Today we’ll talk about overcoming health anxiety, prompted by this email I received:
I’m so anxious I’m around the ceiling. My health anxiety is full steam ahead -I’ve got chest pains and can’t breathe just can’t get rid of it even tho doc says it’s anxiety yikes. 4 steps back and none forward since Christmas. Talk about setback can’t get out of my head.
If overcoming health anxiety is your goal, you must focus on what I tell you today…
You have to get serious and do as I say, for I promise you will feel better once you do.
First and foremost, give this post a serious read: Recovery from Health Anxiety – this talks about the game plan to deal with the health anxiety and move forward despite the anxious thoughts and feelings.
Next, I want you to read this: Dealing with Health Anxiety- Practical Tips that Really Work. This will teach you more about the day in and day out of working on your anxiety recovery while dealing with the anxieties and fears you have about your health.
Have you read both of those posts? Good! (if you haven’t please do, don’t cheat yourself, this is your life after all)
And now it’s time to listen to what I have to say.
I can tell you how to breathe correctly and how to feel the fear anyways and do it afraid. I can suggest a relaxation cd or some hypnosis or a program that works, and maybe you have tried some or all of these things. I can say these things and you can hear them until you have it memorized in your head.
But there is still one component missing. I think you know what it is too, although I am guessing you don’t want to admit it.
You are still afraid. You don’t really believe you can get better.
You want to believe you can so desperately, but you still second guess the chest pain and the shortness of breath. I know you do, you said you have been feeling these symptoms for a month or more. And it feels so real after all.
You don’t believe the doctor (although you want to), you don’t believe me (although you want to), and most importantly, you don’t believe in yourself (although you really, REALLY want to).
The only thing you believe in, but don’t want to, is the anxiety. And you hate it.
I get it. I lived like this for years. (As you know, this blog has been my journey of anxiety recovery).
I even know the reason you don’t believe it. The fear center in your brain (the symptoms you feel) is connected to and right next to the memory center in your brain. So anytime you start having chest pains and symptoms it brings back months or even years of bad memories trying to cope with this unsuccessfully. You continue to feel defeated and hopeless. And the health anxiety cycle continues.
Let’s talk about another area of the brain today. It is the frontal lobe. It is the area of intellect. Intellect ALWAYS trumps emotion, so please hear me out.
You can have anything your heart desires. You are entitled to a life of freedom from fear. You are worthy of so much than what you are giving yourself right now.
You know your thoughts are what makes you anxious. It’s time to think better thoughts!
I know you have times when your thoughts are working correctly. You have days when you are happy and you laugh and you are with friends or at work or doing things you love and anxiety doesn’t bother you.
It’s that frame of mind you need to nourish and grow.
You have all the tools you need to deal with your anxiety symptoms, you have books, you have tapes, you have every “How To” out there.
What you lack, and what I lacked (until I learned better) is the knowledge that the power to heal is within you.
That feeling of life when you are well is within you now,and you can access it. You are simply caught in a loop of feeling bad, because, well, you have been feeling bad over and over and over again since Christmas.
Today you can choose peace & calm. You must learn to hold an image of yourself as precious and worthy of every good thing life has to offer. Free of debilitating anxiety. You can choose to let yourself relax your grip- ever so slightly- on checking on your chest pain and breathing.
You can choose to realize that life is yours to live. You create your life. A life as relaxed as your exhale, like a beautiful butterfly on a glorious summer day.
It is time, REALLY it is time, to start loving yourself more than you hate your anxiety.
If you can start to put more energy into self love, believing the things I am telling you here, if you can put your energy into this, rather than the energy you put into bracing yourself against chest pain or trying to breathe, or coming up with terrible scenarios in your head, you will start to relax your grip on the fear. You will start to just let go…
I want you to get to the point where you say, dammit, go ahead stupid chest pain, go ahead and do your worst. If you are going to kill me, do it now! Just get it over with, I’m so done with you! I have better things to do! I am not giving this any more attention, I love myself too much!
You can live in a different way. You can. Sometimes you get it, and you do. I know you do. I have learned to do this, and my life is better.
You have this ability, the ability to put yourself in harmony with the good you deserve. You need to become very good at not going into the negative and staying focused on the prize- A happy, peaceful, calm, healthy you.
And the final thing you need to do today is bookmark or print out this post. I want you to read it again and again when you forget how wonderful you are. This is all you need for overcoming health anxiety.
I wish you peace,