What if It’s…
It all started with a magazine article from a beauty magazine. The article was discussing the importance of sunscreen and how to check moles on your body to determine if they are abnormal and needed to be checked for skin cancer. Reading the article I almost immediately became anxious. I started to scrutinize every mole on my body, and eventually I found two moles that I convinced myself were skin cancer. Basically I did what every anxious person is told NOT to do. I started to overthink, over read, and over research everything about melanoma on the internet.
I made an appointment to see a dermatologist to have a body scan and to ask her about the two worrisome moles I found. I was hoping that she would look at them and tell me they were fine. Instead she decided to remove them and have them biopsied. I was in and out in ten minutes with promise from her that I would be called with my results. Waiting is hard for anyone, but for a person who suffers greatly from anxiety, waiting can be detrimental. For the next week I got so anxious that it interfered with everything. I couldn’t focus at work, I didn’t want to eat, I was getting on my boyfriend’s last nerve, and I couldn’t stop thinking worse case scenario. Finally after a little over a week my results came back and everything was fine. For about 12 hours I had peace of mind. I felt OK. I felt normal. However an anxious brain doesn’t just give up. It quickly gave me something else to worry and stress over.
People are anxious for many different reasons and about many different things. In my past it has been about my work and my relationships. Currently my work and my relationship are both going well, so it almost seems that my brain has to find something else to worry about. Unfortunately it decided to pick my health. Every new bump, scrape, sore, or just a funny feeling sends me into a panic. I exasperate a situation and make it worse. As I sit here and type this I am dealing with a dull pain in my lower abdomen. The pain is there because I found a lump under my skin (that my doctor said not to worry about) but I’ve pressed on my stomach so many times trying to check if it is still there, that I’ve made a huge bruise.
People who don’t understand anxiety don’t understand why I can’t just stop worrying about a situation, especially after a doctor has told me it is OK. Do you think I really want to bruise myself? Do you think I really want to pick at a “suspicious” mole until it starts to bleed? Of course I don’t want to. The problem is I still don’t have the skills yet to cope and deal with the anxiety. I’m getting better. I’ve made improvements, but I still have a long way to go.