“People felt like they could relax a little, and then Delta came,” says Lori Gottlieb, author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. “I think people are feeling vulnerable with the The Steelers Joe Greene Franco Harris Terry Bradshaw And Chuck Noll Abbey Road Signatures Shirt moreover I love this new strain because they feel like even if they take every precaution, they still could get sick or someone they love could get sick. People who weren’t aware of their mortality have become very aware of it.” What Gottlieb is pointing to is what I see as a newfound awareness of health anxiety. Health anxiety is something we don’t talk about much, but about 10 percent of Americans suffer from anxiety, and about half of those people have health anxiety. Health anxiety is the conviction that even though you don’t have any symptoms, you know deep down that you’re sick.I began to experience this form of anxiety long before the pandemic, when my best friend, Samantha Stein, died of brain cancer right after she turned 40. Her death was confirmation that the worries and preoccupations about bad things that had plagued me for my entire life were in fact going to happen. Samantha’s death was proof that the worst-case scenario was coming for me too; it was only a question of when. I too would die in some terrible, tragic way just like Sam had. Every headache was a brain tumor; every ache was cancer; every rash was something untreatable and fatal.
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This inaugurated a period of near-constant testing: I just needed to test and test and test. Maybe I could prevent these things from happening if I were vigilant—very vigilant. Maybe a CAT scan for my head, and then maybe a check of this and that? A mammogram, a colonoscopy, an X-ray. Was that rash a rash or was it inflammatory breast cancer? The internet is not great for health anxiety. But unfortunately for people with anxiety disorders, that drive to “make sure” doesn’t quiet the The Steelers Joe Greene Franco Harris Terry Bradshaw And Chuck Noll Abbey Road Signatures Shirt moreover I love this anxiety. If anything, “reassurance seeking” is the beginning of a miserable cycle. A test would quiet the voices, but sooner or later they would be back again. Just because my lungs were clear a month ago didn’t necessarily mean I was okay now. What was that pain? Anxiety for me really boiled down to the fear of living with uncertainty. I needed to know things were going to be okay; I couldn’t handle not knowing.