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Living in Fear

answered 08:44 AM EST, Mon January 20, 2014
anonymous anonymous
I am plagued by a lot of worries about getting diseases, mostly infectious diseases where I might legitimately be exposed to a virus but the likelihood is low. How can you decide that a small probability of incurable illness or death is too small to take any action against?. The thing that will happen is I will be in the park and somebodies dog will come over and sniff me and lick me and then I will be OK in the moment but then afterwards I will start thinking about the possibility of rabies and I will research it and then I will go and get rabies shots even though my doctor says I probably do not need them. He cannot give me a 100% guarantee. This happened to me a few months ago. Or, whenever I cut myself outside I get very scared about tetanus and other diseases, especially when my booster gets close to expiring. Hepatitis C is another thing I will worry about a lot when I get my hair cut or go to the dentist. Once I know there is a small chance I have been exposed and infected I can’t get the thought out of my mind and this causes me a lot of stress and worry.

Loren Gelberg-Goff Says...

I am sorry that you spend so much of your time in a state of distress. As you indicate, you are aware that your worry is generally about health issues that have a low probability of occurring. When people suffer from these kind of recurring anxious thoughts to the point that they interfere with their overall lives, it's time to seek outside help and guidance. It sounds like your fears are limiting your abilities to fully participate in life and this in turn leads to an increase in 'fear-based' thoughts and beliefs. Your goal is to insure that you are safe and free from harm, but this is not a realistic way to live a full, rich and rewarding life. While germs exist in our world, our bodies are designed to be balanced and healthy, and the thoughts we bring into our systems impact our overall health and well-being. So, it's time to change your thoughts, and you can change your life...

There are a number of things that you can do to alleviate your stress and anxiety. Very often individuals who have the fears that you describe suffer from depression. Depression can take on a variety of symptoms and the fears and anxieties that you struggle with can be such indicators. So, I'd recommend finding a good therapist in your area with whom you can discuss these issues and thereby gain some clarity around how these fears took hold. Secondly, I recommend that you explore neurofeedback which will help alleviate the stress reactions you experience internally when you are confronted with a perceived threat. Thirdly, I'd recommend looking into Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)  EFT is something that you can use in the moment when a fear/anxious thought enters your mind to help calm you down and gain clarity in the moment so that you then have the option to respond to your stressor(s) differently. Many people have found this to be a very useful adjunct to any therapy they do. Since what you describe is very anxiety provoking and overwhelming, I would also recommend some relaxation/stress reduction programs such as Yoga, Tai chi, Qi Gong,  and there's even Laughing Yoga which you can do from the comfort of your own home. Laughing Yoga is a great way to relieve stress, anxiety and feelings of depression, so that you can then follow up with other treatment modalities that can bring you greater ease and fulfillment in your life. Please let me know if you need additional support or information. I wish you all the best, Loren

While there are a few medications that people have found to be helpful in short-circuiting their anxious thoughts, I do not prescribe medications, so I am not the expert to address this option.

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Page last updated Jan 20, 2014

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