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Forums / Anxiety / phobia around blood pressure !

Topic: phobia around blood pressure !

  1. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    22 May 2019

    Hi all

    I started a thread a when I first came on here called 'can't relax' but even then I didn't mention one of my biggest issues. I have a phobia around blood pressure. I don't even like saying it or seeing it written! but I had to put it in this thread title to see if anyone can relate / advise.

    I get so anxious when the dr is going to take it that it's always high and so it got to a point last year where she encouraged me to take it myself at home, and by doing that we were able to decrease the meds I was on for high bp. (dr says I have 'significant white coat syndrome)

    Anyway I haven't taken it for ages as it still makes me anxious even doing it myself and meanwhile had put on some weight and spend a lot of time worrying about my bp. I am seeing a psychologist and while I mentioned this in my first appointment we haven't really addressed it so I'll bring it up next week cos it's clearly a) obviously not going away by itself (the worry about it) and b) quite a big worry at the moment.

    I know I need to talk to her, lose weight and walk more, and take it more regularly.

    Anyone dealt with any like this ridiculous phobia?!?

    4 people found this helpful
  2. IsaJett
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IsaJett avatar
    231 posts
    22 May 2019 in reply to Guest_2496

    Hi Annie

    I have not dealt with blood pressure so to speak ...but I have been on many occasions scared the bejesus out of myself on many things for really silly things. It took me a long time to figure out why I was so anxious and it feels that it is totally uncontrollable .

    but then one day ..a very close friend on mine ...said to be that I tend to overreact...and I’m like ...huh what ? Me overreact ??What u mean? I was totally take aback by his comments .

    but then I began to think about what he meant . And I realise that I in fact do . Overreact .

    this is just my experience and you can see how it may or may not apply to you.

    I had some trauma happened to me in the past and since then I have taken on this very bleak case scenarios that all crap will happen to me from here on in.

    So I start highlight the crap in my life ...things go wrong and I would think about how bloody crappy it was ...that yeah thats my life ...that how it is ...I’m meant to be sad .etc...and my whole story after the trauma was as bleak as the picture I would paint for myself in my own head .

    So after this person told me about my overreacting ...I started to observe my thoughts inside my head and I started telling myself ..the opposite ...I started to highlight the great things in my life that has gone right instead . In life there are no surefire thing ...its all a matter of balance .

    sure your blood pressure could blow out ...but it also could be easily managed . But you cant go on the negative what ifs...because worrying about it will not help your case. Worrying never does anything ...its a complete time waster. Instead what you have done and can continue doing is read up all you can about the blood pressure meds and equipped yourself with useful informations on the symptoms to look out for and then trust yourself , have faith in yourself that ...in whatever situation ...u be able to manage the situation ,

    Advancements in medications in 2019 ...is astronomical . everything is almost curable . So have faith in yourself and the entire universe ..that you will be ok with this blood pressure thing that you do have and it will be easily managed. Only if you trust the process ...can you then do things that would swing your way and be less anxious and be able to stay calm come what may .

    I would also suggest some meditation videos by Jason Stephenson...when you start worrying excessively ...it takes practice my friend ...but trust me ..it can be done ..

    Stay well, keep posting

    4 people found this helpful
  3. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    22 May 2019 in reply to IsaJett

    Thank you IsaJett for such a kind and positive/helpful response. I'm printing it out to remind myself and read slowly over.

    As long as I'm doing everything possible to be healthy that's the best I can do...I know this I just have to believe it!!

    1 person found this helpful
  4. IsaJett
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    IsaJett avatar
    231 posts
    22 May 2019 in reply to Guest_2496
    Yay Annie ...I’m happy to help ...please keep posting to let us know your progress ..we always here for you. :-)
  5. Scotty2013
    Scotty2013 avatar
    117 posts
    24 May 2019 in reply to Guest_2496
    Hi annie_1, Do you take meds for it?, I take BP meds as i started to get readings of 180/110 :O. I know !...now i think its ok , but i still am a shocker for taking them (Meds). Its easy to obesss over it , years ago i was carrying around my little portable one, and when i felt dizzy or weird id be like back to the car to check it . I had to stop doing this, was turning into like OCD. Perhaps check it once a day or every other day at home, I do that , i do wonder though Anxiety's effects on BP, in the surgery it shoots up high at home, can go down to 130/70 odd. Bp is a funny thing it flucuates , and of course our Anxiety pushes it up higher. I'm forever worrying about having the big HA not using the word :D. ..but all we can do is try to be calm and help it.

    2 people found this helpful
  6. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    24 May 2019 in reply to Scotty2013

    Hi Scotty

    Yes, I take meds too but I often worry is it too high, is it too low....silly monkey mind!

    I don't like to take it too often either so as not to become obsessed with taking it but on the other hand I hate taking it! Hate seeing the numbers...it's a work in progress.

    I'm quite sure anxiety affects it - that's why the dr had me take it at home myself, and probably you too :)

  7. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    18 July 2019

    Have some stress this week and bp has gone up. Increased bp med but now feeling a bit off like maybe it’s too much med. can never win with this stupid phobia. I’m so sick of health anxiety!

    I’ve taken the advice I’ve read on here often (Paul, Geoff or Tony?) and made a double appointment with the gp tomorrow to a) try and sort this bp thing and b) talk about meds for anxiety. Time has come!

  8. Ruby 2
    Ruby  2   avatar
    81 posts
    18 July 2019 in reply to Guest_2496

    Hi Annie _1,

    I too have a a phobia re BP.

    For no discernable reason mine was elevated at GP.

    Cut to the chase, I now see a cardiologist who reassures me all is ok.I have a family history of cardiac disease.

    I have learnt to listen to specialist and be monitored by GP.Anxiety doesn't help condition so my suggestion would be to speak to your GP to control anxiety .This may help, worth a try.

    Ruby2

  9. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    19 July 2019 in reply to Ruby 2

    Thanks Ruby2

    I saw the dr today and she’s added something to my bp med, and started me on an ad re the anxiety. You’re right it should help with the bp too once it kicks in and assuming it’s right for me.

    For a long time I didn’t think I needed ads now I can’t wait for it to work!

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Added
    Added avatar
    1397 posts
    24 November 2019 in reply to Guest_2496

    Hi Annie-1 thanks for starting this thread. I thought it was only me until I read a couple of forums on this topic and then found your thread. I hope that you are feeling better now. How are your anxiety meds going? Do they seem to help?

    My phobia is intense and has got a lot worse over the past couple of months. It started about 12 years ago when my Dr at the time freaked out and really scared me with her thoughts about my high BP when she took it. At that time, I was able to take my BP at home and it was mostly good. Fast forward to earlier this year and another Dr freaked out about my reading in her office. Since that time, I have found that I am unable to take my BP at home without going into a panic. I also think about it constantly and worry that my health is in real danger. I have to hide my BP monitor because simply looking at it scares me...

    I am seeing a psychologist (just started) and also doing an online CBT course. The CBT course is helping with my general anxiety, but not with my BP phobia.... yet at least. Oh, I also have a phobia about taking medication, so I am not taking anything yet. However, I do realise that I have to start taking my BP at home so that I can work out if I need to take medication.... I tell myself that if I have to take something for it, then I will have to... and its not that big a deal, but somehow it seems a huge deal and big hurdle for me to get over.

    Last week, I took my BP on 2 consecutive morning. First time on both days it was high. Once I get a high reading I continue taking it until my reading comes down which it did on both those days... to an OK level. And although I felt a little relieved for a while, I still thought about it and worried that it was going up during the day. I will try to take it again this week.

    I wonder if anyone has tried hypnotherapy? Or anything else that might help. I am really finding it difficult to cope with this, no matter how I try to talk to myself in a positive and helpful way the fear peaks though and panic happens.

    3 people found this helpful
  11. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    22 December 2019 in reply to Added

    Hi Added

    I’m sorry for the long gap before replying to you but unfortunately anxiety has been peaking for me too. Around a few things but reading your description of not looking at the bp monitor etc was - well we’re so alike! And awful though this sounds it was nice to read that someone else shares this fear!

    The meds didn’t help for me - I didn’t go on with them after feeling awful on them.

    Has CBT or the psych helped you? Did you end up trying hypnotherapy?

  12. Hippymum
    Hippymum avatar
    1 posts
    6 July 2020 in reply to Guest_2496

    Hi, Unfortunately I developed a phobia of high blood pressure last year after I went to the Dr Every time she takes it in the surgery I seem to have a panic attack and it's really high! Now I can't even take it at home as it goes up really high at home too! Part of my phobia is I suffer quite often with dizziness (for all sorts of reasons) and I know that the meds for BP can also cause this. I am very sensitive to meds and often get awful side effects. So I don't find the thought of having to take meds at all helpful! My dad had a heart attack so am also stressed about the thought of stroke or heart attack from high BP. What a conundrum... I have read at least 4x books about lowering your BP naturally, watched numerous doco's etc as well and have tried nearly every thing under the sun...from hibiscus tea, to celery and beetroot juice, exercise, plant based diet, you name it. But I am still too freaked to take my BP. I have managed to desensitise myself to be able to buy a monitor. Now I need to be able to use it. I don't accept the idea that 'peoples BP naturally gets higher with age' as this is only the case in the developed world. In other countries, this is not the case. High BP is a SYMPTOM, not a disease and I think Dr's should work harder at finding and treating the cause, not the symptom. 'Lifestyle' illnesses eg High BP, cholesterol, anxiety, diabetes in the developed world make an awful lot of money for drug companies so in some ways I feel determined to find the cause and not be on this endless cycle of drugs (that actually inhibit your bodies' own ability to lower your BP over time so you need to keep taking more and high doses).

    3 people found this helpful
  13. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    10 July 2020 in reply to Hippymum

    Hi Hippymum, and welcome to bb forums.

    I'm sorry that my thread is your first post! Meaning - I'm sorry that you too are dealing with this phobia x.

    Can I ask - have you tried any other methods for lowering your anxiety such as meditation, yoga, cbt therapy? Anxiety for me fluctuates and at best times meditation is really helpful, slow deep breathing. When I do take my bp I take it lying down on my bed (or couch) after a period of relaxation. If I can get a good reading, or a series of them, then I'm less anxious about taking it myself. My gp basically never takes it these days! just gets me to take it at home (like you it took me some time to even buy a machine). One of the younger ones at the clinic insists and so I always just say you know it's going to be high cos I'm here so please don't tell me what it is and she agrees to that. I'd LOVE to beat this phobia and went to therapy a while back to try and sort that but for now it's still with me.

    I was very resistant to meds way back when..and like you I'm sensitive to meds but I have to say, after Many years of taking bp meds, that I only get dizzy when my bp is low (and over a period of time of that happening, and me taking it at home, was able to reduce the meds to a level that it stopped). I haven't found that I've had to continually increase the dose over the years. My dose has gone up and down depending on stressful life situations, and weight, and in fact about two years back was the lowest it had been in about 25 years so please don't worry about that. For me - controlling my weight has the biggest/best effect but it's not easy either...

    I hope you're doing ok. Sorry for the time lapse in reply and if I can help you in any other way please chat away. Or jump in any other threads you see, introduce yourself in the welcome area, you'll find many kind and helpful people on these boards. :-)

    1 person found this helpful
  14. batcat
    batcat avatar
    1 posts
    17 September 2020

    Hi there

    i too have this phobia very embarrassing and hard to understand my reads are so high as soon as they put it on my arm. Reading these posts were Very helpful and I realise I’m not a freak, I don’t get it taken at the drs any more and the last 3 years I have had a 24hr monitor Once a year and the readings are perfect👍🏼 So I stick to that. I do meditation and also I am bipola, i moved to regional small town away from my home 3 years ago so getting help is hard Here and I never had this problem till I moved. Anyway I have read all the comments there verY comforting in a good way.

    it’s just the way we are 😺

    1 person found this helpful
  15. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    19 September 2020 in reply to batcat

    Hi batcat

    I’m glad you found the thread comforting - your post was too. Nice to meet someone who gets it ;-)

    Sorry bout the lack of support in small town regional oz... got to be others in town who could also use support. Is there a library, or community centre, you could see if any groups meet that interest you?

    1 person found this helpful
  16. StephL
    StephL avatar
    1 posts
    17 May 2021

    Hey

    I have had this phobia since having my second child a year ago I have changed anxiety meds and was feeling great untill I went to the doctor today and it was high .... I sitting here thinking it's reaching a point of dangerous number and I can't seem to calm down.. I'm on bp meds and all I can think of its rising and I don't no ...

    I hate health anxiety it really rocks me

    Not sure to go hospital. But when I got the trading today the doc said it's ok it's probs cause I'm anxious cause she monitors me and told me to come back in 2 days cause of my anxiety .. still not sitting right

    2 people found this helpful
  17. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6846 posts
    17 May 2021 in reply to StephL
    Hi StephL, 

    Thank you for posting here on the online forums and for sharing your experience. Health realted stress and anxiety can be really difficult to manage, coming here and sharing your story is a wonderful step along your journey to feeling better. 

    If you like you can always call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 and talk through your symptoms - our wonderful counsellors will be able to give you great advice on what to do when you feel anxious as well as pointing you towards further support. 

    Thanks again for being brave and sharing your experience, please feel free to update us on how you are feeling if you are comfortable doing so. 

    Kind regards, 

    Sophie M
    1 person found this helpful
  18. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    18 May 2021 in reply to StephL

    Hi Steph

    Yeah health anxiety is the pits isn’t it.

    You’re doing everything right - seeing your dr for monitoring so try and trust in that. Can you meditate (even briefly) once or twice a day? Listen to a calming talk on YouTube? If on Facebook Petrea King Meditation Group has some great talks you can access. Recently my dr recommended a book Beating the Blues by Tanner and Ball - self help around CBT practices.

    Basically keep your mind and body busy so those thoughts lose importance...take the kids for a walk?

    I know these sounds simplistic answers but I find they help. Hope you get relief too.

  19. Midean
    Midean avatar
    23 posts
    19 May 2021 in reply to Guest_2496

    Bit of a late reply, but i spent the better part of yesterday at hospital in the ER for this very thing.

    I came to associate my blood pressure readings with severe anxiety, as everytime i went to the ER with a panic attack, my BP would be really high.

    This also transferred to the doctors office, and as soon as they put the cuff on my arm, my anxiety skyrockets, and so does my BP.

    They sent me home with a BP machine and even at home, by myself in a comfortable environment, my anxiety skyrockets when i put the cuff on due to association with panic.

    My doctor believes i have high blood pressure, that is exacerbated by anxiety, so now i am on BP medication and seeing a psych with the hopes i can get it all under control.

    So for what its worth Annie, you are most certainly not alone, and i wish you lots of love and luck in your journey in overcoming this.

    2 people found this helpful
  20. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    19 May 2021 in reply to Midean

    Thanks for the love and luck, Midean, and same to you.

    May the psych help you enough that you can get some decent base readings to go on with.

    2 people found this helpful
  21. Bulldogbobby73
    Bulldogbobby73 avatar
    14 posts
    26 July 2021 in reply to Guest_2496

    Hi annie_1

    Firstly -I feel your pain, this sounds exactly how I feel.

    My anxiety and panic re-surfaced after a routine doctors appointment a couple of months back with a new doctor as my old one retired, she discovered my bp was very high, and wanted to straight away put me on meds - so I said no and went to another docs, who was way better and actually tried to see if it would come down without meds.

    But the damage was done and ever since then, any time I go near a monitor, I get a feeling of panic over me, so I don’t know for sure if it’s truly high or it is high due to my anxiety.

    I am actually on meds now - the first time I have taken any meds for anything and I think it’s causing my shortness of breath occasionally and I’m also easily fatigued and just feel generally yuck.

    I would like to thank all who posted in this thread as it has helped ease my anxiety around bp and I hope we can all find comfort in each other.

    1 person found this helpful
  22. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    27 July 2021 in reply to Bulldogbobby73

    Hi BulldogBobby

    I’m sorry you’re going through this too!

    I hope the meds are controlling your bp for the most part but I think it’s a given that stress increases it temporarily and, for some of us, that includes having it taken!, meeting new drs etc.

    Has anyone suggested or have you tried - having a monitor at home and gently increasing exposure? Taking it yourself when you feel calm and rested to get a base?

    my best wishes to you

  23. Bulldogbobby73
    Bulldogbobby73 avatar
    14 posts
    27 July 2021 in reply to Guest_2496

    Hey,

    I have a monitor at home and am too scared to start taking it in case it is high, I have had it taken a few times by doctors and it is slowly coming down, last one taken was when I had a stress ECG last Friday and it was 141/100 but I was anxious due to where I was - it went up to 190/110 after the stress test on treadmill but knowing that scared me even though it was after exercise.

    Other than that the results were normal, which I was really happy with, going to see doc when he comes back from being in isolation to see where to next.

    I should say I only started meds just over four weeks ago so still have time for them to kick in.

    How is your bp- is it under control??

    Take care

  24. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    27 July 2021 in reply to Bulldogbobby73

    Mine probably often runs a little high but nowadays I find myself thinking about it way less often. Not to say that if I were having it taken, or was in an emergency, I wouldn’t panic about it but day to day I don’t think about it. I expect you’ll get there too :)

    The last two years have been so so weird - somehow I find myself less anxious generally! No control I guess…

    1 person found this helpful
  25. Bulldogbobby73
    Bulldogbobby73 avatar
    14 posts
    28 July 2021 in reply to Guest_2496

    It’s good you seem to have the anxiety around the bp mostly under control, as you say hopefully I will get there too.

    Stay safe.

    1 person found this helpful
  26. Helen_S
    Helen_S avatar
    1 posts
    19 August 2021 in reply to Guest_2496
    Hi Annie, I just read your post .. I have identical symptoms. Just wondering how you have coped. Living for the day I can have my blood pressure taken without putting on a cuff.
    1 person found this helpful
  27. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    20 August 2021 in reply to Helen_S

    Hi Helen

    I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with this too. I think the only thing that works for me is not thinking about it and I have found (mostly) over this pandemic period that there’s really no point being anxious about anything. Not sure that’s helpful?! and of course I’m not always anxiety free.

    In terms of bp - the best thing is taking it for myself (it’s definitely still not easy and I don’t take it often!). It helps knowing when I go to the dr about something else that she’s not going to take it. It was her idea. She’s retiring soon though so…

    The therapist I saw wasn’t helpful - let me know if you try counseling and it helps.

  28. gloria10
    gloria10 avatar
    154 posts
    21 August 2021 in reply to Guest_2496

    Hi Annie_1,

    While I don’t have this, my mum does. She is going to psychiatrist too.

    She’s never liked doctors in general, but with blood pressure it’s a real phobia of hers.

    It sounds like you’re taking the right steps to deal with it, well done.

  29. Guest_2496
    Guest_2496 avatar
    377 posts
    22 August 2021 in reply to gloria10

    Thanks Gloria.

    Has your Mum found the psych helpful?

  30. gloria10
    gloria10 avatar
    154 posts
    22 August 2021 in reply to Guest_2496

    She hasn’t been going for too long, some of her fears relate to years back though.

    When I saw one for a fear of spiders I found it helped. I’ve been able to manage it better.

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