It was a long six years dealing with GAD and health anxiety. My morning routine was usually the same each day:
I woke up and felt relief that I was still alive. Checked if the pounding feeling and pain in my chest was still there, which it was. Staggered to the bathroom, holding on to something due to the unsteadiness that constant health anxiety causes. Looked in the mirror and noticed how God-awful I looked, and wondered what the hell my fiancée saw in me.
This was followed by a morning shower.
Thinking about how I would ever get through the day, working on my fake smile and personality so I could stay positive enough to keep my tennis coaching position on the side. As well as get a few hours of tennis training in.
Then I would go over how much I dreaded seeing everyone I would have to come into contact with that day. In the end, the worry and fear process would be chugging along full speed ahead, with no relief from health anxiety in sight.
A simple walk in the park where someone looked at me a second too long and the anxiety cycle would begin. All of a sudden I would start looking out for people that stared too long from the fear of being judged for something like my clothes, or the way I walked.
Being at a shopping mall where a sales clerk would ask, “Can I help you with something?” A desensitized person would realize that this was her job, and she gets paid to help customers.
I would say, “No thank you, I’m just looking,” but really I would be thinking, “Why am I being pressured to buy something! If I needed her help I would ask for it! Geez, I hate pushy people!”
This usually started the cycle of anxiety and panic attacks…
It’s like a bad tennis match when plan A, B, and C are all failing miserably and you just can’t stop. What usually followed was either a slight cough, my usual spitting routine, cracking my knuckles, and the most popular one of them all, nail biting. Quickly, thoughts became negative and fearful, which manifested into some kind of physical symptom of anxiety – extreme dizziness, heart palpitations, and migraines, in my case which leads to leaving the park or mall as soon as possible!
Then came the shortness of breath, followed by feeling like I was dying, the worst feeling I’ve ever felt in my life and wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
After that someone would call the emergency, landing me in a bed next to people I was starting to know quite well. This was due to the fact I was there an average of 2 days a week due to my constant health anxiety.
As if general anxiety isn’t enough, it morphs and creates brand new tennis court surfaces to play on. The anxious cycle never seems to end. Agoraphobia is avoiding places that can cause unusual panic attacks and anxiety for a person, and boy did I have a long list of places to avoid in my mid-20s to early 30s.
Not only would certain places trigger these emotional reactions that led to more panic attacks and chronic anxiety, but it was also food, drinks, people, pets, and even music. To a person that doesn’t suffer from GAD or Panic Disorder, having a beer on a warm day on the patio is as relaxing as lying next to the ocean listening to the sound of the waves. However, for me, having a glass of beer would bring up memories of another incident where I had found myself in the ER, or shaking in uncontrollable fear in bed at home.
So I avoided it at all costs, but being a very part time tennis coach as well it was difficult to say no to a client who wanted to share a few beers after a tennis lesson or a group session. Thinking it would be rude to say no, I would attend these get-togethers and have a few beers.
Once in a while people would ask me if I was alright after my first beer, because I would be so stricken with fear that another deadly scenario would happen that night and my panic attacks would set in. Next thing I knew, the physical sensations of anxiety would come back. I would get extremely dizzy again and around and around the anxious cycle would go. My mind quickly associated alcohol to feelings of panic, and it didn’t matter how many drinks I had.
The Health Anxiety Spiral Continued…
I remember one day walking around on my day off from work on a beautiful weekend, feeling absolutely exhausted. Even though I had a good eight hours of sleep and a healthy breakfast. I was thinking to myself that something was terribly wrong, why was I feeling as if the world was like a dream?
That day I realized that I had been hit with the experience of de-personalization and de-realization, the sense that the world had become less real and lacking in significance. I dragged myself around in a sort of daze, almost like being on a street drug.
People were walking past me but it felt as if I was in a dream and this wasn’t real. This off balance, unreal feeling had kicked in so badly that I would act in ways that I never thought I would.
My thoughts spiraled so far out of control that one day I knew that if I didn’t make some drastic changes in my life in every aspect, then I was headed down a road that deep down I didn’t want to be on.
I Was At A Crossroads.
While I wanted to change, part of me was comfortable. GAD and health anxiety was my comfort zone. My mind said if I don’t worry about these things and don’t take care of these threats around me, I would lose complete control. If I lost control that would lead to the ultimate fear that being a hypochondriac brings, which is an early death.
And so it reached a point where my mind was in full on fight or flight mode from the minute I woke up, to the minute I went to sleep. On top of all the physical manifestations that health anxiety brought, now I was also stuck in this dream-like trance all day. My daily life was affected in every way, and people noticed.
*Watch This Video – The Truth About Health Anxiety You’ll Never Hear Anywhere
Sometimes my fiancee Robyn would be talking to me and mention something that would be important for me to remember, but of course it didn’t register because I was too busy keeping an eye on my physical symptoms of anxiety and how I was feeling. It must have been so frustrating for someone that close to me trying to understand what was really going on, and have a regular conversation with. Instead, this man, this love of your life, has turned into a mute who is clearly miserable and with no end in sight.
Thankfully, That No End In Sight Part Wasn’t True At All. I Found The Will-Power And The Knowledge That No One Told Me About Before To End My Health Anxiety Naturally!
It pains me to see other people now suffering from health anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and depression because I know what they are going through. It may have first started for many because of the pressure to “fit in,” or the feeling in your body that felt odd, or scary, or a recurring traumatic event that becomes difficult to forget.
To those people I say that you can grow stronger from this pain if you don’t let it completely destroy you. I am living proof to everyone in this world that the true way to success through severe health anxiety, is to get the right team around you.
A team that won’t quit until you have completely desensitized yourself from your fears, and have gotten your life back once and for all.
This Is My Goal For You.
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