Hypochondria and the Social Security Disability Beneficiary: Part II — Strategies

March 12, 2013, by Michael A. DeMayo

As a hypochondriac who’s in desperate need of Social Security Disability benefits to pay for critical care, drugs and therapies, living expenses, and so forth, you face a peculiar bind.

On the one hand, you are sick — sick enough to qualify for government assistance and maybe so sick/disabled that you may never return to your former employment or quality of life.

On the other hand, you know your anxiety about your health is, at least in some sense, overblown — or at least unproductive. Even if you have something terminal, you want to be able to live your life without being constantly bombarded with negative thoughts and fears. In other words, you would like to increase the efficacy of your thinking and reduce the ambient noise and drama of it.

Here are a few ideas for how to think more constructively.

1. If you haven’t started journaling, start journaling, ASAP.

We’ve talked a lot on this North Carolina Social Security Disability blog about why people should journal and how people should journal. But the message needs repeating. Your minute to minute mental chatter can lead you into a kind of mental cul-de-sac. You wind up making the same observations and having the same thoughts again and again — and these observations and thoughts are neither pleasant, nor particularly constructive.

When you journal, on the other hand, you can spit these observations and thoughts out onto paper and manage them in a more objective fashion, much as you might manage the complaints and fears of a close friend who came to you for help. Journaling also helps you track your symptoms, feelings, and fears. By gathering data, you can begin to make resourceful choices.

First of all, you have a record to show your physician, so he or she can reassess or refine your treatment based on what’s working or what isn’t working for you. Secondly, you can adjust your own routines and behaviors to be more constructive. For instance, maybe you discover, through journaling, that you can stop the hypochondria by watching your favorite movie or getting on the phone with your mom or whatever.

2. Research and learn about the condition as something apart from your main illness/injury.

When you are legitimately sick or hurt, it’s easy to come to believe that your hypochondriacal thoughts are always legitimate because you really DO need to be vigilant about your health. But you might find it resourceful to conceptualize the problem differently. You might also benefit from getting psychological treatment to work on your anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, or whatever else may be stimulating the hypochondriacal response.

3. Get clarity on your SSD benefits situation.

When people endure uncertainty, they tend to feel stress and anxiety, and this strain can translate into somatic symptoms, which can provoke hypochondriacal responses and even cause physical damage due to the excess cycling of cortisone or other stress hormones.

When you work with an experienced Social Security Disability law firm, like DeMayo Law, you may gain clarity on your benefits situation, which can cascade down to relieve some of the stress and anxiety.

For help understanding what to do about your benefits, get in touch with us today at 1.877.529.1222 for a friendly and free consultation.

 
 

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