Hi everyone! I'm a 30 year old female from Canada....have been lurking on the site for a couple of months now, reading posts - and I finally just decided to join you :-)
Anyway....basically, I just want to know how you deal with health anxiety, for those of you who experience this? I lost my mom to kidney cancer nearly 6 years ago and thought I'd dealt with my grief (never sought counselling at the time, though)....had a few OCD-type incidents since and very mild health anxiety that always went away after a couple of days. Only now, after becoming a mom myself - my son is now 18 mos. old - I have been extremely panicky and fearful of my own impending death due to a terminal illness. Every little symptom I have, however minor, seems to be a sign of something much more ominous.
I work in the health insurance field, part of my job is to research illnesses - so I cannot really escape the internet, medical articles, etc. I have experienced tingling, aches and pains in my arms and legs that had me convinced I had either MS or ALS (the latter scares me the MOST). My doctor reassured me on both counts and ordered bloodwork which came back ok. Another doctor - mine was on holidays when the anxiety was at its worst and I was having numerous panick attacks - prescribed Ativan to help me sleep. The pains and tingling went away in my legs and arms but THEN I noticed some breast changes so it was back to the doctor - he prescribed 20mg/day of Celexa and sent me for a mammo and u/s - both of which showed nothing was wrong - of course I was sure that I had breast cancer. I've also been referred for some counselling and am on a waiting list for that, probably 1 more month to wait.
The meds have calmed me down a lot and I haven't had a panic attack since starting on it, but the thought is always in the back of my mind that something COULD be wrong....I still think that when I have aches and pains. I want to get off of these meds eventually because my husband and I want to have another child (once I'm in a better place mentally, too), but I don't want to fall back into the same traps, the same destructive thought patterns.
Any coping mechanisms, other than meds?