As many Buzzfeed posts would indicate, having anxiety is hard and often not well understood. On top of that, there are many types of anxiety which manifest differently. Here are some things about my personal brand of anxiety.
  1. Health anxiety is also called hypochondria.
    People use the term hypochondriac kind of loosely. In this case I mean someone who experiences extreme anxiety related to their health. Every symptom is a cause for worry, whether or not it is truly serious.
  2. Symptoms which most people ignore are a BIG DEAL to me.
    A tickle in the throat. A headache. A burning sensation in my eye. Even if it is very mild, I often get worked up about it. A lot of times if I tell my husband about the symptom that is worrying me, he indicates that it's common for him but that he just ignores it.
  3. I feel like I need to go to the doctor to get every little thing checked out.
    I've been getting better about this, but my real illnesses have made me sensitive as well.
  4. Getting a real diagnosis can really up my anxiety.
    Health anxiety doesn't just manifest when nothing is wrong. Sometimes my fears are proven right, which plays right into my (usually) false anxious thinking.
  5. It's a terrible feedback loop.
    First I notice a symptom. Noticing it amplifies it and makes it worse. I notice that it gets worse and my anxiety increases, adding even more to the symptom (and new anxiety symptoms too). And on and on...
  6. I get panic attacks.
    For me, they feel like a sudden realization that I am 100% CERTAIN that I am going to die RIGHT NOW. It's not at all pleasant and comes with a bunch of terrifying physical symptoms. I have been learning to manage these however.
  7. I am really afraid I might be dying.
    A lot of small symptoms make me scared that I'll die from them.
  8. I fixate on certain illnesses.
    When I was younger it was appendicitis. It moved on to having a heart attack. Right now it's mostly going into anaphylactic shock. I notice symptoms related to the corresponding area of the body more because I am fixated on it. So anytime I feel any small thing in my throat, I freak out.
  9. WebMD is my worst enemy.
    No seriously, DO NOT GO THERE.
  10. My parents are pharmacists, which is usually good but maybe not always.
    I often call to describe a symptom and see if I should be worried about it. Usually they talk me down, but sometimes they encourage me to get it checked out. This often makes me worry more, and I'm never sure if maybe I've misrepresented the severity to maybe entice them to agree that I need to go to the doctor.
  11. Therapy is helping.
    Thanks to my therapist, I'm not a hopeless ball of fear and I haven't needed my Xanax in a while.