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  1. #1

    Several phobias...but mainly medical

    I am a 60 yr old female that has been struggling with a few phobias most of my life.

    I am afraid of flying so when my husband and I travel anywhere it's always by car (of course that leaves Europe out of the picture). I'm afraid of heights and spiders also.

    The hardest fear of mine to deal with is health anxiety. Oddly enough the dentist doesn't bother me. Right now I'm having a terrible time getting myself to my internist to have a physical. My worry is the blood test that they want me to take before I see the doctor. It's not the actual getting the test, it's the results I will hear in the office visit. I am so afraid I'm going to be given some bad news of something fatal that I've been putting this appt off way too long now.

    What can I do to get over this? I'm also always thinking about how much time I have left on this earth which is so scary to me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    8,865

    Re: Several phobias...but mainly medical

    Hello Lin and welcome to Psychlinks.

    I think it's normal to be reminded of our mortality as we age, but considering that you are only 60, you have a long way to go as long as you maintain your good health.

    Health maintenance is all about prevention and being proactive, and by staying on top of your medical monitoring, early detection is your best defense against poor health.

    No one can guarantee that any of us is immune from some health issue coming along, but early detection in just about every situation is the way to deal with any eventuality. People who avoid monitoring their health status or ignore the necessary diagnostic tests often find themselves in trouble because the kinds of illnesses that afflict us in our senior years are often symptom free.

    What can I do to get over this?
    There are two things, Lin:

    1. Don't imagine the worst case scenario without any evidence or information to support your concerns.
    2. Deal with a situation if and when it arises.


    • You can only control a situation with information, and your blood test will provide you with the information you need.
    • Early detection in today's modern medicine can be your best defense



    Is there any reason for you to have concerns about the outcome of the prescribed blood test?
    Steve

    Dum spiro spero....While I breathe, I hope

  3. #3

    Re: Several phobias...but mainly medical

    Hi Steve - and thank you for your reply. No reason for my concerns about the outcome of the blood tests, just hearing of friends and acquaintenances that go for these things and find out they have this and that. One found out she had Pancreatic C - no symptoms, and the other had chronic leukemia. I know that doesn't mean that I will be diagnosed with these illnesses, it's just the thought that why not me? I also feel like if I was given that bad news that I wouldn't be able to handle it - going through treatments and knowing that the ending would only be one thing. My anxiety is so overwhelming sometimes it scares me - I get that fight or flight feeling - like I can't stand being in my own skin - hard to explain that feeling. I'm wondering if CBT would be something that might help me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    8,865

    Re: Several phobias...but mainly medical

    No reason for my concerns about the outcome of the blood tests
    That's great, so the reality is there is no reason for unwarranted fear.

    Another reality is that life itself has risks built in. One could get struck by lightening or by a runaway bus..but we still go out and enjoy life on a daily basis.

    We can manage some risks by taking necessary measures like handwashing to prevent illness, getting vaccinations and eating healthy food etc.

    Otherwise we can only do what we can do to take advantage of every day, living each day to the fullest. When a situation arises, we deal with it.

    Surprisingly, most people have amazing resilience in the face of adversity thanks to the support of family, friends and other support networks.

    Have you ever discussed your concerns with your doctor or received therapy?
    Steve

    Dum spiro spero....While I breathe, I hope

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    North American lakes and rivers
    Posts
    4,836

    Re: Several phobias...but mainly medical

    Lin,
    can you bring your husband with you to your appointments? Have a supportive person by your side, regardless of the results, can be calming and reassuring as well.

    Also, yes, CBT typically works quite well for anxiety.
    ~ Allow yourself to be the light that the world so desperately needs. ~ Unknown

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    United States - somewhere.
    Posts
    46

    Re: Several phobias...but mainly medical

    Hi Lin -

    I think we all could question "Why me or why not me?" or "What if?" but then we would be stagnant in our lives forever. I had to learn to challenge my negative thoughts with reality. That was something I did in therapy. I also understand the fight or flight feeling, crawling out of your own skin, but winning the fight, achieving my goals: that feels SO much better than fleeing the scene and continuing to feel panicked about something. You are 60 years young! Many years to be youthful and free to be Lin! As Steve said, early detection is best. Especially in today's medical world. I would also ask if you could bring someone supportive with you to your appointments? Like your husband or a trusted friend? Sometimes it's nice to have someone there to reassure us, comfort us, and remind us that we are OK where we are in the moment and to breathe. Then, maybe afterwards you could go somewhere to relax.

    Does your doctor know how you are feeling? Communication is important in all relationships, maybe he or she can recommend something, too.

    We all have to take steps to take care of ourselves. Sometimes those steps are scary, but we have to remind ourselves we're never alone. Your doctor is there to help show care and concern for your health. Do you trust him/her? If you don't, then maybe you need to talk about that. If you do, then talk to your doctor about your feelings and let him/her help you. Take someone close to you to your appointments and be gentle with yourself. I don't doubt that you are a strong woman who can fight through this. CBT therapy can definitely help. I learned some great tools to help handle my anxiety in therapy.

    Well wishes to you, Lin. Take care!
    LadyBug!

    "When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. ... True story." - Barney Stinson.

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