My Girlfriend has developed Health Anxiety

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My girlfriend has always worried about her health more than most people, but it was always something we could laugh about in the past. But since changing jobs 2 years ago, she has gradually started to get more and more worried about her health.

She completely fits in to the profile of having health anxiety - going to the doctor several times a month, not believing what he says, constantly checking different parts of her body...it goes on.

We talk about it regularly, and she is trying to fight it. But when she has a good few days, maybe 3 or 4, it is always followed by a bad few days. And it's always a different body part. She knows it is irrational, but can't help thinking that way.

I know for the first year, I found it irritating and didn't give her enough sympathy. I feel guilty about it now that I have researched it and try to help as much as I can, without wanting to encourage her.

The doctor suggested taking something to help, but we are both against that. But we are struggling to win the battle. I know she worries about talking about it too much to me as she thinks it will put me off. It wont, I just feel sorry for her and want to help. But at the same time, it can be really frustrating. It does impact on her life, not always, but sometimes it can ruin a day out or holiday. I admire her attitude, she eats well, exercises and tries to fight it.

How we can stop this getting worse? And what is the best way for me to help her? I try to be firm and say she should only ask me to check something when she really has to, that she should fight it rather than constantly asking me. 

Just feeling really sorry for her and want to make this go away, or a least stop it getting worse.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    You are doing brilliantly and your girlfriend seems to be doing all she can to combat this.

    I think you are correct that she does in fact have health anxiety. If you could perhaps look back to when all this began. Maybe her life was hectic or maybe she lost a loved one. Usually the anxiety comes when we are vulnerable and the slightest physical feeling could of triggered this at a vulnerable time.

    You both are against medication but there are so many other things she could try because the trick is to combat the thoughts and the anxiety. She could try CBT or YouTube have some fantastic audios for relaxation and meditation for alsorts of things. Some are specially designed for health anxiety. I do one as I am going to sleep and another I try to fit in through the day. They really seem to be helping.

    I do hope you and your girlfriend find a solution xxx

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  • Posted

    Awww you sound so sweet , the best thing you can do is reassure her and give her a cuddle I keep telling my husband this , talking about the fear and helping her to realise it's ok and that we all have pains and symtoms in our daily lives , what sort of things does she think are happening to her if you don't mind me asking?
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  • Posted

    Hi, sorry to hear your girlfriend is struggling with health anxiety. Does she google symptoms all the time as this can cause more anxiety .Has she tried relaxation and deep breathing exercises. Going for a walk together to distract her, enjoy the Autumn leaves changing, sunsets etc. Get involved and enjoy doing things together, try new hobbies, does she enjoy crafts, there are free courses on the internet ( Future learn ) these are free to everybody and they run courses on all sorts you just need to be interested in something. I have done courses on all sorts of subjects. They usually run for 6-8 weeks and about 3-4 hours of input a week. you work at your own pace, you can interact with others. There is so much to choose from and this would give her something to occupy her mind instead of worrying about her health. Disstraction and other interests would give her somthing to concentrate on, you could both do a course and disscuss what you are both learning. I have done Forensics, Criminology, Richard the 3rd, How the brain works just to name a few. I am currently doing Cyber security and soon going to be doing one on the wonderful creatures that live in the oceans. I have learnt so much and it disstracts me from my anxiety. Hope this helps.  
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  • Posted

    Hi, 

    I don't really have any advice but I think your doing a fantastic job with your girlfriend. I suffer really bad with health anxiety and for me the best thing is having support and some one to understand. I think it's amazing that you are doing your best to help her and understand what she is going through. It really is awful but hopefully one day it will just disappear - just keep been supportive! 

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    • Posted

      Well thank you everyone for all your comments. It's nice to be able to talk about it with people that understand.

      Feel free to ask any questions by the way. 

      She started by thinking that she had things like cancer, brain tumours...usually after she had read about them online or read that someone she knew got one of those things.

      But now it is all sort of things, problems with veins, her mouth, arms, legs...and it moves on from one to another. I've researched online and found this can be quite common.

      We both changed jobs and moved away from home, which I'm sure has triggered this. Our jobs mean we'll move back in 18 months, which I hope will really help.

      It's not such a big problem but she has also developed anxiety about other things - the house being burgled, or things breaking , or money. There is no reason for her to worry about any of these things.

      I will look up the relaxation/meditation videos straight away. We are willing to try anything before resorting to medication.

      As I said before, I can't help but feel annoyed and frustrated by it, as it's so irrational. But I know she is far more frustrated and upset by me. We both just want to get rid of it, as I'm sure all sufferers do!

      One other thing, she doesn't google any health problems anymore. I told her she has to wait for it to be a noticeable problem for a week or 2 and then she can ask me to look it up. She's actually been really good at that!

      It is such a strange thing to have developed and at times it makes her such a different person. I'm convinced we can fight it though.

      I do appreciate all of your help and advice.

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  • Posted

    If she is googling illnesses try and stop her doing that it only makes the general health anxiety worse.  reassurance is the only way and a lot of patience I'm afraid.

    Richard

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