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Old 12-07-2011, 05:15 AM #1
kundi kundi is offline
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Default health phobia / disease paranoia

Hi,

2 months ago I was freaked out in the morning when I noticed small, almost invisible white spots on my beard. The incident happened probably due to my irrational belief, which is connected with the fact that my parent (father) has a vitiligo skin disorder and got I scared that the same skin pattern appeared to me.


That moment extreme anxiety caught me and I felt a lot of stress due to irrational beliefs in my mind connected with the view on disease. It took some time to learn to handle this, and in this time I started to battle with my powerful mind how to handle and accept the situation.

In that time I was unable to function normally for about 2 weeks. I started to investigate my body and searched for any sign of skin disorder, and started to view that patterns on different parts of the body (eye circles, hands, etc.). I started googling for information and feeling strange mood of anxiety and helplessness.

In the meantime I went to the doctor, and he could not diagnose the disease. But that didn't really calmed me down.

After that I slowly started to recover - I was no feeling such a strong turmoil as before, and started to discovering my irrational thoughts behind perception of skin condition - I know that if my father wouldn't have the disease, I wouldn't ever noticed the small spots.


The problem I face until now after 2 months of the incident, is that every time I woke up in the morning the first thought that comes to my mind is that I should go to check if condition of my skin if there are any signs of disease on it (phobia, paranoia). The thought by itself doesn't produce so much anxiety as at the beginning (almost close to zero), but at times it produces more - if I'm not feeling good / well. Then I go to the mirror and look at my skin.

I want to get rid of this thoughts, especially in the morning when I wake up. The thoughts seem to be rooted in my subconsciousness and I have no idea how to remove it from my mind, although I can take control of it once it is there.

I know about cognitive behavioral therapy, which is used to threat such cases, but I don't know what to do to threat mind dysfunctional harmfulness. I'm afraid of thinking that this is going attract disease and make it real.

The irrational thoughts that I could identify behind the behavior:
I should not have vitiligo,
I wouldn't look good with vitiligo - people won't accept me with it

Produced feelings:
fear, anxiety


How to reprogram such thoughts that originate from subconsciousness?

Thanks for help
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:53 AM #2
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Default Re: health phobia / disease paranoia

Have you been officially diagnosed with anything yet and have you had this problem with fearing illness before? Would shaving your beard make it easier to see all of that skin area....opposed to looking in between the hair? Maybe rethinking with positive thoughts would help - like....if I have this, there's good treatment in the early stages etc. If you don't have a therapist you should be evaluated to determine what's the origin of this fear - for example it could be obsessive thinking or hypochondria and others - not saying this is what you have.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:45 AM #3
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Default Re: health phobia / disease paranoia

I would look at the other 99% of your life and see if you can find anything that you are avoiding looking at? It could be that you have grabbed hold of this fairly harmless belief and practice to ward off a great fear that is closer to possibly coming true. I know when my husband use to go away on business trips I would have a great deal of trouble feeling unsafe in my home at night, even though before I met him I had lived alone for 13 years with no problems.

The fear of living without my husband, of having no one in my life for love and support (my mother died when I was a very young child) was not something I could easily work with at the time so when my husband was away, the robbers, murderers, etc. came out of my woodwork because they were not as likely as my one day having to face living without a close loved-one to love and support me.

I solved my being awake, terrified, until 3-4:00 a.m. when my husband was away by the simple trick of leaving a light on in the living room when I went to bed; I usually go to bed before my husband and he stays reading or working on his computer, etc. in another room. So, making the situation as like to what I was used to as possible made it easier for me to go to bed, fooled my mind into calming down and seeing the situation as if my husband were just in the other room instead of in another city.
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:03 AM #4
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Heart Re: health phobia / disease paranoia

Hi Kundi

My mother suffered from an illness called amyloidosis, but I never believed the diagnosis (doctors previously called her a hypochondriac). I assumed all her health problems were due to diabetes.

In 1996, five years after my mother died, I was diagnosed with amyloidosis (hereditary type). I was told I only have a few years left of eyesight, my face will become grossly disfigured, and I would soon lose my mobility. After watching my mother suffer and die from this illness, it threw me into a deep depression and caused me to be terrified of my future.

After a while I realized I was only hurting myself by staying in that frozen moment. My worry/dread won't make the illness go away, and it was making life that much harder. I thought of my relatives (now deceased) who suffered from this illness without the benefits of modern medicine, and I drew from their courage and strength. If they could live their lives with this illness, so can I.

I hope you don't have vitiligo. If you wake up one day and discover you DO have vitiligo, I hope it won't bother you too much. If it does, think of your ancestors and others who have mustered the courage to live with the condition.
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