I think I’ve developed an obsession with my iron levels

26 Feb 2013


I think I’ve developed an obsession with my iron levels since I was told I have low ferritin. Talking to women about iron at work makes me feel funny and sort of chokes my voice up. I went to the pharmacy today to ask for some Floradix- you would have thought I was walking up to death row!! heart pounding, globus, feelings of impending doom etc

Lately (and maybe it because I’ve had a cold and a bit run down) I just keep feeling the urge to cry. Like my waking hours are filled with the feeling of uneasiness and fear and the strange feeling in your throat before you cry.

It’s probably because I keep focusing on it, but I’m worried that It’s a signal I’m about to have a breakdown or something!! 

My voice and speaking are a big problem for me at the minute. It’s probably globus but it more feels like my body saying “hellllp we’re so afraid and stressed”

It’s silly!!

Hi N

If you only could grasp what a ‘classic case’ you are – for health anxiety

everything you do and say keeps you locked tight in this problem

tell me all that you are doing to deal with this at the moment 

and I’m not going to give off 🙂

just be honest

this wont change unless you have a PROPER plan of action set up that you do repeatedly

and what else are you reading – any other self help books

give me a run down of a typical week and what it involves – with regards how you respond to health issues


27 Feb 2013


forgot to add

Do you think there is such a thing as a ‘breakdown’ ?

I’ve got a lot of fear surrounding the concept – imagining not  

being able to work etc

But I’m curious – is a breakdown a real medical/physical thing or  

just a peak of anxiety? that can easily be overcome with correct CBT

Hi Nat

No there is no such thing as a ‘breakdown’

its an old fashioned word used to describe ANY overwhelming experience to do with anxiety or moods

it doesn’t work any more – its too vague

years ago people with panic would have been classed as ‘mad’ – similar thing – outdated label that isnt accurate

you have an exaggerated FEAR of IMAGINED future events

ANY person on the planet could fear such things – not being able to work due to illness or just losing their job

but not everyone will worry as YOU do – because they don’t have the exact problem you do which is a conditioned way of thinking – not your fault – but it IS a separate problem which is not just to do with external circumstances

Think how many times your fear shifts onto this or that – mostly same theme but it still shifts around – even when you get tested and doctors tell you that relatively speaking you are ok – you STILL worry

you will HAVE to deal with the ACTUAL problem at some stage

can you go to get therapy? – honestly – CBT4PANIC is not enough – you need guidance with your particular conditioning

From what you said in your last email it is simply that 99% of the time you practice repeating your worries and 1% of the time practicing the CBT

but CBT4PANIC – is for PANIC

you need more – this is NOT your fault – you are having to guess as to what to do – you will just get more stuck

so – can you get therapy?

what is stopping you from doing that

you WOULD make MUCH better progress with a therapist

let me know


Hi Robin

Don’t block my email address haha but I just have something else I would like to ask about.

I’ve just been reading a biography of a Midwife, and she was describing a situation she was involved in where a patient had a cardiac arrest.

Since reading that, my focus has of course been imagining that scenario both as the midwife and the patient!! I have a focus on my heart, but mostly an overwhelming unease and a feel that I will just “drop dead”

Now clearly it is the book that sparked this – so in a way it’s good evidence to show it’s my mind doing this to me.

But it is so unbelievably convincing, it’s untrue!!!!!! I truly felt whilst eating my tea, that I was about to make a strange noise and keel over.

Is that a common symptom with anxiety? it’s hard to explain, but I feel so scared sometimes I feel like the pressure is building in my throat and it sort of wants to let out a whimper?

I just can’t believe that I could feel like this and yet be truly fine!! I’ve convinced myself that I’m making myself panic so much that I will induce a heart attack or fainting from sheer fear. 

I’m due back at work tomorrow for the first time since I left in a panic last week aswell so the pressure is on 🙁



Hi Nat

you answered your own question

yes – very good evidence of where your actual problem lies

sounds like you aren’t practicing?

whatever happened to relax stomach, feet on floor, let go all over, take in your surroundings, “Clearly I have been triggered by the book” ” that proves this is pure anxiety” let it exist – let it do as it wants to – make it worse see what happens.

Have you EVER – in your entire life – or even heard of in the entire history of mankind ANYONE ANYWHERE having a heart attack due to a panic attack

I’ll guess not..


have you ever heard that panic attacks and health anxiety can make you feel all these exact symptoms and in reality nothing will happen

yes – u have heard this a million times

you are simply zooming in on the fear because your fight or flight response WANTS you to do that because you are sending out signals that you MUST be in danger – so it is trying to help – but fight or flight works for ACTUAL situations where u might fight or run – because you are just sitting doing nothing the energy of the fight or flight just makes you feel very weird

u need to STOP giving all your attention and belief to the fight or flight

step back

catch it

shake your head or slap yourself 🙂

do some practice – it will pass


4 Mar 2013


Hi Robin

Thanks very much for your reply 🙂 I really appreciate it. 

I have thought that myself and am slowly getting better with my own company and realising that my happiness will always be down to me

I’m sorry to ask you yet MORE questions, I bet you get millions of emails like this a day. And I’m embarrased that I ask you questions, you reply and they make a lot of sense, but then I ask you similar questions that make it look like I’m completely disregarding your advice.

But last night, I had a good old panic attack. One of the old fashioned “ooh I can’t breathe, now my hearts racing and my breath can’t catch up, I feel VERY strange, oh god oh god no no I’m gonna start retching/collapsing, get in bed quick grip the pillow and pray not for death”

Now I DID try steady breathing, listening out for sounds in the room, noticing sensations such as how soft the bed felt etc and that DID help. And of course it passed and I got off to sleep and slept fine.

The thing that worries me (here we go) is that I just CAN’T accept in my brain that it is JUST panic. And each time I have an attack, that part where it reaches the crescendo – I feel like I’m going to start choking/retching/making ‘heart attack’ noises (haha) but because that never actually happens – instead of feeling relieved, I feel like I WANT to know what would happen – so I can see how bad it really is? but it doesn’t

I have never been sick with panic but maybe thats what my body is gearing up for – I know you said you have, so is that what happens? Did you feel like you were about to have a heart attack and collapse but were just sick?

I’m just on incredibly high alert today due to last night and am finding it hard to relax. The memory of the fear is still very fresh and I just can’t accept that I am in no danger!!


The main thing is that you haven’t done enough planned exposure to be totally convinced about anything

imagine you had a fear of water and were learning to swim

so you read about swimming – good start

then you practiced a bit

then you jumped in at the deep end sometimes (pushed in) which scared you

and so on

until you felt that water wasn’t QUITE so scary because your experience was sometimes ok

however you also weren’t COMPLETELY convinced that you could swim no problem and that you couldn’t actually drown

what would you need to do in order to reach the point of total conviction 

same with anxiety – use your intelligence – it’s not rocket science

YOU will know as much as me what you have done or haven’t done and what you need to do

I will guess that you haven’t done interoceptive exposure ECERY day bringing on SOME anxiety

I will guess that you haven’t done many planned exposure practices other than desperately trying to deal with deep end stuff

its all too vague to make an impact on you

and you never really gain much belief this way

and when you get this way like last night do you read all the books and watch all the videos and listen to the audios or do you just rhyme off the catastrophisations

let me guess…


7 Mar 2013


Hi Robin

You’re right I do misinterpret and catastrophise a lot. But right now I’m finding it extremely hard to accept these sensations.

My main one is being short of breath. I feel it CONSTANTLY. It fluctuates in severity but it’s really starting to scare me as in my mind I’ve had it persistently for a while so I can’t accept that it’s “just anxiety”

It makes sitting still feel uncomfotable. I have read “anxiety symptoms” over and over and despite knowing this can be a symptom, mine feels “different”

and I know that’s classic anxiety – but it really does!! it feels like my diaphragm is tense, but the overall feeling is that each breath just isn’t satisfying and my body is always hanging on for the next one. I sleep absolutely fine which is good – but it’s present immediately when I wake up, and throughout the entire damn day.

I seriously feel like I’ve got some blood oxygen disease or lung disease!! Do you truly truly feel so horrible with anxiety? Honestly – it would really help me if you could describe how you felt breathing wise with anxiety, as I’m really puzzled with this.

Exposure wise – I have gone and done exercise (walking up steep hills, boxercise, aerobics) and I can handle it which is reassuring – but immediately upon stopping the exercise the uncomfortable sensations return – its like i’m ALWAYS aware of my breathing.

I’m terrified of going to the Doctors because I  feel like talking about it will send me in to a big panic and make it all “real”. Keeping it to myself feels like it downplays it a bit more and makes it less serious.

My mind keeps telling me that I’ve never had it this bad. I think this may be due to me having a couple of weeks off work (annual leave) and having too much time to brew on all this stuff


08 March 2013


Thought you might like to read your various symptoms over the last year where you were CONVINCED that you were at deaths door

Sorry if this is hard to read but I am hoping it might help you see that this IS health anxiety – observe how it changes and how each time is like the first time in your mind

you need to just do serious work on Health Anxiety rather than try to feel reassured – gather all your savings and go find a decent CBT therapist face to face and get this sorted – it IS possible honestly – and within a few months too

otherwise you might be doing this 10 years from now – it’s all fixable but not if you keep repeating the same patterns

and dont worry – I’m not giving up on you 🙂

anyway – happy reading..


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