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I've had really severe anxiety for as long as I can remember. I have had illness anxiety disorder since I was probably around 8 or 9 years old. It's been a huge battle for me. I'm not really scared of developing one specific illness; it's far more generalized than that. I used to watch commercials on TV when I was younger and I would convince myself that I had every disease displayed in various drug advertisements. I also had a bad habit of reading the backs of medicines, cosmetics, and really anything I could ingest with a label. If whatever it was happened to be toxic I would be convinced I was going to die for days. This drove both of my parents absolutely crazy.
When I was in the fifth grade I developed fears of my house burning down, someone abducting me, lightning striking a tree that could fall through my roof, or dying in my sleep. For some, or all, of these reasons I had a really hard time sleeping. I would actually stay up for days at a time. I only felt comfortable sleeping when someone could monitor my environment and myself (I am still like this). I would also obsess about my grades, which ended up taking a toll on me. I actually had a teacher in elementary school ask me if my parents beat me when I got bad grades because of my constant concern. Anything less than an ‘A’ would bring me to the point of hyperventilating.
After years of having anxiety I began to develop a habit of what I like to call "checking out". I don't really like the feeling that my anxiety gives me so I just learned to shut down completely. My maladaptive coping mechanism lead to me completely "checking out" of school from seventh grade on. My habit only got significantly worse after a bad relationship in high school. I completely stopped socializing with others and I missed weeks of school at a time. I can now take online classes in college, which helps a lot thankfully.
Since those few years that I spent locked away in my house I've gained a bit of weight. Although I now have a boyfriend and have gained a little more self-confidence I still have a problem going out in public. I feel like people are constantly whispering about me, how heavy I am, and how my clothes fit. I sometimes don't leave the house for days at a time, and even when I muster up the courage to leave I usually stay in the car. This is REALLY debilitating
I don't really know what my point of writing on here is... I guess I've just been feeling especially anxious lately. I have three big fears related to health: breast cancer, oral cancer, and the fear that my teeth are rotting out. It's frustrating especially with my oral health fears. People continue to tell me that my teeth are fine but I can't get the idea out of my head. I’ve become hesitant to eat harder foods (like carrots and apples) because I’m afraid my teeth will break. The health related fears are so severe now that I cannot watch TV shows related to health or hospitals (for example, House, Grey's, and Nurse Jackie). I sleep very little now and as I've said I don't really leave the house. I feel sick and have trouble eating a lot of the time. I sometimes get so upset about my grades or the possibility of illness that I get kind of "locked on" and keep repeating the same phrases (for example, "I'm just going to fail this class") over and over again.
I know this may not be the point of this site, but I just kind of wanted to share what's going on with someone. I don't really know how much help can be given through this forum so I'm not really seeking anything. I just feel like no one really understands.. People just kind of brush me off sometimes but I really don't feel like it's just a minor problem. These thoughts affect my entire being at times to the point that it's difficult to function. Not a day goes by that I don't feel completely trapped inside myself, inside my head, and I just want to escape from it sometimes. I'm not suicidal or anything (I mean most of my fears seem to stem from not wanting to die) but I just wish the intrusive thoughts and feelings could stop. Maybe I just sound like I'm being a "baby" or exaggerating but that's my story. Sorry if I posted too much, as I’ve mentioned I'm not sure what is appropriate on here.
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