What is Health Anxiety?
Many of us experience health anxiety differently, but there is one common theme: a real fear of getting sick or dying.
The word ‘hypochondria’ has historically been used to label health anxiety, but at this point this word has a very negative connotation – people don’t it seriously, and laugh it off with a “you’re fine!”. This is discounting your very real problem, and so this site chooses not to use this term.
Health anxiety presents in different ways – for some of you, you may only worry when you experience some kind of ‘real’ symptom. You then Google it, and then find out that some terminal or very serious illnesses share this as a ‘differential diagnosis’ (or they share it).
For others, you may be preoccupied with looking for something wrong, and finding something odd-looking or ‘different’, you begin to obsess and create the monster that is health anxiety.
This type of anxiety is triggered from different parts of your brain.
As prehistoric humans, we were always looking for threats – lions, tigers, other nasty creatures that could cause us harm. But now in the 21st century, we don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff anymore. But our brain is still working as it should and that sense of looking for threats is still active – so you and I make up stuff to worry about. Case in point – terminal illnesses!
It also doesn’t help that we have things we want to do in our life – dreams and goals. Or, we may have a very busy life that’s just a tad bit stressful with all the responsibilities that we have: kids, work, parents. Sometimes when we take on too much, the result is health anxiety. We’ll turn a relatively small health concern into the end-of-the-road for us – hasta la vista, life. This also feels good – it feels like the rest of your stressful life has taken a backseat to the real concern: your impending doom. Why are money and relationships important at all if you won’t be around to even need them? This is just another layer of how our brain justifies our health anxiety.
This site will talk about health anxiety in detail and the steps you can take to overcome it.
I would absolutely love your feedback and thoughts on this writing in our forums, specifically this thread.
See you there!