When my health anxiety starts to be active, I notice a desperate desire in myself to know the future. This isn't the far away future that I seek, but the next minute or even the next second. It's like the dog in The Grinch who Stole Christmas--he is pulling a sleigh so loaded down with stolen gifts that it flips him to the back, and he is pulled skittering down the hill. I rush to meet the future, to know it, to know what will happen next with whatever symptom I am noticing, and in the process accelerate my fear and anxiety, toppling the full weight of my OCD into the next second and minute of my life.
The dialogue goes something like this(the OCD would be in all caps, boldface, but that's too hard to read, so just try to imagine it):
Me: I feel a tightness in my stomach. OCD: What's wrong? You need to know now. Me: It could be appendicitis. Will it get worse? OCD: Figure it out NOW. If you don't whether or not it's going to get worse, you will be intolerably anxious. Me: But maybe the pain will ease up. OCD: You can't wait to find that out. You need to act now. Me: I know if I go on Google, I will come out of a trance an hour later, and feel even worse, but yet, I feel that sinking in my chest, my face is hot, and I'm shaky, and maybe I'll be able to diagnose myself if I go on Google. OCD: You need to see a doctor! If you don't, this means you are negligent and a bad person. Me: I keep checking to see if it hurts. I prod my stomach, I don't do anything else but focus on the symptom. I feel like the whole situation is contaminated with my fear. I wish I could separate the anxiety from reality. OCD: You can do that if you just keep checking. Me: Maybe I'd feel better if I stopped checking, and let things settle down. Why can't I stop checking? I could fix everything if I stopped. OCD: You can't do anything right! You need to know in advance if this is serious. If you go to the ER and you are just anxious again, they will mock you, and it just proves you are defective. Me: I have some things I need to get done, and I'm not getting anything done. A trip to the ER is going to take all day. Where is my life going? I'm a mess. OCD: Your stomach is feeling worse. Do something NOW! Me: Listening to you is making my stomach tighten up. If I had to guess, I'd say that's what's happening. Yes, my belly might get worse, but I'll never have a chance to find out if I don't let it alone for awhile. OCD: You can't leave it alone, or how will you fix this? Me: I'm going to do my errands, and if I am seized with pain, I'll deal with it then. OCD: But you need to know what is going to happen. Me: I can't know what's going to happen in the next moment. You are asking me for the impossible. I can guess, and I might guess wrong, but this is the human condition.
Note all the crazymaking stuff going on with the OCD! What thoughts make you jump? For me, the insistent "need to know this NOW" is most likely to accelerate my anxiety.