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Avatar universal

Always had health anxieties and need to stop / head punches

Hello all

I'm a 34 years old male and for as long as I can remember and from a very young age, I've always worried about certain illnesses which have caused me some level of anxiety. As I have gotten older, these anxieties have become more intense to the point where I would try to disprove that I do not have a certain condition or illness.

A few years ago I started worrying about HIV, when that eventually passed, I started worrying about being exposed to asbestos, and would go so far as to pay close attention to the walls and such when at work or when out due to the fear of being in proximity to asbestos containing material.
I now have an anxiety about punches to the head. About ten years ago, I used to train in a boxing gym and when shadow boxing or sparring and when throwing a jab, we were told to cover our faces with our shoulder to protect it from an incoming punch. So if you can imagine throwing a jab, my shoulder would touch my jaw a little. I haven't boxed for a long time, but some time ago this started to play on my mind to the point that I would throw the jabs in the way I was shown to prove to myself that my shoulder wasn't hitting my head hard enough to hurt me. I managed to stop myself thinking about this for a while until recently when there was a high profile fight on TV, and the thoughts started coming back to me. However this time rather than throwing the jabs as I was shown, I started to lean my jaw into my shoulder as I throw the punch so that my expanding shoulder muscle would jar/nudge my jaw and somewhat cause a vibration to my head, I did this repeatedly, I would stop for a while and then maybe a few hours later do it again, the point being to convince myself that my shoulder hitting my jaw wasn't hard enough to cause my head to shake so much that it could damage my brain.
I am now worried that by doing this I have been hitting myself significantly hard enough to cause some damage to my head if not in the short term, then in the long term. I know this all sounds like a complete contradiction but it's how my thoughts work at the time.

I have resolved to stop doing this but at the back of my mind I'm thinking "did I hit myself hard enough to hurt myself?" and again I'm tempted to do it to see how hard my head is jarred on my shoulder.

If I can somehow resolve this in my mind, then I want to focus on not worrying about my health anymore, to dismiss these thoughts as they happen, but at the moment this particular anxiety about whether I have caused my self harm is occupying my mind.

I guess I'd just like to hear what people think, I know that I wont be happy unless its from someone who knows about head trauma's but any help is much appreciated. I'd also like to give back to the community if I can, I've had my fair share of anxieties.

Thank you
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Avatar universal
It's hard to know how hard you were hitting yourself, because proper covering up shouldn't hurt your head, it should just protect you from the far more concussive problem of getting hit.  Now, I practiced martial arts, not boxing, but we all learn how to protect ourselves from getting hit while we're striking, and it shouldn't involve hitting yourself in the head.  So my guess is, you're not in any danger of concussion from covering up, and given your limited time doing this and not doing it against really expert strikers, you're probably free and clear.  It doesn't sound like you were ever knocked unconscious, for example.  But this isn't really the issue, because you can't undo what was done.  The problem, as mentioned above, is you're worrying about things to an extent that it's interfering with your life, which even if there were something wrong would just be suffering twice.  That's what those of us with anxiety  -- we create additional problems.  Have you ever been to a therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment, such as CBT, to see if you can learn to not think this way?  Peace.
Helpful - 1
Thanks for replying to my post Paxiled. No I've never been to a CBT therapist, I don't have much faith in my doctor referring me to one if I'm honest. I don't think that I've been striking myself hard enough to cause concussion. In fact, I don't think it is possible for a person to strike themselves hard enough to cause concussion, but the fact that I've been doing it repetitively recently, makes me feel that if there wasn't a problem before, then perhaps I have created one by repeating this action over an over, if that makes sense. I know that this may seem an absurd concept for anyone listening in from the outside but this is what the anxiety does, it makes my thoughts irrational and I guess the main problem isn't about whether I've hurt myself but about how to address the problem of anxiety, of worrying about something which is non existent and to get out of this vicious cycle.
Hearing other peoples opinions, really helps, thanks again for posting :)
Avatar universal
I am not down playing concussions/head injuries.  I'm just saying A lot of people with serious head trauma (I can't remember the medical term for it) were athletes who took many shots to the head over many years and played while they had the concussion/still had concussion symptoms. AND before we knew about the seriousness of injuries to the brain.  There is a reason why in sports today that people need to pass concussion protocol tests before they are allowed to return to activity.

I suppose I'm trying to relate this to sports as you talked about boxing.
Helpful - 1
Hi anxiety860
Thanks for taking the time to read my post and reply. I wasn't boxing for long, only a couple of years and although I can't say whether I suffered a concussion, I can say for sure that I got dinged a couple of times in that time.

What you have said makes sense, and I've tried to relate it to sports too and have thought about it in the same way. I wasn't a professional and I haven't had a career out of it. I guess that once the anxiety overtook, i wanted to establish whether by throwing the jab and leaning into it, that I could be jarring my brain, even though I'm sure concussion doesn't work like that, so I started to do it repeatedly and now I feel guilt because if there wasn't a problem before, then I feel that I may have created one. Does that make sense?

I know you're not playing down concussions and your posts have helped me put it a little in perspective, So I am very grateful for that and appreciate it :)
Avatar universal
Hey there,

First let me say that us people with health anxiety will always find something new to worry about until we address our anxiety problem. Heck I still find different health issues to worry about, but I focus more on tackling the anxiety then the "health issue" I created in my head.

How long were you boxing for? Did you suffer any concussions? I've done my fair share of sports, have been dinged in the head, no concussions.

Think about some people who are successful today to took hits to the head multiple times.  Mike Tyson(actor). Troy aikman, Jim nantz (Former QBs, now announce in the nfl).  **** Butkus (former nfl player who used the terrible helmets! Now in his 70s on nfl countdown). Chanel sonnen (former ufc fighter, now broadcaster)

I really could go on and on. But these are people who took blows to the head for years upon years before we really knew about the how serious head trauma is.

My point is, if you weren't boxing for a very long period, didn't suffer any major head injuries while boxing I'm sure you're fine!

Heck my best bud had 4 concessions in high school from football/basketball and he's doing pretty darn good.  
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
I know, but if I wanted to see someone on our national healthcare, I would need a referral from my doctor, otherwise I would have to pay privately and it's not affordable for me
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
You don't need a referral to see a therapist.  If it's something you want to try, it's up to you.
Helpful - 0

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