatter how personal and if you cry let it out; he will probably listen even more if you do.
Thanks, losingit. I know what you mean about how your husband reacts. My boyfriend is like that too. He tries to be supportive, but he can't understand why I react the way I do. He just kinda acts like "here we go again" every time I tell him about a new health concern that I have. I fully admit that I worry too much and maybe I jump to the wrong conclusions, but that doesn't mean my concerns shouldn't be taken seriously. I bet he would feel bad if he dismissed my fears as "silly" and then I actually was diagnosed with something! (But don't get me wrong ... I'm certainly not hoping to be diagnosed with anything.)
Glad to hear I'm not the only one who can barely sleep before an appointment. It's just one of those things where I can't see past it. All I can think of is how it's looming in the horizon and I have to get through it before I can think about anything else.
My family and boyfriend constantly call me a hypochondriac. I do the same thing! It's nice to hear that I'm not alone in this. I never feel like I'm getting good clear answers from ANY doctors, and so I feel like they're not looking hard enough at the problems. Any the trouble is that many symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, soreness, etc can be associated with a million different things, which doesn't help any! Right now I'm trying to figure out if everything I suffer from is psychosematic and self-fixable, or a condition that I need real help for (such as meds). If anyone gets a chance to read my post from today on anxiety, please respond!!
I hate to say this but I am SO glad Im not the only one out there going through this. My two biggest fears right now are lung cancer and blood clots. Thankfully I have a really nice doctor who fully understand my problems. While he believes that it is part of my OCD that Im having chest and leg pains hes still willing to run all the tests I need to put my mind at eases.
My husband on the other hand doesnt really understand all this. Weve been having allot of problems lately and with my illness our marriage has gotten into dangerous territory. He has said that he is tired of waiting for me to get better.
Ive gotten to the point where Ive chosen to focus on my health first and worry about him later. At this point I cant do both and if he decides to leave I have two little girls I need to be able to take care of. Hes also threatened to use my illness to take them away from me. Its a mess. I just keep telling myself that its got to get better.
I've got all those same problems - if not worst. There ARE meds that can help tho. I think an anti-anxiety and/or anti-depressant would help. I fought it for a long time, and then I finally agreed to try something so I'm taking lexapro. Started with 5 mg and will eventuall build up to 10 mg.
I was the original poster in this thread. I wanted to post a follow-up after going to the doctor yesterday. Sorry for the lengthy post.
A few weeks ago I went to the doctor with chest pain and fears of heart problems. I couldn't see my regular doctor on short notice, so I saw someone else at his clinic. Then I went yesterday for a follow up with my regular doctor. I want to point out the differences in exam style between my doctor and a lot of other doctors (including the one I saw a few weeks ago).
When I went for the exam a few weeks ago, it was ages before I even saw the real doctor. I had all these other people coming in to see me, and of course the first thing they did was take my BP (which is always high when I'm nervous). This one guy who took my BP acted all shocked about it (which made me feel worse). He kept checking it over and over. Then a medical student came in and asked me a bunch of questions. She and the first guy both kept leaving to consult with the doctor, but the doctor herself didn't come in. Then they had someone else come in to do an EKG, and then the medical student came back to look at the results. She didn't seem to know much about what it meant, thus scaring me when I asked "what does it say?" and she didn't reassure me right away. Finally after being there for what seemed like ages, and after seeing at least 3 other people who weren't the doctor, the doctor came in, and she didn't say much. She just told me I should probably take Paxil, and she prescribed a medication for acid reflux. She wasn't very personable.
My primary doctor couldn't be more different than that! When I saw him yesterday, he was there when I first came back to the exam room, and he dismissed all the formalities of taking the vitals first thing. He just sat and chatted with me for quite a while. He asked me what's going on in my life, and I told him all about the anxiety and the worry over various symptoms. He was very understanding. He believes in Chinese medicine as well as Western medicine, so we talked for a while about me going to the local Oriental Medicine college for some treatment. I wasn't sold on it, but I think it's cool that he offers different options instead of just wanting to put me on Paxil right away. Speaking of that, he didn't agree with the other doctor that Paxil would be the best option. He said if I did want to get on a prescription medication, he would recommend Wellbutrin. He said Paxil has more significant side effects that he thought would bother me.
Then he listened to my chest and took my BP, and my BP was fine (128/78, and then he took it again and it was 122/78). He said a lot of people who take it don't exactly do it right. He said something about how he listens for the "whoosh" (when he actually hears the flow of the blood) instead of taking the measurement at the first sound he hears. I'm not sure what that means since I don't know anything about taking blood pressure, but it sounded logical.
The most important thing is that he knows how to interact with someone like me who is freaked out by doctor's offices. He doesn't promote that attitude of the doctor being so distant and far above the patient, where the patient has to sit alone waiting for the doctor, mostly seeing various nurses and assistants, and THEN the doctor comes in for like 5 minutes and acts all stern and formal. Instead, he takes the time to listen to me, and he doesn't think the most important thing is to come at me with a BP cuff first thing and focus entirely on a number.
I hope that others are able to find doctors as understanding as mine ... there are some out there!
Wow...it is so hard to believe there are so many of us that are the same. I swear I must be a hypochondriac. I am a 25yo female - I had the whole chest pain/heart thingee too. You know when that was? It was after my brother had a heart attack at the age of 33. I never before that had "chest pains". After agonizing over it for weeks, I must have moved on to something else, bc I don't get that anymore. Now I just keep getting these sinus and ear troubles and it is making me crazy. I keep thinking "this is totally real...not like the other stuff!" But now that I am thinking about it...the other stuff felt real as well. I am out of work right now, so all I have is time to sit and think.
I feel like I am a person who is turned inside out. Like I can feel every single thing going on in my body and that I don't feel normal anymore. It is hard to explain. But I never feel "right" anymore and it really sucks. Oh well, whatcha gonna do right? I am taking St. John's Wort and a B-Complex vitamin in hopes to help with my depression and anxiety. (I will never take prescrip. meds again!)
Well, it sure is nice to see I am not alone. Anyone feel free to email me if u want.
I too have found a good doctor. I was up front and honest with him from the very beginning about my OCD/anxiety and depression. But I also told him that I was tired of doctors just brushing off my fears of something being wrong based on my OCD. And hes been great about it. He also takes the time to talk to me. And he will run tests to relieve my mind if I need them. He currently has me on Zoloft. So Im hoping that will help. But Ive been having chest pains and hes made an appointment for me to have x-rays. He says more then likely its just the OCD but if it will make me feel better he'll check things out. God Bless the good doctors out there that care.