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July 8, 2021 at 2:58 pm #382665MeganParticipant
I think it’s important to note that health anxiety, or anxiety in general, does not follow the rules of logic. There is no way for us to rationally understand it, because it is inherently irrational. It’s hard to grasp this unless you’ve had personal experience with it, and even then, we, as humans, often fail to understand it when we’re on the outside looking in. We want things to fit into a box. We want to be able to classify things neatly & easily, but, as with most things in life, are not that simple. So when someone says “don’t worry – it’s not likely to happen” or tell you that “more worry isn’t good for you” or something along those lines, just remember that they are not trying to invalidate your pain. They are trying to help, but they don’t have the tools necessary to do so. And that isn’t a bad thing, it just is the way it is. Your partner is probably concerned about you, but they don’t know what to say or how to help. I would personally suggest journaling as your first outlet and going to your husband as your second for the time being.
Now, onto your bigger concern – how to deal with all of this. You’re in luck, because I myself am just getting over health anxiety. I’m not 100% over it, but days are brighter and I have a reason to be out of bed again! I got here through 2 main things. Radical self-compassion and radical self-acceptance. These are terms that are thrown around a lot, so I will explain what that looked like for me.
Radical self-compassion meant silencing my inner critic. I became hyper aware of the judgments I was having about my anxiety, and, man, they were NOT pretty. Before I could even consider changing them, I needed to accept that. First, I started pointing out (in my head and sometimes even out loud) when my inner dialogue was critical or mean. I just said to myself “that was mean” or “that’s a lie“.
From there, I progressed to “neutralizing” the mean/untrue statements. My #1 was calling myself stupid, and my #2 was calling myself crazy. So whenever I said it, I would say the opposite. There is a major caveat here – you have to believe whatever you are saying. So if you say “I’m ugly”, and you go to say “I am a sexy goddess” – you better believe that with every ounce of your being.
Sometimes I couldn’t say the opposite, so I just went with neutral. For example, when I would nag myself about how unhealthy I am. I still don’t believe I am all that good at taking care of my body so I would just neutralize it with the thought “I have a body that works”. Get really good at being kind to yourself. And forgive yourself in the moments you forget to be kind.
The radical self-acceptance part meant that I am where I am in life because that is exactly where I am meant to be. Same goes for everyone else. We’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got on any given day, and sometimes that means we’ve got less to give during certain seasons of our life than others. Sometimes we have less to give than we’d really like, but that is not a bad thing. And having more to give during other seasons is not a good thing. It just is. It is the way it is because it is. It might sound overly simplistic, but this allowed me to stop comparing my struggle to others. We’re all perfectly infinite beings trying to live life in our imperfect human form. And imperfection is a requirement for being human.
Just know, this too shall pass when you’re ready. That might be this week, this year, or maybe not for many years. You are in control of the energy you give your anxiety. Everything that exists is just energy. Everything, everyone, every thought, every emotion. And it’s up to us to learn how to ground ourselves in the present moment to allow the energy of big emotions to pass through us. I’m going to be making a YouTube video about this soon if you’re interested.
You are stronger than you think!! You’ve made it through 100% of your bad days thus far! That’s a pretty impeccable record if I do say so myself!
Best of luck!