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Counseling/Obsession of depression

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Question
I am 47 and had been battling the health anxiety since 20 years. I have hypertension,hyperlipidemia & mitral valve prolapse with trivial regurgitation (which causes anxiety & palpitation). All these years my focus was mainly on heart, but since one month i has become very cancer phobic, as i remember one of aunt who died of cancer before 15 years..

I asked whether anxiety can cause cancer, so one allexperts counselor replied me that, anxiety & depression does not cause cancer, but cancer can cause depression. I don't know under what context she said that, which made my life like a living hell.

I know that, anxiety & depression does not cause cancer.

But Now i am fearing & obsessing that, depression is the symptoms of cancer.

What i know is that, upon being diagnosed with cancer, the patients become depressed, anxious & sad.

I have seen the people having depression for 30+ years & living with it & they don't have cancer.

Half of the world has depression, if depression would be the symptom & then half of the world would have cancer.

If somebody is depressed, when he will go to psychiatrist for treatment, will the psychiatrist will tell him to go & test for cancer.

This obsession had made me more fearful & i am having full blown continous panic attacks since 2 weeks. The anxiety is 10 out of 10 since i read that answer. I unable to function & get up from
the bed. I am not going to work since one week & unable to sleep since one week only obsessing that, cancer causes depression & it is becoming vicious cylce.

All these years i know that, panic & anxiety symptoms are harmless & i never bothered about these symptoms,only afraid for the first few years when i was not aware.

Due to continue ongoing challenges of health anxiety & mitral valve prolapse i have anxiety & palpitation. Now, every time when i feel anxious or depressed, i am thinking it is due to
cancer.

Please help me. I will be grateful to you. Give me some cognitive tips to challenge this negative thoughts. It is killing me. My body is full of adrenaline & burning. Hyper alert 24 hours.

With the help of even a small stick in between the sea will be enough for me to come out this fear trap.

Answer
Hello Ahmad - As a veteran (non-medical) therapist, I am not aware of any proven link between depression and cancer. My experience is that often, "depression" is really healthy or incomplete grief.

http://sfhelp.org/grief/depression.htm

Also, my experience is that excessive fear is a common symptom of inherited psychological wounds from early-childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse (trauma).

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/gwc.htm  //  http://sfhelp.org/gwc/wounds/fears.htm

Your fearful thoughts are probably caused by a frightened "inner child" part of your personality - http://sfhelp.org/gwc/personality.htm

If so, you can reassure and quiet him using "parts work"  http://sfhelp.org/gwc/IF/ifs.htm

I encourage you to patiently study online "lesson 1" to understand and reduce your fear and regain a normal life:  http://sfhelp.org/gwc/guide1.htm

If you have further questions, please ask - Pete  

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.

Experience

I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

Organizations
National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; SelfGrowth.com Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

Publications
# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at http://sfhelp.org These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

Education/Credentials
A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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