i struggle deeply with health anxiety. probably the text book version of someone who constantly worries that they are sick. recently i was having tingling in my pinky finger & ring finger & saw a doctor because i was worried i had ms. they (a general practitioner & a chiro) both said that i had a lot of tension in my back causing the nerves to become tight. i was switched from xanax (.5) to klonopin (.5 @ night) & started to get this skin burning sensations with makes me even more freaked out that i have ms. i also have ringing in my ears. not sure if that is even related. i have a feeling that i am creating symptoms. i am scared. tired. and just want my anxiety to go away! is this common? should i be worried?
I obviously won't jump up and blame it on anxiety. And neither should you. If MS is a concern from where you come, your anxieties are not totally invalid or irrational. However, if you are confident that your symptoms have been adequately evaluated by a healthcare professional who qualifies to rule out MS, you CAN relax.
Should you be worried? That depends on whether you are worried about the MS part, or if you are worried that you have these anxieties. And both worries can co-exist. The primary anxiety about having an illness can be taken care of, to a large extent, by getting yourself evaluated from a professional you can trust. But it is the secondary anxiety (about having the anxieties) that takes more efforts to deal with. And it acts a shield that doesn't allow you to touch and remove even the primary anxiety.
It is vital for you to acknowledge that fact that it is OK to feel this way. It is OK to have such a situation in life. This is acceptance of the situation "as it is", which empowers you to move on.
"Is this common?" - Does you happiness/relief depend on the answer to this question? How will it help you if you knew this is common? The gist is, this question is simply another manifestation of the secondary anxiety. And as long as you wait for an answer, you are strengthening this anxiety. But if you can accept, as I mentioned above, you won't have to depend on the answer. You can focus on working upon the primary anxiety, that is the anxiety about some illness.
And the work on the primary anxiety is quite manageable with the help of a therapist or a counsellor. It is not in the scope of this medium that we attempt any therapy or even parts of therapy. But I suppose you can start exploring your fears about getting MS. You can explore the thoughts associated with this anxiety about "what if I have MS". You can go further and answer that "what if" question. I am sure you will get some helpful answers from yourself. The next step would be to check if those thoughts (answers) are helping you or simply disturbing you more.
Hope this help. You can always come back here and post your updates.
Abhijeet Deshmukh, MD
(This post is for the purpose of providing medical information and is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a doctor. This post is not intended to give or rule out a diagnosis, create a doctor-patient relationship or replace an existing one. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please consult with your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment options)
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