Health anxiety has me scared to exercise!!

Posted , 16 users are following.

I'm hoping someone can help me. I'm not sure how exactly, maybe by giving me tips to get over this irrational fear.

My health anxiety has been rather bad lately, mainly focusing around the idea that my heart is failing, I'm going to have a heart attack, or I have a pulmonary embolism. Because of this, I begin panicking any time my pulse speeds up and I take my pulse/feel my heartbeat continuously throughout the day.

This has gradually gotten worse, and I'm now scared to do anything that will raise my pulse. I feel winded and breathless after climbing a flight of stairs, and have to rest for a while because my heart will be racing (part because of the movement itself, part because of panic). I now try my best to avoid all unnecessary exercise because of the fear I'll have a heart attack or such.

Anyways, I'm overweight and have been rather unhappy for a while. I've finally plucked up the courage to take out a gym membership and will be going for the first time tomorrow. Here's the problem - because of what I've mentioned above, I'm terrified of actually stepping onto any of the machines. I'm terrified in case I become extremely breathless, in case I have a heart attack, or even in case I make a fool of myself by working myself up and inducing a panic attack.

How can I get over this? I know I NEED to do this, but I can't get my head round actually doing it.

Oh, and to top it off I have asthma (although I've never actually had an asthma attack) and I'm scared in case I have one while working out. I'm stuck in a vicious cycle! I'm depressed because of my appearance so I want to work out, but I'm scared to work out in case something bad happens, so I become even more unfit and even more depressed.

Sorry for the long rant, I just really need some help right now. :'(

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  • Posted

    I LOVE you All! I thought I was the ONLY person to think these things!!!!! Thank you GOD for letting me find others!!!! I've been suffering from these thoughts for 26 yrs....long yrs. I'm 49. Countless ER , doctors, testing and I can't get it through my head!!!! This all started growing up with my dad who suffered with an extremely rare medical condition that aged him physiologically, so I developed a phobia of heart and health issues. Everything you're all saying is things I thought or think. It leaves you not only isolated, ashamed, embarrassed but it steals your happiness and quality of life. I smoke so that is definitely making it worse for me. The depression from it is daunting. I was overweight my whole life but, now a small person thanks to my primary who asked me to take off 1-3 lbs per month. He promised me not only could I lose the weight but keep it off and he was right! I started in 2012 after a spinal injury and it took me until 2017 to take it off and keep it off. You can do it CLR!!! I can give you simple things and you will succeed! I did it with diet alone because of my injury. First is, you can't lose weight for vanity and remember nothing ever tastes as good as the first bite which leads you to portion control and healthier eating without giving up the things you love! You can only weigh yourself once a month also. I know you can do it as long as you're patient. Best part you learn to love yourself along the way. I signed up for a gym recently and panicked too! My friends suggestion; go slow. Walking in the door and take your time feeling comfortable until you can get on the treadmill and or bike. Throw a small towel over the screen so you're not looking at your HR, listen to relaxation music or music that makes you happy. If you can only go 10 mins it's a start.....all you need is 30 mins a day, 5 times a week. I'm trying this myself!!!! My gym has massage beds and chairs so that's a bonus for relaxing.....if anyone is up for it we could start a little support group for the gym, suggestions, recipes, quitting smoking etc on one of the apps out there so when we're scared we can text each other....KIK or something like that with our user names from here!? Perhaps we could just keep the discussion here as well. Anyway, I hope this helps not only you but others. I am just so grateful to have found this discussion and know I'm not alone!!!! You all really personally gave me hope today!!!!


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  • Posted

    Wow you sound just like me! The only difference is, is that I’m super fit and have been excersising very well until I developed anxiety about my heart. I’ve taken blood tests, ekgs, and even an echo cardio gram all saying that my heart is fine. I’m always checking my pulse and worrying about my heart stopping for some reason! I hate it and it’s making me depressed! I can’t seem to go to the gym without leaving in with an anxiety attack not even finished with my workout. I get really lightheaded and dizzy, have chest pains, ringing in the ears, head aches, feeling natious and faint. It’s horrible, and so weird how the mind can do this. You aren’t alone, stay strong bro!
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