hypochondriac, chest pains, worry,

Last Thursday night I took myself off to hospital. I’d been having chest pains for three days and a weird indigestion that was getting worse instead of better as well as a few other symptoms that made me uncomfortable.

The doctor was sufficiently concerned that my symptoms were ‘suspicious’ and suggested that it may be a blood clot. I had an EKG, a blood test and some blood thinners. All tests were clear and the doctor didn’t actually offer any answers as to what might be the problem, but I am thinking stress and/or my PND ‘flaring up’ again. It does show itself in the most inconvenient ways.

I have to admit that this is the second time I have been to the hospital with chest pains. The first time, it was a ‘chest wall injury’ and, I felt like an idiot.

For me, making the call to go to the hospital is very difficult because I know I have a tendency to be a little bit of a hypochondriac. Someone just died of a brain tumor on House? I suddenly have quite a bad headache. Wes Bonny died of melanoma at age 26? Suddenly, I am paranoid about skin cancer. Even a week after I’ve had a scan and every single time I see that ad.

For me, it’s a huge struggle between keeping my penchant for the extreme response in mind and acting appropriately in the situation. It took me three days to decide to go to the hospital. And, the whole time I knew it could be a mistake to be umming and ahhing. Yet, I could not decide.

It was a different pain to any I had experienced before. Knowing that is an important part of beating my mind because I do get stress related chest pain and I do, always, have a moment where I think ‘is this a heart attack?’ but I am able to discern that it isn’t because it’s the same as it always is. It was more painful. It was coupled with random indigestion and helped along with some advice from Dr Google.

I don’t know whether to be embarrassed, annoyed or relieved that I took the 10 minute drive into town.

It is highly frustrating. I drive James completely mad when things like this happen. He’s just lucky he isn’t in my head, where I am so confused and worried and annoyed all at the same time. Where I analyze every little thing, trying to figure out if it’s serious, different and sometimes, real.

Maybe, I don’t need to worry. Maybe, in a real emergency I will know. I just will. I’d like to think so, but I’ve read enough to know that, sometimes, people don’t get the really bad pains or the most obvious symptoms.

Thankfully, my worries so far have amounted to nothing and I’ve only been a pain in the ER twice. But, I wonder about next time. Well, not all the time, just right now. I wonder how I can keep having these insane moments. At the time I am experiencing real pain (for the most part and to be honest, I prefer the ‘fake’ as I am quite quickly able to discernĀ  and quash it. Also, it doesn’t actually hurt. That’s a bonus), displaying real symptoms and honestly think there could be an issue all the while I am doubting my ability to know what those things really mean.

I feel like the Boy Who Cried Wolf. I know that’s how James sees me. As soon as I murmur “Do you think it could be …. (insert illness here)” I can literally hear his eyes rolling about in his head and I don’t blame him for a second but I do wish he could understand.

Do you have hypochondriac tendencies? Can you suggest a way to help me ease mine?




  1. I’m an EMergency Department Nurse and I married a hypochondriac. Subsequently my ability to show compassion for his aches and pains has severely warned over the years. All I can suggest is, stop, take a breath, listen to your body and stay off the Internet! Chest pains are not something to toy with though and you were right to go to the hospital. Glad it all worked out for you though. Love the blog BTW!

    • I do get why it’s hard to be compassionate when someone is like me. I find it hard to give myself compassion, too. But, it does hurt.
      I have learned to dismiss most things before I say anything to my husband and give my mind quiet, too, it’s just these big things that still get me!
      And I agree, no internet!! Unfortunately, I’ve read so much over the years BEFORE learning that.
      Thanks for your comment!!

  2. Maybe best to go to the doctor earlier rather than ER?? or sorry, you did go to the doc didn’t you. Three days is a long time though and with chest pains better fast and wrong, is my motto. I have to say that there are many things that I don’t mention to my husband, he’s better off not knowing a lot of what goes on in my head!!

    • Getting into my Dr is quite difficult. He would see me if he knew I was trying to get in but he’s at a new center and they flat out don’t ask him. Obviously, they’re busy but it can be a little frustrating. I will be going to him for a follow up to see if he can figure out what it actually is.
      There’s a lot I don’t mention to my husband, too, these days. Poot thing!

  3. I am a total hypochondriac. Just this year I have had three heart attacks, melanoma, a brain tumor and several small strokes. Right now I have bladder cancer (probably just a UTI).
    Because I am aware of my tendancy to dramatise the smallest niggle, I tend not to mention it to anyone and rarely see a doctor because I can’t be arsed. I’ve learnt that most of my pre heart attack chest pain type things are just bad gas.

    • I think being aware is the key! And, while I am there’s still that bit of me, you know? I hope you heal fast and thank you for making me feel less crazy x

  4. Better safe than sorry when it comes to pains in the chest, I’d say. But perhaps do step back from Dr Google? #teamIBOT was here

  5. I am the complete opposite, I leave health issues and worries to the last minute thinking that it is all in my head and I am afraid of being a pain in someones butt. However last time I left things so long that I ended up in hospital and quite sick. I need to learn not to let things slide. And good for you, chest pain really isn’t something you want to play around with. Thank goodness you got checked out and that all was ok
    Visiting via IBOT

  6. I used to think that I was a hypochondriac and then I was finally diagnosed with food intolerances because I didn’t truly believe I was. Yes, I have anxiety and have been through depression which can mean that things can be psychosomatic but there was actually something behind it.
    Don’t dismiss it too easily, if you believe that it may not be all in the mind.
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

  7. You know it’s best to know than do your head in worrying about it. Since I’ve had kids I’ve realised I’d much rather get something sorted than worry needlessly. And I’m with Seanna, men totally don’t get it, they are from Mars remember?! – Em x

  8. Aww Becky, it IS ok and you are (more than likely very ok!) but with the kind of whirlwind of emotions you’ve experienced since the move from the coast to the west now back again…with 3 little people and a hub at work elsewhere ..and no family support as expected…it is no wonder that you have felt PAIN. I agree with every other commenter about reasons & treatments…
    But, from me I can tell you that the stress (which gets the body into tension in muscles of the back & shoulder will feel like chest pain. My hub has severe arthritis of the spine which travels around to the chest as pain …before he knew that was the reason. Doctors would jump when he mentioned the two words- chest & pain- in fact he spent a long weekend in ICU for that. His heart is fine… So, what to do? Don’t think you are imagining it but if its possible to become immersed in something you love (am thinking your art work & photography outside) you will notice your breathing will slow and your body will feel more relaxed and the ‘pain’ will ease…… But, promise you won’t Ignore searing pain around the chest on the right hand side.. THAT’s Gallbladder attack & by gee, that is ER worthy! I know this one well & pain was more intolerable than childbirth! Gallbladder is gone! D

  9. Chest pains are never something to take lightly. And it is okay to get it all tests out and give yourself permission. It is so common to feel anxiety, and becoming aware of this in your body can be something very useful. Trust yourself and your instincts and hopefully you can find some ways to help relieve some of your stress and anxiety xx

  10. I always used to dither about the “should I go to the hospital/doctor” question but since having kids I’ve gained a lot of clarity. I just ask myself “what can you live with?”. Could I live with myself if it ended up being something serious and I could have prevented it? If the answer is no I just go – in my book it’s better to have wasted a couple of hours in a waiting room and have my mid at rest, rather than stress myself out worrying abou it at home!

  11. Often it’s much better to be save rather than sorry – when in doubt go check it out!

  12. Agreed – better to be safe than sorry. I think this happens to all of us. It depends on what’s happening and how busy we are. Mums put themselves last generally so it’s not surprising we experience moments.

  13. I think its like raising children, you should do whats right for you. Also, my husband tends to get lots of weird illnesses, we have an agreement, that he is never allowed to look up any medical stuff on the internet, I look stuff up instead, use my common sense, which has improved considerably after so many medical drama’s, and we go from there. I am lucky that he trusts my judgement though, it makes life easier… Best of luck and dont be too hard on yourself!

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