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Health Anxiety & COVID Vaccine

Always_Anxious_
Community Member

Hello all,

I am wondering if anyone is experiencing anything similar. I have always had severe health anxiety after one of my friend's passed away from bowel cancer. I can't shake the feeling that it could happen to me too.

However, after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine (prior to it being put on hold) every twang or twitch I feel in my body I attribute to being a CSVT clot from the vaccine.

I have been speaking to a psychologist about this, however, my anxiety has been getting worse and I am experiencing more physical symptoms of anxiety - the vicious cycle that it is.

Does anyone have any coping strategies for a situation like this? Thanks in advance.

12 Replies 12

socialmoth
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Always_Anxious,

I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through at the moment. Someone close to me goes through health related anxiety too so I understand how you must be feeling at the moment - especially with all the media hype surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine.

I don't think I can speak to the health related anxiety as a whole, but I would just like to reassure you that in Australia, the federal government has said 700,000 AstraZeneca vaccines have been given out and only 2 people have experienced clots. That's compared to what the European Medical Agency has reported which is 86 people out of 25 million have experienced blood clots after taking it. I hope seeing those numbers helps ease your mind.

romantic_thi3f
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Always_Anxious_

Welcome to the forums and thank you for joining us. I'm so proud that you decided to get the vaccine even with your health anxiety- I think that alone is something to be celebrated because you could have said no vaccine out of the fear but instead you did it anyway. Major kudos to you.

I have health anxiety too, and one of the things that's really helped is staying up to date with vaccine development. There's people on IG working on the front lines that share lots of different bits and pieces and help people understand - and the information there gets translated poorly onto TV and newspapers.

From what I've read, it's 4 in 1,000,000 for AZ, 1 in 1,000,000 in J+J and

1 in 5 for COVID-19 patients.

So I know with these stats I know what choice I'm making. There's also these websites out there that pick random numbers, so if you pick a random number and let it roll, you can see how incredibly rare it is that it will land on your number - in the same way that it's incredibly incredibly rare that you will have a blood clot.

I'm not sure if this gives you any comfort. All of these feelings (no matter how awful) will pass.

rt

bookworm
Community Member

Hello,

I too suffer from health anxiety. I had a dear friend who passed away after ovarian cancer and I am constantly anxious that I may get it or something else. I find the only way I can cope with the anxiety is by talking to my doctor and having various tests done to put my mind at rest. I do have an ovarian cyst which has to be monitored in case it grows.I try to distract myself with work, books, puzzles etc. but it is not easy.

I understand how you feel.

Victor5
Community Member
Hi Alway_Anxious,


Firstly thanks for writing this post, you don’t know how much this has helped me in this moment.


I feel my health anxiety flares up and can get out of control at night. You see I sit here awake at night (2:35am to be exact) crippled with anxiety that I have or am going to develop blood clots post vaccination.


The numbers (1.6 in 100,000) don’t help me, in my mind I’m that 1.6 most of the time. Yet there is part of me that knows it’s ridiculous to feel this way. It’s very much for me a Jekyll & Hyde way of living and its been this way for a long time now. It’s exhausting.


I received my first dose of the AZ vaccine a week and two days ago. I am aged under 39 and so it wasn’t “recommended” for my age.


At the time Pfizer wasn’t available and it was only after my wife had received her first dose of AZ that I thought I should book in. The thought of even Pfizer with all the hype over rare heart related adverse events was enough to scare me and I admit I was comforted in the fact I wasn’t eligible.


So I booked in and still till now can’t comprehend how I have let myself get in this situation where there “could” be an issue with a blood clotting disorder. Why put myself in this situation., the fear of Covid scares me even more!


I too freak out with any twinge I feel and can’t shake the feeling of doom each time something “doesn’t feel right”. I am super aware of my body and get very worked up any time I feel something and to be honest even when I don’t feel something I worry that not feeling something could be a problem. It’s crippling… and consumes me most days.


I find breathing helps, and to be honest finding this post, registering and writing it down in reply to you has made me feel much better.


I am nervous for my next vaccine in a few months time and would be interested to hear how you went for yours and how your feeling now?

Hi Victor 5 and everyone! It is comforting reading these posts as I feel like a nutcase trying to describe my feelings to my husband. I received my first AZ 25th Aug (Day 15). This is what I do - I count each day and feel relieved as each day goes by as it means I'm less likely to get clots. I've had health anxiety for a few years. It ebbs and flows with times where I have none. Since lockdown and having less structure in my day, is an enemy for health anxiety sufferers and I thought I would have less anxiety after 2 weeks post jab but my health anxiety is so bad I am having trouble getting through the day and ruminate constantly about every single twinge I feel in my body. It is exhausing I feel no joy at the moment - only fear. That said, I have had no symtpoms to worry about just my body doing what it normally does with odd twinges here and there like anybody. Stay strong fellow health anxiety sufferers. Know there are people who understand you. Any replies would be appreciated x

Pumpkinella
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Always_Anxious and everyone,

I had phizer and experienced shortness of breath and was convinced it was because of an inflamed heart. I went to emergency department - turns out everything is fine and it was just anxiety.

It can be really hard because anxiety symptoms can be twinges in the chest, shortness of breath etc. and we interpret those as danger.

Have you thought about visiting your GP. Mine prescribed me with some beta blockers. It helps to reduce the panic inducement and once that happened I tended not to view every physical symptom as danger.

Its hard because there is SO much attention on these vaccines. Remember in the past you would have gotten vaccines that have some side effects that you were not even focused or aware of, but because there is so much media attention on this - the risk feels very real. In reality the risk is so tiny. You have more of a risk of blood clots on the contraceptive pill than you do with AZ.

Love

Pumps

Goodmorning! Thanks for your post Pumpkinella. Actually I was just thinking this morning that I might go to the doctor and get something to relax me at night. That is the worst time. I also did an hour of guided meditation this morning which I have not done for a while as I have not been able to relax enough from my intrusive thoughts but this morning was good and I feel OK right now. Before I got health anxiety (around menopause for me) if I was to have some procedure wherein there was a 2 in 150,000 chance of a bad side effect I'd laugh it off and would not give it a second thought. Now, I'm the opposite - I am that person who will get the bad side effects (even though I have no reason to think this). Can't explain why - just how the irrational beast of anxiety warps our thinking. Have a good day everyone x

Hi

fearless 7 and all,

I have anxiety panic disorder and chronic pain syndrome and knew I would struggle with having the covid vaccine because of the blood clot issue. I finally had my jab on my third attempt a few days ago. I'm having a real struggle to stay on top of my anxiety and have constant panic which is affecting my digestion and sleep. I'm really worried about how I'm going to cope with the days ahead,I too also have trouble finding any joy at the moment and am on constant alert checking in on my body. I'm frightened that I might increase any possible side effects because of my anxiety.

I'm glad I found this forum as I can see I'm not the only one with these thoughts and anxieties.

Moonchild_11_11
Community Member
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I was diagnosed with gad with ocd tendencies a few months ago, with health anxiety being the more pro dominant anxiety I suffer from. I went because i was starting to obsess over silly things like my car making noises. I was sceptical I even had anxiety until the vaccine rollout. I had been dealing with the pandemic fine or so I thought until it came to having the vaccine. Same factors mentioned here, media hype etc but a little closer to hone for me. My dad is strongly against the vaccine and has theories about gov control etc that greatly escalated my anxiety. It started with chest pains and tightness the day before I got the jab and the physical symptoms have not stopped. A few nights ago I experienced my first sever panic attack… I managed to bring myself out of it but two days later had one so severe I called an ambulance. They did and ecg and offered to take me to hospital for bloods but I declined thinking it would settle. The panic attack kicked back in as soon as they left and I presented to er where I had another ecg and bloods and was told my heart was perfectly fine. The dr was great and assured me I’d done the right thing. She gave me a benzodiazepine to take at home, sadly it wasn’t super effective for the physical symptoms but I did manage to get a few hrs sleep. I’ve never been medicated but I am exploring that option presently, awaiting a call back from a gp. My biggest concern at the moment is that mostly I can accept the physical symptoms as anxiety however as im so new to this I can just as easily send myself into a panic attack over them which as im sure you all know is terrifying. Has anyone got any tips on reducing the physical symptoms as I think this will help me immensely at the moment? Im willing to try anything at this point. Im too afraid to do normal things.. have a bath or shower when alone, going to work, I’ve taken some leave… im so scared of the unpredictability of these attacks and my inability to control them. Any tips would be so greatly appreciated. Love and light to you all, this too shall pass xx