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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2016

    Health Anxiety Issues

    Hello everyone,

    I've always been looking for an outlet to my anxiety problems, so forgive me as this is my first post. I am second year college student in Ohio. During my first year, I got really sick and was basically bed-ridden for 2 weeks before being diagnosed with the flu (after being told it was just a viral infection they could not treat). During that time of undiagnosed sickness, my mom gave me a legitimately deathly fear that I could have meningitis. I began to develop a feeling of a stiff and sore neck and essentially believed everyday that I was going to die. I began going to a psychiatrist back home because after that situation, any form of sickness or soreness led me to believe that it had a form of life ending result. I was prescribed prozac and took it for about 5 months until I began to wane off of it due to the lack of appetite. It was slightly effective but it never stopped it all together. To this day, whenever I get sick I get tension in my neck due to the anxiety. I still have this brutal fear of death with every sickness or soreness in my neck although I understand meningitis is a very unrealistic actuality.

    The difficulty is nobody close to me really understands the magnitude of my anxiety and even seem to joke about it. Does anyone else deal with a similar problem? If so, what has helped you cope with it?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    I've had a flu like that twice, though not recently, and was nearly misdiagnosed with meningitis the first time because what was then called "influenza B" back in like 1993 can cause pain and stiffness in the neck and back of the skull. First time I wound up in ER with a fever of 103.7 and rising; 105 will get you an ice bath and 107 you're considered unlikely to recover.

    SSRI drugs like Prozac have been, according to my personal research and experience, proving more and more ineffective in dealing with anxiety-based challenges. Paxil devastated me so badly I lost 12 pounds in 18 days, no joke.

    Some folks do well with benzodiazepine tranquilizers IF they can find someone willing to prescribe them due to the perception of a very high addiction and abuse potential. I've taken one for 16 years, only when I feel it's needed, no problem. I also know people who could not be safely trusted with any amount of benzos (Ativan/lorazepam, Valium/diazepam, Klonopin/clonazepam, Xanax/I forget the generic) because they'd either sell them for street drugs or take them all at once. Medication for anxiety is a highly individualized problem, and many people do not want to take the risks they do bring.

    Some do well with one-on-one verbal and/or behavioral therapies. Verbal with a pro is part of my maintenance, and I'll be calling for an emergency appointment in about an hour when their office opens as I have just gotten some news that has me at high risk of destabilizing, decompensating, and winding up in the ER needing twice as much diazepam as they'll give me by incredibly painful shot in the butt.

    Some do well with peer support. Excellent examples are this forum and any like it (I have yet to feel any desire to search elsewhere and I'm pretty finicky about how I get treated) as well as in-person discussion groups. Any medical or mental health clinic should have fliers for assorted groups--some about illnesses, some about addictions, some about more than one. Perhaps people who are entirely outside your usual life could offer a unique perspective once you explain your situation. It's my understanding that what you're encountering in terms of family understanding is not nearly as uncommon as it should be.

    I have a similar challenge to face--my mother is ALL ABOUT protecting my dad's mental health as he maintains a job and they sort out their marriage; he has Asperger's and Major Depressive Disorder and I have NO IDEA how he gets through an average day in his currently very difficult life (my former stepmother and her wheelchair-bound adult daughter are squatting in the house that was supposed to be sold 4 months ago, and this is AFTER SHE REMARRIED and her daughter's dad widowed her a few months later!). When it comes to my generalized anxiety disorder with associated severe panic attacks and very mild OCD, well, that's all just my "incurably negative attitude" just like high school (I graduated in 1989) so obviously the years I've spent trying to burn out the excessively negative aspects I do recognize in my basic, non-illness personality were well spent! For the record, she is the only person who knows me who says I have made no headway on that work; I've had the same therapist for about 5 years now and when I told her about the comment made directly to my face (the one in quotes last sentence) she nearly puked on her own shoes before saying she has very few regular clients with a better attitude.

    Check around your community and think about what you find as far as care options you might be comfortable trying. Anxiety and worries over physical health don't go hand-in-hand, they're conjoined twins!



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