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Topic: Health Anxiety. Scared I have MS

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. Tee14
    Tee14 avatar
    4 posts
    28 March 2019

    Hi everyone. This is my first time posting and I’m really just hoping to lay out my story and hope that someone else out there can relate as I feel very alone.

    I was diagnosed with anxiety and migraines when I was about 20 years old (I’m now 25) and ever since then I’ve had severe health anxiety. Every little thing that goes on with my body I notice straight away. For about a year I was in and out of the doctors constantly but I got a handle on that over the past 4 years however I have been experiencing some concerning symptoms in the past 6 months which have me scared that I’ve got MS. The symptoms started with a numbness in the left side of my face and head. It’s not totally numb, I can still move everything it just feels like I can’t feel that side the same as the right side. Of course I went to my doctor who diagnosed it as migraine straight away however it has been on and off for the past 6 months and has since escalated to the whole left side of my body occasionally feeling weak. I would say I feel weak more so than not. I also have difficulty swallowing food. It’s like right before I go to swallow I have to really think about it otherwise it “jams” and I feel like I’m choking. I also get very bad vertigo, after images, sometimes double vision when reading and fatigue. My doctor also thinks it could be stress as I have a 1 year old and returned to work when she was only 5 months old so juggling both roles was very exhausting. I quit my job 2 weeks ago so I’m hoping that makes a difference to this whole situation. I really want to believe that this numbness and all the other symptoms are either migraine or anxiety but it’s just so scary and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it. I really hope someone else out there can relate or even just give me some good advice as I would appreciate it so much ❤️

  2. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    8 posts
    30 March 2019

    Hi Tee14,

    Welcome to the forum. I am posting as a nurse but also someone who has had similar experiences in relation to body sensations and numbness and worrying about MS. A family member of mine has MS so I had a bit to do with the disorder growing up. When I was in my mid twenties I had some strange sensations such as numb toes and fingers. I worried that I was developing the disorder but it turned out that I had high arches in my feet and my shoes were too tight and that my office at work was too cold so I was clenching my body and causing numbness in my limbs.

    What I am getting at is that health anxiety is quite common. I respond to at least one post per week on it as a topic. I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing this type of stress and am glad that you have reached out on the forum. It sounds like you have had a physical health check with a GP which I encourage you to have complete. You are also taking a big step to manage your stress (leaving your work). I also have a one year old and have recently returned to work part time so I definitely know the level of stress you are referring to. I commend you for reorienting your time so you have better work life balance. Motherhood is truly one of life's most difficult and rewarding jobs.

    I am not sure if you doctor has suggested that you see a health professional to begin a recovery journey through therapy? If they haven't, you could ask? Or you could try a free program that is done online called Mindspot. Some people have had success with this program in supporting their management of anxiety symptoms. You can do the program online and have some phone contact. You can read about it here on www.mindspot.org.au

    Another program that has been really supportive for some people is the developed by Beyond Blue program called NewAccess. It is free and support people with low mood and symptoms of worry. It is only available in some parts of Australia so you could have a look at the website and see if it is being delivered in your region.

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/newaccess

    As a new mum, I know my stress levels are always teetering on the edge but you often don't have time to focus on yourself as you are just so busy with your baby. I encourage you to take so dedicated time for your recovery as it will be beneficial for both you and your family.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

    1 person found this helpful
  3. IreneM
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IreneM avatar
    5 posts
    30 March 2019 in reply to Tee14

    HI Tee14

    I can relate to you alot. I am now a Allied Health Student as well as someone who has had similar experiences to yourself.

    First of all let me reassure you that it is not always a bad thing to be mentally prepared for the worst; but at the same time, remember that the worst generally speaking does not happen!

    Secondly I encourage you to check out all of the resources that Nurse Jenn has suggested, but try not to dwell on the worst. Use a Journal to write down what you believe will happen and have a separate page fr what DOES happen. Later you can look back and realise that it is not so bad after all.

    It's possible that you are going through what is mentally known as a Developmental Crisis. This is common among new parents, even post-natal depression can happen. When I was in my twenties I had a relative who was going through a similar situation to you and she was later diagnosed with post-natal depression.

    I can relate to your vertigo issues and I encourage you to invest in a good blood pressure monitor. Recognise the symptoms of dizziness and blurred vision as soon as they happen, and what I do if I get them is to drink some water, as this can be a sign of dehydration also. Staying hydrated can sometimes be half the battle with balance problems. The moment that you feel unsteady check your blood pressure and if low drink more. Dehydration and self-neglection was one of the reasons why I lost my kidneys in the first place (currently doing very well on a donated one).

    Keep getting yourself checked and keep us updated.

    Irene.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Tee14
    Tee14 avatar
    4 posts
    30 March 2019 in reply to Nurse Jenn

    Hi Nurse Jenn

    Thank you so much for your message. It’s just nice to hear other peoples experiences so you don’t feel so alone. I finally opened up to my doctor today about my fears of MS and he gave me his professional opinion that he’s sure I don’t have it but that he’d do a couple of tests just to be sure to make me feel better. He’s also referred me to see a therapist so I’m hoping to start seeing someone this coming week.

    It is so incredibly hard trying to juggle everything in life as a new first time mum but I’d just love to be able to cope with it like “normal” people do. I’m hopeful I will get there one day.

    Thanks so much again for your reply and concern ❤️

  5. Tee14
    Tee14 avatar
    4 posts
    30 March 2019 in reply to IreneM

    Hi Irene

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, it certainly makes me feel better to know I’m not alone.

    I have been thinking about starting a journal lately so you’ve encouraged me to just go ahead and do it. I think writing things down will put a lot into perspective.

    I had not heard of developing post natal issues so long after having bub so maybe I should keep an eye out for that. I wouldn’t be surprised though as I was constantly stressed when she was under 6 months that something bad was going to happen to her to the point where I’d just cry all day. I then went back to work and that’s when the numbness started in my face. It does seem like it’s all just a build up of stress and I wish I could just do some deep breathing and it would all go away but unfortunately it seems it takes a lot longer to get rid of the symptoms than it does to get them

    As I mentioned to Nurse Jenn above my doctor has referred me to see a therapist so I’m hoping to start that this week. Fingers crossed everything starts to get better for me

    Again, I appreciate your reply so much

    Tee14

    1 person found this helpful
  6. IreneM
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IreneM avatar
    5 posts
    30 March 2019 in reply to Tee14

    Hi Tee

    Glad that I was able to reassure you. The other thing that I did not acknowledge was that you have left your job. When you're highly stressed it is difficult to do much. The brain and the digestive system or gut are very much integrated so when one goes or plays up so does the other. So just be patient with yourself and often Time is the Healer.

    I agree that many of your symptoms are stress related, so do not expect them to go away quickly. In the meantime I encourage you to check out the following resource available on this forum:

    LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF - link below or above under the Personal Best Tab.

    Because you have given up your job, why don't you consider another interest avenue to assist your recovery. It can be anything from needlecraft, reading/writing, cooking, gardening, walking or parents group. This way you will surround yourself with other people with similar issues and interests and in the process develop a support network of friends who will understand and be there for you.

    In writing things down for yourself when you get overwhelmed, just take a blank piece of paper and write down everything that is in your head. No need for any kind of order. Just Brainstorm.

    This can take the weight off your mind - later when you feel better go back to it and if, necessary create a To-Do list or Needs List. You can do the same with what you need to say to your doctor. Even a therapist. If you have any events or triggers that set you off write that down for your therapist as well.

    Take Care. Also check out some of the posts under the Stay Well section of this forum.

    Irene.

  7. Tee14
    Tee14 avatar
    4 posts
    4 April 2019 in reply to Tee14

    Just an update for anyone who may read this is the future.

    My doctor has completely ruled out the possibility of MS so it’s safe to say that my symptoms are 100% anxiety and migraine related which is a relief. I am booking in to start my therapy sessions this week and will be making lifestyle changes to help with the migraines. I’ve also created my own little meditation corner in my house with calming crystals and plants so I’m super excited to see what kind of affect this has on me.

    i really wanted to come on here because when talking to my doctor I told him how I google everything and that’s part of the problem for why I get so freaked out and he made a good point. He said the internet can be so negative and you rarely hear back from people on blogs when things have turned out positively so that’s why it was important for me to come back on here and report some good news. Thanks to those who read and took the time to reply. Good luck with whatever you’re going through.

    Tee ❤️

  8. IreneM
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IreneM avatar
    5 posts
    7 April 2019 in reply to Tee14

    Hi Tee

    Glad to hear that you have sorted things out with your doctor and have become relaxed about things.

    Good on you with your little meditation corner, sounds great! Some of what you have included in it would be worth sharing with us in the Staying Well section of this forum. When I do that I also like to defuse some oil to assist with relaxation. As for the plants I would love you to share them. Sure it would help many of us.

    Irene.