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  1. Thanks to both of you for taking the time to read that big wall of text! I definitely have some OCD tendencies, even the psychiatrist I visited told me that. It's really hard to explain how I am feeling. My rational side is telling me that everything is okay, that I have lived perfectly fine since then and that I even got the reassurance from many doctors including a specialist. But the other side is like: how can you be fine when all these articles tell you the opposite, you have ruined your life, you're not good anymore... Having these constant obsessive and self-destructive thoughts is really holding me back from moving forward. I think the only thing that would make me stop worrying would be to have 100% certainty, but I guess that is just impossible. There are also many people in forums that had the same thing happen to them but they seem to be very chill about it. I think I'm just a bit too hard on myself. I will definitely look for a therapist to get myself out of this hole since there is nothing else I can do anymore.
  2. Hello everybody, this post will be quite long, but I just need to get this off my chest. My name is Paul (20 yrs old) and I am from Germany. For the last 6 months I have been suffering from severe health anxiety which also lead to depression. Health anxiety is not new to me (typical hypochondriac). I had several episodes of health anxiety during my early teenage years because I'm a very sensitive and anxious person when it comes to health. Some examples are: fear of catching HIV at 13 (without any reason), obsessively washed my hands so much that they started bleeding because I wanted to kill all the germs and I also had a time where I was afraid of cancer. The reason why I got these fears in the first place was because of googling my symptoms (Dr. Google). All these fears were only temporarily (never lasted more than 3 months) and didn't require any kind of treatment. Since then, I lived pretty much without any anxiety and OCD behaviours. A little bit about myself: I am very ambitious and always set high goals for myself. Next to high school, I would spend all my time with my passion which is coding. I wouldn't say that I am nerdy or socially akward, but I am the type of guy that would choose working and reading over going out for drinks. I am also a bit obsessive/OCD in everything that I do. Very often, I would work up to 14 hours a day during vacations and enjoy every second of it. Overall I would say that I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. Besides of keeping a healthy diet, I also lift weights up to 5 times a week in the gym and try to avoid unhealthy habits like excessive drinking or regular smoking. Now onto what's bothering me: Almost two years ago I had this stupid habit of smoking hookah with my friends in these so-called hookah lounges which are very common here (they have become very popular here and the majority of teens have already tried it). It was a thing that I "only" did two or three times a month on the weekends to chill out with friends. However, I never thought of it as a big deal health-wise since I never became addicted to it and didn't do it every day. So one night in December 2016 me and 3 other friends wanted to try out a new bar. We ordered two hookahs...nothing unusual so far. I can remember that I was taking very deep hits because I was trying to do O's with the smoke for the first time (Yes, very stupid, I know...). Only 20 minutes or so passed by and all of a sudden after taking a deep hit I got pretty bad stomach aches (This had already happened to me once because I was also trying to do O's and took deep hits about two months prior but it went away after 30 seconds after I stopped smoking). I thought I had diarrhea so I quickly stood up and rushed to the bathroom. On the way, I was a bit dizzy, so when I got in the bathroom I passed out. When I woke up again, I felt PERFECTLY FINE, no stomache aches, no dizzines... NOTHING, I just felt great. I don't know how long I passed out but probably not that long, otherwise my friends or somebody else would have noticed. When I fell, I slightly hit my head on a piece of furniture so I got a small scratch which was bleeding and cleaned it up with some water but nothing too crazy. During that time, my friends were still smoking, as if nothing had happened, they were all fine. Since I was feeling so great again (no more symptoms), I just called it a night and decided not to go to the hospital. I hadn't smoked in a few weeks so I thought this was just a reaction of my body because of the deep hits, but nothing too crazy. I also was a bit scared because my mother would find out that I smoked. After that I went home and did a bit of googling, just to make sure everything is okay (very typical of me). I didn't find anything too crazy and I was more concerned about my wound than me blacking out. The next day was a sunday but since I always want to make sure that everything is okay, I went to the doctor to check the scratch. He said everything was fine and I told him that I slipped and bumped my head on the ground because I didn't want him to tell my mother that I smoked. After that incident, I lived perfectly fine...I never noticed anything being weird with my body, I lived just like I did before. As a fact, the times after that incident were one of the best times of my life. I started a small coding business in my junior year of high school (2016/2017) which I put my whole energy into and loved it. Then senior year came (2017/2018) and I did my best to get the best possible grades (while running that small business) so that I could get accepted to my dream university. This was by far the most stressful period of my life. Two months before the final exams I already noticed that the stress was taking a huge toll on my body. I spent many nights sleepless because I had obsessive thoughts like "What if you don't get the required grades?". It got so bad that I had to go to my doctor to get sleeping pills and something to calm me down during the day. This is where my anxiety began: During the peak of my exam studies in april, I came across an article on facebook that you can get carbon monoxyde poisoning from smoking hookah. These were a series of articles that were published at that time. At first, I didn't think much of it, because I had lived perfectly fine since that incident. But then I started googling (MY BIGGEST MISTAKE) and read all these articles which were written in a very dramatic way (things like: you can get parkinson, irreparable brain damage, and concentration difficulties if you don't get immediate treatment after such a poisoning). I never noticed anything being wrong with me, never had any concentration issues (some days I would study up to 12 hours without any problems), got straight A's in the tests prior to my final exams... no signs of anything being wrong. I got very severe health anxiety at that time and even experienced my first panic attack ever (thought I was going to have a heart attack) because I also started reading more generally about carbon monoxide poisoning (not just from smoking hookah). During the day I was always anxious, my heart was beating so fast because I had obsessive thoughts like "There is now something wrong with you and you will not reach your goals because of it". It was by far the worst I have ever felt. The fact that I had my final exams coming up in a month, didn't help... I could only study after taking a tranquilizer because my anxiety was horrible. I then decided to go visit my GP to ask her for advice. She said that I had nothing to worry about and that I was fine. I felt a bit of relief but the obsessive thoughts wouldn't stop. After the second visit, she prescribed me antidepressants (she probably thought I was a crazy hypochondriac). I then visited two more GP's and they told me the same. They said that even if it was such a poisoning, it would have been a minor one without any consequences for my health. I got a blood test done and everything was perfect "just don't worry" I heard from them. The anxiety wouldn't stop but I did my best to distract myself with studying for my upcoming finals. I got straight A's in my final exams, got a much higher grade than the required one for my dream university and was ranked among the best in my school. I had decided in winter that I would take a gap year after high school, so that I could focus on building my business. After high school, my anxiety became even worse. I was laying in bed all day (very unusual of me), crying and hopeless about my future because I thought that I had ruined my health and therefore my life. Weeks passed by and the antidepressants started working slowly. I went on vacation with my family to try to clear my mind. The only thing that saved me from going insane, was the gym. I was lifting weights up to 6 times a week to release my anger. I haven't worked on my business since the day I read that article because I had obsessive thoughts like "you're not good enough anymore". I became very depressed because I was laying in bed all day doing nothing. I also told my mother and sister about how I was feeling, they also told me that I had nothing to worry about, since my GP said everything was fine and it had happened over 1 year ago. 2 months had passed by and I decided to go visit a psychiatrist. I talked to him for 1 hour and he could't understand why I was worried. He said that I should spend my time doing something productive to distract myself from the negative thoughts. After that I even visited went to the hospital to get the opinion from a specialist of the hyperbaric chamber department. He really wasn't taking me very seriously and told me that I had nothing to worry about and that I was fine. One month has now passed since that hospital visit. My anxiety has lowered a lot but my life is just pure chaos right now. I don't know how I should feel about myself and about my future. My business is still running, but I haven't followed a productive daily routine for 5 months now. Most of the day I watch youtube videos, sleep and go to the gym, to distract myself from negative thoughts. Before I had read that article, my future looked very promising. If I had never come across that stupid article, my life would be a lot different right now. I feel like a failure but I know that I can't continue living like this. I don't want to waste this gap year and don't want to disappoint my parents. I even visited my dream university for the open day but with all that anxiety it just didn't feel right... Sorry for the length of this post but I really don't know what I should do now or how I should feel about all of this. I really want to get back to building my business and living life. It is really difficult to just "not worry"... I never thouht that this small incident would have such a huge effect on my life because I was feeling fine back then. It didn't seem like a big deal to me. I also didn't have any headaches (which are a common symptom for poisoning). I really don't now... I regret it so much that I didn't go immediately to the hospital. Even if I don't notice anything being wrong with my health, this uncertainty of not knowing 100% is just killing me... I'm kind of angry at myself for having put my health at risk like that.