Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Fear of Variant Angina
I am male 46 years old with severe health anxiety since 12 years. Since childhood I have been a worrier, very sensitive & fearful. I struggle with unemployment after marriage & HIV fear for 2 years. Since last 12 years I have obsessing about heart related fear, heart attack, heart disease, arrhythmia, angina etc. Time to time I was being occupied & living with fear that, something happened to my heart. I have Mitral valve Prolapse with Trivial MR, which was diagnosed 5 years back. I am been googling that, anxiety chest pain/chest tightness or palpitation are harmless to be relaxed from anxiety & mvp & came across many unwanted heart related symtoms, which made me very obsessed & fearful. I was trying to get assurance on one symptoms, another symptoms I will pickup from the internet, like this cycle continuing, While browsing the anxiety I came across a word Variant Angina(which is without blockage, your arteries will go to temporary spasm/stop blood) I somehow manage to overcome this fear after lot of efforts but, one setback came, that, the way to diagnose is to hyperventilate the patient & do EKg. Since then i got more feared. Now i am fearing if i hyperventilate i will get coronary artery spasm & will dies. I know that it is wrong, but i started obsessing about the word hyperventilation. If it is like that, all anxious people who hyperventilate will get coronary artery spasm & die. I am trap in to fear. plz help me to come out of the vicious cycle of fear. I will be grateful to you all my life. I have two kids & wife. I don't have any help from anyone. I was coping with the anxiety symtoms (chest pain/palpitation/chest tightness/dizziness/lightheadedness/jelly leg etc), by reading Dr. Claire weekes book, that, anxiety will not kill you. Now I came to where I was in the beginning. I started to worry about all anxiety symptoms & fearing that it will cause coronary artery spasm/heart attack. I know anxiety causes hyperventilation, i am misinterpreting all this symptoms. I am coping with the fear of coronary artery spasm that, it is similar to heart attack & chest pain should be severe for more than 5mintues & mostly are young females, but whenever I think of word hyperventilation or whenever I feel anxious, suddenly it comes to my mind. plz help me to come out of this fear. God bless you."
Hi, Afzal, thanks for your question. Anxiety / fear are like chinese handcuffs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_finger_trap
) the harder you try to escape, the stronger your trap. So, there are several cognitive and behavioral techniques that can help, but ultimately the answer may be that you stop trying to hard to make it go away, and just learn to live with it. IOW, live your live despite the anxiety / don't let it stop you from doing the things you need to do.
Then, perhaps, one day, you may notice that there is no fear, and you cannot remember when it went away.
I know it is easy to say and hard to do, but that is true of many things in life. Some goals are just hard to reach, and harder still for certain people. But it is also true that many important things do not come easily.
I would suggest you consult with a psychotherapist to help you thru this difficult time