I blogged last july in a post entitled "well hello there" about my anxiety concerning my physical health. BTW if anyone knows the secret to posting a link to previous posts, let me in on it ok? Anyways, this was a fairly new form for my anxiety to take and it was really stressing me out. Then the flood happened and all that followed that and I guess I was too busy worrying about other things because I really didnt obsess any more about my heath or physical symptoms for awhile. Unfortunately this past week it has started up again, and has been particularly bad over the weekend. And I have to confess that I have been visiting my old friend, Web MD. Bad, Lisa, bad! In the past two days I have diagnosed myself with a bowel obstruction (which may be caused by a cancerous tumor), an aortic dissection, and DVT (deep vein thrombosis). Ok in reality I'm pretty sure I just had indigestion and a sore leg. It even seems a little humorous to me now but seriously when it is happeneing it is not funny! Like for instance when I thought my bowel was obstructed I was thinking I would need emergency surgery and I might not make it through the weekend, and if I did I might have to deal with having bowel cancer. I was grief stricken thinking of having to tell my girls that they would have to grow up without me and sad to know I would not be here to see them graduate or get married. I was scared, I prayed, I resigned myself to death, and then panicked and got scared all over again. It was like going through the stages of death and dying all at once! Its hard to because I go through it all alone. I don't tell my husband that much about it anymore because he just rolls his eyes. I don't blame him; he probably got tired of my worries which to an outsider seem ridiculous. So anyways, I usually just search through online information, which I probably shouldn't do since it always scares me. I did call the Nurseline yesterday, which is something I try not to do, since it gets charted and a report is sent to Dr. Sean. If I called the Nurseline everytime I have a concern he would get all these reports, and then he would probably never take me seriously again. But I AM proud of myself that I didnt go to the ER last night. The Web MD site was telling me that a bowel obstruction was a medical emergency and I had all the symptoms and I REALLY was scared and want to go in, but I just talked to myself and said "Lisa, it's just going to be like all the other times you went in and nothing was wrong with you and the staff was annoyed and you were embarassed.". So I stayed home, I was so stressed out that I ate some pizza and gumdrops that I wasn't even hungry for. Not the best choice if I really had an obstruction. Luckily I discovered this morning that my bowel wasn't obstructed (not going to go into details but I think you all know what I mean!). But then in church I found a sore spot in my leg and I started thinking I had DVT and I started to panic and had a hard time focusing on the sermon. But I made it home ok and my leg feels better now.
Ok, seriously, as long as I am on this earth and have a body I am going to have physical sensations and discomforts. How can I manage if everytime I feel a twinge it sends me on a rollercoaster of fear and despair? Is this the "new thing" now, now that my ED is mostly under control. Let me explain my history briefly: I started therapy at 11-12 years old because I was having horrible panic attacks which mostly centered around me whole-heartedly believing my mother was dead whenever she went somewhere. I would cry, scream, go crazy with grief, sometimes be so upset I would vomit. Then she would come home and I would cling to her and cry, so happy she was alive. This was exhausting for me and my family. My mom never felt like she could go anywhere. I would sit in school all day worrying about if my mom had plans to go anywhere that evening. Prior to her going anywhere, I was in my "logical state" and I knew that the evening would end with her coming home safely. I just dreaded the panic that would take over once she left. And of course, once I was in the middle of it, no logical reasoning, not pointing out past examples, could bring me out of the terror I was in and make me believe she was safe and alive.
So anyway, when I was 13 I had about 6 months where I developed anorexia, and the panic disorder seemed to leave a suddenly as it started. But under the direction of my therapist and psychiatrist, I discontinued the ED behavior (I was still a good little girl). That was when I developed OCD. Checking to make sure everything in the house was unplugged and the stove and furnace were off before I could sleep (and getting up to check again and again). Turning around to go back home to make sure the house wasn't on fire. And one that is kind of funny : I could never sleep with underwear on because I was convinced that somehow the underwear would work its way up around my neck and strangle me as I slept :). Anyways, this went on until I was around 16-17, when I again developed anorexia and then a year later, bulimia. and It has been the ED ever since. A year and a half ago I tackled the anorexia on my own (not in a hospital) and have maintained a healthy weight since then. And the past 6 months have seen a decrease and finally an end to the purging. I still have poor body image, and I have some ed thoughts, but this is the most recovered I have ever been. I'm finally starting to feel normal.
And now this.
Just to clarify, I didn't one day say "oh I think I'll stop the OCD and become anorexic now" or switch between anxiety symptoms on purpose or anything like that. In fact, I didn't even notice in happening until my mid 20's when I realised that durring periods of ED recovery my anxiety was worse. Then I looked back and discovered the pattern.
My personal theory is that I used my ED to control my anxiety without realizing it. For some reason, engaging in ED behaviors had a calming effect on me, and when I was not in my ED I felt anxious and out of control.
It's discouraging to realize that I might always have to deal with my anxiety disorder. Some forms of anxiety I can handle better than others. This "health anxiety" though, its awful. It really, really sucks. It is almost as bad as thinking my mom is dead. I think the worst part is "knowing" my girls will have to lose their mom and thinking about them. I said "knowing" because when I am going through it, it really is that real.
Ok I have gone on long enough. If you have made it this far, congratulations. Actually if you have made it this far, thank you, because it means I am not alone. I'm really not sure what the point of this post was. It just kind of took on a life of its own. I think I meant to ask advice, before I got sidetracked on my history and stuff. I think I went off about my history so you would understand what I meant by "the new thing".
Have any of you ever obsessed about your health to the point where you were convinced you were dying? Was there anything that helped?
7 months ago