By: 2SC Staff
Hi! My name is hypochondria and many of you are familiar with me. I’m a particular kind of anxiety – I make you obsess about physical symptoms – and you convince yourself that you that have a serious illness.
I’m very sneaky. After all everyone gets sick from time to time. And it’s important to pay attention to your health – especially when you don’t feel well!
I prey on this need. Every ache, sneeze and bout of fatigue creates panic. Scouring the internet, you confirm each worst case scenario. Web MD is your favorite bookmark.
I love when this happens. It means I’m winning! I’m making you miserable and your life small.
But sometimes I actually feel a little sorry for you. I guess that’s why I’m letting you in on a few secrets. There are some simple solutions to lessen my hold and make you feel better. I know I shouldn’t be telling you these things – but I still am.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Talk Therapy
Visiting your therapist to engage in talk-therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, you lessen my influence. I’m just a type of anxiety – and your therapist can provide practical suggestions to make me go away or at least visit you less frequently and with less intensity. You will also get a deeper understanding of my origin, which further takes away my power.
2. A Trusting Relationship with Your Physician
Physicians see me all the time – which means that they can help you consider that I may not be telling the truth – that there may be less scary explanations! Doctors can run specific tests to rule out anything serious. They can also help with medication to help manage your anxiety.
3. Spend Less Time Surfing the Web
The Web is an enormously helpful tool, providing a lot of information. It’s also my favorite weapon, as it can create an endless array of catastrophic illnesses to explain your symptoms. I watch with delight as you work yourself into panic. Limiting your time online will give you some reprieve from my insidious and damaging presence. 4. Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness is defined as bringing your total awareness into the moment. Taking a deep breath and using all your senses anchors you in the here and now. It gets you out of your head, creates safety and helps you look more objectively at your situation. It also slows your breathing, lowers your heart rate and lessens anxiety.
5. Examining the “Evidence”
There are many times I’ve convinced you of the worst and it proved to be completely false. Looking at this makes me less ominous. Look at this evidence. Consider the situation objectively – and remind yourself that if I’ve been horribly wrong in the past. Is it possible that I’m not telling the truth now? Am I distorting your reality?
I wreak havoc in many people’s lives. But if people only knew that there were concrete tools they could employ I would have less impact. If you or someone you love lives with hypochondria, please know that many other people have it as well.
Oh – have you met my buddy depression? He’s loads of fun!
A note from the author:
The good news is that effective treatment options are available. We hope you found this article helpful. If you are in Chicago, please be sure to call our Chicago therapy offices to make an appointment at 773-528-1777 or send us a confidential note via our secure online contact form.