Hello loves, ❤
Here we are for Day 3 of this series ❤
I pray you are finding this information useful so far.
Below are some way you can change the way you think of your illness ❤
Find a mental health professional.
- Research indicates that mental health therapy is an effective treatment for IAD
- Ask your doctor for a referral for a counselor in your area. If you don’t have a doctor or would rather find a counsellor on your own, the National Board for Certified Counselors has an online directory.
Be prepared for feelings of resistance.
- If you’re convinced that you have a serious medical issue, you may find it insulting to sit and talk with someone who is telling you that you aren’t capable of accurately perceiving your own body. But if you want to overcome the fear and anxiety that is causing you so much emotional turmoil, you need to trust someone who understands your condition.
- Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. Part of your treatment will involve forcing yourself to stop monitoring your physical symptoms, something that may fill you with anxiety if you’ve been closely attending to your symptoms for weeks or months. Invariably, this process will cause you some discomfort.
Test the validity of your fears.
- Much of your treatment will hinge on challenging your thinking. You might be asked to stop taking your blood pressure or feeling for lumps on your body, and your therapist will push you to examine the fears that underlie your worries about your health. You must resist the temptation to fall back into a pattern of obsessive self-monitoring.
- Remind yourself that this uneasiness is evidence that the process is working and that you’re making progress. You’re not going to get better without making some significant changes, and the change process is always going to be difficult on some level.
Discover what triggers your anxiety.
In some cases, anxiety actually creates physical symptoms such as stomach distress, so part of your counseling will involve learning about what makes you particularly vulnerable to being overcome with worry about your health.
- You may feel more anxiety over perceived symptoms during times of stress in life. Working with a therapist will teach you to identify the signs so that you can stop those negative thoughts before they consume you.
- Attend all of your scheduled treatment sessions. Inevitably, there will be days when you don’t want to attend therapy, either because you’re feeling sick or you simply don’t think the counseling is making any difference. You must resist this temptation. If you don’t take your treatment seriously, it won’t work, and you’ll create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Educate yourself about your condition.
While hypochondriasis is less well researched than many mental illnesses, there is a body of research available if you do a little digging.
- Read the accounts of people who have written about their hypochondria. There are numerous blogs and forums where people relate the stories of how they came to understand their illness and learned to manage it. Though you might not want to consider the fact that you’re one of them, reading their stories will help you identify many of the same thoughts and fears in your own life.
- Channel your anxiety into better understanding your disorder. No matter how much you research the physical symptoms that are causing you so much worry, it will never be enough to calm your mind. Instead, use the time you would have spent searching for evidence that your aches and pains are signs of your impending doom to read up on hypochondriasis.
Keep a journal.
- Writing down your thoughts will provide you with a record of your symptoms and experiences. If your symptoms repeatedly lead to nowhere, you will be able to provide yourself evidence that your fears have been unfounded all along.
- When you’re feeling anxious or wish you had someone to talk to, write down your thoughts instead. Are you terrified of experiencing physical pain? Have you watched someone close to you suffer with an illness and you’re afraid that you’ll go through the same thing? Where did those feelings originate for you? Exploring some of those bigger questions will help you uncover the thinking patterns that are underlying your anxiety.
- Writing down your thoughts will allow you to track the progression of your symptoms and give you an opportunity to see what sorts of moods and situations make it more likely for you to enter the spiral of worry and anxiety. This can also help you identify your triggers.
- For instance, do you tend to start to worry during a particularly stressful time at work? Are you more likely to stay up late at night searching for evidence of your illness when you’re fighting with your partner? Once you can identify those triggers, you can start to manage them more effectively.
Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤