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I have health anxiety. Here's my current demon...

Buster

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Hello everyone,
This is my first post here, so pardon me if I am doing something wrong.

I have health anxiety, and it is really messing up my life. The recent concern is related to muscle weakness and twitching - something I've had for years - but yesterday I made the mistake of looking up symptoms and found that they fit ALS. The worst part is that I knew I shouldn't do any home research on symptoms, but I did it anyway like an idiot - and that set in motion a full day of suffering. I know it's most likely simply my anxiety acting up, but I simply cannot let go of that part of my mind that fears ALS. It feels like insanity. There's a part of my brain that is acting completely autonomously.

A doctor would test for 5 symptoms, and muslce twitching is just one of them. As far as I know, I do not have the others (slurred speech, weakness in one side, tongue issues and inappropriate social interactions). So part of me KNOWS that I don't have it. It's 90% sanity and 10% insanity.

Things are better this morning, but the worry is still there in the back of my mind. So I am here to share and some support.
Thank you in advance for any replies.
 

Belizz

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Hi Buster and welcome!
I totally relate, we all experience that autonomous mind knocks out the logical mind with a baseball bat and takes over.
It actually has nothing to do with health fears, this is an unhealthy way of thinking we use to cope with some other hidden things. That alone makes health anxiety one of the most complicated and hard to treat anxiety disorders.

As for your worry, as you said the symptoms mean something when they come together. Muscle weakness and twitching can happen for any benign reason. Please keep on reminding yourself that, like you always do. You are on a good track. When you have such worry/panic just let it sink in for a while. Experience it with all symptoms. Then start talking to yourself, remind yourself that why it can't be ALS. You will find many reasons to convince yourself I promise. Then check on your muscle weakness or any other symptom of a random worry, you may even notice the symptoms get weaker. Because our perceptions are usually distorted because of the tricks our minds play us. repeat this every time you get the worry, after a while the worry will lose its power on you.

Never-ever-EVER google symptoms. We all do that mistake from time to time, some of us resist the urge pretty well.
But the consequences and the amount of stress it will cause you is real.
 

Buster

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Hi Buster and welcome!
I totally relate, we all experience that autonomous mind knocks out the logical mind with a baseball bat and takes over.
It actually has nothing to do with health fears, this is an unhealthy way of thinking we use to cope with some other hidden things. That alone makes health anxiety one of the most complicated and hard to treat anxiety disorders.

As for your worry, as you said the symptoms mean something when they come together. Muscle weakness and twitching can happen for any benign reason. Please keep on reminding yourself that, like you always do. You are on a good track. When you have such worry/panic just let it sink in for a while. Experience it with all symptoms. Then start talking to yourself, remind yourself that why it can't be ALS. You will find many reasons to convince yourself I promise. Then check on your muscle weakness or any other symptom of a random worry, you may even notice the symptoms get weaker. Because our perceptions are usually distorted because of the tricks our minds play us. repeat this every time you get the worry, after a while the worry will lose its power on you.

Never-ever-EVER google symptoms. We all do that mistake from time to time, some of us resist the urge pretty well.
But the consequences and the amount of stress it will cause you is real.
Thank you for your well-written reply. I appreciate the points you make, and they are helpful to me. Could you elaborate on your idea that this is not health fears but a counterproductive way of thinking?

I guess I am just really tired of dealing with this. It's always something. I am working very hard on accepting it, but it drains my energy so I can't enjoy life to the fullest. But the only way out is acceptance, so that's what I will do.

Thank you again.
 

Belizz

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Could you elaborate on your idea that this is not health fears but a counterproductive way of thinking?
People with health anxiety usually have problems with uncertainty and they want to have control. These are the noticeable ones rather easier to diagnose. But sometimes there can be family or social issues that place false beliefs and these are usually collected in the sub-consciousness and that part of your mind you don't have any control over, unfortunately.
If you are a deep thinker and want to go deep about your HA, then you will notice some behavioral and thought patterns that contribute to your anxiety, and seemingly are not related to health fears.

Mine is caused by my control issues (about my life, I never try to control others) and my perfectionism. This is diagnosed by a psychiatrist after a bout of 8 months long psychotherapy. Perfectionists are not always very out there, most of the time they don't even know that they are one.
So there can be many underlying causes. Ways of bringing up in families, false beliefs by parents, and society. Wanting to have affection, wanting to have control over something, anything which lacks in your life. You name it, the list is long.

At least that's what I came to realize, after spending half of my life with HA and after going through different types of treatments.
 
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