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BelAnna

In a major panic- please help!

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I am very anxious about going to the breast clinic in the next couple of weeks to see whether I have a benign breast condition or cancer. 

I keep seeing flashes of light in my vision and I'm so worried that it could be caused by metastases or something. What can I do to calm myself down? 

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You need to work to keep your mind off this. Stick to a routine. Do things you enjoy. In the history of the world, worrying and ruminating never got anyone anywhere.

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Wise words from PolarBear BelAnna so listen and do what he says. 

There are some good videos on YouTube you can watch to help calm you down. Try breathing meditation/meditation of the breath and/or a soothing guided meditation. 

When we panic in an anxiety disorder it can produce various unpleasant symptoms including what you have described above, as the body goes into fight or flight mode - but there is no physical fight and nowhere to flee so the symptoms stick, aren't burned away. 

We can burn off excess arousal with aerobic exercise, but we can also ease away the symptoms by using meditation relaxation refocus and distraction to calm down the anxiety response.

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Thank you Polarbear- that's true! 

Thank you Taurean, I will have a look for a meditation video on youtube and go for a run!

I'm not sure whether I should see an optician. The light flashes have occurred infrequently for 2-3 weeks but I wasn't worried until I considered the possibility of secondary cancer (in the unlikely event that I do have Inflammatory Breast Cancer, distant metastases (e.g. in brain/liver) occur at the time of diagnosis in 1/3 people). 

 

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3 hours ago, BelAnna said:

I am very anxious about going to the breast clinic in the next couple of weeks to see whether I have a benign breast condition or cancer. 

I keep seeing flashes of light in my vision and I'm so worried that it could be caused by metastases or something. What can I do to calm myself down? 

You have to stop all the research, analysis & rumination.  At the moment your brain is adding 2 + 2 and coming up with 222!!

Flashes of light in your vision are very likely a migraine type thing (I had the same last week probably because I've been quite ill for the last couple of weeks) but your brain isn't considering the obvious & simple explanations, it's homing straight in for "metastases or something" option, something that with all your knowledge should be ringing the OCD bell loud and clear.

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The only reason you have any inkling about secondary cancer (about which I know nothing) is all that compulsive Googling! 

What you describe is more likely down to panic. If you can get your high arousal down then that may well ease away. 

My wife started off this year with a form of anxiety called "white coat hypertension" - fear of any medical practitioner - but we have both been working on it using CBT techniques as she has needed a lot of medical attention - and it is tons better. And the migraines associated with it are not a regular feature now. 

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Health anxiety is sooo tricky because you can pretty much bring symptoms to life if you fixate on them enough.   If you hyper-fixate on your vision, or the sound in your ears, or that weird whooshy feeling in your head, or that strange thing your heart does occasionally, or the feeling you get in your big toe, or that abdominal pain at night, or or or.... then your brain will not only bring that feeling to the forefront of your consciousness but may actually physically make it worst (the placebo effect is powerful).  Throw in a load of googling (which only ever throws up worst case scenarios) and an OCD-style imagination and you can pretty much cook up a terminal illness in five minutes flat.

As others have said... step away from the computer, breathe, and just... leave this be.  The overwhelming likelihood is that this is nothing. What is totally certain is that you will continue feeling extreme anxiety if you keep going over the remote possibilities.   

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