My (Winning) Battle with Health Anxiety
I’ve always been drawn to science, particularly physiology and how God designed our bodies to work. I was the weird kid who loved dissections in school, and who had no problem discussing my vet clinic work experiences in graphic detail at the dinner table (to my mother’s shock and horror – and maybe mild amusement).
I’m in my forties, so there was no internet in my early years, but I loved thumbing through my dad’s medical encyclopedia, reading about every disease known to man – literally from A to Z! I was convinced I had appendicitis at one point, and to this day whenever my kids complain of neck pain I make sure they can touch their chin to their chest (checking for meningitis, of course). But all of this was relatively mild and went away as quickly as it came.
But we live in a very different time. My dad’s medical encyclopedias were finite; I wasn’t going to obsess and read the same articles over and over again. But the internet? It’s virtually limitless.
The Internet and Health Anxiety
So fast forward thirty years or so, and here I am with three kids, an aging body… and let’s just say it, ladies:
Having children heightens your anxiety by a factor of a thousand – per kid (no, I can’t actually back up that statistic). When my daughter was diagnosed with a tree nut allergy, I Googled like crazy, and my heart dropped as I read stories of children dying from accidental exposure to allergens.
A seed of fear was planted and grew and grew.
One of my other children, and then I, myself, had some issues that I felt the need to “research” to the point of becoming almost obsessive. I don’t even want to know the number of hours I spent searching for answers and reading alarming stories that caused the fear to grow.
Google vs the Gospel
It all really came to a head about a year and a half ago. I have shared some of those struggles (you can read one of my posts here). I had some worrisome symptoms that escalated exponentially the more I worried about them (I made no connection at first to anxiety driving the symptoms), and when I Googled the symptoms, the words that kept coming up were “colon cancer.”
For whatever reason, my mind latched onto that “diagnosis” and I read more and more stories of women whose symptoms were exactly like mine who had colon cancer. Some of these stories almost seemed fabricated to be sensational or to evoke emotion, now that I look back more objectively. I wasn’t discerning about where I got my information, I just Googled away, my anxiety growing by the click.She Googled away, her anxiety growing by the click… Click To Tweet
I finally went to the doctor (yes – I went for weeks without even going to the doctor because I felt silly for feeling so anxious) and scheduled some tests. As I waited for tests and results, I had to put on a mask for my kids. I felt scared and hopeless inside, and found myself acting super upbeat for them, joking like everything was great, just so they wouldn’t know I was struggling. I was having full blown panic attacks daily where my heart rate would surge over 100bpm and wouldn’t go down, where I could literally feel the adrenaline surging in my chest over and over again. I’d never, ever experienced anything like this.
We were in a life group meeting at church and a dear friend’s husband was sharing about his battle with cancer, and I couldn’t breathe. I had to leave – I went outside after it was safe not to look rude leaving, and walked around the church in the freezing cold, just to be able to function around people and catch my breath.
Recovery and Restoration
That night was the turning point.
I remember being in the kitchen after our life group meeting, talking with my husband and asking him to pray for me. I told him that I believed he had spiritual authority over me, and that I needed him to pray for God to give me release from the bondage of this anxiety. He placed his hands on my shoulders and prayed a very simple, straight-to-the-point prayer. I felt a shift. I wasn’t a different person, and the anxiety wasn’t completely gone, but I felt like my surrender and his prayer had done something in me. Whether it was spiritual or mental or emotional or chemical, I have no idea, but I give God all the glory.
It was months before I felt “normal,” and I want to take a moment and let you know that I don’t believe that anxiety can always be overcome through prayer alone. God is good. He is great! He is the Great Physician. Jehovah Jireh, Almighty God who Provides. But there are times when God works through doctors, counselors, husbands and friends… all sorts of ways. While I probably should have sought medical attention sooner, in my case, my husband’s prayer shifted the balance and God began a work of recovery and restoration.
A little over a year later, I had a dream that there was a lump in my breast. I did a self-exam the next morning when I woke up, and there really, truly was a lump in my breast! It seemed reasonable that God was warning me that I had breast cancer and bringing it to light so that I could receive treatment. I had multiple tests done, and while I’m scheduled for a six month follow-up, the conclusion was that they were benign cysts, and today I can’t feel the lump that sent me to the doctor in the first place.
But during that time, I had a completely different experience. I had learned some things about myself, and set some boundaries that made this health issue so very much different than the last. I felt like this time, I had so many more reasons to think I could have cancer, but I walked through this health journey in a very different way, and experienced virtually no anxiety. In fact, I felt joy.
3 Steps You Can Take to Combat Health Anxiety
More disclaimers: if you are suffering from clinical anxiety, I am in no way suggesting that I’m more spiritual than you because I didn’t during this most recent experience. If you experience chronic health anxiety, whether you’re on medication or not, I’m not suggesting you can always pray it away, or take these steps I’m about to share and be free from it. In my case, for my body and brain chemistry, these steps kept me from spiraling into the same frame of mind I had been in before. If you suspect you suffer from anxiety, please schedule an appointment to see your doctor immediately.
So what was the difference between my two experiences? Here’s what changed with my second “health scare”:
1.) I refused to Google.
I just didn’t do it. I was tempted – oh how I was tempted!! But I did not. When I had my first mammogram I asked for the CD ROM so I could view the images myself, and it didn’t work on my computer. I am convinced even that was by the grace of God to keep my mind clear.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)
2.) I praised God constantly.
I listened to praise music instead of Googling. I spoke praises out loud like “Thank you God for this health scare. Thank you for the opportunity to praise you no matter what the outcome!” And the more I said it, the more I really, truly believed it. I pictured my praises being like an atomic bomb going off – you know the movie scenes where the explosion begins and spreads out destroying everything in its path? I pictured my praises demolishing any seeds of fear or anxiety, sending the demons fleeing.
And they fled.
“As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” – 2 Chronicles 20:22 (NIV)
3.) I let others in.
I was really embarrassed about the anxiety I felt during the first health scare. Part of that was that I knew that some of my fears were irrational. But I felt myself shutting everyone out. Only a select few knew the extent of my struggle. When I found the lump in my breast, I was very open about it, about asking others for prayer support, and as I felt the victory over anxiety, I wanted to tell everyone about how good God was and is. It was like instead of spiraling downward in my thinking, I was spiraling up.
I think this is so key: meditating on good begets good thoughts; meditating on bad begets bad thoughts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Oh, and one more thing…
One last (huge) lesson I learned: In the first case, anxiety actually made me sick. I couldn’t eat. I had to force food down, because I knew if I started losing weight it would make me even more anxious. I had constant abdominal pain, sometimes to the point where I couldn’t stand up straight. At night sometimes when I was sitting down trying to relax, my chest felt heavy, like I couldn’t breathe. I had to consciously pay attention to my breaths and convince myself it wasn’t that I physically couldn’t breathe – it’s that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to. I had tingling in my hands and feet, as well as dizziness.
When I received an “all clear” from some medical tests and began to realize anxiety itself might be the cause of my symptoms, I began to get well.
While I think the internet can be incredibly helpful to giving us tools to become advocates for our own health, and the health of our children and loved ones, I believe there is an epidemic of health anxiety out there and self-diagnosis that we call “research” that can be very, very damaging.
Health Anxiety Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
Please accept my story as an anecdote – not a one-size-fits-all prescription, and certainly not a lecture. Everyone’s body and brain chemistry is different. Anxiety of any kind shouldn’t be ignored, and prayer alone isn’t always enough. But I believe when we dwell on the negative and “research” our symptoms to death, we are not only doing ourselves a disservice, but we are taking valuable time and energy away from God’s best plans for our lives.
Join The Conversation
So what about you? Have you struggled with health anxiety on any level? Do you agree it’s fueled by Google and “research,” or do you disagree? We’d love to hear your story. May God bless your mind, body and spirit today and always!Do you struggle with health anxiety? If so, you are not alone. Click To Tweet
Health struggles can be rough. From the pain to the not knowing, the struggle is real. Pick up your copy of Clinging to Jesus today and discover ten ways God can use pain to draw you closer to Himself. Available on Amazon
I love your insight here. Refuse to google it and give God praise are two of my favorite pieces of advice for anxiety as well!
Thanks so much, Tiffany! ?
Stumbled upon your post while going through a couple weeks of extreme anxiety and depression. Mostly health related (though I know there is more to it).
Health anxiety can make you feel so paralized and hopeless. I’m only 25 and sometimes afraid that I’ll never experience true joy anymore.
Your post did bring me a little bit of comfort and peace.
Alisa, I’m so sorry for your struggles. Please know you aren’t alone, and that you are in my prayers. I’d love to leave you with a written prayer: Lord, we lift Alisa up to you today, asking that you would surround her with your peace. We pray that you would quiet her worries and wrap her in your presence in a tangible way. We ask for you to shed light on any health-related problems that need attention, and to provide her with doctors with supernatural wisdom and discernment to find answers and put her mind at ease. Direct her to people who will encourage and support her, and even counselors or doctors to help her find joy again. You are the Great Physician, and the Giver of Good Gifts. We pray for you to work in Alisa’s life today to bring about healing and peace and joy beyond anything she could have ever asked for or imagined. You are that good. We know you are at work even now in Alisa’s life and pray that you would bless her in every way. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen. ?? God bless you, Alisa.
I would love to email or call I am 30 just had a baby and my body is all out of whack with anxiety
Matoya, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “for Jaime” in the subject line. May God bless you and your baby!
I would so appreciate your prayers as I battle health anxiety. It has been such a struggle
Jenn, absolutely. I’ll leave you a written prayer: Lord, we lift Jenn up to you today, asking that you would meet her right where she is. Cover her with your Spirit in a way she can feel, wrapping her in your love and comfort. Wash over her with a peace that transcends understanding, to guard her heart and mind in Christ Jesus. We pray against the enemy’s lies, that she would recognize them immediately and go to your Word for truth and comfort. Place people in her life to encourage her and direct her to healing from the anxiety that has robbed her of joy. If medical intervention or counseling are needed, show her those doors to walk through and provide her with exactly the care she needs to bring her body and mind back into balance. We pray for abundant life full of joy and laughter, free from the bondage of worry. In the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.
Anxiety is a real attack on God’s people. I’m so glad so many of us now “battle” it rather than “suffer” it. We’re His children and don’t have to suffer because He’s overcome it all! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Erin!
Hi Jamie, Your post describes so much of my life to at T. “Becoming informed”, “learning”, and “researching”
about a confirmed diagnosis- a rare, incurable disease contributed to paralyzing anxiety for many years, when my experience turned out to be nothing like all the doom and gloom I read about. Now as I battle breast cancer, I’ve also forced myself to limit research to a a couple minutes on just 2 or 3 of the most reputable .gov sites and I stay off the chat rooms. Christian radio plays at my desk most of the day, and if I turn it off, all the anxiety symptoms become debilitating in just a few hours. I think the whole wide world needs to read your post and learn how to turn to the Gospel rather than to Google! Thank you so much for this post.
Thank you, Valerie. I think your point is so important – reality is more often than not less scary than our anxious thoughts and fears! Please know you have been and continue to be in my prayers as you battle cancer. God bless you and continue to surround you by His peace! ?
Oh, Google. Definitely, not my friend when it comes to medical stuff. Great points, Jaime!
Thanks so much, Ashley!
Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been alive for almost 30 years and have made several ER trips for what ended up being anxiety induced symptoms, or symptoms that I made into something else because of my anxiety. I’m sitting in the ER tonight by myself while my husband waits in the car with our two toddlers and all I want to do is cry. The pain I’m putting myself through, the pain I’m causing my family, I don’t want to do this anymore. But it’s so hard to rest in Jesus. I always feel like I’m battling him for control of my life. Not googling certainly needs to be my first step in fighting this problem. Thank you for being so honest!
Oh, Carolyn, my heart goes out to you! My prayer is that you are well and your family is settling into routine once again after the ER and there was nothing seriously wrong. What I read in your comment is that you are carrying around a heavy burden of guilt about this struggle with anxiety. I can relate. I really think the first step is to release that guilt and affirm the truth that we all have struggles, and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Any condemnation or guilt or thoughts about yourself that don’t lead to positive change but just make you feel rotten are absolutely not from God. You are loved. You are beautiful. You are a precious Daughter if the King! He sees your struggles and loves you and desires to lift you up – not to see you beat yourself up. Please know that you are in my prayers, and also loved and supported by the women here in this community! God bless you ?
This is a great article Jaime! I am a mom of 4, with one on the way and it seems like these old fears came creeping back in a big way months ago and have tried to get the best of me, (stealing my joy and my energy from my family, basically just walking around looking sad and fearing the worst.) It can be really hard to trust God when we’re afraid for our health and bodies but your blog post is very encouraging about how to overcome that. Thank you for being so detailed about what you hav experienced and doing your best to be sensitive to all levels of health anxieties for Christians. I hope this can become a thing of the past for all of us. Thank you again and God bless you.
Thank you so much for sharing, Erica! God bless you and your family as well ?
Thank you for sharing! I have battled anxiety my whole life, but mostly in the last 5 years has it been so focused on my health. I had to stop googling as well and if I do google, it has to be very specific. God has gotten me through all of it and I continue to have good and bad days, but I know that he will never give up on me!
Amen, Carli! May God bless you and continue to be your rock!
Thank you for this article. Helpful and encouraging. Love the point about praise and visualising the seeds! Believing I’ll be free of this!
Hi, Jo! I’m praying right along with you for victory, peace, and a nearness to God that brings light into even the darkest of days ??
jamie, thanks so uch for this. I GOOGLED christian and health anxiety rather than Googling about my diagnosis. I have been diagnosed with interstitial cystiis and have been getting increasingly anxious and truely belive that they exasperate my symptoms etc.. i really need a breakthrough on this x
Corinna, God bless you! May the God of Breakthrough give you peace and confidence and rest for your mind, body and spirit ?? And if you find yourself continuing to struggle there is no shame in seeking help from a Christian counselor who might be able to point you to some practical (or even pharmaceutical) tools to help take those thoughts captive. God is doing a work in your life through this, and this is just a chapter of your story. He knows the beginning, the end and all the pages in between. You will continue to be in my prayers, Corinna!
I am panicking I have ALS. It comes and goes all the time… Years. Christ is my savior, please give me Christian conversation to help me.
Joan, please know our prayers are with you! I want to leave you with a written prayer: Loving Father, we lift Joan up to you today, thanking you that she has the gift of salvation and hope in Jesus! We ask that you would wash over her at this very moment with your peace that transcends all understanding, to guard her heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). We pray that you would surround her with believers who would be aware when she is struggling, either physically, emotionally or spiritually, and would be at the ready with powerful prayers and practical encouragement when she needs it most. We pray that you would take her anxiety and worry and transform it into confidence in You as her Rock (Psalm 18), and joy that can only come from you (Nehemiah 8:10)! Direct her to the medical professionals she needs to bring her symptoms under control, to help with anxiety or depression, and give them your wisdom to know just how to bring her body into balance. We do pray for miraculous healing, that you would deliver Joan from ALS. We hold that prayer with open hands, knowing your ways are higher than our own, and knowing that whether you choose to manifest physical healing or not, a miracle will happen in Joan’s life because you are God. You are good. You love her, and withhold no good gift (Matthew 7:11)! Surround her with your Holy Spirit today in a way that she can tangibly feel. Bless her and encourage her, and strengthen her faith in you like never before. In Jesus’ name, amen.
God bless you, Joan! Know that you are being lifted up today!
I just found this post in the middle of a health scare. While the symptoms I face are real, the anxiety is so much worse! Thank you for your candidness!
Oh, Candace I am so sorry you’re going through this! Please know that I’m praying for God’s peace to surround you during this time. May God pour out His blessings on you during this hard time, and give you strength and hope and joy??
Thank you for this article I’ve been battling health anxiety since having a panic attack 2 and a half years ago. I tried to shut the thoughts out, but they are so overwhelming. In shame I’ve been hiding my problems away wondering what’s wrong with me, why do i have to battle anxiety. I felt so hopeless and I’m not quite sure what to do. Im currently seeing a Christian therapist, there’s been progress but sometimes I still feel stuck. I don’t feel safe to speak it at church or at home, but thank you for this article. Though I don’t know when I’ll be free, please pray for me, thanks again
Nye – You are not alone. I’ve been battling some of my own health anxiety over the last year, and it seems to be getting worse instead of better. The most important thing to remember is that there is no condemnation for those who belong to Jesus. God doesn’t think any less of us because we are battling health anxiety. He will always be right there with us, just as Jesus was in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Nye, I can totally relate to feeling ashamed of the anxiety and not feeling like you can share with others. I’m so glad you found a Christian therapist to help you work through your feelings, and will be praying for someone for you to confide in and pray with and feel supported by. I’m so glad you found us here, we’re praying for you and standing with you!
I know this article was published several years ago but I just came across it. My anxiety in regards to my health has been such an intense struggle lately. I am having some health issues but it’s like I can’t help but think maybe the doctor was wrong, maybe it is cancer and it’s spread to all my organs, it’s only a matter of time … It just breaks me. It’s sucking the joy out of my life. I need someone to pray for me. My husband thinks my anxiety is something that I can wish away. But I feel totally out of control. I google obsessively. If someone sees this, I could use a prayer right now. And thank you so much for this article.
Hey Molly, I’m praying for you now. Anxiety is real and you don’t struggle alone.
Molly, you aren’t alone. I know it makes things even harder when someone you care about doesn’t understand what you’re experiencing, or why you can’t just “snap out of it.” I’d like to leave you with a written prayer, and please know many of us here at CC are praying for you and will continue to be as you walk through this hard season. 💕🙏Prayer: Loving Father, we know that you see Molly and know her deepest fears and struggles. We ask that you would meet her where she is today and minister to her with your Spirit of Peace in a way she can feel. We ask that you would give her husband understanding and insight into her anxiety, and that you would bring others to her who can surround her with prayer and support. Open doors for her to break free of this heavy burden and to walk in joy, peace and hope, and give Molly wisdom and insight to know if there are next steps to take to seek help. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.
Praying that God will move powerfully in your life. I know EXACTLY how you are feeling.
We are all praying for you Molly! Praying the peace of God covers you, a peace that can’t be explained. I’ve been there, and it’s hard. God is good and He will carry you through. His joy, your strength.
I’ve been saying these prayers along with you all . I’m a single parent working as a health professional myself and have had quite severe health anxiety since my daughter was born 11 years ago – partially I think because I am so afraid of leaving her without a parent. For most of this time I have “managed ” it so that I carry on as normal ( or look to be carrying on as normal) but over the last year the level of anxiety has just sky rocketed. I quite literally feel like my heart is going to explode out of my chest with all the accompanying palpitations and tightness and pain . I have ended up in ER a few times where nothing has been found to be wrong and I have tried to talk to my Dr but feel like I am wasting their time. Similarly I don’t feel I can open up about this to anyone at church.
This site has been so helpful to find . I really hope that God gives us all a sense of His deep deep peace when we are at our most anxious . I will be praying for all of you ladies.
Ency, I’m sure this last year has been especially difficult working in the healthcare profession. Please know we are praying along with you, and that you are not alone! I’m praying especially that you’ll find a Christian friend to talk to and share your struggles with. God bless you and your daughter!
I’m so glad I came across this article. I have been suffering so much with health anxiety the last year but particularly the last 5 weeks as I’ve had new symptoms emerge. I am still waiting on a diagnosis but the anxiety in the meantime has been unbearable. I am trying hard to help myself in all good ways I can, but it’s a real struggle.
Ali, I’m so sorry the last weeks have been so hard. Please know that we’re here praying for you, and can relate to your struggles! I’m praying with you for a quick diagnosis and for God to give you not only relief from your anxiety, but peace and joy. God bless you, Ali!
hello ! thank you for writing this article. I’ve been struggling with health anxiety for a while now. i have had swollen lymph nodes for a while and after googling I am worried about cancer. God Has told my mom that this is all an attack from the devil, but sometimes I have such a hard time believing if it is real. please pray for me, God is trying to break the habit i have of googling symptoms. please pray that the swollen lymph nodes will go down
K, I’m praying with you now that your lymph nodes would go down, for God to bring you peace that transcends all understanding, and that if there is a spiritual component to your anxious thoughts that God would protect you and deliver you from the enemy’s attempts to rob you of joy and peace! Know that you aren’t alone. God bless you!
I too have had a swollen lymph node and the devil has me paralyzed with fear that it’s cancer . Thank you for sharing your story. I don’t feel so alone. Prayers yours was ok. 🙏🏻
My goodness, Thankyou ladies! For writing and sharing, it’s hard isn’t it. I have convinced myself that I have a debilitating condition through Google. It’s addictive but so harming. I am a mother of three and love exercise and am so scared that I one day may not be able to look after them or be able to exercise!!
I would also appreciate prayer. What I’m finding hardest is not knowing the cause of my symptoms…if I knew why I felt like I did, I feel I could cope better…
Does anyone else feel this way? Prayer also that I put trust in God more, I feel guilt that I can’t seem to hand this over to him…😔
Praying also for all of you x
N, after sharing this post I’ve gotten many e-mails that have made me realize that we are not alone in our struggle with health anxiety! Having symptoms without answers leaves so much to the imagination. I tend to worry about my kids’ health as well, and something God reminded me of is that when I take things out to the worst possible conclusion with myself or my kids, I’m worrying about a future that does not even exist. Praying that you will stand on truth, that God will lead you to the doctors who will help find answers to your symptoms, and most of all that in the meantime you will be given peace and joy and relief from the anxious thoughts and fears that have been such a struggle. God bless you!
Hi everyone, I’ve struggled a lot with this as well and thanks so much for the article. Putting god first really worked really good for me during hard and less hard times. I had a lot of dreams and he showed me exactly what the root cause was. Now my latest struggle is that checking and reassuring has been a ‘habit’ for like 11 years. So being used to reassuring gives a signal to my mind that something is wrong. Why should you else try to fix something, right? Good thing is that nothing is wrong in the present moment, no tiger. The solution is that there is nothing to fight, but also nothing to avoid. I rather ask God what he wants for me now. And he showed a BIG no towards my thoughts of health anxiety. Guess he is right and the more I stay with Him, the more is see he has been right for a very long time already. God is good.
Praying for peace and for God to continue to be the anchor for your thoughts! God bless you 💕🙏
I cannot thank you enough for this article and using your time and gift of writing to let God work through and speak to you for those who need it.
Addy, thank you for the kind words. It brings me so much joy knowing that God is using my struggles to encourage others! God bless you.
I found this at just the right time. I am 31 weeks pregnant and got a mole removed that had been changing a little and have full on fear that I have melanoma. Ive spent HOURS googling my symptoms. So one prayer request for an all clear and then second is that I am able to get some of this anxiety I am realizing I have under control!
Alaina, I can SO relate! We are praying for you! Let us know how things turn out, sorry I didn’t reply sooner. God bless you!
I found this blog towards the end of what I call a “googling session.” I have generalized anxiety disorder with a specialty in health anxiety. My mom (the single most spiritual influence in my life) passed away two years ago after a battle with ovarian cancer. My anxiety amplified tenfold at the time of her diagnosis, but waned significantly right before and right after her passing. That was a blessing in itself! Right now though, I am dealing with some significant anxiety related to a few lumps and bumps on my body. The keyboard on my phone has been worn out with Google sessions and the number of tabs open with medical related searches is embarrassing. I have made appointments with appropriate doctors and am investigating like I know that I should. But I humbly ask for prayer over this possible health condition and the anxiety associated. My prayer is that this is a product of my anxiety and not a legitimate health concern. Your tips to NOT Google and to praise instead are two things I plan to implement TODAY. Thank you, Lord, for letting me find this little blog of hope in the expanse of the internet. God bless!
LEW, so sorry for your loss. I’m also thaknful God led you to Candidly Christian and this post at just the right time. How’s it going? Let us know how you’re doing. Our prayers are with you for an “all clear” from the doctor and peace and joy in abundance!
I have health anxiety a lot. I’m older now (64) and have had some crisis including prostate cancer a few years ago. I got through it OK, much to my surprise, and have recovered though I still take some medication for it. I had been in perfect health for most of my life until I got into my 50s. I didn’t have any health anxiety and worries until I hit my mid-40s.
I have never been married and live alone. It’s difficult dealing with health anxiety alone. I feel like if I open up too much to others, then they won’t like me. Right now I’m not enrolled in any church, though I would like to be. So I don’t know.
Tom, I think. you’re so right – isolation makes any kind of anxiety worse, but especially health-related anxiety. Being alone with your thoughts seems to provide lots of opportunities for enemy lies to take hold. Please know that you aren’t alone! You’re seen and many of us here know how you’re feeling. Our prayer is for you to find a church home and some friends you can talk to who can point you to truth and encourage you. May God bless you!
Thank you for the good work, God bless you.
I had a difficult childhood as I lost my Mom when I was 15 and I became saddled with caring for my 4 younger ones. Sadly that exposed me to so many adult responsibilities and worries in life.
Fast forward years later, I started having this fear of not wanting to leave my children to suffer all I suffered growing up.
3 years ago, I attended a talk about hypertension and what it could do to the body and I became so fearful of having my blood pressure taken. It got so serious that my Doctor asked me to get a home Bp monitor. I would get a good reading only whenever I was able to calm myself.
3 weeks ago, a lump suddenly come up in breast and after doing ultrasound, the report said there’s 95% chance of it being malignant. I went through a lot and nearly injured myself with worry as I lost a cousin to breast cancer just a day before my issue started.
Thankfully after Biopsy, it was discovered to be benign as it was caused by a fall I had 3 months ago and it has almost vanished now.
.I decided to search the internet on how to overcome such things as a Christian and I found your site.
Kindly pray with me as I will be adopting Praise like you suggested.
Temi, we will absolutely be praying for you and with you! I recently had another “health scare” and had to exercise all of the things I talk about in this post all over again. I feel like each time I learn something new and grow closer to God. Keep praising, keep leaning in to God, and don’t forget to also lean on fellow sisters in Christ. And if all of that still leaves you struggling, never be afraid to talk to a counselor or even consider dietary or medical intervention. God is working in you, thank you for sharing your story 💕
Thank you so much for this article. Truly. I am in the middle of a very severe health anxiety spiral at the moment. Wether I am at home or at work, I’m spending so much time googling my symptoms and coming to some very frightful conclusions. While my symptoms are very real, I automatically default to thinking the worst case scenario. This shows is every facet of my life and I am deeply ashamed. These days it takes everything in me just to get out of bed and face the day. I know this is the opposite of what God intends me to do with my time on earth, yet I struggle so much. Please pray for me. I feel so lost.
The shame you are feeling is the Enemy trying to drive a wedge between you and God. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and you are not alone in your struggle! I would recommend leaving Google behind and praying specifically that God would guide and direct you to a doctor who will have wisdom to run the proper tests/get a diagnosis and lead you toward healing. I know it’s hard, so please know we are behind you, and praying for God to meet you right where you need him – whether that is peace that transcends understanding, a friend or counselor to talk to and confide in, or even dietary or medical interventions to help you find mental clarity and peace! You aren’t alone in your journey. And this spiral will end and you will come out the other side stronger. We are praying that in Jesus’ name!
I know this is an old post but it is so relevant for me right now. I have an as yet undiagnosed medical issue. Your 3 points are right on target for where I need to be. Thank you so very much for writing it and giving me the gift of your insight.
Virginia, we will pray for you to move past the uncertainty and find answers, and in the meantime to experience God’s peace through your waiting. God bless you 💕
I’m here a couple years after this post, but I’ve been dealing with anxiety since I was 18, now 43. I’m on medicine but it only helps so much.
I want to be healed from this chronic anxiety. Please pray for me.
I definitely think you can be healed! Have you ever read battlefield of the mind by Joyce Meyer
Melissa, you are not alone. Please know we will be praying for you to experience God even in the midst of chronic worry, and ultimately complete healing and God’s peace. God bless you 💕🙏💕🙏
Hi! I just came across your post and I’m so thankful that I’m not alone in this. I am married, have two beautiful girls, and I’m a 26 year old girl who struggles with severe anxiety, ocd, depression, and also have ADHD. Three months after having my second daughter last August, PPD hit me like a freight train. I’ve never experienced PPD before and was scared. I was constantly thinking I had brain cancer from headaches everyday, the second week I was having random dull pains in my breasts and each week it was a different thing. I constantly googled and was scared out of my mind. A week or so ago I thought I felt a lump on the side of my breast, made and appointment and my doctor didn’t feel a thing. She knew it was my anxiety but afterwards I felt “ok” but I was constantly thinking “what if the doctor was wrong” and questioning everything. Of course once I google signs of breast cancer, which multiple “signs” came up. I came across pictures of a dimpling of the breast one day and didn’t think anything of it. Out of nowhere one day I was looking at my breast and I swear I thought I saw a “dimpling of the breast”. I couldn’t breathe and my mind literally went to chemo, radiation, death, etc. The panic starting setting in and I just told myself I couldn’t do this anymore. It’s affecting my everyday life and I told myself to stop googling everything. Of course, I made my husband look and he didn’t see anything but I see something. My mom looked and said she couldn’t see anything either. She told me to pray. And I said “I have been praying but He isn’t helping me. He isn’t calming me down”. I googled once again signs, symptoms and pictures of this. I came across your page and just decided to give it to God. Stop trying to take control of every little thing. I just ask, if you could say a prayer for me. Say a prayer for my kind, health and my next doctor appointment in June. It would mean the world to me and help calm me down. I hate feeling so alone.
Isabella, I am so sorry you are going through this. And as you can see from this post and comments, you are SO not alone.
What I didn’t share in my post was that later I realized that some of the anxiety and symptoms I had been feeling were probably hormonally driven; I’m in perimenopause and that was the beginning of my irregular cycles, monthly headaches and other symptoms. One thing that helped me greatly was upping my vitamins. Personally I just took Emergen-C daily with D. It contains a balanced amount of B vitamins and I noticed things improving over a few weeks after I started. I also exercised more (walks around the block) and prayed or listened to praise music as I went.
If you haven’t already, I would talk to your doctor about your anxiety and begin with doctor-recommended vitamin supplements and a little bit of daily movement and making a promise to yourself that you will not Google at all. These things were HUGE for me! And if your life is still being impacted after these changes along with prayer and support from friends and family, do not be ashamed to seek counseling or even medication.
I’d love to leave you with a prayer: Lord, thank you for Isabella, her husband and her beautiful children. We pray that you would meet her in her struggle with anxiety. Give her people in her life to support her, help her to have doctors who will listen and have insight into how to help her find balance in her body, mind and spirit.
We know the enemy knows where to hit us. We pray protection from the lies of the enemy, the seeds of fear that have been planted in her mind. Help her to find comfort and peace in the truth of your word, that she would be transformed by the renewing of her mind. That your peace would transcend understanding and guard her heart and mind fiercely in Christ Jesus!
We pray that you would comfort Isabella and reveal yourself to her in powerful ways, reminding her that you are always with her, and that she can trust you with her story. In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.
I also recorded a podcast episode about transforming your fears into prayers for you and anyone else reading this who might benefit from it (copy&paste):
God bless you, Isabella. We are standing with you in prayer 💕🙏
Thank you for this article. I’m almost 53 and have lived a very healthy life. No surgeries, injuries or major illness. Now that I’m aging and my body is experiencing new and unpleasant things, I struggle with obsessive anxiety about each and every one. Convincing myself I will die sooner than I ever though I would. I even do not go to doctor as I should because I’m afraid he may want me to be tested for something which will cause even more anxiety. My symptoms are worse when I’m anxious, but when I’m busy or distracted, they sometimes all but disappear or at the very least truly subside. That’s how I know much of it is in my mind. I would appreciate your prayers, since I am confident you will pray from a heart that genuinely knows my struggle.
Tabby, you are not alone! I’m so sorry you’re struggling with health anxiety but please know you are in our prayers, for God to give you wisdom about any steps you can take to bring balance to your body, mind and spirit, to surround you with people to help you and love you and lift you up when you need it, and for him to meet you even in the struggle to grow your faith and your reliance on him. God bless you! 💗🙏Jaime
I love that a Christian is speaking out about this. My mind has spiraled this summer. I have noticed it is when I am idle that it seems to get really bad. If I am busy….my mind kind of just forgets. I am 29 and developed anxiety at 16 after a car accident. Since then, it has been a rollercoaster…even after meeting Jesus at 20.
I don’t know if you have ever experienced this, but a Christian man posted on Facebook that God told him that there would be accelerated death this year and since then it has sent me into a whirlwind…. thinking that I would be the one that dies. 🙁
I’m responding to you because I saw that too and it added to my anxiety. A wife and sahm to 4 kiddos and it can be really debilitating.
Don’t know if you will see this but I would appreciate your prayers. I am 54 and a minister, I have battled with these very issues for as long as I can remember. I’ve learned a lot over the years but still sometimes find myself right back in the same horrible place. I am currently in the midst of one of the worse times I’ve ever faced, so over this and would love to just be “Normal” for one in my life. Thank you for your article, it is encouraging for those of us who face these things.
I’ve been researching about my stomachache for days now and I’ve also reached the colon cancer part and now I’m sooo paranoid. My anxiety has reached new heights. But reading this has helped a little. Will practice not to depend on mh understanding and Google. Please pray for me as well.
Praying for you, Ren! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in that rabbit hole. But no matter what your stomachache turns out to be, God won’t be surprised and He will be with you through it all!