Let’s rip off the bandaid, shall we?
These tips are not quick fixes. Not by a long shot. Nor is any single tip solve all your hypochondriac tendencies.
If you’re a hypochondriac today and have been for many years, like me, then you’re still going to be a hypochondriac tomorrow, no matter how many of these things you do. You’ll still be one the day after that. And into next week. You’re going to think that this is the dumbest effort ever. I mean “deep breathing??” C’mon. Who hasn’t heard that one a million times before!
BUT. But. After a while. After practicing these techniques for a few weeks, something weird starts to happen. One day, while looking for a parking space at the mall, you’re going to feel a random jab in your abdomen. And you’ll continue driving, find a parking spot, and start walking into the mall. On your walk, that stomach jab is going to come back. And you’re going to say “ouch.” And five seconds later you’re going to smile the biggest smile and realize what just happened. And it’s going to go something like this:
HOLY CRAP, MY ONLY REACTION WAS “OUCH.” I didn’t think that my stomach jab was appendicitis, or a ruptured abdominal aorta, or signs of stomach cancer. I didn’t stop in the middle of the parking lot to Google my symptom! I didn’t think about whether I should leave the mall to go to the ER. I only thought it was “ouch.”
(In case you didn’t already guess, this is my true story. In my case, it was about 6-8 weeks after utilizing several of these tips that my health anxieties eased.)
So stick with it! You don’t have to try all of these at once. But maybe commit to two or three of these items for about two months.
Without further ado, the list:
1. Acceptance and Commitment
Right. Let’s start out with the one that “sounds” the dumbest. Like, “who in the world is this ‘cured’ hypochondriac girl and how on earth does she think something so stupid will actually help me? Accept the fact that I might have a brain tumor? No, thanks.”
But hear me out okay? When you get a headache (I mean, it’s like you’re fourth one this week alone right?), and you assume that the headache means you have a brain tumor, repeat to yourself calmly, “Yep, maybe I do have a brain tumor. In which case, I’ll deal with it.” Then commit to do something more productive instead of worry. Inevitably, the brain tumor thought will pop right back into your head. Calmly repeat the same thing. “Yep, maybe it is a brain tumor. That would suck, but I’d deal with it.” Keep your tone calm. Do something productive.
This is a technique that I learned in therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This is a technique you have to commit to for the long haul. Don’t expect overnight results. But, what you’re doing is “training your brain” to have calmer reactions to all those scary thoughts like having a brain tumor. And, don’t get frustrated if after a week or two you’re still panicking. You might be ready to throw in the towel and say “I don’t know why I even thought this would help.” Keep at it. Slow and steady.
2. Delaying My Worry
This technique went hand-in-hand with Acceptance and Commitment. After calmly telling myself that yes, I might have a brain tumor, I would add, “and if these headaches persist like this for another month, I will call and make an appointment with my doctor. But in the meantime, I will not think about it until next month.”
This is another example of the “commitment” part of ACT therapy. You are committing to doing something productive – in this case making a medical appointment – instead of unproductive worry. Again, this might not seem helpful at first. But try it anyway, and stick with it.
3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
I had previously tried a lot of “self help” approaches to helping my hypochondria in the past. But, I would always give up so quickly, thinking they weren’t helpful. But finally seeking therapy with an actual licensed medical professional was a turning point for me. After all, CBT is an effective treatment for Health Anxiety, even when compared to medication or other therapies.
In therapy, I learned that curing my health anxiety would not be a quick fix. I had to be persistent. I needed a professional to talk to when things weren’t going right, or when I experienced a setback.
I also learned in therapy that my anxiety wasn’t just anxiety. It was OCD. And that opened up a ton of other help options too. No time to seek a therapist in person? You could always try a service like TalkSpace, which has licensed therapists you can talk to online, to see if that is a good choice for you.
4. Home Workbooks and Worksheets
In some of my first few therapy sessions, my therapist recommended two books. The OCD Workbook and Coping with Anxiety. I worked through these books diligently outside of my therapy sessions, and they were great. The OCD Workbook, in fact, has an entire chapter dedicated to health anxiety and hypochondria. So, even if you don’t think you have OCD, I think the book is very helpful. I also found several other helpful workbooks, like The Anxiety and Worry Workbook, as well as The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD.
5. Going to the doctor for routine checkups.
I was a doctor avoider for MANY MANY years. I was always so afraid of what they would find, especially in the routine blood tests that you get during a physical. And then, the problem snowballed. After about five years without seeing a doctor, I was like, “Well, I definitely don’t want to see a doctor now, because whatever dreadful ailment I’ve had for the past five years is definitely beyond repair so now I really shouldn’t bother going to the doctor.”
But finally, one day, I made a doctor appointment. But I had done that many times before, and always just cancelled it at the last minute. But I didn’t cancel this time. And I hated myself every minute of the drive to the doctor’s office. As they drew my blood, I could “see” all the terrible signs of illnesses in the vial.
And guess what? I was fine. I wasn’t dying. My blood pressure was a little high, and they wanted to check it again in a few months to see if I should go on medication (which, I did need to do). Big whoop. And it’s fine. I go every year now for my physical and it is SO NICE to not have that constant anxiety hanging over my head anymore. Now, for some health anxiety sufferers, they might have the opposite problem. They might seek out doctors TOO MUCH. In which case it teeters on being a compulsive behavior (more on that one in #7)
6. Engaging in Imagined Exposure
When you think of people who have a more “traditional” type of OCD, what do you think of? Like someone who is afraid to shake someone’s hand? Or someone who always washes their hands? Or someone who always have to check that the door is locked?
So, the idea with exposure therapy is that someone who always washes their hands will touch a dirty surface with just like the tip of their pinky finger, and then wait five seconds before washing their hands. And gradually build it up. Touching their entire hand to a dirty surface and waiting 5 minutes before washing their hands.
Or, someone who always has to check for the door lock might force themselves to walk all the way to their car before checking the door. And then drive around the block once without checking the door. Then drive five miles away. You get the idea, right?
Well, for people who suffer from health anxiety, we can’t just “expose” ourselves to a brain aneurysm or a heart attack. So, we have to use “imagined exposure.”
For this, I used a voice recorder to record my super scary scenarios, and then listened to the recording. You could also use the voice recorder app on your phone, but honestly, I didn’t want my weird effed up scenarios being associated with my Cloud account, lol. The recording helped more than just straight up “imagination” because I would always lose my focus in the imagination. Then, you deep breathe while listening to the scenario, over and over and over again. Until it becomes not as scary, using a SUDS score to rate your levels of distress.
So, for example, one of my imagined scenarios was based on a fear of mine, suffering a brain aneurysm. I talked in the scenario about how my head had been hurting me off and on. And then I started to experience some double vision. And then my head was hurting so bad I started vomiting, as I raced to the phone to call 911. The ambulance came and told me they thought I was having an aneurysm and that I would need invasive surgery to save my life. You get the idea!
You can read more about imagined exposure here.
7. Avoiding “checking” behaviors and other compulsions.
This was one area I never even knew was a problem for me until I started therapy. I didn’t think I had any compulsions. Like above, I always assumed compulsions meant like constant hand washing or something like that. I didn’t do any constant, repeated behaviors. (Well, except for Googling, and I talk more about that below).
But, as I progressed in my therapy, I learned that I engaged in a lot of compulsions. Like if my head started to hurt, I would immediately touch my finger to my head and rub the spot. Or, if I had some weird abdominal pain, I would immediately push on the spot, or sometimes I’d bend and twist in weird directions to see if that made the pain worse. If I thought I was having a stroke, I would immediately start reciting my ABC’s, just to prove to myself that my brain was still working. Those were all compulsions.
Therapy and the OCD workbook helped me become progressively more away of these behaviors. And, in therapy, I learned that it was important to stop these behaviors in order to ease my anxiety. But, I was skeptical. After all, they were never very noticeable, and they certainly weren’t impacting my life in any seemingly negative way. But, I was willing to do whatever I could to get better. And so I stopped doing those things.
It wasn’t perfect at first, but after about 2-3 months of becoming aware of those compulsions and stopping them, my anxieties started to dissipate dramatically. This was one of the first techniques I fully implemented and I credit this particular technique to being a significant help.
8. No more Googling Symptoms
Okay fellow hypochondriacs, here it is. The biggie. Saved the big one for last. The one you probably think is impossible. The one I didn’t put at the top of this list because I didn’t want to scare you off. The one you’ve heard a million times before but you “know” you could never pull it off.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can.
In September 2016, I stopped Googling my symptoms. Cold turkey. This was at the advice of my therapist. I used every excuse in the book about why I “need” to Google my symptoms. Including how sometimes Googling puts my mind at ease! She said to just try it for a month to see how it went. But, I just kept going. And I gotta say, this is the Number 1 thing that helped ease my hypochondria. No googling at any time. If it’s something that really bothers me, I’ll make an appointment with the doctor.
I’m 25 months “sober” from Googling my symptoms and I’m never going back
Bonus: Overarching Behavior Changes
- Deep Breathing I was going to add “deep breathing” as a separate item on my list above. However, deep breathing permeates every single one of those behaviors above. Feeling the need to Google some symptoms? Try some deep breathing instead. Getting stressed out listening to one of your “imagined exposure” scenarios? Deep breathe through it. Can’t quite shake the feeling that your headache means you have a brain tumor? Keep on deep breathing. I have to be honest, I thought deep breathing was super unhelpful at first. But then I learned in therapy why, even if you don’t think it’s helping in the moment, you have to just keep on deep breathing anyway. To go along with this technique, my therapist also recommended doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) when my mind was going overboard with health-related worries. I found PMR to be a lovely relaxation technique!
- Talking to Yourself. Okay, this one isn’t as crazy as it sounds. But, this was a tip that my therapist repeated a lot. When you can’t halt your brain’s anxiety, just repeat to yourself, “This is just an irrational thought. Your brain is tricking you into being irrational.” (Or, if you named your brain like my therapist had me do, use your brain’s name.) This is one of those “training your brain to be calm” techniques. It also separates the fault. It is not your fault that you’re having all these irrational thoughts. It’s your brain’s fault. Because your brain thrives on irrational thoughts and the adrenaline they produce. This is one of those techniques that is not meant to help “in the moment.” It’s meant to be implemented and help over the long term.
Two Techniques that Don’t Work
And I thought I’d close with two techniques that I used to apply quite frequently, but I learned in therapy that they don’t really help.
- Applying Rational Thought. Ah yes. I’ve talked about the lizard brain before. Telling myself that “Oh, it’s very rare for someone in their 30s to have a heart attack,” is ZERO help. ZERO. And, it’s likely that it doesn’t work for other health anxiety sufferers either. That’s why we have to resort to all these weirder CBT techniques.
- Distracting Myself. Sure, distraction activities might help in the short term. But they’re not going to address the root cause of your anxiety.
What are your tips for overcoming Health Anxiety?
Want email notifications when I publish a new post? Sign up below!
I just found this on Pinterest and am so happy I did. I started crying because it’s all what I’m seriously feeling after becoming a hypochondriac about a year ago. I have anxiety making phone calls so that has added to not visiting a Dr for a VERY long time. I’m going to make myself call for a physical tomorrow so I can quit this stupid worrying! Thank you so so much!
Kelsey, thank you for making me feel normal about shedding some tears when I read this! I hope you have found some peace!
This type of support in the comments makes me so happy!
LISN MELISSA YOU ARE LITERALLY MY SOUL SISTER YOU HAVE PUT ME TO SO MUCH EASE JUST NOW I CANT EVEN EXPLAIN SIS WHERE CAN I FIND YOU ?? CAN I GET YOUR INSTAGRAM HANDLE??? ????❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️???????❤️?
I had a deep tissue massage last night and have since researched all there is to know about all the ways a cervical artery dissection can kill me. Super helpful, right? I’ve been through therapy, on medication off and on, and read several books. I think I just need to also commit to quitting Dr. Google. Thank you for writing your blog. I hate that other people go through this too, but it’s nice not to feel like such a nut bar!!
I had to laugh at the “super helpful, right” phrase! I remember one time complaining to my sister that I thought I was having some mild chest pains. Super concerned, she said, “Oh man, I hope it’s not anything serious like a heart attack!”
I was just like, “thanks, you’re super helpful.”
Oh my gosh, where have you and your blog been my whole life? I found your post on Pinterest at 2:30am with racing thoughts after Googling yet again. Your post was the last thing I read before actually being able to drift off to sleep. It helped me so much, thank you. I’ve always known I’ve had a touch of health anxiety but once my Mom was diagnosed with, and eventually passed away from cancer, the flood gates truly opened. Your post has made me realize that I really need to seek out therapy. I currently have some health issues I’m dealing with. They’re real, not imagined. However, I don’t even know what they actually are yet! Because instead of doing the responsible thing and going to the Dr’s appointment I booked for myself, I canceled it last minute. I’m already convinced it’s the worst. Already heard the Dr’s give the diagnosis in my head. Already picturing my poor husband and our cat having to live a life without me. This.Is.So.Sick! 🙁 I’m not sure what’s kept me from therapy so far, but I’d love to be able to feel even a fraction of the relief that it sounds like you got from therapy. Thank you again for posting, it helped me see a better potential path, rather than this dark one I’ve been on for too long now.
It can get better! I was a doctor avoider for many years as well, so I know all about being convinced that it’s the worst. In fact, I’ve been meaning to write a post on how to get over being a doctor avoider. The best thing is to just go, don’t cancel, and actually tell your doctor how afraid you are.
I actually read your reply as I was sitting in the waiting room at Urgent Care. I couldn’t take the anxiety anymore and just forced myself to go. I definitely told them how I was feeling, but I think they could tell through the tears and heart rate beeping off the charts! Even with potential needed procedure and a follow up Dr’s appointment, I’m in agreement with you – just go to the Dr. If for nothing else, it could help take that overwhelming amount of anxiety off of your chest.
Being a doctor avoider isn’t as much of an issue as going to the doctor, they tell you you are fine, yet you still think you are ill. That is my case, and its dreadful.
I hear you! In my case, it helped a bit, but I still always thought something acute was going to get me that wouldn’t be caught at a routine visit, like a stroke or heart attack. That’s where some of the other techniques come in handy though! Especially imagined exposure, acceptance and commitment, and talking to myself (saying “this is an irrational thought” over and over while doing deep breathing. It takes time, but it does help!
I am experiencing health anxiety right now. It’s been awful for the past year and a half. In my mind every little pain or change is some kind of cancer. This blog makes me feel much better! Thank you! And I’m looking forward to following you blog and advice.
I know that feeling Nicole! Keep me posted on your progress!
This is EXACTLY how I am! I’ve been currently having abdominal pain and deep down in my mind I believe it’s just sore muscles and other uncomfortable sensations in my body. It’s SO difficult to try and convince my mind that i’m actually okay.
Thank you for this blog and especially this post! I’ve really been struggling lately with my worst bout of HA ever (going on 3 months long) and your blog is very helpful to read. I’m seeing a therapist but so far I don’t think her techniques are a good fit for me. I am going to work SO hard not to symptom check or google symptoms this time around. I’m at my wits end and am willing to try anything. Thanks for helping me to not feel so alone!
I’m glad you found this helpful. You are definitely not alone, and things can get better. It does take time though! Best of luck, and keep me posted!
Hi Melissa, this is really helpful, this has been a nightmare for me since I have been a child. I just had Covid and did a lot of coughing, now my boobs are hurting and immediately breast cancer. I have been practicing the deep breathing and talking to myself a lot lol! It is working a little, but to be honest when I feel the pain I flare up again.
Dawn you sound exactly like me. I know this is a year later but your story has resonated with me so much. I know how awful it is trust me. Hope you’re in a better place now. The constant worry and ruminating and worst of all, panic, is absolutely crippling. It’s horrible to know there’s so many others suffering from this but comforting to know I’m not alone.
This post made me cry! I’ve been dealing with HA ever since my dad passed away 3 years ago. Your description in the beginning about abdominal pain is exactly what goes through my head every hour of every day. 3 years ago I started to see a counselor and was able to get the courage to see a doctor and get things straightened around. A few months ago my sister in law passed away and all my worries are back. I’m frozen with fear every single day with the thought of seeing the doctor. I’m convinced I’ll be told I only have a few months to live, that cancer has spread through my whole body and there is nothing They can do for me. I hate my body, my brain, my thoughts, this anxiety and fear, the list goes on. Your post gives me hope that I can eventually get some relief if I tackle these thoughts. I’ve started seeing my counselor again. It’s a start!
I know that feeling. But honestly, it was a huge weight off my shoulders once I finally started going to the doctor regularly. It didn’t help all my anxieties at first (working up the courage to finally go to a medical doctor for a checkup was still years before starting therapy), but it really was a big relief. You can do it!
I’m so glad I came across this, for 4 months it’s been a dreadful experience. I had this pain in my neck , shoulders & back. I went to multiple doctors , even did ct scan to make sure I was alright. I did few blood tests to check if everything was okay. But it did not stop here , I kept on googling and it was a never ending loop hole. I started experiencing dizziness, again I went to the doctor but it was of no use. I was not convinced and doubted the doctor. I’ll be studying abroad next month but right now I am worried about my health. I want this to stop.
You have described me to a tee, especially the constant Googling, touching my throat with it gets tight with worry! I have never heard of tonsil cancer until I self diagnosed myself with it! I am truly relieved to know I am not alone! I am taking my first step to STOP Googling every ache and pain! Thank you so much for being honest and real!
It’s weird, but it really did help when I started avoiding those types of behaviors. It took quite a while to see the benefits – maybe two months or so – but it was incredible. Next time you feel the urge to touch your throat (or realize that you’re already in the midst of touching it), try some deep breathing instead.
What a truly fabulous post!!!!!! I love it- it’s me on a plate, but all of the mixed up confusion & terror that I have during a health anxiety crisis has been ironed out by all of your hard work/ personal development. Thank you for sharing- what a journey full of wisdom.
I love the way you start it off fully based in the reality that I’m gonna be a hypochondriac tomorrow. That it takes time save commitment– so true!
I am definitely giving up googling- I’ve had days when I’ve started at google so much I’ve got a headache!!!!!! Mercy me!
I love this and shall be returning to it as a guide.
I’m so glad to read this post. I’ve always had HA tendencies looking back, but last year I got some diahorrea issues that turned out to just be long term stress. Once there was blood there, but all tests came back fine. I’ve cried my eyes out terrified of dying and scared of hurting my family and my husband. That was October last year. Its now April and I’m still battling with being convinced I have bowel cancer – pressing on every little tummy pain, inspecting the toilet every time I “go”, I even once rang my poor doctor and begged for a bowel cancer screening but she refused because – while she sympathised – she made it clear the specialist would decline me because of my lack of symptoms….. Your blog has given me hope that I can be free of this terror one day. Thank you, I can’t wait for that day even if I can’t imagine it right now
Reading Michaela’s post really resonated with me because I too thought I had colon cancer after having issues with diarrhea for an extended period of time. I had taken care of my my dad with COPD for 4 years. During that time, it was a roller coaster, times of no crisis to times of seeing him starting to fail. Being his caretaker and also running our family business, my body was in survival mode. I was highly functioning and didn’t experience any symptoms of anxiety, like a panic attack even though I knew I was stressed out daily, if not all day. I lost my dad, I knew in a way it was a blessing because he was suffering so much! I delved back into our family business and thought I was handling my dad’s death fairly well even though I was clearly in mourning. Again, I was highly functioning UNTIL my first panic attack which came out of nowhere. I remember it as if it just happened even though it was 4 years ago. I was driving home from work and I had a sudden feeling of doom and dread and then my hands started having pins and needles, ringing in my ears and of course my heart was beating out of control and I felt like I was going to pass out at any moment. Thank god, I was only a minute from my business and able to get back safely. Leading up to this attack were loads of symptoms that I had been googling – dry mouth, dry eyes, no appetite and losing weight, diarrhea daily, dizzy every single day to name a few and the worry just pushed me over the edge. I went to my dr. and just broke down crying, he knew what he was seeing was anxiety but he eased my mind with extensive blood work and urinalysis (thought I had bladder cancer as well), colorguard for the colon cancer. Everything came back perfect, he explained he thought because of all of the stress I had endured for SO long, my body was coming back down from a heightened state of stress and no longer had the adrenaline to protect myself. He also suspected adrenal fatigue and urged me to calm my body and mind and to rest myself. Through a website I found on anxiety, I was able to help myself get over this hurdle in the short term but of course until the next health crises emerged. For me, I feel as though my issues come from caring for parents with grave diseases – my mom with esophageal cancer and my dad with COPD – I had to all but become an expert in their conditions and live in hospitals and drs offices, just where someone with health anxiety wants to be. I feel like those experiences, with my mom 16 months of hell and my dad 4 years of ups and downs made me an unbelievable worrier of anything relating to health. Being on lockdown from the virus has been awful for me, I have had so much free time to feel every little sensation, notice any little change (I’ve started inspecting my fingernails after stumbling on a title – “what your nails are warning you of” and of course I have linked something I am noticing on a couple of nails to petechiae I am having on the tops of my feet (which is how I found this page, from doing exhaustive searches for petechiae causes, symptoms etc.). Can’t thank you enough for having a page like this – giving people like myself some wonderful tips, suggestions on reading and a push toward getting help.
I have a diagnosed anxiety disorder and was told once in therapy that I likely have OCD. It’s been about a year since I had daily panic attacks, but with all the fun of the pandemic I found myself in the ER yesterday. I did/do have real physical ailments, but the panic attacks I had wasn’t necessary. I’m grateful I found this on Pinterest. It’s good to refresh myself on some of the tools I should be using consistently, despite thinking I would be able to handle any bout of health anxiety that came my way. Hopefully I can implement these tips into my daily life and see a change. I’ve got the books in my amazon cart!
Thank you for this post. I too hope to be 25 months sober from Dr. Google. He’s the worst. I’m glad I’m not the only person who feels like their brain is their enemy. I think addressing the OCD and realizing that there is no quick fix for this life sucking affliction is step 1 for me. Thank you so much. I hope everyone who reads this is one step closer to healing! Xo
You can do it! Good luck.
Thank you for this blog. Ive researched CBT and your break down of the lizard brain is really the only reason I got any sleep last night. Ive been in flight or fight crisis mode since 2 days post my 2nd vaccine. Ive diagnosed myself with everything from DVT to ALS. I can’t get over this last one, with every twitch or tingle I envision myself with ALS. I literally just went to the dr for the DVT anxiety so Im stressing about making another appointment to talk about my weird tingles and twitches. UGH. I started therapy today, mainly because of your blog so just wanted to thank you, I know its not easy to share our story. I hope every one who suffers from health anxiety is handling this difficult time of peek anxiety as well as possible.
I’m so sorry that you’re struggling. I hope that you find therapy to be as helpful as I did. Health anxiety is no joke, and I wish you all the calming brain thoughts 🙂
This post is EVERYTHING!! I have always been called a hypochondriac by my parents and never really understood it. Just thought they were picking on me. I constantly would ask my mom what’s wrong with me and if I was alright and she would respond that she “missed that day of med school”. Two years I had my son and it was during the pandemic that I zoom called my doctor and began telling him about this pain in my chest and tightness in my back and Google kept telling me I was dying of cancer. He told me to take some vitamins and see how I felt. A year later I was in so much pain I couldn’t even lay my one year old in his crib and I would just cry myself to sleep so I called and made an appointment with my doctor. He saw me and told me I was fine. He did some bloodwork and said I was fine… but myself and Google knew better! I wasn’t fine. So two months later I’m in his office again crying telling him I’m not leaving until he tells me what’s wrong with me because something isn’t right. He says my back feels tight and tells me to go to physical therapy. I get a few massages and then talk to my mom and she convinces me it’s anxiety. I had the hardest time believing what is wrong with me was all in my head! So I start talking to a therapist and doing what he says and my body has felt soooo good! I am still struggling with pains I have and constantly worrying about what is wrong with me (which is what lead me here). I read this article in tears the whole way… sobbing as my husband asks what’s wrong and I send him the article and tell him “it’s me, that’s exactly me!” It’s so sad that I feel so much better knowing I am not the only one who feels this way… tortured by every lump, pain and uncomfortable feeling in their body! Thank you for writing this because it’s everything I needed!! I pray we all can find something that helps us feel better and not be consumed by our thoughts!
Just like all the other comments I just wanted to thank you for writing this and I have definitely found this article at the best time as I believe my HA has got to its peak. I know it’s time to make some drastic change and use your tips to finally allow myself to not be controlled by this every day. I have just come back from a holiday with my boyfriend and I was convinced my chest pains meant i was dying and I diagnosed myself with every heart and lung disease out there all thanks to Doctor Google!! I don’t just want to do it for myself but seeing my poor boyfriend so stressed out as he felt so hopeless and having to ring my mum at 2am just to get some reassurance that I’m okay! Thank you so much for speaking on this it’s going to help people for a long time 🙂