Hi! I’m not the OP, but I do have health anxiety.
I cannot speak for OP, but for myself, whenever I read that something has a slight risk of a stroke or other type of sudden death, it can really trigger my health anxiety. This is especially true if I’m dealing with other external situations that will weaken my defenses (like work stress or, like OP, chronic pain in a part of my body). When it’s happening, I know it is irrational, but it is very difficult for me to get out of the anxiety spiral because that is unfortunately how my brain and brain chemistry work. I am medicated, am stable most of the time, and have a great therapist and support system. Sometimes it still happens and I still have bad anxiety days! I took OP’s post as reaching out for help and support in a situation where she might be spiraling, when sometimes external support can ease the anxiety symptoms. She clearly knows she is suffering from anxiety, and your responses here aren’t particularly helpful or kind. I hope that you don’t treat your friends or yourself this way when suffering from a chronic illness, which is what anxiety is.
For the OP — I hear you and I’ve been in exactly your situation. Maybe not with a chiropractor specifically, but this is basically me every time I get off an airplane! When is the blood clot going to burst into my lungs or brain and kill me suddenly? I will be alone in my hotel room! You’ve gotten some excellent suggestions for keeping your phone on you, telling a friend you’re worried, and maybe enabling your Apple Watch if you have one of those. I have lots of strategies for dealing with myself in these situations, and I’m not sure if you and your therapist have specifically worked on developing a toolbox of sorts so I’ll tell you some of mine (also highly recommend doing that in times that you’re not in crisis).
If I’m having an active panic attack, I lie down and put ice or a cold pack on my wrists and neck and do some breathing exercises. After the acute phase passes, I’ll sometimes play a mindless game on my phone that will take my head off the anxiety for a bit, or do sudoku or similar. If I’m not in that level of crisis mode, I will first check the facts — It is truly incredibly rare for a stroke to happen at all. Things like that. I also am a HUGE fan of body-scan meditations. I like some of the guided ones on the Calm app, but I’m sure you can find them in other places. The advantage of that for me is that it helps me concentrate on the parts of my body that DO NOT hurt and DO NOT feel affected, so at the end, I realize, “Oh, for 20 minutes I’ve been thinking about my toes and my arms and all the other parts of me, and while I was absorbed in that, I didn’t think about my head possibly hurting. If it was actually having a stroke, my body wouldn’t let me forget that!”
I suggest this next piece with extreme caution — There is a subreddit for Health Anxiety that has been very helpful for me. It has lots of coping strategies and threads for different methods for calming down. Be aware that there is a thread where people are spiraling about specific health issues (it is clearly labeled), and DO NOT STRAY into other parts of Reddit. Sometimes when I’m having health anxiety, I will search that forum for whatever my concern is and it’ll bring up threads where people are asking how to deal with that specific fear. It helps me feel less alone if nothing else.
LAST! Please do tell a friend or someone close about this fear. I get embarrassed when I think I’m obsessing about something stupid, but it has helped me a lot to be able to tell people I love because (1) they will reassure me I’m okay, and (2) they’ll reassure me that I’m loved, and (3) they still continue being my friend when it all passes, so it just helps build the support system.
I know this was very long, but I wanted you to know that I see you. Health anxiety can be tremendously isolating. I know that you’re going to be just fine from this chiropractor experience (just like I’m okay after every flight or long car ride). Please take good care, and I’m rooting for you.