Hypochondria Series: Change The Way You Feel (Part 4/4)

M A C A R O N M A I S O N (3)

Hello loves, ❤

Day 4 has fastly approached & our little mini series on hypochondria is finished 🙂 I pray that all of you have taken something from this ❤

By posting these I am not looking for sympathy nor empathy. However I do want my lovely followers to know that YOU ARE OKAY & that you are not the only one that thinks like this ❤

Below are some options for changing the way you FEEL ❤

Ask your doctor if a medication could help you.

  • Research indicates that hypochondriasis is correlated with depression and anxiety disorders, which suggests that there could be a genetic origin. In that case, you may need to try an antidepressant prescription to fully treat your issues. If that ends up being the case, don’t resist that treatment.
  • According to research, serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medications for hypochondriasis. Generally speaking, these drugs are not considered dangerous or physically habit-forming.
  • As with most mental illnesses, a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective course of treatment for hypochondriasis. It’s possible that you will not make sustained progress if you don’t take both seriously, so don’t make the mistake of discontinuing therapy or stopping your medication once you feel better.

 

Make changes to your diet. Though research into the connection between diet and hypochondria is in its infancy, a few general guidelines are recommended.

  • Eliminate all foods that you suspect could be allergens. Any food that causes you bodily distress will potentially produce symptoms that you could easily misinterpret. Additionally, it could be helpful to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Doing so will stabilize your blood sugar and help with digestion, thereby improving your mood and helping to reduce pains that could be misleading.
  • Cut back on caffeine. Stimulants, in general, are dangerous for people will anxiety issues, and it’s difficult to control racing thoughts and sleeplessness if you’re had two cups of coffee before bed.

 

Try doing yoga or exercise. Any vigorous physical activity will release endorphins – the “feel good” chemicals in your brain – and give you a natural high. Additionally, if you tire out your body, you’ll be more relaxed and less likely to stay up until 4:00 a.m. doing web searches for proof that the sounds in your stomach mean that you have cancer.

  • Work out for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you currently have no exercise routine, feel free to start out small with 15 to 20 minutes of walking per day. To help manage anxiety, the frequency of your workouts is more important than the duration, so don’t save all of your exercise for the weekend. Spread your sessions throughout the week.

 

Sleep on a regular schedule. Because excessive worry and anxiety often lead to difficulties sleeping, it’s common for those with hypochondriasis to fall into patterns where they don’t get a sufficient amount of rest every night. When that happens, you’re likely to be tired and cranky, making it harder to think clearly and fight against the sorts of thoughts that have caused your problems in the first place.

  • Use relaxation techniques before going to bed. This can be as simple as doing a systematic relaxation exercise, such as gradually tensing and releasing all of your muscle groups, one at a time. You also might be the kind of person who deals with anxiety by taking a warm bath or listening to some calming music.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night. Though it’s difficult to maintain a sleep schedule when you’re exhausted after a sleepless night and want nothing more than to nap when you get home from work, you should fight the urge.
    • Any small disruptions in your sleeping patterns can make it difficult to get back on track, so you should do what you can to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. If you do, your body will calibrate itself to a consistent schedule, and you’ll feel more rested and balanced.

 

Avoid web searches for disease symptoms and illnesses.Searching for the cause of your perceived symptoms will only exacerbate your condition. Avoid using the web for this purpose, and instead fill your time with other healthy activities.

I pray that this series has helped you all & not offended anyone. Suffering with this illness is something I deal with on an every day basis & if you do too, you are not alone ❤ I promise there is light at the end of the tunnel.

We are alive.

We are healthy.

We are thankful.

We are OKAY.

There are so many things to be grateful in this life ❤

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

DYH Signature

Hypochondria Series: Change The Way You Think About Your Illness (Part 3/4)

M A C A R O N M A I S O N (1)

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 ❤

DYH Signature

Hypochondria Series: Building A Support System (Part 2/4)

M A C A R O N M A I S O N (1)

Hello loves, ❤

Day 2 on the Hypochondria Series – Below are some ways you can build a support system – Hope the below helps you ❤

  • Get a medical evaluation with your primary care provider.
    • Make a list of your current symptoms to take with you to the appointment. Since IAD can be associated with having been ill as a child or other traumatic events, make sure to inform your healthcare provider about your medical history. Your primary care provider may refer you to a mental health professional for additional treatment.

 

  • Locate a healthcare provider you can trust.
    • Obviously, the most difficult part of being a hypochondriac is that you constantly feel as if there is something terribly wrong with your body. Ultimately, a trained physician is the only person who can diagnose your symptoms and monitor them for any changes that could require a medical intervention. If you aren’t in regular contact with a doctor, finding one should be your first step

 

  • Create a good relationship with your physician.
    • If you suffer from hypochondriasis, it’s likely you’re going to be getting to know your doctor quite well. When you have an appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions and get as much information as you can.
    • Be honest about what you are feeling and how you perceive your symptoms, even if you feel embarrassed about them. Give your physician as detailed a medical history as you can. Your doctor needs as much information as possible to offer an accurate diagnosis.
    • Keep an open mind. It’s very possible that both you and your doctor will go through periods of frustration with each other. There may be times when you think certain medical tests are necessary, and your doctor will disagree. There may also be times when your doctor will feel that you do not trust his or her judgment, and you may feel as if your doctor isn’t taking you seriously.
      • If this happens, try to remember that your physician is trying to help you, even though you differ in the perception of your situation.
    • Follow the treatment plan. If you deviate from the treatment plan, your doctor cannot accurately evaluate if the plan is working for you. This inhibits the doctor’s ability to modify your treatment plan and to provide new strategies for you. Following the treatment plan includes taking your prescriptions as prescribed by your doctor. Taking extra pills or skipping pills does nothing to build trust with your doctor. Be truthful and up front about everything related to your treatment plan.

 

  • Consider joining a support group.
    • It’s common to feel alone in your illness. Your doctor says you’re not really sick, your therapist is teaching you that you can’t trust your own perceptions of body sensation, and you’re starting to wonder how it’s possible that you’ve been so wrong. Add it up, and it can be very overwhelming. Talking to other people with your condition can help you better understand what you’re experiencing. Group therapy can introduce you to people who have learned to thrive with your condition, as well as people who are just starting out in treatment. They can provide you a support system for the times when you begin to waver in your treatment and start to doubt whether you want to continue. No one can challenge your thinking better than someone who has had all of the same thoughts that you do. You will get a chance to give back to those who are helping you. If you stick with your group, you eventually will become a resource for others who are struggling. If you’ve never met someone with your condition, it can be profoundly validating to talk to someone who has suffered from the same sorts of fears and intrusive thoughts.
    • The internet is filled with message boards and forums for anxiety disorders. On these sites, you can connect with and share feelings with others with IAD. You’ll likely meet folks with anxiety disorders different from your own, but may find that you have many things in common

 

  • Talk with a trusted friend.
    • It can be embarrassing to admit that you are consumed by obsessive fears over your health. You don’t want to be someone who is constantly complaining to everyone about how you’re sure you have a terminal illness. Unfortunately, isolating yourself only makes things worse.

 

Since many of the worst symptoms of hypochondriasis emerge while you’re alone and your brain starts spiraling into a series of dire “what if?” questions, it’s important to maintain a social life to distract you from those thinking patterns.

Friends are no substitute for treatment, but anything that helps you break up that avalanche of worries before it overwhelms you is a positive resource

A close friend might be able to see patterns in your life that you don’t. Did your symptoms start escalating after the death of a loved one? Did you begin having anxiety about pains or aches after you lost your job? A trusted friend might be able to connect those dots easier than you can.

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

DYH Signature

Hypochondria Series: What is Hypochondria? (Part 1/4)

M A C A R O N M A I S O N

Hello loves, ❤

If every headache or twinge in your toe sends you into a panic, then you may have already wondered how to know if you’re a hypochondriac. We can all relate to the desire to Google our weird bodily symptoms, and doing so occasionally is totally normal. But it can become a bit of a problem if your health is all you ever think about and the worry is overwhelming you.

Hypochondria, which is now called illness anxiety disorder, is defined as the excessive worry that you are or may become seriously ill. It’s not just the occasional worry over a true problem, but an all-consuming anxiety that causes you to constantly monitor your body, and often sends you running to the doctor.

Illness anxiety disorder needs to be persistent for at least six months before it’s considered a problem. And it can be triggered in a variety of ways, including a stressful life event, the threat of a serious illness (that turns out to not be serious), a childhood illness, having a parent with an illness, and excessive health-related Internet use.

Constantly worrying about your health can put a strain on your emotional well-being. After all, who wants to be fearing the worst all day long? But it can also affect other areas of your life. Relationships may suffer due to people getting fed up with your constant worry. It can cause problems at work, if you are constantly calling out or taking days off to go to the doctor. And it can create financial problems, since we all know doctor’s appointments, tests, and scans are far from free.

Before you convince yourself that you should add “hypochondriasis” to your list of ailments, take a moment to read the list below for some true signs that this may be a problem worth looking into.

  1. You Google Every Symptom You Have

Occasionally researching a few weird bodily symptoms is fine, but running to the computer every five seconds is not healthy. Hypochondriacs often cross the line from being prudent to being down right obsessive. Think of the last time you went on a Googling spree. You probably sent yourself down a rabbit hole of symptom checkers and Wiki pages about cancer, only to end up convinced you had the most serious tropical disease. While it’s important to be informed when it comes to your health, remind yourself of the needless anxiety you are creating, and try to save your questions for your next doctor’s appointment.

  1. You Are Convinced Minor Ailments Are Actually Horrible Diseases

People with an illness anxiety disorder are very tuned into their bodies, and that can be a bad thing. It’s normal to feel little aches and pains throughout the day, but hypochondriacs will immediately assume the worst. Rather than viewing your body functions as variable and involving occasional discomfort (aches, pains, headaches, nausea, dizziness), you believe that anything less than perfect functioning or feeling is a sign that you have a serious illness. But bodies and functions are not perfect. A headache is likely to be a sign of nothing special. But you may jump to conclusions because your default is death.

  1. You Feel Fine, But Constantly Worry About Getting Sick

If you feel fine, the dread that something may befall you at any moment can be just as sickening as the real thing. Perhaps your friend just came down with an illness, and even though you haven’t seen them in weeks, you’re now convinced you’ll catch it, too. In fact, it’s possible to become so distressed over a possible illness, that it can become difficult to function, according to the Mayo Clinic.

  1. You Keep Worrying, Even After A Doctor Says You’re OK

So you just got home from the doctor, and he gave you a clean bill of health, but it’s done nothing to shake your anxiety. Hypochondria includes the persistent fear of illness, despite reassurance from a health care provider. Those with illness anxiety disorder require near constant reassurance that they are healthy, so they may take their worries straight from their doctor’s appointment to lunch with friends. Their health may be the only thing they ever talk about, because the fear is constant and all-consuming.

  1. You Visit Multiple Doctors For Second Opinions

Since hypochondriacs are never quite convinced that they aren’t ill, they may go for second, third, or even fourth doctor’s opinions. They may be convinced the doctor missed something, or that another test or scan is necessary to prove they aren’t sick. Some people even shop around for different doctors until they find one that agrees they are seriously ill, according to WebMD. These constant doctor’s appointments can start to interfere with a person’s work, family, and social life. Oftentimes illness anxiety disorder will cause people to pull away from you, because they are tired of hearing you talk about your health. It can also cause financial problems, since the costs of exams and time off from work can add up quickly.

  1. You Are Convinced An Illness Will Progress

Generally a hypochondriac’s fear is disproportionate to what is actually going on, even if they are truly sick, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You may think something is life threatening when it’s not, or feel the need to constantly monitor yourself for signs of progression. This desire to “stand guard” 24/7 is a way of feeling like you are protecting yourself. If you have a long history of false predictions, doctor shopping, reassurance-seeking, and miserable worry, then you are not protecting yourself — you are harming yourself.

The symptoms of hypochondriasis go on and on, but the main points are:

  • a preoccupation with your health
  • excessive worry that you are or may become sick
  • the desire to constantly check yourself for illness.

It can become quite a serious problem in and of itself. So if this sounds like you, be sure to ask your doctor for ways to alleviate your anxiety.

I know for a fact that I know that this is something that I have to live with & learn to control. Find my anxiety story here, where I share my journey with you all ❤

Wherever you are in the world, have a lovely day ❤

DYH Signature