Fear

I hope I’m not alone in this but I’ve had a lot of loss in my life. Lost 5 babies by miscarriage 3 were late ones then lost dad suddenly then mum got Picks dementia I was her carer for 8 years and she died which will now be 3 years ago last week.

My problem is I am consumed with anxiety panic and fear. Fear for my husbands health and fear of my own. I’m terrified of dying and death and any small health ailment is escalated and I panic and fear the worst. I literally feel this gut churning fear daily. Some days worse than others.

I had some counselling which helped but the 10 sessions have finished.

It’s not something people admit to much but I feel like a nervous wreck and on red alert as if something bad or fatal will happen any second. It’s horrible and I feel so alone yet I’m married and have a lot of nice friends.

Pen

I’m so sorry for your losses it’s No wonder you are feeling that way. I used to suffer from health anxiety a lot. I just lost mum to an undetected and misdiagnosed cancer. I honestly thought my health anxiety would rear its head again. But it hasn’t. And I think it’s because of this. My mum worried about her health all her life. In the end she did die from cancer that was misdiagnosed. And I just think. Crikey. All we can do is be vigilant. But not over vigilant. There are so many things that could happen to us and our loved ones on a daily basis that if you thought about it we would never leave the house. We have been shown just how fragile life is. So it’s no wonder we want to wrap ourselves in cotton wool. Or we could go out there and live life to the full because it is fragile and short. And we only get once chance. My mum worried about her health her whole life. It got her nowhere. She was a nervous wreck bless her heart. And now she is gone. All that worrying changed nothing. In fact she developed such a fear of illness I believe it stopped her from seeking help with her symptoms early enough to maybe getting treatment from the cancer. Go for your mammograms. Have your smears. Get anything checked out that’s persistent. But otherwise. You have just got to try and let it go and enjoy your life live it to the full and worry about something when it needs worrying about.

By the way my mum was 70 when she died. She worried about her health for 50 years. X

Hi. Pen. I am so sorry about the way you feel, I know, been there. Not since my loss but many years ago I had a breakdown. It was more of a ‘breakthrough’, but more of that some other time.
You urgently need more support. Have you been to your GP? If not please do. Short term medication can help. 10 Sessions of counselling may have helped, but so often it requires much longer.
You certainly have had some real trauma in your life. The fact that you are able to post on here says a lot. It may be you are stronger than you think.
Suffering from heath anxiety can be real problem. Not only do we worry about ourselves but watch those around us for signs of illness. We become obsessed with health. The churning stomach, the fear induced symptoms are all part of Mr. Anxiety’s little bag of tricks. We are bluffed with lies about ourselves and end up in so many blind alleys. I assume you have been checked out by your GP, that is so important, but once that is done believe them. No second guessing like ‘I wonder if they missed something?’ We hear so many horrific tales about a diagnosis that went wrong when millions of people get great benefit from health care. ‘Good news is not news’ as journalists say. There is hope, a lot of it. If you can accept how you feel without adding ‘second fear’ it will help. ‘Second fear’ is the ‘Oh my goodness here it is again’ reaction to anxiety symptoms. Then the ‘what ifs begin’. Oh I know!!! Now all this adds more fear and so prolongs the panic episode. When you feel panic coming let it come. I know, sounds silly, but in doing so you allow the adrenaline, the fear hormone, to run it’s course. There is only a certain amount of adrenaline available in fear and panic. It will always pass if you allow it to and not try and fight it off. Fighting and struggling with ‘IT’ will get you nowhere. You may feel like a nervous wreck, but if you can accept that many thousands of people suffer as you do and so often recover it helps. There is that inner strength in all of us not just the few.
Let it come. Stop struggling. Accept it all as calmly as you can manage. It’s not easy and I know it’s not. But begin today, now, to accept and not struggle. Anxiety so often follows grief.
Take care. We are all with you in your grief. Blessings.

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Pen you’ve got through a lot no wonder your nervous system is alarmed! Have you read “Self help for your nerves” by Claire Weekes". It’s written rather old style, but it’s common sense approached is still very valid. It teaches on to ‘let time pass’, as the symptoms one is feeling will also pass.
My Dad died twenty years ago and my Mum suddenly 9 weeks ago of pneumonia and a sudden heart attack. In the first, week and a half I had shaking fits. I know I could get anxiety under the stress, as I’m now an orphan. I’m treating myself very gently and I haven’t rushed out to get work.
When i get terribly stressed I go on youtube and try and find something meditative and relaxing.

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Jonathan, mentions a health anxiety. Googling health issues can set up a chain of worry. Again try to let a little time pass before letting things build up.

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Hi. Daffy!! That book became my bible. When I was feeling bad it picked me up no end. Dr. Weekes was considered an expert in the filed of anxiety. It was back in the 1980’s that she began her work, but is sadly no longer with us. There is a compilation of her work in another book “Essential help for your Nerves” available on Amazon. She also made many recordings. Hearing her matter of fact voice is so encouraging to an anxiety sufferer. Thanks for mentioning that. Best wishes.

Just read your comments about Googling symptoms. I entirely agree. Googling to a health anxiety sufferer is about the worse thing they could possibly do. When in that condition we are so open to suggestion a little child could lead us. Keep well away from Dr. Google.

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Hi Pen,

I completely understand where you are coming from. I lost my dad to a sudden heart attack 21 years ago. From then on I worried mercilessly over my mum, driving her mad with it. Then I had my daughter 12 years ago and the worry is like nothing I’ve ever known. I used to watch her all night to make sure she was breathing and even now, I get up to see if she is ok in the night. 6 months ago, my mum went into hospital for a routine day operation and I worried that she was going to die. My sister said I was being ridiculous but lo and behold, my mum suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage 15 minutes after surgery. She died the next day.
Now I worry relentlessly about my daughter and panic until she has called me to tell me she is at school or on the way home.
Since my mum died, I have decided to seek some help and am currently waiting for CBT therapy on the NHS.
I live a normal life, hold down a very responsible job which I never panic over and I take finances in my stride.
It’s just worry over my loved ones which has come true over the years. My partner says if you worry about everything, one day it will come true and you will be ‘proved right’
Cheryl x

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Hi. Cheryl. I’m not sure I agree with your partner. No one asks for trouble but when it comes we need deal with it in the right way. Worrying about some imaginary thing won’t make it happen. As the old man said “I have had many troubles in my life few of which ever happened”. It really is self inflicted pain. Not grief, that’s a different matter entirely. I’m talking about anxiety.
Apprehension is another of those anxiety symptom. There is a big difference between being concerned and worry. We have all had a nasty shock and trauma, so fear is sure to enter the picture. Fear of the future and concern for our loved ones. Fear is so often generated by uncertainty. It’s uncertain about what the future holds for us that brings that awful feeling in the pit of the stomach.
The good news is that it does pass. Grief may remain but the fear and apprehension will go. We may need help in achieving this but some good counselling or a trusted friend can help. Blessings.

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Thanks Jonathan.
I often wonder if I caused what happened to mum because I ‘knew’ something was going to go wrong, but I accept that I cant have done.

I often thought I caused mums illness because I used to say it’s better if she goes before my dad as she wouldn’t have coped with the loneliness and being on her own. She hated being alone. Well I got what I asked for!!!

Deep down we know we cant cause our mums deaths joules. We both had mums that died of defects that couldnt be seen thats the problem. My mum must have had a blood vessel which was weak it’s just that I felt something was going to go wrong and it did.
It’s all part of our grief I suppose x

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Thanks so much to you all for taking time to reply and help me. I have actually just bought the Claire Weekes book self help for nerves and it’s about the only thing that makes sense. If you can do it (I’m sure it takes practice) then it works. I just get these terrible panics and sometimes have to breathe in a paper bag! I had enormous stress caring for my mum and she eventually had to go in a carehome. Enormous guilt. I visited daily for hours sometimes twice a day. I missed her so much but I didn’t trust care staff. Then there was the abuse case against her a young carer was seen dragging her along to the toilet and he cut her wrist with his nails. They sacked the whistle blower. Say no more. I got so stressed I had a bad dizzy spell at work and practically passed out. My mum and dad would call my anxiety and fear “all reaction” and I know it is but my god when does it end. It’s not getting any better and I struggle daily. We have just moved house which isn’t helping. My hubby is very good but I try to hide it as I’m ashamed. I have been to A&E so many times convinced I’m having a heart attack. I was given beta blockers which I did try but they made my Bp and pulse a bit low and I don’t really like taking tablets. I think I read somewhere that someone said “Nobody ever told me grief feels so much like fear” might be C S Lewis it was someone famous anyway but it stuck in my mind. It’s good to know I’m not alone with this anxiety. I wish you all a lovely evening - Pen x hi

Pen. Others will strongly disagree with me. But I went through a terrible time with panic attacks and anxiety 12 years ago. The dr put me on 20mg of citalopram. They saved my life. However I can’t get off them. But not sure I want to right now anyway. I probably could if I really tried. But have always been too scared. Worth a thought. Not for everyone thought. But if it’s become debilitating it might be a low dose could take the edge off. Fot a while. And don’t underestimate the power of exercise for anxiety too.

Yes, a good walk kicks away some excess adrenaline. Plus, it lifts the mood.

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Yes I find walks help. I keep meaning to try swimming but can’t seem to motivate myself
Thanks so much I really appreciate all replies. It makes me less alone with this. X

Hi. Pen. Exercise, like all distractions is fine in the short term. But when we leave the gym or come home reality comes back. Anxiety always has an underlying cause. Cause and effect apply as much in anxiety as in physics. Now we don’t have to look far on here for cause. It’s only too blatantly obvious. The trauma we have all suffered is almost certain to cause anxiety.
Think about it. Our world has been turned upside down. Often it seems that our life has come to an end. Facing the future may seem unbearable.
Getting Dr. Weeke’s book will help and you are right. Acceptance does take time. She advocates passive acceptance. Do you fight your panic trying to ‘get rid of it’? If you do you add fuel to the fire. Deep breaths and let it come with utter acceptance. I have said this in another post. It takes time to recover but it’s always possible. And try not to indulge in self pity. Difficult? I’ll say, but it can be done given the will. Dizziness is one of the classic symptoms of anxiety. You have been checked out so you must believe them when they say you are physically OK.
Why are you ashamed? Anxiety is an illness like any other. Would you be ashamed if you had the flu? We are human and suffer emotional feelings when under stress, and you are surely under stress.
Yes, grief is fear. Fear for the future. Fear if we will ever recover. Fear of more losses. Fear of what others may think of us. I could go on with so many fears. But all go to show we are human and fears such as those are normal, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES. It’s in the circumstances of grief and pain that anxiety occurs. Things ‘trigger’ anxiety attacks. Things we may never have taken notice of before can send us into a spiral of anxiety. Sounds, smells, sights anything can do it.
If we can accept this will happen and go with it; go with the flow, bend with the wind then the fear may lessen. Let it all happen but see it for what it is, thoughts in a tired mind. Everything passes as does anxiety. Take it a day at a time. Try not to anticipate events. Most of them never happen.
Blessings.

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Jooles
My friend went on anti depressants 25 years ago soon after the sudden loss of her mum. Every time she tries to come off them she crashes and has to go back on them.
Its this reason that I dont want to touch medication even though I think I would really benefit from something to brighten my mood. I’m ok today but have cried buckets this last week. I’m so up and down x

Cheryl that’s what happens to me. I’m really torn on it. As I think they are helping somewhat right now. And I had post natal depression quite severely and they really helped. Just wish I could come off them but I’m very frightened to

Medication, like all things is a matter of personal choice. I see no problem in consulting your GP, as we should all do anyway, and taking advice. I know doctors will prescribe drugs, but that is their stock in trade. In my opinion, and many will disagree, short term medication is so often necessary in bereavement. The pain can often be unbearable and some relief can be given with meds. Long term is different, and only your GP can advise on that. Coming off medication after long term use can be tricky and ‘tapering’ is essential. NEVER come off suddenly. Ask for advice on this. There is a web page that is useful. It’s by a Professor Ashton who specialized in prescribed drug rehabilitation. She gives tapering charts on her web page which is worth looking at. Its ‘The Professor Ashton Manual’.
No one should be on medication when they feel they are now OK. But as I said before, this should be discussed with your GP. It’s also worth mentioning that over the counter medication should not be used while you are on prescribed medicine. Always consult your doctor first.
So many are anti drugs and suffer accordingly. I take what help I can from any qualified source. But it is a very personal choice and whatever decision we take needs to be respected.
Take care.

Jonathan. I’ll look into that tapering. Not right now. As I’m not strong enough but one day I hope to

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