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Ihadcancer

How to choose a Therapist/ Psych?

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I'd opened this up for discussion on AZ and a big argument ensued.  I'm not looking for that but just hear me out and then give me your thoughts. 

I have Health Anxiety (hypochondriac over tiny things) caused by Chronic Disease Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after Stage IIIB Colon Cancer in 2009 and a tiny spread to my liver and then an open liver resection in Feb/ April 2012.  It flares up when it's getting near time for my CT/ MRI and blood tests for tumor markers and then goes away for months.

I know I need someone to talk to.  I'd gotten involved with Our Journey of Hope through our church and have worked with 5 other families with cancer but they've died off or gotten a clean bill of health and we're pretty inactive right now because our leader's wife is actively dying of rectal cancer. She's way younger than me.  

My thought is:  I don't see how a therapist could help me if they've never faced death.  I get very upset if someone says 'I know how you feel' and they've never had a serious illness of some sort.  I don't understand how some rubberband on my wrist or writing a journal would help me when I go through my 'every 6 months' period of H/A!  

I looked online and found one woman I thought might be helpful.  When I called her office, I was told that to see her, I also had to take Yoga 3 days a week at her office, group therapy 2 nights a week, plus as many meeting with her as she felt necessary.  My insurance won't pay for the yoga AND group therapy plus doctor visits. It actually made me think that what I'd read about her personality and caring for her patients was not true and she was only in this for big bucks.  The woman I spoke with was quite clear that I'd have to commit to these secondary things and pay out of pocket before she'd even do paperwork for me to come in and meet the doctor.  

How do you find a therapist that 'fits'?  I called BCBS and asked their nurse line and all they did was give me the list off their website of people within 100 miles of my house (we live out in the country / tiny city).  

 

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Not being in the US I'm not sure how to help with choosing one apart from whoever you do choose, you must have a good connection with, that is so important imo.

I just want to touch on HA though, in my totally non professional opinion, I think like me, you don't actually have healthy anxiety, what you have is anxiety over your health. It's the PTSD. If you felt perfectly well you would not be worrying you were sick to a point your body mimics the symptoms of what you are worrying about? You worry about your health when you feel unwell because you have, in the past been very sick. You worry about impending test results because in the past, those results have been bad. You worry about superbugs and virus' because you feel vulnerable.

Once the anxiety over our health takes over it's really easy to fall down the rabbit hole, I believed for a long time I had health anxiety, until it was determined to be PTSD from chronic long term serious illness. The agoraphobia, the panic attacks, the emetophobia.. they all stemmed from the PTSD and a (false) belief that it was inevitable that I would get sick again, that every pain or symptom was IT (Crohns) It got out of control in 2010 and Crohns became any serious life threatening illness/accident/alien abduction (yeah it was bad)

CBT helped me the most, maybe think of looking for a CBT therapist? 

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Very true.  I have anxiety over the 'what if the cancer returns' and when those thoughts (usually near test time) overcome me, I start to find things 'wrong'. 

I've gone to the clinic for 'is there a blue line around my lips?', 'why do my fingernails look pale?', mosquito bites (which I witnessed) 'could this be skin cancer?' type stuff.  Now I haven't done that in the last almost 2 years because Klonopin in a small dose has helped me except for those weeks just prior to testing and waiting for results.  

I honestly don't know what CBT is.  I know on AZ someone said a rubberband on my wrist to snap when I got worried and keeping a journal.  

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