Where do I even begin? I have extreme health anxiety. I have convinced myself that I am dying of a terminal cancer and have just weeks left to live. I had this all my life, but it has never been as bad as it is right now. I have always been able to control it so that it did not take over my life, but after all of these years of ignoring it and pushing it aside, it has finally caught up to me, and it has hit me like a ton of bricks. I have now spiraled out of control into a mental breakdown that has now lasted almost a month. I have put my mother, husband and children through so much over these last few weeks, and while I can acknowledge that I am putting everyone through torture, I still can’t get out of my own head and make it stop. Even as I type this, my mind is preparing me to hear about the pancreatic cancer that is inside of me. No matter what anyone tells me, it will not convince me that I am OK. After getting negative test results back from numerous doctors, I still find myself doubting their diagnosis, and have determined that google is the only one that can truly understand what is happening to me. I can not get rid of this feeling that something is terribly wrong, no matter what I do. It has taken over my every thought 24 hours a day. I can’t concentrate on anything else, can’t eat (have lost a lot of weight), can’t sleep (which causes me to become even more manic the next day) and I am isolating everyone around me. I am buried in my phone googling my symptoms. At this point, I don’t even know what my original symptom was, as it has escalated so much that I have numerous symptoms and can not decipher which ones are from my anxiety and which ones are actual symptoms of a possible health issue.
Noone’s life is perfect, but I certainly can say that in my eyes, mine is. I have the best husband any women can ask for. He is supportive, loving, understanding, patient, loyal, dependable and is the best father one can be. My mother is equally as amazing, and I am grateful that I have her here with me during this. My 2 kids are the best, and fill my heart with so much love. They are the reason I believe I am spiraling because the thought of not being here to watch them grow up has truly paralyzed me. We just bought a beautiful house that I absolutely love, and can’t wait to make a home in for our family. Yet my mind won’t allow me to be happy about it, b/c of the nagging fear in my head that I won’t be there to experience it with them. I have tried to get help from a therapist, and had one cancel the appointment on me, one talk to me for just 15 minutes listening to me hysterically cry about needing help, yet offering no advice except for prescribing 3 medications for me. I have left a few messages for others that are in my network, and I have yet to hear back. I am truly in need of professional help to get out of my head. This is not normal to have these thoughts 24/7. I have put my mind and body through such torture over these last few weeks that I am not sure how long it will take for me to recover. I feel mentally and physically drained. Typing this even hurts my arms, they feel like they are 100 lbs each. I long to go back to the days where I felt normal and the only thing I worried about was something I needed to do for work, or just worrying about the Covid situation like everyone else in the world is.
The last few weeks feel like a blur. I couldn’t tell you what even happened, or how it started. I had landed in the ER with heart palpitations and high pulse rate, multiple visits to my GP, multiple blood tests, Chest Xray, Pelvic exam and ultrasound, a brain & neck MRI, spinal xray and just completed a barium swallow xray. (to rule out lung cancer, ovarian cancer, throat cancer, esophagus cancer, stomach cancer, metastasis to the brain and bones). I am now thinking it could be pancreatic or colon cancer and wondering how in this covid situation I can quickly get these checked as well. It sounds insane, but in my head these things are really happening to me. Each test I was 100% convinced they would come back with something sinister. Google explained everything to me……the fatigue was from the cancer that was spreading through my body, the funny feeling in my head and blurry right eye vision was from it spreading to my brain, the pain in my back and pelvic bone was from it spreading to the bones….but where was the primary cancer site????? I started to feel like my reflux was worse and I couldn’t swallow. Was my sense of smell going? Oh my god, it’s through or esophagus cancer. What if all of the fertility treatment I did to have my angel of a son led to ovarian cancer? What if that pain in my back was my lung? I had at one point convinced myself it was ovarian cancer that had spread to my esophagus, throat, mouth, brain and spine, all within a few days from each other since I was getting all the symptoms at once. I would have a few moments where I would come back to reality and say “this doesn’t even make sense” but then I would google and it would reassure me that is what it was. Each time I would focus on one cancer, those symptoms became even worse. When I thought I had throat cancer my whole mouth started burning and became numb and I couldn’t feel it. My hands and feet were tingling all the time, and my pulse rate was so erratic, that it always felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. Every other hour I was running to my husband or mother telling them of the new cancer that is inside of me. I honestly don’t know how they didn’t commit me. To be honest, I felt so crazy, that if it wasn’t for COVID, I would have brought myself to the mental ward of the hospital. Every time I had a new symptom I wanted to head to the hospital to get it checked RIGHT NOW b/c it was an emergency – it was spreading through me like wildfire and if I could just discover it right now, I might have a chance to beat it.
I think part of the reason I am spiraling is due to the current COVID situation. In the past, if I had a symptom, I would simply head to the doctor have them check it and give me the reassurance that it was OK. But b/c everything is telemed right now, I couldn’t simply just go to my ENT and have them scope me through my nose real quick and say “just a sinus infection”. The most I had to wait and fester with my symptoms and googling of symptoms was just a few hours or maybe a day. I could handle that. But to wait for weeks or months??? HOW WILL I MAKE IT UNTIL THEN? As I typed this I feel better, b/c I am getting it out of my head and as I write it I can start to see how silly it all seems and what my husband and mother must be hearing as I come to them in a panic, tensed up, breathing heavy, hands clenched and pacing back and forth about my new symptoms. WHAT HAPPENED TO ME??????? HOW DO I GO BACK TO FEELING NORMAL AGAIN? My intentions of writing this really is to put it out there in case anyone else is going through this. Perhaps we can help each other out or perhaps you can just tell me how ridiculous I am : )
Mental illness is a true disease. I honestly don’t know if there is a cancer in me or not (some tests are still pending) but the reality is that this debilitating anxiety is what is truly destroying me right now. I can certainly acknowledge that I have a serious issues, I just don’t know what to do to help it. I feel hopeless and scared, and even though I am surrounded by such a loving family, I feel alone….in my head….all day every day.
I have never shared this much detail with anyone about my thoughts and my issues. Thanks for listening.