How I Balance Advocating For Myself as a Patient with Avoiding Hypochondria

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and none of this is meant to provide medical advice. This is just my personal experience.)

I struggle with being my own patient advocate and not being a hypochondriac. I know that having OCD means that I have a tendency to catastrophize and this includes imagining worst-case possible illnesses or medical situations. I know when I’m at my most mentally ill that I can see an aneurysm instead of a migraine or some other catastrophic illness in a simple flu or cold.

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Anxiety Doesn’t Always Have a Trigger

Anxiety doesn’t always have a trigger. Sometimes it’s clear to me why I feel anxious: I am waiting on test results or about to meet with a new client. Sometimes, I find that my anxiety is triggered by alcohol or caffeine. I can often pinpoint something that’s making me anxious. I can say to myself: if I resolve this issue or once I get this information or if I avoid caffeine, I’ll be fine and relaxed.

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Some Things You Cannot Do Until You Are Ready

There’s a lot of discussion in the world about “if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never do it” or “don’t wait until you’re ready, the world is at the end of your comfort zone.” For many people “ready” seems like a dirty word. It’s an excuse or a limit to what you can do, a crutch. But crutches exist for a reason—to help you walk when you’re injured.

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