Health Anxiety

What is the root cause?
How can you overcome it?

Mar 6th 2023, by Iveta Finn

Developing health anxiety

 

„Is it better to be healthy & unloved, or sick & loved?

Don’t overthink this question, because there is no good answer. Nobody should be given this poor choice. Why am I asking then? Because at least every 5th child finds themselves in this situation. For a small kid, the choice is easy, there is no brainpower needed: „If sickness means, I am getting the love and attention I need, if I feel like I am really cared for, that’s what I do.“

Then, the child starts focusing on her body: „Look, Mommy, what is this little spot?“, testing the waters with all possible things, until she says something that creates a concerned look on Moms face: „Here, I have a bump…“ „Does it hurt?“ „Nope.“ „We should rather check it with a doctor…“.

The child conditions herself to being hyperaware of her body and its sensations, scanning it all the time. At this stage, it is usually not connected to feelings of anxiety. It purely serves the purpose of meeting their need to be loved and cared for.

Should we not give our children love and attention when they are sick?

We absolutely should. The key here is, that our children’s need for love and care should be met, when they are healthy (as well as sick). Then, the child doesn’t have the need to use sickness as a source of love. Btw. it doesn’t take a bad parent to leave the need for love consistently unmet. All it takes is a parent, who is stressed, busy or emotionally unavailable.

 

When body hyperawareness turns into health anxiety

Around the age of 10, children start understanding and contemplating on the concept of death. And it’s at this time, that the bodily sensations and symptoms, they have been used to watching so closely, start having a meaning. „What if I am not well?“. People usually describe these years as “having light anxiety” or „it has always been there“. 

They continue living like this, often quite unaware of what’s going on until they are confronted by a heavily stressful event. It might be a loss of a loved one, they might find themselves in a car accident, have a tough birth or recovery, they experience a full blown panic attack or any other form of emergency.

This event, that would cause very high stress to anybody, creates seemingly unbearable cocktail of feelings and sensations for a person, who is hyper-aware of their body. Panicking, this person cuts the connection between them and the body, making the body into a source of threat, an enemy, rather than a safe temple to live in. 

This is the time, when you can’t ignore your anxiety anymore. It’s not uncommon to fear death most of the time. It’s like you’ve lost faith in your body, in life. It does not feel safe anymore. Your life starts turning upside down, it affects not only your ability to live the life you want, but also the relationship with your husband, the way you are there for your children, your job…

 

How can you overcome health anxiety?

If this is where you are right now, I am inviting you to write a full stop. Close this chapter of your life. This is not your fate, your personality, this is not you. As you can see above, it’s purely a „software“, you have installed in your system at a young age, not knowing what it could cause later in life. And that’s okay. It’s not set in stone, it’s just a conditioned pattern. Many of us have done that, myself included.

So take a deep breath and know „there are many ways to reverse this unhealthy conditioning I fell for“.
And one of them is right here!

the 1st step to healing your health anxiety

request a free 15-minute consultation

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By taking control of your anxiety, you can reclaim your peace of mind and live an active and fulfilling life.