Posted by: susan. | 2015/01/07

can this really be anxiety

Dear doctor.hope you had a fantastic holiday season.i want to check with you seeing as you are a professional mind doctor. ;-). My gran,grandfather and father passed away in November. My dad was the shock. He passed away from a heart attack due to blockage in heart. Since then I have had this constant nervous/stressed feeling. My appetite decreased and my tummy feels like its pulling a knot (which in turn causes heartburn every now and again). now I catch myself obsessing over blood clots and my health. I have had a chest x-ray,heart ensyme test,full blood count test and d-dimer tests done as well as an ecg and all are normal. Could all this really just be anxiety? Every time my chest feels tights or I get a pain somewhere I stress about it. I catch myself questioning my results with 'what if' questions. I also have thoughts that they might have missed something and keep worrying. I am currently in therapy, just wanted to hear your thoughts on this. I don't want to run to the doctors everyday. Please help

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Our expert says:
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- 2015/01/08

Dear Susan,
So sorry to hear about this : what a bundle of bereavements you have faced recently !  Any one of those losses could be disturbing for anyone, but in such a short space of time, it'd be unusual if you were not troubled by this, for a time.
Grief is hard work, and, while one is working through it, there are a range of potential symptoms, including much of what you describe.
Grief includes sadness, loss of appetite and pleasure in whatever usually pleases you, and anxiety with tension, which may show itself in various ways including muscle aches and pains, such as the tightness in the chest. The muscle tension can cause many sorts of pain, as well as amplifying what would otherwise be among the ordinary and normal range of minor aches we all experience through the day, to the point that they alarm you.
It's unpleasant but normal for one also to focus one's anxiety on the possibility of oneself developing a serious illness,  having just experienced proof of human mortality and unexpected deaths.
It's highly unlikely that the doctors who tested you missed something, as they'd be very motivated to get it right ; but understandable that you'd still feel some uneasy doubts. But accept that there IS something wrong, but it's not a sinister physical ailment sneakily ticked away ; but that what is wrong is a difficult grief needing support and help for you to work through it well, and meanwhile causing you all sorts of worrying symptoms and fears.
You mention already being in therapy, though you haven't mentioned why this is ; what the therapy is dealing with. Your grief and fears of physical illness ought to be the primary focus of your therapy, with your psychologist or counsellor.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Jenna | 2015/01/08

I think you can relate it to anxiety over the sudden loss of your dad (and then of course the loss of the other family members). I am sure as time goes by you will stop feeling anxious about your health, but I do hope that you seek counselling to help you through this.

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Posted by: msj | 2015/01/07


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