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Hey there!
Hi! I'm Billie Jo, a wife to one and mother to four who loves all things home and family. During the day I homeschool, do laundry, and drink way excessive amounts of coffee. I would much rather read than exercise, and I am blessed to live the life I dreamed of.
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Health Anxiety Update

 I first wrote about my struggle with Health Anxiety and OCD in a blog post back HERE. I want to revisit it today for a few different reasons. First of all, I never want to imply here that my life is perfect or without struggles. I visit blogs to feel empathy and friendship, and I hope that those who read here leave finding the same. I never want anyone to read this little blog and think that I have it all together because Heaven knows, I don't! As a super special person once told me, "Everyone has their own sh**!" Also, I feel very strongly that if sharing my story here can help one person struggling with this or any similar issue, I owe it to that person and to myself to do that. Mental Health concerns should no longer be considered taboo or embarrassing. Nor should they be thought of as a joke, weakness, or character flaw.


If I struggled with Diabetes, for example, I would have no problem discussing my plan of treatment or medications. Why should my OCD and Health Anxiety be any different? My therapist gave me some wonderful advice one time. She reminded me that I have Health Anxiety. I am not Health Anxiety. She encourages me to tell people that I have this thing I'm dealing with. It is anxiety about my health. That's it. Put that way, it somehow seems less daunting and more manageable.

Although I now know I have suffered from Health Anxiety my entire life, I only recently realized and admitted that I needed help. I found that help in my family, a wonderful nurse who listened and didn't judge, then a caring doctor who prescribed medication, two close friends who were there for me, and finally, an amazing therapist who continues to help me acquire and utilize the tools I need to keep my anxiety under control. I am doing better, thank you very much. I will always have OCD and Health Anxiety and I have accepted that. It is my thing.

I am finding that now that I have acknowledged it, my Health Anxiety is improving. I no longer worry that I have a life-threatening disease. At least not as much. I am able to stop the obsession over a spot on my arm much quicker than before due to the tools I have. For example, I am learning to look at the facts. I remind myself that I have shown it to two doctors and they have told me it is nothing. I am able to stop myself from Googling symptoms and falling into the trap of self-diagnosis. And I am able to go to someone and tell them that I am worrying about something. These are all things that I can do because I finally accepted help. I finally admitted that I had something going on that was making me anxious. And that I couldn't do it alone anymore.

I have Health Anxiety. I have OCD. They are part of who I am. And I am not ashamed to say it. If you or someone you love is dealing with a Mental Health issue, I encourage you to seek help. You will realize you are not the only one. You are not alone. Talk to someone. Take medication if you need it. See a therapist. You are worth it. Trust me. I know. Thanks for visiting, my friends.






Comments

  1. Im always worried about my health. I didn't know there was such a thing as health anxiety but I believe it. Any time any thing is wrong i think of cancer or something bad. I'm so afraid of hospitals etc. Right now my husband is very sick and in the hospital and I'm very upset. It's so hard to see him like he is because he was always healthy and on the go. Any way thanks for your blog it helped me some.

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    1. I am sorry about your husband. And I hope this did help you and that perhaps you can talk to a doctor or a friend about your worries. I know how hard it is keeping those thoughts inside. Just know you are not alone!

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  2. You have health anxiety, it does not define who you are. Who you are is a sweet, smart, kind, loving, rock star of a friend who I LOVE so much!!! You are helping so many of us who are dealing with our own issues. We are all in this fight together! xoxox

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  3. "I have Health Anxiety. I have OCD. They are part of who I am."

    But you are not supposed to have them. They are not yours. They are not a part of who you are.

    There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

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  4. Thank you for opening up about your health anxiety. I'm so glad you found the help you needed and have a wonderful support system in place. Hope you have a wonderful week!

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  5. Friend, I have not been by in awhile. Family once again called. But, I applaud you for sharing so openly you mental health struggles. Honestly, I truly believe everyone struggles in some way. Not always to the great extent. Both my mother, and my girls have had to work through anxiety. I truly believe in hindsight, my mother struggled with Health Anxiety along with depression and Alzheimers later on. She was a nurse herself. Googling symptoms on the internet became a very scary thing for her. I get it!! You are so right...you are NOT ALONE, nor does ANYONE have to be. I am just so thankful more and more are willing to be open and honest, and share with others. We shared openly this past year as Mark walked his Melanoma journey, to bring not only awareness, but HOPE. Thank you for doing the same along your journey.

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  6. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you living with Health Anxiety and OCD, but I am so happy you have access to such wonderful support which enables you to keep it within your control.
    Thank you for sharing your story. X

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  7. Hi Billie Jo! You are a brave soul and so wonderful for sharing your struggle. Mental health issues are rampant in the world yet it is still taboo for a lot of people to talk about or to hear about. Both my husband and I have depression issues. My DH also suffers from severe anxiety and depression. We have been struggling for 2 years to get him the help that he needs and we can't seem to find the right combination. So thankful that you found the support system that works for you. And you are right they are a part of who you are, but only a tiny part. In the grand scheme of things you are so much more. Thank you for sharing your story! Have a great week.

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  8. So so beautiful - I love that you are brave and put this out there for others to heal. You are my friend and for all you are, every little bit, I am grateful.

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  9. Dear Billie Jo,

    You have always been a blessing to me...encouraging me to be the best person I can be. I currently have some things going on in my life right now that reading here today has encouraged my heart greatly. So once again I say, thank you, my sweet friend.

    xo

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  10. I too can suffer from ocd traits and I admire that you can bring yours out i the open.

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  11. Thank you for offering hope to people and sharing your whole world with us! So glad you have found the right combination of things to help you!

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  12. Billie Jo what a brave and inspiring woman you are sharing your problem in the hope of helping others. You are in my prayers.

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  13. Sooo proud of you! This is an amazing post, and you are an inspiration to me and I'm sure many others. <3

    Madison | Breakfast at Madison’s

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  14. Billie Jo - you are not alone with your struggles - thank you for speaking out - I use to have anxiety and panic attacks - I could be in a store shopping and suddenly I had to leave - feel as thou I couldn't breathe - I would just leave my cart (not wanting to) and go home immediately - after a short time I would be okay - now I am on medication (Zoloft) and feel like a new person. I waited years before getting the help I needed - and strongly urge anyone with any type of mental health issues to seek help immediately - Love your blog - you are such a wonderful Mother and wife - your family and friends are so lucky to have you ,Take care - Mary Ellen

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    1. Hello!
      I am sorry you struggled with anxiety, but so happy you found the help you need.
      I waited years as well, and am so thankful I finally opened up and got help.
      Thanks for reading!

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  15. Wow, I love following your posts about your beautiful family and wonderful traditions and how you share real, normal life stuff but this post just makes me want to give you a big hug. Thank you for sharing this and for your very wise words about mental illness. I lost my best friend to mental illness 5 year years ago and have deep sadness around the shame and embarrassment she felt before she took her own life. You are absolutely right, it is a disease worthy of treatment just like any other ailment. We are all worthy of help. Thank you so much, every person who speaks up about it is changing the culture!

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    1. Hello!
      Thank you for your comment.
      I am so very sorry about the loss of you best friend.
      Hugs.

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  16. It brave and wonderful of you to share. If more people spoke out about their mental health their would be less shame and more acceptance.

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

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  17. You are so wonderful to share this part of your life. I really didn't know there was a name for this, but my Linds has been struggling with this very thing for the past year or so. She is now seeking help and we talk about it all the time...it's out in the open and it's easier on her that way too with no judgement. I'm SO happy that you have the help and the support that you need to continue living such a good life with/for your family. XO

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  18. Thank you for being willing to share your life with us. I'm glad you're getting the help and support you need. We all have our stuff don't we?

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  19. I have to tell you I decided to read your blog from the beginning and always thought you had it all together and your life seemed so perfect.I have a son with anxiety and it is a rollercoaster having him follow through seeing a psychiatrist and therapist. I also have anxiety from beating breast cancer twice and wonder when it will come back. Your right about Google, never use that for info you'll scare yourself to death.

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  20. We all have something going on behind the scenes and thank you for opening up about your OCD and Health anxiety issues. You are helping SO many by posting this. Have a blessed day sweet friend, HUGS!

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  21. Thank you for sharing your struggles. By opening up to each other, we can all feel less alone. I have written of my struggles in previous years- but I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and panic attacks many years ago. Medications and a supportive family have made all the difference! I think we ALL have mental health issues. It's just part of life!

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  22. I have never heard of health anxiety before. However, I have diabetes so I definitely have my own sh**! I am so glad that you are getting the help that you need! We love you just the way you are - amazing!

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  23. I've never heard of health anxiety before either. One of my grandsons has anxiety as well as OCD, he's only 6 and I really worry about him. He seems so young to worry about things he shouldn't have to worry about. Thanks for sharing something so personal.
    Hugs to you my friend,
    Saimi

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  24. Thank you for sharing something that's normally looked at as 'not quite perfect'. Here in blogland we often gloss over the bits that others might find a bit difficult to process. I had post natal depression after having Michael and really struggled for YEARS with only seeing my husband a few days each fortnight and pretty well having no other adult contact while he was away. It was just me and the kids and then I found out that both kids are on the autism spectrum. It's still a struggle but I know myself a lot better now and am at the stage where I pretty well don't care too much what others think. As long as I take care of myself and my family and live our life in a way that's best and works for us, then that's all that truly matters. Having a little more help now is also a bonus! Wished we lived closer too :) xx Susan

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  25. Thank you for sharing. So many times, mental health struggles are pushed under the rug and hidden. You're an inspiration sweetie. Big hugs!

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  26. Thank you for sharing your journey. <3

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  27. This is beautiful. Will keep you in my prayers. xoxoxo

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  28. I can relate. I have terrible anxiety! Doing normal life things sends me into a panic. I have learned to just cope with it. Both of my kids seem to have it too.

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Billie Jo