Thursday, 29 January 2015

My name is Lucy and I am a hypochondriac...

I know, as a mother of young children it is not uncommon or unusual to worry from time to time about their future or fear over what would happen if one day I weren't around. When those thoughts become all that enter your mind, that's when it becomes damaging.

I won't be writing this with professional knowledge or using intelligent words, this is just me and my personal experience with.. well my own mind.

There was a time when I was happy, positive and could concentrate without those dreaded thoughts distracting me and taking over, that was around two years ago, then I found a lump in one of my breasts. My immediate thought was CANCER, I didn't know of any other reason that would cause this lump. I fought off the need to visit the doctor, for fear of been given the diagnosis and simply just hoping it would  somehow disappear. It didn't. It was painful physically and emotionally, I had to go.
In the waiting room my heart was racing, I felt sick to my stomach, in my mind I was going over the scenario that was about to happen. When I got into the Drs office I broke into tears. I was terrified.
I was arranged an ultrasound scan in the next couple of weeks. I can't remember how I got through those days, the nights were spent watching funny YouTube videos into the early hours, stealing much needed sleep just trying to distract my mind from the constant worry and destruction of my own thoughts.
The day came, first I had a consultation with a specialist who actually tried to tell me that my lump was a rib... It definitely wasn't, but he sent for a scan anyway. I sat in a tucked away waiting room with about four other women waiting to be called. All I kept thinking was the statistics say 1 in 3 women will get breast cancer. There was four of us, at least one of us is probably going home with heartbreaking news, cancer doesn't care which one.
It was my turn, I'd been in an ultra sound room a few times before, I was excited then though, now I felt like I would have a cardiac arrest my heart was beating so fast.
The lump was felt and picked up on the scan, after about 5 minutes examining, she told me she thinks it's just a lipoma and not really anything to worry about... Ah..relief, never felt anything like it. Until a few days later when a letter comes through the post, the consultant isn't satisfied, I need to go in for a biopsy. More waiting, more stressing. But I got the results back in a couple of weeks, they were fine. I rang Mike and I cried, I was so happy I was finally able to lift the burden.
(I realise that was a lot to read but that been the start of my health anxiety, I thought you needed to hear the full story.)

A couple of months later my step dad was back in hospital, he had a long term illness so this wasn't uncommon. In a week or so he'd be back home like usual playing bingo online, this wasn't to happen. Although I knew he wouldn't be with us forever, this was far too soon, I wasn't prepared in the slightest and even now, a year and 3 months down the line, I dont think it's completely sunk it. He is the closest person I've ever lost, I've never had to deal with grief like this before and the heartbreak it left me with is one I would never want my children to go through.

The breast pain is back but in a different place and I think I've found another lump, this ones different than the last. I've been checking them, constantly. Another Drs appointment and another scan later, they say they can't find anything and give me advice about breast pain. Relief again... Well maybe for a couple of weeks anyway, the pain is still there, the constant checking is still going on and the fear  of leaving my children motherless are permanently in my mind. I became afraid to go to sleep when Mike worked days, I had thoughts like if I don't wake up and Mike leaves at 5.30am, our poor boys will be at home on their own, maybe trying to wake their dead mum up. The thoughts made me sick and I would argue with myself, try teling myself to shut up but they were too hard to fight. I got to the point were I would get Mike to ring me at 8am just to make sure all was ok. I was physically ok but definitely not psychologically.

The thoughts still continue to overpower and I've recently been to the doctors again with back, chest and breast pain. I'd convinced myself I had lung cancer, as ridiculous as that sounds, it's so hard to push away. The Dr said I was fine but maybe sensitive to pain. It's difficult to accept it when I believe something to be really wrong with my body. I had a routine smear appointment this week and again I am unconsciously telling myself that they will find something, something wrong and I will be told I have a few months to live. Maybe to a few people this is laughable but believe me it's anything but funny experiencing it. I have found myself planning out letters that I will write to Mike and the kids for when I'm gone and things we need to do as a family before it's too late.

The main reason I wanted to write this blog was because last night I felt a panic attack coming on and anyone who has ever experienced them will know just how scary they are. Thankfully it didn't come and I managed to calm myself down, but I still had a feeling of a big tongue, small throat and excess saliva in my mouth, that continued until this morning. I went on Google and found that these are symptoms of anxiety. I realised that the whole morning I had been clenching my teeth. My body is so tense.
I've found out that anxiety can cause pain and that makes me feel a little better, not sure for how long but hopefully it will give my mind a little rest. It also makes me feel better knowing that health anxiety (hypochondria) is a real thing and that I am not alone. If anyone is reading this and has the same issues, I understand you and will give you support if you need some.

Thank you for reading this, I know it is long.

Take care

1 comment:

  1. Oh my dear friend. I am so sorry that you experience these awful feelings. I am an anxious person and can relate to some of what you have written. Know that you are not alone, you are a strong and capable Mama and wife. I always have rescue remedy in my bag which I find helps A LOT, plus lots of chamomile tea and I speak to my mom and husband as soon as I begin to feel a bit down and worried.

    Much love to you xx